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Significant Digits for Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015

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

0 percent chance

Probability of a White Christmas for the east coast of the United States from Washington, D.C. up to Boston, part of a recent period of warm weather brought about by the El Niño system. While we still may be in for the typical snowy weather later this year, the current models suggest the northeast will have warm weather through mid-January. [Slate]

13 nominations

The nominations for the Critic’s Choice Awards were released yesterday, and “Mad Max: Fury Road” scooped up more than any other film, including nods for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress. While the film isn’t exactly considered an Oscar frontrunner, it was pretty metal, so kudos to The Broadcast Film Critics Association and Broadcast Television Journalists Association for their exceptional taste. [The AV Club]

52 minutes

Investigation Discovery is a network that specializes in True Crime documentaries where people are murdered and then people figure out precisely how. It’s also ludicrously popular: It has some of the highest viewing lengths on cable, particularly among women, who watch it for an average of 52 minutes. The average on the rest of cable is only 27 minutes. [The Washingtonian]

555 deaths

Estimate for the number of children under the age of 12 killed by guns in the three years since the Sandy Hook massacre. That’s a minimum estimate based on news reports that often don’t cover suicides or unreported deaths. [NBC News]


Number of reports of potentially unsafe drone use the FAA has received so far in 2015, and that’s presumably only going to get worse after the holiday gifting season. It’s one reason the FAA is requiring drone hobbyists to register their devices. Registration is free through Feb. 19, after which is will cost $5. [CNET]


Number of tracks on Spotify for the song “Silent Night,” making it by far the most covered holiday song. As Spotify’s Paul Lamere noted, you could listen to a different version of “Silent Night” every night for 72 years. [FiveThirtyEight]

$66,026 to $144,566

Advertised salary range listed in NASA’s job posting for new astronauts, plus a bonus: you might be able to go to space. Seems like the kind of gig that’s more about the perks than the payout, you know? [USA Jobs]

$60 million

Hosts of big international events need to beef up the energy supply in the region to sustain all the visitors. Aggreko is a company that has handled the power generation for nine Olympic Games and six World Cups, and was going to handle the power generation for the 2016 Rio Olympics until it pulled out on Monday, another bad sign for an already somewhat-troubled event. While we don’t know exactly how much the contract was worth, we do know Aggreko was paid about $60 million to provide the extra power for London 2012. This year’s contract was likely to be worth less. [Reuters]

$548.2 million

Samsung owes Apple $548.2 million for patent infringements related to the intellectual property of the iPhone, but they’re trying to take an appeal to the highest court in the land. Monday Samsung petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. The company is arguing it shouldn’t have to pay $399 million of that. [Reuters]

127 billion T-shirts

Worldwide cotton stockpiles are at their second highest ever level. There’s enough cotton in warehouses to make 127 billion t-shirts. [Bloomberg]

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Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.