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Significant Digits For Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016

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

1.2 seconds

In 2004, the United States decided to change the font on many of its road signs from Highway Gothic to a new one called Clearview. The motivation: More older drivers. A clearer font would make it easier to read the signs, and a study from Texas A&M University found a driver could see a Clearview sign 80 feet earlier, at 45 miles per hour, than a Highway Gothic sign. That’s an additional 1.2 seconds of reading time. But on Monday, the U.S. Federal Highway Administration announced that it was trashing the 2004 order recommending Clearview, and cited newer research to argue that Clearview’s benefits were overstated. The designers of Clearview intend to mount a challenge. Begun, the Font Wars have. [Citylab]


2 years

Due to an ongoing Justice Department corruption investigation, Vice Adm. Ted “Twig” Branch, the Navy’s intelligence chief, has been forbidden from reading classified information since November 2013. The arrangement has proved … tricky. [The Washington Post]


9 p.m.

The highest traffic time on both Tinder and OKCupid, services that allow you to meet people for sex or dating based on either proximity or how attractive your 10 most attractive photographs are, respectively. Usage drops substantially after 10 p.m. according to the data from Nielsen, so that’s presumably when everyone’s carriages turn back into pumpkins and “successful career as an actor” turns back into “you’re cool grabbing the check, right?” [The Huffington Post]


53 percent

Percentage of white evangelical Protestants who have a favorable view of Donald Trump, who is definitely one, perhaps two, but certainly not all three of those things. That figure is up from 37 percent last November. [The Public Religion Research Institute]


90 percent

An analysis of the survey responses of 210,000 women who are in a relationship found that 72 percent of women who weren’t using contraception had sex in the past four weeks, compared to 90 percent of those who did use contraception. [NPR]


100 pounds

About $14 million worth of heroin — 100 pounds of it — was found in a pickup truck in Queens this week. A pound of heroin goes for about $140,000 — I think that’s the big takeaway from this story. [The New York Times]


6 billion Likes

Facebook is about to embark on a venture once considered unthinkable: messing with the “Like” button. Given that Facebook’s 1.6 billion users punch it more than 6 billion cumulative times per day, that’s actually something of a big deal! They’re adding five other options to the current thumbs-up-only button, which will make it somewhat easier to react to some bad news I suppose. [Bloomberg]


$11.6 billion

U.S. colleges raised an estimated $40.3 billion in 2015, but $11.6 billion of that went to just 20 schools. [Quartz]


$48.8 billion

Estimated net worth of Michael Bloomberg, who is considering a run for the presidency, according to Re/code. A thought experiment I was playing with some friends: You are at an auction where you’re bidding on one hour of rifling through Michael Bloomberg’s couch cushions for loose money. How much do you bid? [Re/code]


$99 billion

While the 20 most profitable hedge funds pulled in $15 billion last year, all the hedge funds combined lost $99 billion. This industry strikes me as healthy and in no way an existential long-term threat to the economy. [Bloomberg]


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Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

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