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Significant Digits For Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015

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

Nearly 2 years

Two Al Jazeera journalists — Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed — were pardoned and released from prison nearly two years after being arrested in Egypt. The journalists had been accused of aiding the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Their release came just before the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, traditionally a time of charity and clemency. [CNN]


4 balls

Houston Astros outfielder Preston Tucker walked after being thrown four balls in a game against the Los Angeles Angels. Totally unremarkable and utterly unworthy of this venerable column — save for the fact that it took a call to New York and about three minutes to get him to first base. Home plate umpire Ted Barrett had lost track of the count. When nothing happened after ball four, Houston manager A.J. Hinch challenged, and a video review ensued. [Deadspin]


4 states

Pity those from New York, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire and American Samoa (your pitiful columnist included). Starting in 2016, residents of those places will no longer be able to use their driver licenses to fly domestically. Getting a license in those places doesn’t require proof of citizenship or residency, so they’ve been deemed “noncompliant” with the Real ID Act. Now, where did I put my passport? [Travel + Leisure]


46 percent

4.6 million people tuned in to watch Donald Trump on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on Tuesday, a 46 percent increase from the previous Tuesday. The more than 300 million Americans who didn’t tune in? Losers. [Deadline Hollywood]


60 miles

Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have broken the distance record for quantum teleportation, transporting quantum information over 60 miles. It’s a possible step toward a quantum Internet. Now if they could only teleport me to the office today to avoid the papal traffic. C’mon, guys — it’s only 10 miles. [Gizmodo]


150 people

“Chances are, there are about 150 people whose names and faces you can remember without a prompt,” wrote my colleague Mona Chalabi in an article about memory. OK, that’s all well and good — but, Mona, seriously, where did I put my passport? [FiveThirtyEight]


284 communities

During the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, nearly 300 communities in Liberia that had ended the practice of open defecation remained free of infections despite being “surrounded by Ebola hotspots.” [The World Post]


$1.6 million

Joe Juranitch, who played the character Ragnar — a Viking atop a purple motorcycle — at Minnesota Vikings home games, sought a 10-year, $1.6 million contract from the team, $2 million if you include the postseason. Spoiler alert: Joe Juranitch no longer has a gig with the Vikings. [Associated Press]


5.6 million sets of fingerprints

In July, we learned that hackers had stolen about a million sets of fingerprints from the federal Office of Personnel Management. Turns out the hackers had their hands in a lot more — hands. On Wednesday, the government revealed that the number of federal employees whose fingerprints were stolen was actually 5.6 million. [The New York Times]


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Oliver Roeder is a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight.

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