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Significant Digits For Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016

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

12 human feet

Over the last nine years, human feet in running shoes have been washing up on the shores of British Columbia, including a pair earlier this month. Conspiracy theories abound, but the coroner has said that the deaths are either suicides or accidental deaths due to storms off the coast. The coroner’s work suggests the feet — and their shoes — are being preserved during decomposition because of advanced sneaker technology, including the increased use of air pockets and light foam. [The Guardian]

29 people

While the majority of us go around at least mildly interested in the world around us, asking it questions and listening to its answers, apparently unaware of the inevitability of death and the uselessness of it all, an enlightened few actively try to eschew knowledge. The goal of the annual Last Man challenge is to be the last person alive who does not know what team won the Super Bowl, and 29 competitors (and counting down) are still blissfully ignorant this year. Sounds like fun. If I forgot who won a very forgettable game, can I be grandfathered in? [FiveThirtyEight]

55 countries

Mars, the candy company, has recalled chocolate bars in 55 countries. It started after a customer in Germany found a piece of plastic in a Snickers bar early this year, which was traced back to a Dutch factory. Also affected are the eponymous Mars bar, and the Milky Way. The recall could cost the company tens of millions of dollars. “#mars ist das neue #vw?,” one Twitter user wondered. [The Guardian]

60 to 90 seconds

The average Netflix subscriber spends just 60 to 90 seconds browsing the site’s movies and TV shows for something to watch before giving up. Jeez, it’s almost like Netflix and chill doesn’t even mean what it sounds like it means. [Quartz]

91 detainees

There are 91 prisoners currently imprisoned at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. military prison. President Obama yesterday touted a White House plan to close the prison, likening it to “closing a chapter in our history” and correcting policy excesses following the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Obama has “resettled” 147 Guantanamo prisoners abroad since taking office. The prison comes with a $450 million a year price tag. [Washington Post]

337 round trips to Pluto

Americans drove 3.15 trillion miles last year, surpassing pre-Great Recession highs. The reason: cheap gas. A byproduct of all this driving is death. Traffic-related deaths were up 11.3 percent over the first nine months of 2015, compared to those months the year before. [Washington Post]

$40,000 custom toilet

A Thai princess, Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, commissioned a $40,000 toilet for her recent visit to Cambodia. The princess never even used the toilet, but rather “just looked at it from outside and took some pictures.” Fewer than 40 percent of rural Cambodians have toilets, but hey, if you don’t gotta go you don’t gotta go. [BBC]


I could hawk this year’s Oscars gift bag and laugh all the way to the bank, at which point I would do a lot of paperwork and pay off my student loans. The bag includes a Vampire breast lift ($1,900, also wtf?), personalized M&Ms ($300, they really need a better M&M guy), and Joseph’s Toiletries toilet paper ($275, again wtf?). The Academy, however, stopped giving out gift bags in 2006 under scrutiny from the IRS. This bag is being distributed by a marketing firm, against which the Academy has filed suit. [Harper’s Bazaar]

$-1 million

John Kasich, governor of Ohio and Republican presidential candidate, signed a bill Sunday that will prevent more than $1 million from going to Planned Parenthood for programs like HIV testing, health screenings and the prevention of violence against women. [CNN]

$72 million

Johnson & Johnson must pay $72 million to the family of a woman who died of ovarian cancer. The cancer was linked to the company’s products, including its “flagship baby powder.” The woman had used them for feminine hygiene for over 35 years. Women nationwide have also filed suits against the company for failing to alert them to the link to ovarian cancer. [Fast Company]

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Oliver Roeder was a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied game theory and political competition.