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Significant Digits For Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017

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

58 tournaments

Japan has had a drought of yokozuna, or sumo wrestling grand champions, in this century. For dozens of tournaments between 2006 and 2016, Japan didn’t have a tournament winner in part because of strong performances from Mongolian competitors. That ended this month when Kisenosato won a tournament and was promoted to the rank of yokozuna. [FiveThirtyEight]


Average Metacritic score of the ten highest-scoring films of 2016. Looking back at that top tier, last year was a very good year indeed — over the past 12 years, only 2013’s best movies were more highly rated. [The Black List]

216 percent of normal

Since October 1, downtown Los Angeles has recorded upwards of 13 inches of rain, a level that’s 216 percent what the city normally gets in that period and a respite from its searing drought. [The Los Angeles Times]


Yesterday a vestigial and arbitrary collection of stocks hit a number that American stock traders — mainly the kind made of flesh and not the kind made out of silicon and code — found to be aesthetically or psychologically pleasing. Congratulations to the Dow Jones Industrial Average for hitting 20,000. [The Wall Street Journal]

17.3 billion

Number of times Americans wrote out a check in 2015. Compare that number to the 69.5 billion debit card purchases in the same year. I’m pretty sure my checks still have my college living address on them, and every one of them has gone to a landlord. [The Wall Street Journal]

$559 billion

Forecasted U.S. budget deficit in fiscal year 2017, down from $587 billion in F.Y. 2016. [Reuters]

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Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.