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Significant Digits For Thursday, March 3, 2016

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

0 screeners

Following an early leak of several episodes last year, HBO will not send out “Game of Thrones” screeners to members of the press this year. I would be mad, but it’s not like anyone sends me screeners anyway, so now we’re all on even footing. [Entertainment Weekly]

2 inches

Astronaut Scott Kelly is back after setting an American record for the longest time spent in space. He served as a human guinea pig so NASA can find out what happens to someone after he spends a year up there. Good news for Kelly: He grew 2 inches in orbit, as zero gravity means that cartilage isn’t compressed like it is here on Earth. Bad news for Kelly: His bones are weaker because they don’t need to hold weight in the same way. [NBC News]

2 cities

Forget all that other Super Tuesday news, there’s a big story coming out of Alabama: Clay County is no longer the last totally dry county in the state! Alcohol sales are now legal in the cities of Ashland and Lineville. Congratulations! [ABC 3340]

11 of 15 states

Results are still coming in from Super Tuesday, but it appears that Donald Trump is on track for the Republican nomination. Trump needed to finish the night with 297 delegates across all contests so far, according to FiveThirtyEight’s analysis of the race, and he currently has 336. Both Cruz and Rubio lag behind their targets. [FiveThirtyEight]

17 puppies

A Maremma Sheepdog in California had 17 puppies in one litter, a likely state and breed record. [CBS News]

40 (b)

Sen. Ted Cruz is trying to make sure he satisfies an obscure rule in his quest for the nomination. Republican National Committee Rule No. 40 (b) says that a candidate has to win the majority of delegates in at least eight contests in order to be nominated. This led the Cruz campaign to blitz the outer island territories of the Unites States, seeking clean wins in the smaller, more winnable territories so that he can remain eligible for a potential convention fight without having to win outright in bigger states. [POLITICO]

140 stores

Sports Authority will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after missing a $20 million interest payment in January. It will also close 140 of its 463 stores. [Fortune]

192 hours

Minjoo, the opposition party in South Korea’s legislature, set a new record for longest-ever filibuster: 192 hours. It was working against a law it claimed would reduce privacy. In 2011, Canadian legislators filibustered for 58 hours, so it’s a big jump. [Atlas Obscura]


The NYPD said it will no longer arrest people for drinking in public, urinating, or littering on the island of Manhattan. Basically, make sure to do all your nonsense before you get on the train to the outer boroughs. It will remove 10,000 cases per year from the courts, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. [DNA Info]

1.5 million votes

New Zealand will begin voting on a proposed change to the nation’s flag, a vote that will run through March 24th. In the first referendum, 1.5 million votes were cast to determine which of several possible new flags would be put in a head-to-head matchup against the current banner that incorporates the Union Jack and the Southern Cross constellation. The current flag has led to some confusion with Australia’s flag, which has similar elements. The new, proposed flag involves a silver fern as well as the constellation on a black and blue field. [BBC]

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Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.