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Significant Digits For Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016

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


Amount of television advertising aired against Donald Trump this month that was paid for by super PACs. That’s pretty crazy given Trump’s national front-runner status. On the other hand, Marco Rubio is getting slammed with super PAC ads. Of the 47 opposition filings1 this month (through Jan. 19), 35 were anti-Rubio. I wonder who the PACs consider a legitimate long-term threat? [The Washington Examiner]

1st full-time coach

Yesterday, Kathryn Smith became the first woman to be hired by an NFL team as a full-time coach. She’ll be the special teams quality control coach for the Buffalo Bills under head coach and living legend Rex Ryan. [ESPN]


Astronomers at the California Institute of Technology are claiming that there may be a ninth planet in our solar system. The planet, suspected to be about five to 10 times the size of Earth, has gone undetected due to a far orbit and very low visibility. Let’s just see how this one plays out. [The Washington Post]

27 individuals

The site of a skirmish that took place hundreds of thousands of years ago has produced fossilized skeletons of upwards of 27 individuals, several sporting evidence of blunt head trauma. The incident is being described by archeologists as the oldest known massacre, but hey, maybe the sport of football is just slightly older than we thought. [CNET]

29 weeks

The release date of the eighth installment in the Star Wars franchise was pushed back 29 weeks, from May 26, 2017, to Dec. 15, 2017. This move is interesting for a few reasons — it fans rumors of some rewrites; it keeps the next two installments out of the competitive summer box office season; it gives us 29 more weeks of yearning — but by far the coolest is that the film will now drop about a week ahead of the release of “Avatar 2.” Gauntlet, thrown. [Variety]


According to the FiveThirtyEight NBA Elo model, the San Antonio Spurs are now at their highest rating ever, with 1776 Elo points. A decade of strong performance has been followed by an outstanding year for the 36-6 Spurs, who hit the new high following a 112-83 win over Dallas on Sunday. [FiveThirtyEight]


The S&P 500 closed at its lowest point since February 2014 on Wednesday, falling 1.17 percent to 1,859. Is this the part where you’re supposed to buy? [CNBC]

1.2 million

Last week’s GOP debate got people talking on Twitter: 247,000 unique users sent out 1.2 million tweets about the event. About 6.4 million people saw those messages. [The New York Times]

22 million digits

A new prime number upwards of 22 million digits in length has been found by the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search. It’s about 5 million digits longer than the previous record-holder. [Newsweek]

$382 million

Box office haul for “Monster Hunt,” a kid-friendly monster movie, in China, making it the nation’s biggest-ever film. It lands on U.S. shores this week. [Yahoo]

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  1. Instances where outside groups are required to let the Fe1859deral Election Commission know that they’re targeting a particular candidate.

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.