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Significant Digits For Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015

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

1 per minute

The Perseids meteor shower peaks this week! At around 3 a.m. Thursday morning make your way out of your apartment, home, or local bar and look skyward. The weather looks good for most of the U.S. and the moon won’t be much of an issue either. At the peak, you’ll catch about one shooting star per minute. [Associated Press]

2 humvees

Ferguson, Missouri has been ordered by the Department of Defense to return two of the four military surplus humvees it acquired as part of a program that distributed extra military hardware to police departments around the country. [The Guardian]

6 to 10 weeks

New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith has sustained an injury to his jaw after being punched in the locker room by a teammate. He’ll be out for 6 to 10 weeks. The punch was reportedly about reimbursement for a $600 plane ticket. The Jets are back, people. [FiveThirtyEight]

26 percent

That’s Sen. Bernie Sanders’s average support among Iowa Democrats in July polls, down from 29 percent in June. Support for the more-liberal-than-Clinton candidate appears to have leveled off in the early primary states as people form an opinion about him. [FiveThirtyEight]

28 athletes

After testing old samples for evidence of doping, the International Association of Athletics Federations has punished 28 athletes who competed in the 2005 and 2007 track and field world championships. [NPR]

80 seconds

An 80-second video of an art installation that lit a 500-meter ladder on fire is making the rounds, mostly because it looks super metal and is oddly terrifying. [Time]

174 percent

Pork belly prices are up to $1.70 per pound wholesale, up 174 percent from the recent five-year low this past April. The pork market can be pretty volatile — demand is high now, but changes based on how much bacon the market wants to throw on everything, and supply can take a hit from disease in pig populations — but overall this is good news for farmers, who are otherwise seeing a 29 percent drop in pork prices overall. [Bloomberg]


That’s how much money Rick Perry’s campaign for the presidency had on hand just a month ago on July 15. It apparently hasn’t been enough to keep the lights on for portions of his campaign — the staff in South Carolina is not being paid anymore, according to CBS reports. [The Washington Post]

3.5 million

How many drivers on the road are aged 85 and older, a 47 percent rise between 2003 and 2013. There are another 10.8 million drivers aged 75 to 84, and the elderly remain a major consumer group for car companies seeing reduced demand from other age brackets flocking to urban centers. [Bloomberg]

2 billion years ago

An analysis of the energy output of an area comprising 200,000 nearby galaxies found energy output is at half the level it was 2 billion years ago. The universe needs to quit slacking off. [Universe Today]

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Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.