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Significant Digits For Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news. To receive this newsletter in your inbox, subscribe.

2.045 times as large

The market cap of the largest publicly traded U.S. company (Apple) is for the first time in 30 years more than twice the size of the market cap of the runner up (Exxon Mobil Corp.). Apple’s cap is $765 billion, Exxon’s is $374 billion. [Wall Street Journal]

$9.60

Median hourly wage for a home health aide. Following the lead of fast food workers, healthcare aides are now building their own campaign to raise their minimum wage to $15 per hour. [USA Today]

19 manatees

ZERO DARK MANATEE: Last night, authorities in Florida rescued 19 manatees that were stuck in a storm drain. Shockingly, animals sometimes referred to as a “sea cow” were not clever enough to get themselves out. [Florida Today]


68 days

That’s how long one study estimates people could survive on Mars if sent by Mars One, a non-profit organization trying to get astronauts there in the next 20 years. Experts say that Mars One’s plan underestimates the difficulty of sending humans to the Red Planet.[Buzzfeed]

80 percent

Should a bill to fund the Department of Homeland security fail to make it into law, 30,000 employees will be furloughed. 80 percent of the DHS workforce is deemed essential to national security, yet as a person who has been through TSA screening that feels like a bit much. [USA Today]


$2,500

A labradoodle — a cross between a poodle and a labrador retriever — can sell for between $2,500 and $3,000, much more than a lab or a poodle (which can go for $1,000 to $2,000). [The Baffler]

18,000 text messages

The number of SMS requests a new startup called Magic received in a single day — just three days after launching. Magic is a delivery service that does all the work of finding an item for you, and, only a few days in, it can barely keep up with the demand. [Mashable]

36.6 million viewers

People weren’t as into the Oscars this year as they were in the past. Ratings dropped 16 percent from last year. [Entertainment Weekly]

$1.92 billion

Apple is building data centers in Europe that will be powered entirely by renewable energy, costing the company $1.92 billion. [Associated Press]

$3.1 billion

Profits from the sale of OxyContin for manufacturer Perdue Pharma in 2010. Oxy exploded in popularity across the country since its introduction in 1996, fueling an opiate epidemic that’s still ongoing. [Pacific Standard]

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And, as always, if you see a significant digit in the wild, tweet it to me @WaltHickey.

Walt Hickey is FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

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