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Significant Digits For Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015

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

12 to 15 percent

Joe’s Crab Shack will experiment with ending tipping and paying employees more at some locations. The restaurant chain is testing increasing prices by 12 to 15 percent to account for the increased wages. [Eater]

39 light-years

MIT and Harvard researchers announced that they have detected a rocky planet orbiting a red dwarf star 39 light-years away. [The Boston Globe]

67 percent

Probability that Clemson University will make the College Football Playoff this year, the highest odds of any college, based on FiveThirtyEight’s prediction model. There’s also a 49 percent chance that Clemson will win out the rest of the season. [FiveThirtyEight]

70 percent

Just for some perspective on where the Democratic Party’s elected officials are lining up, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has 70 percent of all possible endorsement points according to FiveThirtyEight’s endorsement tracker, compared with the 19 percent she had locked in at the same time in the 2008 cycle. [FiveThirtyEight via Harry Enten]


The city of Seattle paid $4,000 to have a horrifying yet somehow iconic chewing-gum-covered wall power-washed clean, with a million estimated wads of gum eradicated from the edifice. This is an important step forward for the city, one hopes, because when a major cultural attraction for your metropolis is a vermin-sustaining wall covered with used chewing gum, you run the risk of people starting to side with the fault line that will doom your city to geological annihilation. [Gizmodo]

14,000 calls

Phone records obtained from a hack of Securus Technologies, which provides phones to jails, found 14,000 recorded conversations between inmates and their lawyers, a potential breach of attorney-client confidentiality. [The Intercept]

4.8 million

Dr. Seuss is the juggernaut of children’s literature, still by far the most popular children’s author years after his death. There were 4.8 million books by Seuss sold in 2013, up from 3.2 million in 2010. Seuss created some of the most iconic characters of kids’ literature, including the Cat in the Hat, the Grinch, the Lorax, and the most nefarious interrogation of the moral malleability of the soul and the banality of evil to ever appear on the page, Max the Dog from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Seriously, when you really consider the character of Max, you get to some dark places quick. Think about it. [Priceonomics]

50 million

The Kars 4 Kids radio commercial — you know the one I’m talking about — is heard by an estimated 50 million listeners daily. I wager that sentence alone is worth a thousand pledge drive weeks when it comes to recruiting sustaining members of National Public Radio. [Vice]

$720 million

Amount wagered on Major League Baseball in Nevada in 2014, up 6 percent from 2013. The MLB remains haunted by the ghost of Pete Rose — a man who, to my knowledge, is still alive, but you know what I mean — and wants to make sure that no players are cheating to get in on that action. As a result they’ve hired SportIM to monitor the league and identify suspicious gambling activity. It’s the kind of system Kenesaw Mountain Landis — who is definitely dead; I checked — must have dreamed of. [Bloomberg]

$14 billion

Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce juggernaut, claimed $1 billion in sales in the first eight minutes of Single’s Day, the Chinese equivalent of Black Friday. The International Data Corp. forecast that the company would book $14 billion in total sales. These numbers should probably be taken with a grain of salt, but with $9 billion in sales by midday, Alibaba had a huge performance on one of the biggest shopping days of the year. [CNET]

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Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.