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Significant Digits For Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015

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

2 women

The first women will graduate from the Army’s Ranger School this week. The Army opened up the prestigious and grueling school to women in January. [NPR]

20 to 50 percent

A Berklee College of Music report says that 20 percent to 50 percent of royalty payments aren’t getting to the correct musicians or rights-holders. That is partially because of the wildly changing economics of the music business: With streaming services calculating how much to pay, old databases and a byzantine royalty structure to be navigated, it’s not super surprising that some cash is flowing into cracks. [Fusion]


The percentage of Americans who have a favorable view of labor unions, according to a Gallup survey. That’s a 5 percentage point increase from last year. [Politico]

61 percent

One way we can track America’s obesity problem is through the military, because the government is able to contractually weigh a whole bunch of people. Since 2002, there has been a 61 percent increase in obesity among active-duty forces, according to a new report. [Associated Press]

110 years

The oldest known American veteran has died at the age of 110. Emma Didlake joined the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in 1943. [San Antonio Express-News]

305 documents

Screeners poring over 30,000 messages from the private email account that Hillary Clinton used during her time as secretary of state have referred 305 of them for additional review before they can be released. [Bloomberg]

800 euros

A woman in Spain was fined 800 euros after posting a photograph of a police vehicle in a disabled parking spot to Facebook. She was punished under a new law that prohibits the use of images of officers that might jeopardize their safety. The law is called the Citizens Security Law — which is pretty rich, you know? [The Guardian]


Derivative apps are nothing new: How often do you read the phrasing “Uber, but for ____” in articles about new apps? Apparently, the cost of cloning a popular app like Uber or Snapchat isn’t actually all that high. If you wanted to build a structural, technological clone of Tinder — just the core essential features of swiping left and right on people’s pictures — it would set you back about $10,800 on software development hiring site Gigster. So it turns out that my “Uber, but for geckos you can release in your apartment in lieu of calling an exterminator when you find bugs” business would cost me only $16,080 for a minimum viable product Uber clone! The science is behind me, and I am now pursuing funding. Hit me up VCs. [Priceonomics]


Remember back in May when the IRS said thieves had accessed the tax information of about 100,000 Americans on the agency’s website as part of a scheme to steal tax refunds? Yeah, the agency announced Monday that the number of potential victims was actually about 334,000. [Associated Press]

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Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.