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Significant Digits For Thursday, March 26, 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.

5-yard penalty

The NFL has approved a New England Patriots-inspired penalty that makes it illegal for an ineligible player wearing an eligible number to line up outside the tackle box. Still, not a lot of comfort for fans of the Baltimore Ravens, who lost a playoff game in which the Patriots used the formation. [ESPN]


17.6 percent down

As Russia’s economic crisis continues, alcohol sales are taking a hit: Vodka sales were down 17.6 percent by volume year-over-year in January, and beer sales were down 10.5 percent. Demand isn’t thought to be decreasing, however: People unable to afford those beverages are reportedly drinking more moonshine, medical alcohol and cleaning products. [Associated Press]

32 indictments

Marijuana is legal in Colorado. Marijuana is not legal in most other states. As a result, it’s not legal to grow pot in Colorado and then ship it other places. But this might seem like a good idea! It was probably the first idea a lot of us had when we heard about legal marijuana. It’s not a good idea! Colorado has indicted 32 people who are accused of having such an idea — and a multimillion-dollar business plan to go with it. [Denver Post]


40 percent

Percentage of survey respondents who told the Pew Research Center that they thought they paid more than their fair share of taxes considering what they received from the federal government. [Pew Research Center]

556.856 miles

New record for number of miles traveled by bicycle in 24 hours. [Outside Online]

174,000 years ago

An Icelandic study estimated that the most recent common male ancestor for all of humanity lived between 174,000 and 321,000 years ago. I’m not so sure about that, but then again, my only frame of reference is the reimagined “Battlestar Galactica” television series. [The Verge]


213,000 students

That’s the enrollment figure at the for-profit University of Phoenix, down from about 460,000 five years ago. [CNN Money]


600 million

The number of people Facebook reports use its Messenger app monthly. The company — like many before it — sees its messaging service as an alternative to email. Email was unavailable for comment yet presumably remains both vestigial and immortal. [Medium]


$46 billion

Heinz and Kraft Foods — two companies that make a lot of the stuff Americans eat — are merging. Interestingly, it appears that Wall Street’s biggest investment banks were uncharacteristically uninvolved in the $46 billion merger. [Bloomberg Business]


$3.8 trillion budget

House Republicans approved a $3.8 trillion budget. [USA Today]


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Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

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