Skip to main content
ABC News
Significant Digits For Tuesday, April 21, 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.

9 batters. Or 10 batters. I say 9.

How many batters must go to the plate in a half-inning before it can be said a baseball team has “batted around?” That’s an extremely divisive question, even among the pros. John Mayberry Jr. of the Mets, Josh Satin of the AAA Louisville Bats and others — including me say the answer is nine. David Wright of the Mets, LaTroy Hawkins of Colorado and other mistaken people say 10. This is the kind of stupid divisive thing that starts wars, people. All I’ll say is that there’s a reason that π isn’t equal to (10*π)/9. Also, it’s pronounced “jif.” [The Wall Street Journal via @IvanTheK]

32 percent

Proportion of New Jerseyans who said they thought Gov. Chris Christie personally ordered the 2013 traffic jam at the entrance to the George Washington Bridge, according to a new poll. [Quinnipiac University Poll]

52 percent

Proportion of Americans who said in December 2014 that it was more important to “protect the right of Americans to own guns” than to “control gun ownership.” [Pew Research Center]


Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price let out a tirade directed at the media that would have made Rahm Emanuel blush. Price deftly used the word “fuck” 77 times in a menagerie of forms, while also sprinkling in 11 “shit” derivatives, all in service of his complaint that in-depth, accurate local coverage of the Reds organization has given an advantage to the competition. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

20,000 readers

Chevrolet bought video ads embedded in physical copies of Esquire and Popular Mechanics magazine. You read that correctly: There’s a video player inside the magazine pages. The specialized copies promote the Chevy Colorado, and were sent to 10,000 subscribers of each magazine whom Chevrolet had determined are likely consumers of the midsize pickup truck. Assuming this crazy experiment goes well, coverage of this form of advertising is going to go pretty quickly from the breathless tone you’re reading now to frustration with autoplaying videos embedded in comic books. [Advertising Age]

$2.3 million

The 2012 presidential campaign of President Barack Obama still owes about $2.3 million in debts. POTUS isn’t alone in this; the 2012 presidential campaign of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich owes more than $4.6 million to creditors. [Center for Public Integrity]

2,713,570 killed animals

Each year the Department of Agriculture discloses details about every single animal it killed. In fiscal year 2014, the department killed more than 2.7 million animals. They were mostly European Starlings and other birds, but the kill list included members of 319 species, or roughly a Teddy Roosevelt‘s worth, if you don’t mind the technical term. [Mother Jones]

41.8 million metric tons

Anything with a battery or power cord — like, you know, basically everything in my apartment — is, once it’s tossed, considered electronic waste. There’s a whole lot of it. Last year the planet generated 41.8 billion kilograms of e-waste, only 6.5 billion of which was recycled. [Motherboard]

$469 million

Amount users of the accommodation-booking app Airbnb contributed to the San Francisco economy in 2014, according to a new study commissioned by the accommodation-booking app Airbnb. So take it with a grain of salt is all I’m saying. [Airbnb]

$6 billion

For several weeks in 2013, Elon Musk was negotiating a potential sale of his then-struggling automaker Tesla Motors to Google. Musk’s proposed terms for the deal were that Google would pay about $6 billion, with a further $5 billion promised for factory expansions. The deal didn’t go down, but an excerpt from a forthcoming book looks back at what could have been one of the biggest tech stories of the past several years. [Bloomberg]

If you haven’t already, you really need to sign up for the Significant Digits newsletter — be the first to learn about the numbers behind the news.

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.