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Significant Digits For Monday, Nov. 30, 2015

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

1 team

With New England’s loss to Denver 30-24 in overtime Sunday, the Carolina Panthers are the NFL’s only remaining undefeated team following (most of) Week 12. We still give the Patriots the highest chance of winning the Super Bowl. [ESPN]

20 seasons

Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant announced — in a poem! — that this NBA season, his 20th, will be his last. Bryant has been injured often recently, playing in just 41 of 164 games the last two seasons. [The New York Times]

32 countries

Japan is trying to figure out how to handle a population that is increasingly elderly, with a huge bearing on the rest of the world: By 2050, 32 countries will have a population with a greater share of senior citizens than Japan does today, according to the United Nations. [The Wall Street Journal]

41 percent

The probability Oklahoma will win college football’s national title, according to FiveThirtyEight’s model. The Sooners won the Big 12 championship over weekend. [FiveThirtyEight]


Estimate for how much the department store Kohl’s will pay to use a cover of the Beatles song “All Together Now” in a national ad campaign of 15- to 30-second spots. The band’s iconic oeuvre is far from cheap, and securing song rights can take months of negotiation. But by using a cover artist for the song instead of the original recording, the advertising firm Kohl’s hired was able to roughly halve the cost. [The New York Times]


A convicted Czech pirate — to be more specific here, the kind of pirate who uploads movies or software he isn’t supposed to, not the kind of pirate who attacks boats and pillages — got software firms to agree not to sue him if he made an anti-piracy video and got 200,000 views for it within two months. The man succeeded in this endeavor, with more than 400,000 views so far, and now does not have to pay a lot of money to very angry multinational corporations. [BBC]

3.38 million

U.S. opening week sales for Adele’s new album, “25,” the first to sell more than 3 million copies in a week in Nielsen’s history of monitoring sales. [Billboard]

4.8 million

A breach has compromised 4.8 million records of Hong Kong-based toy company VTech, potentially exposing customer account data to hackers. User passwords were encrypted using a crappy MD5 hash, and what’s worse, hackers can use the data to easily make connections between accounts for parents and their children. It all sounds like catnip for a fear-mongering local news broadcast near you. [Troy Hunt via Ars Technica]

$20 billion

Climate change talks begin in Paris today, with some early news bolstering confidence in a potential agreement: The U.S. and 18 other countries will double investment in clean energy to $20 billion, according to the White House. The measure has the support of technology and business leaders as well. [The Guardian]

??? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ???

We’re going for an unconventional digit today. Here is typically where we’d discuss the sales numbers coming out of Black Friday, and how [good/bad] they are and the [exciting/deleterious] effect that might have on holiday spending, which in turn could have an [unspeakable/Lovecraftian] impact on overall consumer spending. But my colleague Ben Casselman set me straight: All the numbers you’re reading about Black Friday sales are unreliable and often useless. [FiveThirtyEight]

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Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.