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Significant Digits For Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016

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

12.2 medals

What’s the home-field advantage for a Summer Olympic Games host? Pretty significant, it turns out. Compared with the team’s performance in the Summer Games four years before, on average the overall medal count was 20.1 higher, with 10.9 more golds, for the nation hosting the games. But when you exclude the years where the games were affected by Soviet Union or U.S. boycotts — man, the ’80s were weird, what were you people thinking? — the average jump shrinks to 12.2 medals for the home team with 6.8 additional golds. [FiveThirtyEight]

16 years

The longest hunger strike ever has come to a close, with India’s Irom Sharmila eating for the first time since 2000. She started the strike to protest laws giving powers to the military after 10 people were killed by Indian soldiers in the state of Manipur. Sharmila now says she wants to run for office. [CNN]


Prince Fielder of the Texas Rangers, after a neck injury, might be at the end of his career. If he is, he’ll finish with 319 career home runs, the same number hit by his father, Cecil. [Jared Diamond, SB Nation]


Number of registered lobbyists in the U.S. in the second quarter of 2016, down from a high of almost 15,000 in 2007. Spending on lobbying is down across the board, to $779 million in the second quarter of 2016 compared with $821 million in the same quarter last year. [The Center for Responsive Politics]

100,000 shares, an e-commerce site, sold to Wal-Mart Stores for $3.3 billion. One guy who had nothing to do with the founding or business of the site will likely get a massive windfall from that sale: Eric Martin won a competition to recruit people to sign up for and got 100,000 shares as a prize. He could make tens of millions of dollars from the sale. [Bloomberg]

2 million

Estimated number of cocaine users in the United States. A vaccine is being tested that could treat coke addiction. As a New Yorker who works in media, I think this is fantastic news — I’ve been worried about missing out on the great conversations some of my friends seem to be having in the bathroom while I’m not paying attention. [CBS New York]

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Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.