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Significant Digits For Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018

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

13.5 percent

Cape Town, South Africa, has fewer than 90 days left of water in its reservoirs. It’s projected that by April 22 the city will have to shut down the municipal water supply except for essential services, as reservoirs will be down to 13.5 percent capacity. [Time]


14 prototype shirts

(Sponsored by Mott & Bow) Quality shirts aren’t built in a day. From shirt length to button placement, every detail needs to be taken into consideration. It took 14 prototypes to create these shirts, which eliminate constraint via a well-placed bottom button, and can be worn tucked or untucked thanks to carefully thought-out shirt lengths.


15 percent

A study monitoring pollution in the vicinity of a 100-meter-high experimental air purifier outside the Chinese city of Xian in the Saanxi province found encouraging results during times of heavy pollution, with the most dangerous fine particles found in smog down 15 percent. [South China Morning Post]


27 percent

Percentage of Americans who said they were very confident that they were capable of telling if a news source was reporting factual news rather than opinion. That is way too low for comfort. [Knight Foundation]


47 percent

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies took a serious tumble on Tuesday, with Bitcoin’s value dropping almost 25 percent in 24 hours and down by 47 percent from its all-time high in December. There were similar double-digit drops for Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Dash, Monero and Ethereum. [Ars Technica]


3.2 million

After a year of repeated attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and undermine its implementation, the number of American adults who do not have health insurance rose by 3.2 million people in 2017. [The Week]


$108.2 billion

Amount consumers spent online during the 2017 U.S. holiday season, up 14.7 percent year-over-year and nearly a billion dollars above expectations. [Adobe CMO]


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

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

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