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Significant Digits For Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016

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


About 60 percent

Percentage of the Department of Energy’s budget that goes to the National Nuclear Security Administration. Which makes Donald Trump’s decision to nominate former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to run Energy a bit weird. Texas is an energy-rich state, so Perry has a lot of experience with those industries. But, despite its name, the Department of Energy spends much of its time focused on designing, securing and preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons. [The New York Times]


More than 70 percent

Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson is Trump’s pick to run the State Department. He’s got an interesting resume: More than 70 percent of Exxon’s untapped oil reserves are outside of the United States, in other countries, and the diplomacy required to obtain and maintain those reserves isn’t too dissimilar from the type required at Foggy Bottom. [FiveThirtyEight]


176,000 gallons

A North Dakota oil pipeline ruptured and dumped more than 176,000 gallons of crude oil into Ash Coulee creek, which then spread the spill onto an unknown amount of U.S. Forest Service and private land. This incident happened just 150 miles away from the Standing Rock protests, which are trying to prevent the Dakota Access pipeline being built on tribal lands for fear a pipe rupture could contaminate their water supply. [The Guardian]


4.18 million books

Sales of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” so far this year. Some people in the publishing community consider the book — it’s really a script for a play by the same name — a continuation of the Harry Potter series. Some people in the newsletter-writing community consider it a cash-grab that made the main characters “platonic” in the pursuit of mass-market appeal. Still, those 4.18 million copies are nearly four times as many sales as the runner-up, Paula Hawkins’s “The Girl on the Train,” so I guess that’s that. [Quartz]


19.4 million deaths

Of the 80.4 million deaths that occurred in the U.S. from 1980 through 2014, 19.4 million were listed with “garbage code” causes, according to a new study. These codes are extremely generic and nondescript, like “unspecified stroke” or “unspecified heart disease,” which don’t add much clarity to what caused the stroke or cardiac arrest. [FiveThirtyEight]


$200 million

The Oakland City Council and Alameda County Board of Supervisors approved a term sheet that would have the City pay $200 million to help build the Oakland Raiders a new stadium. The plan also gives the Raiders a plot of land worth $150 million. This is all part of an effort to convince the Raiders not to pack up and head to Las Vegas. Let’s see what Vegas’s counteroffer looks like. [Deadspin]


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Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

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