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Significant Digits For Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015

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

5.9 percent

Google — which mints money to the tune of $60 billion per year — is doing a major restructuring, and the mother company is getting a new name in the process. Alphabet Inc. will be the general conglomerate, under which Google will comprise many of the ways the company makes money (YouTube, Android, etc.). Alphabet will also oversee Google’s venture capital, investment and moonshot projects, like the life extension and science fiction arms of the company. Shares were up 5.9 percent in after-hours trading on the news. [Bloomberg]


33 days

U.S. Astronaut Scott Kelly has successfully grown food in space. The first batch of lettuce took 33 days to grow in May of 2014, and the food was sent back to Kennedy Space Center for testing to make sure it didn’t lead to some sort of Fantastic Four-ish cosmic superpower situation. The latest batch was scheduled to be consumed Monday. No word on whether taste testing applications are still being accepted. [Christian Science Monitor]


Roughly 40 percent

Right now about 10,000 firefighters are trying to put out or contain the fires coursing through California’s forests. About 40 percent of them are inmates. [Capital Public Radio]


41 percent

The number of worldwide users of ad-block browser software rose 41 percent year over year to 198 million. Adobe and PageFair estimated the cost of ad blocking to publishers was $21.8 billion. Is now a good time to disclose that one of those ad-block users is me, even though ad blockers are a plausible existential threat to the industry in which I work? [Yahoo Finance]


57 protestors

Dozens — including faith leaders and activists — were arrested yesterday at a “Moral Monday” event in Ferguson commemorating the death of Michael Brown. Later in the day, protesters blocked off all lanes of Interstate 70, and more were arrested overnight. [Buzzfeed]


566,000 subscribers

The net loss in pay TV subscribers last quarter, the second-worst net loss ever for that quarter. The number of households that pay for television is shrinking about 0.7 percent annually. [DSL Reports]

1.7 million

Estimated number of U.S. workers who were paid less than the federal minimum wage illegally in 2014. Two-thirds were women, and this doesn’t even count people who are paid less than their state or local minimum wages. [CBS News]


13.8 million

Number of people in the U.S. living in high-poverty circumstances, up from 7.2 million in 2000. [The Century Foundation]


$586 million

That’s how much money the U.S. Postal Service reported as a loss this past spring. That’s actually really good! In the spring of 2014 the USPS lost almost $2 billion. [Associated Press]


$350 billion

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton proposed a $350 billion student debt relief program while campaigning in New Hampshire and indicated she intended to make it a centerpiece of her campaign. [Bloomberg]


I’m at the Joint Statistical Meetings (along with @andrewflowers and @cragcrest) in Seattle through Tuesday. Hit us up if you’re going to be there!

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Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

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