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Significant Digits For Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news. A Significant Digits daily newsletter is coming soon. If you want to be one of the first to receive it, sign up here. You want to be one of the first, right?


Amount of cash carried by the median American consumer, according to a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. The study also found that 5.2 percent of consumers carried one or more $100 bills, but it failed to determine why they were always holding up the line in front of me at Starbucks. [Bloomberg Businessweek]

40 percent

Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” of Americans who owe no federal income tax are now down to 40 percent. [Washington Post]

42 percent

Joseph Morrissey, a member of the Virginia Assembly, was re-elected to the House of Delegates with 42 percent of the vote. Morrissey, who first served as a Democrat, resigned from office after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge relating to his relationship with a 17-year-old receptionist, but promised to run as an independent in the special election. We’re two weeks into 2015 and Virginia politics is already having a rough year. [Washington Post]

45 percent

The Obama administration will announce new regulations on oil and gas methane emissions, with the goal of cutting the industry’s emissions of the greenhouse gas up to 45 percent by 2025. [New York Times]

62 percent completion rate

New data available from e-book readers allows publishers to determine how many people finish the books they start as well as when they put books down. Britons were most likely to finish a romance novel, with a 62 percent completion rate. [New York Review of Books]

73 percent of the Republican caucus

The Republican Study Committee, a conservative group of House Republicans, has seen substantial growth, with members accounting for 73 percent of the caucus in the 113th Congress, up from 7 percent in the 104th. Some conservative members, however, are reportedly planning an exodus to found another conservative caucus. [National Journal]

89 fires

Ohio State University fans tore down a goalpost and set 89 fires, mostly trash fires, after their team’s 42-20 win Monday in the College Football Playoff National Championship. Police responded with tear gas when fans tried to break their way into the stadium. [Baltimore Sun]

500,000 offspring

Antonio Cromartie is at it again! A bull named Toystory who sired 500,000 offspring in more than 50 countries died last Thanksgiving. He holds the record for most units of semen sold, about 2.4 million, and at his peak he was making about nine deposits a week. [Wall Street Journal]

$2.3 million

Sale price of a penny at a Florida auction. The penny was pretty old, and rather rare, so I suppose the decision made sense at the time. Still, even if you had a penny that was scientifically proven to make the owner more lucky, $2.3 million still feels like a really big ask, you know? [Smithsonian Magazine]

16 million 3-by-5 cards

The size of the most comprehensive repository of American English, maintained at Merriam-Webster’s headquarters in Springfield, Massachusetts. The records — which are made out of archaic, fibrous data storage system known as “paper” — are said to be fireproof, like a cloud-based backup would also be. [Slate]

As always, if you see a significant digit in the wild, tweet it to me @WaltHickey.

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Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.