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Significant Digits For Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015

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


Chaos at the Little League Softball World Series: A team from Washington was accused of throwing a game, which it lost 8-0, to prevent an Iowa team from advancing in the tournament. But officials stepped in and called for the two teams to meet in a special tiebreaker game, which the Iowa team won 3-2. The Iowans were later eliminated from the tournament by a team from Rhode Island. [WhoTV, Des Moines Register]

9.7 gigabytes

And the shoe has finally dropped: Hackers who stole data from, a dating service for people looking to have an affair, have posted it on the Internet, all 9.7 gigs’ worth of email addresses, credit card data and personal information. Before you get giddy — yeah, it does have the makings of some sort of modern fable in which wannabe cheaters get their comeuppance — just a standard reminder that if you download it and look through it for people you might know, there’s no turning back from that. And somewhere out there, there’s a database of stuff you do that you would prefer not get out there. Mine was on Spotify, her name was Idina Menzel, and I already confronted that demon. Just advising — tread carefully here. [Wired]


The percentage of Americans who have not taken a vacation in the past 12 months, according to new research. That represents an increase of about 10 million people from the previous year. [Los Angeles Times]

64 retractions

Springer, an academic publisher, has issued retractions for 64 papers after the discovery that some peer reviews may have been faked. [The Washington Post]

95 percent

A report compiled for Public Health England found that electronic cigarettes — which release nicotine-infused vapor rather than combusted tobacco — are 95 percent less harmful than typical cigarettes. While that doesn’t mean they’re safe, the experts said they hoped that in the future, doctors would be able to prescribe electronic cigarettes to patients trying to stop smoking typical cigarettes. [BBC]

Mile 419.9

The holy grail for a stoner apartment is a stolen mile marker 420, a number that has significance in cannabis culture. This means that these signs are stolen all the time. Idaho has now joined Colorado and Washington in removing mile marker 420 on highways and replacing it with mile marker 419.9. [Fox News]

1,200 bottles

Burglars opened 1,200 bottles of Koenig Pilsener beer in a store in Germany, apparently in an attempt to win a promotional prize involving bottle caps. You know, like in that episode of “Futurama” in which Fry goes to the Slurm factory, only real and in Germany and far dumber. [NBC News]

$1 billion

Valuation for the company behind messaging app Kik after a $50 million investment from Chinese tech powerhouse Tencent Holdings. Kik competes with larger rivals like Snapchat and Facebook’s WhatsApp, but for some reason, people like to talk to each other through the Internet, so the space appears promising. [Bloomberg]

$11.4 billion

The amount of money that a new report says will be spent on political ads during the 2016 election, roughly $1 billion of which will be digital advertisements. Iowans, now is a great time to download Adblock Pro — but be sure to disable it on, your No. 1 source for news and analysis about the 2016 election. Please. I owe so much money to student loan lenders. [Wired]

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Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.