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Significant Digits For Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017

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

32 events

Of the 102 events at the forthcoming Pyeongchang Olympic games, Russia’s athletes had finished in the top five of the world championships in 32 events. The International Olympic Committee banned Russia from the games as a punishment for a staggeringly complex and pervasive Olympic doping system. [The New York Times, The New York Times]


90 Republicans

That’s the number of House Republicans who voted in September against a spending bill that kept the government open. Back then, 133 House Republicans joined with enough Democrats to pass the funding bill. Well, current U.S. government funding ends on Friday, leaving a chance of a shutdown, though an unlikely one. [FiveThirtyEight]


440 pounds

That’s the high end weight of a Nomura’s jellyfish, a cnidarian that is cnothing to mess with. China’s scientists have invented a net that funnels into a blade for tug boats to drag ahead of aircraft carriers to prevent swarms of jellyfish from mucking up naval propulsion systems. Before you think that’s funny — alright it’s hilarious but bear with me — it’s actually a huge problem, as jellyfish have closed down coastal power plants, the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and capsized fishing boats. Yes, the idea of a netted blender to combat this medusoid menace is way overkill, but hey, if not the global projection of unnecessary engineering and logistical prowess, what precisely are aircraft carriers for anyway? [Popular Mechanics]


1.27 million tickets

Number of concert tickets sold in the first nine months of 2017 for Depeche Mode, an 80’s synth pop group that is currently outselling Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran on the road right now. [Bloomberg]


6 million

Number of subscribers to theSkimm, a popular morning newsletter with a devoted audience largely comprised of young women. That coveted demo and regularity means that a June 2016 valuation had theSkimm valued at $55 million, and the firm is reportedly entertaining new acquisition offers. [The Wall Street Journal]


$814 million

Tether is a currency that started trading in 2015 that sought to link dollars to bitcoin so as to make the use of the cryptocurrency easier for businesses otherwise sketched out by the use of a volatile digital investment vehicle as currency rather than the readily available legal tender they’ve grown fond of. Tether’s grounded on the idea that every tether is backed by $1 held in reserve, meaning that you can trust the currency because there’s $814 million in an account somewhere. But here’s the thing: Lots of people doubt that there is eight hundred million dollars parked to back this thing up. [Bloomberg]


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If you see a significant digit in the wild, send it to @WaltHickey.

Walt Hickey is FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

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