Skip to main content
ABC News
Significant Digits For Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017

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


Number of jobs available for every job applicant in Japan, the highest since 1973. Automation is a welcome trend in the nation given its shrinking pool of workers. [Bloomberg]

7 years

Oliver Schmidt was sentenced to seven years in prison and a $400,000 fine for his role as “a key conspirator” in Volkswagon’s emissions fraud scheme. [Reuters]

26th country

With a vote from the Federal Parliament, Australia has become the 26th country to legalize same-sex marriage. This move flowed from a postal survey that showed Australians overwhelmingly supported the change. Only four members of parliament voted against the measure, while several others abstained. [Sydney Morning Herald]


Approximate number of reindeer in Norway. As it stands, the country requires herders to kill a portion of their herd annually as part of a reindeer reduction policy. In what’s almost certainly the hit Christmas movie of 2036, one 25-year-old man is fighting back against the government and for the rights of the indigenous Sami people and will have his day in the Supreme Court following two lower court victories. Also, his sister is dragging along an installation of hundreds of bullet-ridden reindeer skulls to prove a point, because Scandinavia will always be more Metal than the rest of us. [The New York Times]

$200 million

Guess who signed a five-year contract extension in the neighborhood of $200 million to remain the NFL commissioner? It ain’t me. It ain’t me. I ain’t no senator’s son. It’s Roger Goodell, who has made $212.5 million as commish since he was elected in 2006. [ESPN]

$450.3 million

It turns out the buyer of “Salvator Mundi,” the Da Vinci painting that sold for $450.3 million, which is way too much money, was actually a lesser Saudi Arabian prince. Drat, I had put my money on some domestic narcotics oligarch in the office pool. [The New York Times]

Check out Besides the Points, my new sports newsletter.

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

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.