Skip to main content
ABC News
Significant Digits For Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018

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

$3.30 per avocado

Thanks to low harvests, there is an avocado shortage in New Zealand. Thanks to the laws of supply and demand, the price of avocados has skyrocketed to $3.30 per avocado. And thanks to the depths of human nature, a wave of thefts and a thriving avocado black market have emerged. In response, one avocado tree in Auckland was surrounded by razor wire. [The New York Times]

72,300 overdose deaths

According to new estimates from the Centers for Disease Control, drug overdoses killed more than 72,300 Americans last year. That’s a record, and an increase of 10 percent from the year before. As The Upshot has observed, that number is more than the death tolls of H.I.V., car crashes or guns. [The Upshot]

8.3-inch gap

In the NBA you’ve got your unbelievably tall guys like your centers, and then your just regularly tall guys like your point guards. But the gap between those two have never been smaller. Only 8.3 inches separate the average center from the average point guard, the smallest gap ever and down more than 20 percent since the 1990s. This trend could spell trouble, my colleagues write, for players like the 5-foot-9 Isaiah Thomas. [FiveThirtyEight]

20 years old

Earlier this week, Ronald Acuña Jr., an outfielder for the Atlanta Braves, hit leadoff homers in both games of a doubleheader. He’s also homered twice on back-to-back days, homered eight times in an eight-game stretch, homered in each of five straight games and homered to leadoff three straight games. And the “Jr.” part is right. He’s the youngest player to do all of those things. He’s 20. [Deadspin]

4 uritrottoirs

Paris has a problem — a “wild peeing” problem. It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like: men peeing everywhere in public. In response, the city has installed four “uritrottoirs,” a combination of the French words for urinal and pavement, in public and outdoors, with plans for a fifth. They look either like a red mailbox or trashcan, and are affixed at the top with an ideogram of a urinating man. Your move, New York City. [NPR]

2804 Elo rating

We at FiveThirtyEight are unabashed in our love for Elo ratings. So big ups as always to competitive chess, from whence Elo ratings come. Ding Liren, a Chinese grandmaster, has not lost in 82 games. As a result, his Elo rating has cracked 2800, putting him fourth in the world, and only the 14th player to reach that Elo plateau. []

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

Oliver Roeder was a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied game theory and political competition.