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Significant Digits For Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016

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

5th place

The four NFL teams that have made it to this season’s conference championship games — New England, Denver, Arizona and Carolina — have outstanding defenses compared to previous division winners. This group has the fifth-highest average defensive quality in the 45 years since the AFL-NFL merger. [FiveThirtyEight]

6.9 percent

China’s growth rate last year, according to government figures. The primary rule of interpreting the official figures for China’s economic growth rate is not to totally trust the official figures for China’s economic growth rate; however, that figure is the lowest reported growth since 1990 and below the government’s target. [Quartz]

7 stars

Several outlets are reporting that a Belgian radio station and the observatory MIRA have attempted to name a new constellation of seven stars in the shape of a lightning bolt in honor of David Bowie. I’m calling bullshit. First of all, I would like to see something in the rulebook that says anyone who owns a larger than typical telescope and maintains visiting hours is now able to declare a new constellation. This isn’t freaking Olive Garden, I want to see some rules about credentials regarding admittance. And second, this bit about the constellation being “close to Mars” is rather silly given — and I am not a scientist, but hear me out — the whole thing about the planets moving through the night sky with some notorious alacrity. But mostly, if you’re going to name an astronomical body after one of Bowie’s looks, why not name a comet after the Thin White Duke? It’s a massive line of snow in space! [The Daily Dot]

13.8 percent

Adidas’s market share in China, compared to Nike’s 14.3 percent. This is huge for the German sportswear company, which significantly trails Nike in the U.S. and Western Europe. [Quartz]

23 years ago

A creator of the game “Doom” released a new level to the iconic game, which originally came out in 1993. [BBC]

24.8 percent

Volkswagen’s market share in Europe saw a slight dip in 2015 on the heels of an emissions-rigging scandal, down to 24.8 percent of new cars from 25.5 percent in 2014. [Bloomberg]

-27 points

Based on Gallup polling from the past six weeks, that’s Donald Trump’s net favorability among self-identified independents, a figure that rather effectively puts a pin in the ongoing discussion of Trump as a candidate with potential crossover appeal. [FiveThirtyEight]

62 people

The combined wealth of the world’s wealthiest 62 people is now roughly equal to the combined wealth of the entire bottom 50 percent of humans. [Bloomberg]


Amount of a past-due interest payment owed to the Forbes family by Integrated Whale, the group that purchased Forbes magazine. That amount is relatively paltry, but it has somehow kicked off a multimillion dollar fight between the sellers and the buyers. [The New York Times]

$16.2 million

The Rams ditched St. Louis for Los Angeles, which was a dick move, but even more of a slap to St. Louis given that the city apparently spent $16.2 million trying to keep the NFL team. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

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

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.