Skip to main content
ABC News
Significant Digits For Thursday, June 4, 2015

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news. To receive this as an email newsletter, please subscribe.

6 homes

An investigation from ProPublica and NPR found that despite hauling in almost half a billion dollars, the American Red Cross constructed only six permanent homes in Haiti after a devastating earthquake in 2010. The Red Cross says it has used the money to help Haitians by repairing homes, providing clean water and vaccinations, and through other assistance projects. [NPR]

8 ounces

Assuming that you’re willing to wait four to eight business days, Amazon will now ship items that weigh 8 ounces or less to you for free. [The Verge]

10 times sharper

Earth is getting a new, awesome telescope. Upwards of $500 million in international funding was announced Wednesday for the Giant Magellan Telescope, which will try to find Earth-like planets around nearby stars. The telescope will produce images up to 10 times sharper than those from the Hubble Space Telescope. [The University of Arizona]

51 labs

Remember how the government apparently sent a live anthrax sample though the mail? Remember when it hedged on exactly which lab the live sample went to? Yeah, now we know why. The U.S. government actually sent live samples of anthrax to 51 labs in 17 states and three different nations. Fun fact: The preceding three sentences are now the logline on a disaster movie screenplay I just started working on. [Reuters]

61 percent

Sixty-one percent of respondents to a new poll said they think that only a few people at the top of the economic heap have a chance to get ahead. [The New York Times]

139 killings

About 30 percent of the police killings of Americans this year that have been recorded in a new database from the Guardian occurred in census tracts that are in the lowest 20 percent nationally in terms of household income. [FiveThirtyEight]


WikiLeaks is offering $100,000 for the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal — a classified document — and is attempting to crowdsource the money to pay the reward. [Reuters]


Notice that eggs are getting more expensive? That’s because as of Wednesday, bird flu had affected 45,027,793 chickens and turkeys in the U.S. since December. That is, incidentally, the logline for a second disaster movie screenplay I just started working on. It’s going to be a great summer. [USDA, via Bloomberg]

$12 billion

A new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers forecasts that the revenue from electronic home-video rentals — through downloads and from streaming services like Netflix — will hit $12 billion in 2017, eclipsing U.S. box office revenue. [Bloomberg]

If you haven’t already, you really need to sign up for the Significant Digits newsletter — be the first to learn about the numbers behind the news.

If you see a significant digit in the wild, tweet it to me at @WaltHickey.

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.