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Significant Digits For Tuesday, March 14, 2017

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news. Kara Chin is filling in for Walt Hickey, who returns to New York tomorrow, just in time to build a snowman.

3 years

When you are Richard Simmons, your fans notice when you fall off the radar. It has been three years since the fitness guru stopped showing up to teach his fitness classes, which has given rise to a long list of rumors and conspiracy theories, including that he is being held hostage by his housekeeper. (Simmons, through his publicist, has denied that and other stories.) A new podcast is exploring the many mysteries regarding Simmons’s disappearance. [The New York Times]

5 days

Why build a house of ice when the weather does it for you? After five days of heavy winds and subzero temperatures, a home in Webster, New York, near Lake Ontario, became encased in ice. Considering the heavy snowfall on the East Coast right now, we could see some impressive igloos to rival the ice house. [The Huffington Post]


Texas state Rep. Jessica Farrar is proposing legislation that would fine men $100 for masturbating and require a 24-hour waiting period for buying Viagra. Farrar introduced the bill, which she calls “A Man’s Right to Know Act,” as a way to call attention to the limited access and strict regulations that women face in getting abortions in Texas. [CNN]

217 weapons

Authorities broke up an alleged weapons trafficking ring after an undercover cop in New York City purchased 217 firearms that had been illegally transported to Brooklyn from Virginia, where gun laws aren’t as strict. So far, 24 people have been arrested in connection with the gun ring. [ABC News]

217 minutes and 14 seconds

A hockey playoff game in Norway went to eight overtimes this weekend, meaning the two teams were on the ice for 217 minutes and 14 seconds. The three-and-a-half hours of playing time translated into more than eight hours of total time for fans, some of whom were reported missing by loved ones. The game is now considered the longest ever in hockey. And we thought the game of baseball was too slow. [NHL]

24 million people

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 24 million people would lose their health insurance by 2026 under the American Health Care Act, congressional Republicans’ proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act. If enacted, the AHCA would cut the federal deficit by $337 billion over 10 years but would push the share of Americans without insurance coverage back to pre-ACA levels, according to the CBO. [FiveThirtyEight]

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

Kara Chin was a video and podcast intern for FiveThirtyEight.