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Significant Digits For Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news. Today also marks the third edition of the Significant Digits newsletter! If you’d rather not click on a website to read this, sign up here.

4.17 times the barley

The USDA has found that craft brewers on average use 4.17 times as much barley as brews from U.S. beer giants InBev and MillerCoors. Non-craft beer brewers use an average of 16.5 pounds of barley per barrel, while craft beer producers use a whopping 68.7 pounds per barrel. [USDA via Mother Jones]

7 protesters

Seven protestors were escorted out of the Supreme Court building as Chief Justice John Roberts prepared to announce the day’s opinions. The protesters cut off the justice, yelling, “We are the 99 percent” and appeared to criticize the 2010 Citizens United decision. [CNN]

75 percent

A WBUR poll showed that 75 percent of Boston residents want a public referendum on whether the city should host the Olympic Games. The quadrennial event, in which an international committee identifies a city that is willing to hand over billions of dollars, also involves sports. [New York Times]

2,400 positions

EBay Inc. is cutting 7 percent of its workforce after weak holiday sales and a revenue that fell short of expectations. [Bloomberg]


Cost estimate of damage inflicted on a ski resort by a single University of Michigan fraternity in one weekend. A hallway’s worth of ceiling tiles was destroyed, rooms were wrecked, shattered glass and debris coated the floor and there was substantial furniture damage. The chapter has accepted full responsibility. Two other fraternities reportedly did damage to another hotel as well. In fairness, it seems like it was a pretty sick party. [9 and 10 news via Business Insider]


In a marketing stunt, the publisher of James Patterson’s newest novel “Private Vegas” is selling a single copy of the book that is rigged to self-destruct within 24 hours. The price tag includes dinner with Patterson and a bomb squad to handle the detonation of the book, which will presumably take place in front of one of our nation’s many underfunded libraries. [Business Insider]

745,000 miles

Distance between Earth — where the vast majority of humans are located — and an asteroid a third of a mile across on Jan. 26, the closest predicted asteroid fly-by until 2027. [Mercury News]

1 million copies

The book “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven,” which claimed to outline the experiences of a boy who came back from heaven, is alleged to have been fabricated. The book — which was written by the boy’s father, with little input from his son — sold upwards of 1 million copies, but has been pulled from shelves by the publisher following the claim. [The Guardian]

30 million unique visitors

That’s the reported traffic to PAPER Magazine’s site when they posted a full-frontal nude image of Kim Kardashian. [Medium]


Aggregate pageviews of image board 4chan since its founding 11 and a half years ago. Founder Christopher Poole, known as “moot,” is retiring as the controversial site’s administrator. [4chan News]

One more plea for the newsletter: Sign up for it now and be the first to learn about the numbers behind the news. And, as always, if you see a significant digit in the wild, tweet it to me @WaltHickey.

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.