Skip to main content
Significant Digits For Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019

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

75 percent favorable

In 2015, after the Supreme Court had upheld same-sex marriage and the Affordable Care Act, only 33 percent of Republicans viewed the court favorably. Now, after the confirmation of two justices nominated by President Trump, 75 percent of Republicans have a favorable view of the court. Its favorability among Democrats has fallen from a high of 72 percent in 2016 to 49 percent today. [Pew Research Center]

1.3 percent of revenue

As Amazon builds out its own delivery fleet — drones and robots included? — FedEx is severing its ground-delivery ties with the company, two months after it also ended its air-delivery contract. FedEx said Amazon accounted for 1.3 percent of its revenue last year, or some $850 million. [The Associated Press]

1,000s of tardigrades

The Israeli lander that crashed on the surface of the moon in April apparently spilled thousands of tardigrades — strange-looking microscopic “water bears” — onto the lunar surface. A harsh environment for life, to be sure, but tardigrades are known to survive just about anything, and indeed can survive for years in “dormant states in which all metabolic processes stop and the water in their cells is replaced by a protein that effectively turns the cells into glass.” Good luck up there, little guys. [Wired]

$572 million loss

Despite the fact that its revenues doubled, DeepMind, Google’s AI outfit that developed superhuman chess-playing programs, lost $572 million last year. DeepMind owes a debt of 1.04 billion pounds this year, which includes an 883 million pound loan from Google. The company has shifted to health care research and is working on an algorithm that can look at medical imagery to find head and neck cancer and can diagnose eye disease. [Bloomberg]

4.7 million subscribers

Shortly after it had taken sharp and widespread criticism for its headline about President Trump’s response to the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, including from some who claimed they were canceling their subscriptions, The New York Times announced that it now has 4.7 million paid subscriptions, a high for the newspaper. The Times has a stated goal of 10 million subscriptions by 2025. [The New York Times]

61 percent of Americans

My colleague Nathaniel Rakich explored the shifting popular support for stricter guns laws over the past 30 years. The latest Gallup poll, for example, shows that 61 percent of Americans support stricter gun laws while 30 percent think the laws should remain as they are. Overall, support for stricter laws fell from highs of about 75 percent in the early 1990s to lows below 50 percent in the late 2000s, though it has risen again over the past few years. [FiveThirtyEight]

From ABC News:

SigDigs: Aug. 8, 2019

Love digits? Find even more in FiveThirtyEight’s book of math and logic puzzles, “The Riddler.”

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

Oliver Roeder was a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight.