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Significant Digits For Thursday, March 12, 2015

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news. To receive this newsletter in your inbox, subscribe.

5 percent

Percentage of U.S. adults who claim to be vegetarians in a Gallup poll. According to a “vegetarian calculator” — which seems like it might be arguing from a particular stance, if we’re being honest here — carnivorous Americans each will eat 7,000 animals in their life. I welcome the challenge and relish the opportunity. [USA Today]

12 patients

Cutting-edge medicine and computer science joined forces with altruism last week in San Francisco. Six people gave their kidneys to six recipients in a chain of paired transplants. That’s a difficult logistical — let alone surgical — feat to pull off, and the procedure took two days to accomplish. [Wired]

14 percent

NBA referees flubbed about one in seven reviewed calls in the final minutes of close March games. Buffalo Wild Wings was unavailable for comment. [Bloomberg Business]


Private employers spent that amount on compensation per employee hour worked last December. Benefits accounted for $9.60 per employee per hour. [Bureau of Labor Statistics]

50 percent

The Milky Way galaxy may be 50,000 light years longer than previously estimated, which would make it 50 percent bigger than NASA had thought. [Smithsonian]

360 hours

Minimum duration of training for a Louisiana police officer, which seems low. My roommate probably spent more time playing “Destiny” in the past couple of months, and I don’t see the state of Louisiana sending him to a space war. [Gawker]


There will be no videos of the trial of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and transcripts from court reporters could cost buyers up to $92,565, if the trial is as long as expected. A transcript of the first three days alone will go for about $1,600. []


Average bonus to a securities worker on Wall Street last year, according to New York State’s comptroller. [New York Post]

$2.5 million

Annual profit of the Iditarod, which has come under scrutiny for the effect the race has on the dogs that participate. [Quartz]

$420 million

Annual New York State cap on tax credits for the film industry — incentives for production companies to choose to clog up New York City’s streets instead of those of some lame city such as Toronto. This year, the state government is considering authorizing $25 million for musicians, because the discordance on subway platforms between the Sufjan-wannabes and the steel drummers apparently isn’t enough already. [Bloomberg Business]

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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.