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Significant Digits For Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015

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

6 seconds

Big Ben was running six seconds behind for the past two weeks, shaming the entire United Kingdom. [BBC]


9 percent

Share of New Yorker comics in the publication’s first 81 years that were about children or child-rearing, according to a new study. The study also found that the comics have become increasingly critical of children and the act of raising them. [Motherboard]

19th cousins

Fact: There is a conspiracy theory that Donald Trump is running for president to help Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. Fact: A new genealogical analysis has found that Clinton and Trump are 19th cousins, with shared 18th great grandparents, John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, and Katherine Swynford, Duchess of Lancaster. Does this mean there is a conspiracy and that it’s been in the works for over 600 years? I’m just asking questions here. [The Hill]


36 airstrikes

On Monday, the U.S. and allies launched 36 airstrikes against the Islamic State. Five were in Syria, and 31 in Iraq. [Reuters]


£120 (about $200)

Cost of a bottle of cognac imbibed by a woman at Beijing Capital International Airport after she was told she could not bring the pricy booze on the plane. The bottle of Rémy Martin XO Excellence exceeded the flight limit, and eventually her BAC did as well; downing cognac is not a great way to talk your way on to a plane. Still, this person is my hero. [Yahoo]


249 copycats

Presumably seeking to piggyback off the meteoric rise of joke presidential candidate “Deez Nuts,” 249 enterprising copycat candidates have filed with the Federal Election Commission. They include Queen Elsa, Fidel Castro, Captain Crunch and Ronald Reagan’s Ghost. [Center for Public Integrity]


$900

Cost of a flamethrower, now commercially available. People are buying these up, fearing new regulations will be passed, and the flamethrower won’t be available for long. [Ars Technica]


10,000 warrants

Judge Donald McCullin has ordered the withdrawal of roughly 10,000 arrest warrants issued before Dec. 31, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri. The motivation for the change was to reduce the incarceration of people unable to pay the lofty fees the city charges for frequent tickets. [The New York Times]


12,000 troops

The military’s ban on transgender service-members will end next May. The policy change will affect an estimated 12,000 members of the armed forces. [USA Today]


$1.5 million

A 12-year-old boy visiting a museum in Taiwan last weekend tripped and accidentally punched a hole in a Paolo Porpora painting worth $1.5 million. But it’s not a total loss: There’s a video of the incident, and it’s great. [Artnet]


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Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

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