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Significant Digits For Tuesday, May 15, 2018

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

Some personal news first: I’m leaving FiveThirtyEight soon to start a forthcoming daily newsletter, Numlock News. SigDig will absolutely continue with a new writer, but if you’ve been a fan of my run please subscribe!


The U.S. Supreme Court sided with New Jersey and ruled the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act unconstitutional by a 6-3 margin. The 1992 law banned sports betting in states that were not Nevada, Oregon, Delaware and Montana. Jersey can now offer sports betting at racetracks and casinos. [Sports Illustrated]

40 percent

American Airlines is taking a page out of The Book of Leviticus and issuing a list of banned service and emotional support animals that cannot be brought aboard flights starting July 1. This list includes amphibians, ferrets, goats, hedgehogs, insects, reptiles, rodents, snakes, spiders, sugar gliders (would love to know the story behind how this animal earned an extremely specific mention), poultry, waterfowl, birds of prey, all animals with tusks, horns or hooves (with the exception of the noble miniature horse), and any animal that smells bad. The policy is due to a 40 percent rise in the number of people transporting a service or support animal between 2016 and 2017. [CBS Dallas, American Airlines]

85 percent

Netflix has pivoted to spending the vast majority of its new spending on original programming rather than content owned by other studios. About 85 percent of new spending is going toward original production rather than, say, buying the streaming rights to other companies’ shows. Netflix will have about 1,000 originals by the end of the year, 470 of which are yet to debut. [Variety]

126 DoD facilities

New emails released under the Freedom of Information Act show evidence of the EPA and White House attempting to prevent a report that finds two classes of chemicals endanger health at a lower level than the EPA describes as safe. The chemicals are contaminating U.S. water systems, and the cost to clean up the contamination and deal with the deleterious health effects could be enormous. The Department of Defense has 126 facilities where nearby water had evidence of unsafe levels. [POLITICO]

896,764 trucks

That’s how many F-Series trucks Ford sold in the U.S. in 2017, with the F-150 accounting for most of that. A fire at the Meridian Magnesium Products of America last week is likely to jeopardize the continued production of the vehicle temporarily. The plant makes instrument panel components for the F-series trucks and will be out of commission, meaning that production lines downstream could see production stopped later this week, and 7,600 workers could be temporarily laid off. [The Drive]

$300 million

Patreon — a platform that allows 2 million patrons to contribute on a regular basis to about 100,000 creators — has paid out approximately $350 million to such creators over the past five years, and this year expects to transfer over $300 million from fans to independent artists and content producers. [The Guardian]

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

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.