Skip to main content
Significant Digits For Wednesday, April 29, 2015

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news. To receive this as an email newsletter, please subscribe.

7 of 659

Last year only seven — seven! — people on Stanford University’s 659 member wait list were eventually admitted to the prestigious school. [Bloomberg]

10.7 percent

An analysis of the viewing habits of 2,500 Netflix users gives us one of the first looks inside viewership of the streaming service’s original programming. According to Luth Research, 10.7 percent of observed subscribers watched one or more episodes of “Daredevil” in the show’s first 11 days. [Quartz]

40 bags per year

New restrictions approved by the European Parliament will drastically cut back on the consumption of plastic bags in member nations. The regulations require that either no new lightweight plastic bags — the flimsy kind you get at a grocery store, say — are distributed free of charge by 2018, or that nations limit consumption to 90 bags per citizen by the end of 2019 and 40 bags per citizen by the end of 2025. [BBC]

70 percent accuracy

That’s how accurate an algorithm is at predicting Supreme Court rulings using only the words spoken in oral argument. Impressive, except if you just picked the petitioner to win every time you’d get it right 68 percent of the time. [FiveThirtyEight]

120 resident offenders

When someone is a registered sex offender, there are lots of restrictions on where they can live. One side-effect of this is that new communities of offenders in particularly remote areas — such as one in Pahokee, Florida with 120 offenders in 61 bungalows — can crop up. [GQ]

150 pages

On Wednesday the Supreme Court will hear a case about Oklahoma’s ability to execute inmates using midazolam for lethal injection. One of Oklahoma’s expert witnesses did not exactly inspire confidence when he included 150 printed pages from as part of his testimony. [Digg]

6,000 vessels

Lake Michigan is — for now — crystal clear, meaning that eagle-eyed observers can see shipwrecks accumulated over centuries of sail. About 6,000 vessels are estimated to be on the bottom of the Great Lakes, with about a quarter of those in Michigan waters. [Smithsonian Magazine]

7,990 square kilometers

China has eclipsed France as the nation with the second highest amount of space devoted to vineyards, behind only Spain. Sure, China’s bigger, but it’s a sign that the country is increasingly going oenophile. China’s 7,990 square kilometers account for 10.6 percent of the world’s vineyard space. [Quartz]

2 million

The number of Americans who become sick annually due to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to the CDC. Tyson Foods announced plans to stop using human antibiotics in chicken production by 2017. [The New York Times]

$109 million

The National Football League is dropping its inane non-profit tax exempt status. The cost to the NFL in foregone tax breaks is estimated to be roughly $109 million over the next 10 years. [Bloomberg]

If you haven’t already, you really need to sign up for the Significant Digits newsletter — be the first to learn about the numbers behind the news.

And, as always, if you see a significant digit in the wild, tweet it to me @WaltHickey.

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.