You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news. Today also marks the first edition of the Significant Digits newsletter! If you’d rather not click on a website to read this, sign up here.
4.22 out of 10
A study published last month tried to find if people could determine the difference between wines from California’s overrated Napa Valley and the gleaming metropolis that is the great state of New Jersey. In a blind taste test, Duke University oenophiles and four experts rated six wines — two from the Garden State, four from Napa — equally. In a followup experiment, wine club members were asked to guess where the wines were from and then rate them. Whether they were correct or not, “New Jersey” wines scored 4.22 out of 10 on average, while “California” wines earned a 5.75. [The Atlantic]
The American Chemical Society released a study that analyzed water contamination levels before, during and after a large, 600,000-person music festival. The waters saw increased spikes of illegal drugs in locations and dates that were popular with tourists. They observed significant spikes of 15 substances — from acetaminophen to MDMA — that could potentially pose low-to-high risks for aquatic life. [Ars Technica]
80 percent of Americans
A survey by Oklahoma State University suggested 80 percent of Americans favored “mandatory labels on foods containing DNA,” which is most of them (anything derived from plants — grains, fruits or vegetables — or animal — meat and dairy — or other organisms). Unless your diet is pure refined sugar and salt — which, since we’re talking about Americans here, isn’t exactly out of the question — there is DNA in your food and you probably like it. [Washington Post]
TLC, the 1990s girl group that touched the hearts of millions, has turned to Kickstarter to fund its latest and allegedly final album. It’s asking for $150,000 and has 30 days of fundraising to go, with almost a third already accounted for. No scrubs need donate. [Kickstarter, via Billboard]
3.6 billion people
Elon Musk — the entrepreneur behind SpaceX, Tesla, and the bar-napkin-idea-taken-too-far that is the Hyperloop — has gone into additional detail about a $10 billion plan for satellite-based internet, with Google reportedly an investor. The network could improve rural coverage, help increase the speed with which messages reach proposed Mars travelers, and presumably help Mr. Musk and friends defeat Ultron. [The Verge]
$350 billion over 10 years
Answers to the first item: Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas all celebrate Robert E. Lee Day the same day as Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
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