Welcome to Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news.
6 worst weeks
With the rise in availability of cheap natural gas, U.S. coal production has taken a massive hit. One stat really drives home how bad it has gotten: The six worst weeks for coal production (excluding holiday weeks) have all happened this year! [Inside Energy]
42 years old
Bartolo Colon, a professional baseball player for the New York Mets, hit his first-ever home run, at the age of 42, this past weekend. [ESPN]
Residents of Austin, Texas, voted 56 percent against a proposal put forward by the ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft seeking to skirt laws requiring fingerprint background checks for drivers, among other regulations. The vote is a legal setback for the companies, and like many hipsters before them, they’re threatening to leave Austin. [USA Today]
Percentage of polled Americans who said the Islamic State was their top international concern. [Bloomberg]
Canada is just lousy with syphilis right now — which is a sentence I never realized I desperately wanted to write — and is facing a shortage of drugs to confront the problem. The number of annual syphilis cases nationally jumped to 3,266 in 2013 from 475 in 1998, a 687 percent jump over 15 years. [Global News]
More than 325,000 podcasts
The number of podcasts available through Apple’s podcast services. That’s a real credit to the boom in podcasting in recent years, but there are some problems. The popularity of podcasting poses a headache for Apple, which has not signaled an abundant interest in maintaining the community, and podcasters appear to be rudderless when it comes to navigating interactions with the company. [The New York Times]
CORRECTION (9 a.m., May 9): An earlier version of this article misstated the role of pitchers in the National League. They bat regularly in National League stadiums; they do not bat only during inter-league games.
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