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Significant Digits For Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016

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


2 “stolen” bags

Ahmad Khan Rahami allegedly placed two bombs in Chelsea in Manhattan this past weekend, but the plot was partially foiled by two men snatching the bag that one of the bombs was stowed in. Two guys saw an unaccompanied suitcase, took the pressure cooker out of it — presumably the pair was all set on the home-goods front and just needed some luggage — and made off with the bag, accidentally disabling the bomb in the process. Later, two homeless men took a backpack from a train station in Elizabeth, New Jersey, only to find a bomb inside of it too. (They alerted police.) I am now seriously interested in how many terror plots are inadvertently broken up by people who don’t want to schlep out to IKEA for new luggage. [DNA Info]


2.5 wins

That’s how many wins the FiveThirtyEight NFL model estimated the New England Patriots would have in their first four weeks of football if they did have Tom Brady at the quarterback position. They did not, but after two wins in two games, New England is poised to beat that without Brady, and even without his backup Jimmy Garoppolo. [FiveThirtyEight]


3 percent

A mere 3 percent of American adults own 133 million of the estimated 265 million guns in the country. These super-owners have an average of 17 guns each. [The Guardian]


25.75 percent

Percentage of Americans who are in school right now (well, in 2014) according to the U.S. Census Bureau. About 9 percent of the nation is in elementary school, 8 percent in middle or high school, a little more than 7 percent in undergraduate or graduate studies, and 1.5 percent are in preschool. [Overflow Data]


28.4 years

Average age of the highways and streets in the United States. Both major-party candidates have promised higher spending on infrastructure improvements, which could be a boon for the nation’s power grid, roads and public transit systems. [The New York Times]


3500 milliampere hour battery

A bunch of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones are exploding, which is bad. One reason for this is that Samsung — seeing a weak offering from competitor Apple this year — accelerated the development and production of the phone and upgraded the 3000 milliampere hour battery in the previous model to a 3500 mAh battery in the Galaxy Note 7. Honestly, though, a phone that may or may not explode still seems like a more sensible investment than one without a headphone jack. [Bloomberg]


Shoutout to reader Corey Jones, who analyzed this past summer’s worth of Significant Digits and made a great visualization!

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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.

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