Skip to main content
ABC News
Significant Digits For Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016

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

2 stars

Starbucks is reconfiguring its rewards program. As of April, customers in the loyalty program will earn two Starbucks “stars” for every dollar spent, rather than one star per visit. I’m no coffee mathematician, and my coffee comes from a bodega, but I think Starbucks drinks cost like $18.50 per, so I thought “stars” will be easier to come by. But the Twitterverse has done the math, and found that it’s much tougher for many to earn rewards under the new scheme. [USA Today]

13 bald eagles

Thirteen bald eagles were found dead in eastern Maryland. Authorities believe they may have been poisoned, possibly by a chemical sprayed on a field, or by a poison meant to kill rodents. There is a $2,500 reward for information related to the case. [Insert “Make America Great Again” joke here.] [Washington Post]

25 years

Labrador retrievers are America’s best best friends. The breed took the top spot on the most popular list last year, according to registrations with the American Kennel Club. It was the 25th consecutive year of their reign. Only four other breeds — the Boston terrier, the beagle, the poodle and the cocker spaniel — have held the most-popular distinction since 1935. [American Kennel Club]

37 films

Leonardo DiCaprio, who appears to be on his way to receiving his first Oscar on Sunday, has appeared in 37 films over 24 years. The standard lines on Leo have often been “it’s about time,” “he deserves it,” “just give him the statue already,” and so on. But my colleague Walt Hickey found that, if Leo wins, he’ll have had just the 33rd most successful pre-Oscar career of 90 winners tracked. [FiveThirtyEight]

40 percent

Single women voters will be hugely important this cycle, Rebecca Traister argued. Their numbers are growing, bringing “massive social and political implications.” In 2012, unmarried women were 23 percent of the electorate, and for the first time it’s expected that a majority of women voters will be unmarried. However, last presidential election cycle, 40 percent of single women had not registered to vote. “This is partly because of the very obstacles that single women need social policy to account for,” Traister wrote. [The Cut]


Amazon has raised the limit on what you have to spend to qualify for free shipping, from $35 to $49. The move is seen as a nudge to get customers to sign up for the company’s Amazon Prime service. No word on when the company’s drones will be ready to deliver a burrito on an hour’s notice through my sixth-floor apartment window at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday. [Fortune]

15,000 houses

Speaking of Starbucks, in one of life’s small but surprising victories, it turns out there are more historic house museums in the U.S. than there are Starbucks locations. There are 15,000 such museums, like the former home of Edgar Allen Poe in the Bronx. There’s only one problem: Way more people visit Starbucks than the museums. More than half of the historic house museums receive fewer than 15 visitors per day. Take that grande soy latte to go and visit a famous person’s birthplace, would you? [Urban Omnibus]

$3 million

Marlene Ricketts, of the billionaire Ricketts family that owns the 2016 World Series champion Chicago Cubs, donated $3 million to a super PAC devoted to derailing the presidential run of Donald Trump. The group, called Our Principles PAC, is run by a former adviser to Mitt Romney. Amazingly, and consistent with the coming end of a 108-year curse, Trump spilled no vitriol on the Cubs via Twitter yesterday. [The Hill]

$130 million

Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign — RIP! — burned through $130 million, with precious little to show for it. That figure included $94,100 on “clubbing,” $15,800 on “valets,” and $4,837 on “pizza.” To be fair, Jeb, that is exactly the same amount I spent on pizza last year. Please clap. [New York Times]

2.74 billion yuan

A movie I had never heard of until yesterday has taken in the equivalent $420 million in just 11 days. The picture, called “The Mermaid,” directed by Stephen Chow, is now China’s highest-grossing film. It looks … OK? [The Guardian]

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.

If you see a significant digit in the wild this week, send it to me: @ollie.

Oliver Roeder was a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied game theory and political competition.