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Significant Digits For Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016

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

7.8 percent

The FDA is cracking down on producers of parmesan cheese who load up their cheese with filler materials like cellulose. A Bloomberg analysis found that Wal-Mart’s grated parmesan registered 7.8 percent cellulose, Jewel-Osco’s had 8.8 percent and Kraft’s had 3.8 percent. This all springs from an FDA investigation into Castle Cheese Inc., which was selling “100% parmesan cheese” that was 0 percent parmesan cheese. [Bloomberg]

10.2 months

Tom Hanks, national treasure, is the actor who has had the best career since winning an Oscar, my analysis shows. Since his most recent best actor win in 1994, the guy has produced a film with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 75 or higher at a rate of one every 10.2 months. The question of who has had the worst career since winning an Oscar is slightly thornier. [FiveThirtyEight]

42 percent

Percentage of wine consumed in the U.S. last year that was consumed by millennials, according to an industry group. That’s about two cases per American ages 21 to 38. Reminder: don’t drink wine. [USA Today]

46 winners

The terrier used to be the king of the Westminster dog show. Since 1907, 46 Best in Show winners have been terriers. But 29 of those wins came in the first half of the century, and the doggies have not fared as well against new competition since. Last night, a German shorthaired pointer named CJ won Best in Show, settling for now the immortal question, “Who’s a good dog?” [FiveThirtyEight, USA Today]

70 percent

Percentage of working Saudis who are employed by the government. With oil profits crashing, such jobs are drying up, and there are a lot of highly educated young Saudis looking for work. [The New York Times]


All NHL teams must have an emergency goaltender on call in the event that one of the two goalies on the roster can’t play. The league keeps a list of willing and able-bodied goalies in each city, and when Anders Lindback got injured before the Arizona Coyotes played Montreal on Monday, the team called up Nathan Schoenfeld, a local bank manager. Schoenfeld rode the bench all night and got the best seat in the house for Coyotes’ 6-2 win. He also gets $500 and a jersey for his troubles. [Deadspin]


Kanye West has a hot new album out, “The Life of Pablo.” The only way to get this album is through Tidal, a streaming service that most people don’t seem to want to pay for. That part about “the only way to get it” is not entirely true — it’s possible to illegally download “The Life of Pablo,” as about 500,000 music fans did the first day the album was available on the Bittorrent network. [TorrentFreak]

$300 million

Valuation of Giphy, a company that allows users to create and share animated GIFs, following a $55 million funding round. The wise investor knows to invest in companies for which the mere pronunciation of the name results in an Internet knife fight. [TechCrunch]

$435 million

Cost to build the Titanic II, an exact replica of the Titanic. It’ll be ready for passengers by 2018. While that sounds like a lot, keep in mind that the film “Titanic” (1997) was made for $200 million, which in 2016 dollars is about $306 million. So roughly 1.4 “Titanic”s to make the Titanic II. Downright reasonable, really. [Quartz]

$1 billion

How much money was transferred over the mobile payment app Venmo in January, according to the company. That’s ten times the amount transferred in the same month just two years earlier. The company said that about $7.5 billion moved over the service last year. [BuzzFeed]

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Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.