Skip to main content
Significant Digits For Monday, Nov. 12, 2018

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news.

25 years ago

Twenty-five years ago yesterday, the first major web browser, Mosaic 1.0, was released. Yeah, um … thanks for that, I guess? [MIT CSAIL]

27 notices of violations

Law-enforcement officers in New York City raided a condo building, handing out 27 notices of violations for “illegal hotel use” — i.e., Airbnb. Twenty apartment owners in the building were allegedly renting rooms to guests from 15 countries. The raid could augur future hard-nosed enforcement of city laws that limit such short-term rentals. [The Wall Street Journal]

100 cat statues

Egyptian archaeologists digging in a newly discovered, millennia-old tomb near Cairo unearthed dozens of mummified cats, 100 gilded wooden cat statues and a bronze statue of the goddess of cats. I totally get it. See, my apartment disallows pets, and 101 statues of said pets seems like the next best thing. Excuse me while I gild some wood and cast some bronze. [NPR]

29 people and 6,700 structures

California is burning — three wildfires were raging in the state as of yesterday morning. The most destructive of these, called the Camp fire, had killed 29 people and destroyed more than 6,700 structures. The other fires — Woolsey and Hill — had forced the evacuation of at least 250,000 residents and burned more than 4,000 acres, respectively. [Los Angeles Times]

10s of thousands of convenience stores and gas stations

As soon as this week, the Food and Drug Administration is expected to announce a ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes — such as those sold by Juul, which captures 70 percent of the retail market — in “tens of thousands” of convenience stores and gas stations around the country. Each Juul pod, for example, contains as much nicotine as a pack of normal cigarettes. They include flavors such as mango and cucumber. [The Washington Post]

$30.8 billion in sales

Alibaba, the Chinese online shopping behemoth, holds an annual “shopping festival” called “Singles Day.” It was yesterday, and the company announced that it had made $30.8 billion in sales, according to its gross merchandise value metric. I’m also holding a Singles Day. It’s today. But you don’t get anything, you just Venmo me. Looking to break some records here, people. [The New York Times]

Love digits? Find even more in FiveThirtyEight’s new book of math and logic puzzles, “The Riddler.” It’s in stores now! I hope you dig it.

If you see a significant digit in the wild, please send it to @ollie.

Oliver Roeder is a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight.