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Significant Digits For Tuesday, May 19, 2015

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The early odds on American Pharoah to win the Belmont Stakes and capture the first Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978. But, as my colleague Ben Morris warned, one should be skeptical of the heavy favorite. It is entirely conceivable that, on June 6, one of the many other fast horses will run faster than that one fast horse. [International Business Times]


The cost of a CD, obtained via a FOIA request, containing the internal communications of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office while they were chasing two escaped llamas through Sun City, Arizona, in February. For my money, easily the best llama-related investment since the Inca Empire. [MuckRock]

65 Twitter accounts

Barack Obama — “dad, husband, and 44th President of the United States” — has joined Twitter. While his following exploded to over a million in an afternoon, he follows just 65 accounts. They’re the usual suspects: the First Lady, former presidents, his almae matres, Chicago’s professional sports teams. Er, except the Cubs. Mr. President, you’re hereby on bandwagon-watch come October. [Bloomberg]


The cost of a doctoral degree from such prestigious schools as Columbiana and Barkley. [The New York Times]

11,000 calls

The number of calls to poison control centers in 2013 related to the consumption of laundry detergent pods. Don’t eat laundry detergent pods. While the pods have been decried as a poison hazard to children unlike any other, the 11,000 number was actually dwarfed by cases concerning acetaminophen, multivitamins, bleaches and diaper cream. Don’t eat diaper cream. [Wonkblog]


The restaurant Chili’s investment in an “egg-wash spread” that is apparently meant to make its food more photogenic, and therefore photos of it more shareable on social media like Instagram. Please excuse me while I slather myself in egg-wash spread and take a selfie. [The Huffington Post]

1.2 million warrants

The number of open arrest warrants in New York City, a city with a population of about 8.4 million. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s criminal justice coordinator, Elizabeth Glazer, said in a statement that officials are looking into “how to safely reduce the number of already outstanding warrants in this city.” This reform would likely take the form of amnesty. [AP]

26 million birds

The Hawkeye State has a few other fowl to deal with, and is seeking help. After bird flu cases were reported in the state, Iowa has been turned down by Nebraska and South Dakota, which fear contamination if the dead birds — mountains of chickens, turkeys and ducks — are discarded in their landfills. [The Des Moines Register]

40 million pain pills

The average annual shipment of prescription painkillers into West Virginia by drug wholesalers between 2007 and 2012. During that time, “distributors shipped 59.9 million oxycodone pills and 140.6 million hydrocodone pills” to the state. West Virginia has a population of 1.85 million. Those two drugs are widely abused, and lead to more overdose deaths there than any other. [The Charleston Gazette]

$8 billion

The increase in Apple’s market value after billionaire Carl Icahn tweeted that he thought Apple stock was undervalued. Icahn’s own position in the company, through his Icahn Associates fund, increased in value by $76.5 million in a day. Boy I tell ya, I really need to get one of those hedge funds. [MarketWatch]

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As mysteriously as he arrived, Walter Hickey was gone. Well, actually, he’s just on vacation this week, so if you see a significant digit in the wild, tweet it to me @WaltHickey @Ollie.

Oliver Roeder was a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied game theory and political competition.