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Significant Digits for Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015

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

8 years

And there was much rejoicing: FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who has been accused of corruption, was just slapped with an eight-year ban from the sport of soccer. [BBC]

12 months

The FDA will end a discriminatory lifetime ban on blood donation from men who have sex with other men. The new rule still bans men who have had sexual contact with other men in the past 12 months from donating blood, which is far from perfect but hey, at least some slight social progress was made? [The New York Times]

-18 percentage points

There’s a “diploma divide” in the GOP: Donald Trump may be polling at 30 percent among Republicans nationally, but he has the support of just 19 percent of Republicans with a college degree, and 37 percent of those without a degree, a massive 18-point difference. [FiveThirtyEight]

83 percent

“Master of None” and “Fargo” appear to be the television hits of the year, making 83 percent of the year-end “best of” lists that we analyzed. [FiveThirtyEight]

172 percent

The extent of the Nicki Minaj bump, according to Spotify streams. Tracks where Minaj appears as a guest artist saw on average 172 percent more streams than the other tracks on albums featuring her. The extent of the Drake bump was considerably smaller, a mere 126 percent. [FiveThirtyEight]

200 kilometers

SpaceX successfully launched a rocket 200 kilometers into space, ditched the payload into orbit, and then landed the rocket in Florida. This is the first successful launch and landing of a reusable rocket booster and could keep launch costs down moving forward. This is a historic day for space flight, and easily the best thing that happened in Florida all year. [Ars Technica]


The U.S. Marshals service has put out an offer of $5,000 to anyone with information that leads to the capture of Ethan Couch, an 18-year-old Texan on the run from authorities after potentially violating the terms of his probation. Couch killed four people in a 2013 drunk driving incident, but avoided jail time after his lawyers pulled an incoherent “affluenza” defense that claimed Couch’s wealth had dulled his sense of empathy. Quick question, has anyone checked Martin Schkreli’s apartment? They seem like they’d be in the same squad, you know? [The Washington Post]


Actor Nicolas Cage voluntarily returned the skull of a Tyrannosaur to the Mongolian government after it was discovered to have been stolen. Cage had paid $276,000 for the severed head of the dinosaur at an auction. [The ABC]

739,580 unique IP addresses

Upcoming movies “The Revenant” and “The Hateful Eight” have leaked to bittorrent sites. Typically, films that would like to be considered for awards send out screeners to prospective voters early, and it appears that one or more of those voters has leaked the films in advance of their Christmas Day release. Copyright enforcement firm Excipio reported it had observed downloads of “The Revenant” by 739,580 IP addresses and downloads of “The Hateful Eight” by 569,153 addresses in a 24-hour period. [Variety]

3.3 million accounts

A database containing details of 3.3 million Hello Kitty fan accounts has leaked. Depending on what you’re into, this could be your Ashley Madison leak, so get out there people. And, uh, the “Walter Hickey” in the data set affiliated with the email address “” is a totally different person. [CSO Magazine]

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Heads up: Significant Digits will run through Wednesday this week, then settle down for a long winter’s nap and emerge triumphant on Monday, Jan. 4. Apparently the editors want to enjoy time with their families or some made-up nonsense like that.

If you see a significant digit in the wild in the meantime, send to to me: @WaltHickey.

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.