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Significant Digits For Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019

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


More than 130,000 copyrights

Some good news to kick off your year: As of yesterday, for the first time in 20 years, a bunch of previously copyrighted works have entered the public domain. That means, for example, that you could sell tickets to an interpretive dance of Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet” or write a screenplay adapting Marcel Proust’s “The Prisoner,” without having to pay anything or ask anyone for permission. It’s tough to calculate exactly how many works are now newly in the public domain, but more than 130,000 copyright registrations were filed in the relevant year of 1923. [The New York Times]


30,000 people a day

As this column goes to press, I — and tens of thousands of others — will be traveling through Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, where a light rail “people mover” moves some 30,000 people a day between terminals and parking lots. But the people mover, officially called the Automated Transportation Service, will completely shut down next week. It’s slated to be improved and reopened in the fall of 2019. [Chicago Tribune]


4 billion miles away

NASA’s minivan-sized New Horizons spacecraft just visited the most distant object ever explored, a rocky, 20-mile-long object 4 billion miles from Earth called Ultima Thule. The mission was first conceived 30 years ago — auld lang syne, indeed. [The Washington Post]


385-mile human chain

Some 5 million Indian women formed a 385-mile human chain in a demonstration for women’s equality and in protest of right-wing groups that support a ban on women in a prominent Hindu temple. [BBC]


855,283 Irish passport applications

It was a record year for Ireland’s Passport Service, which received 855,283 passport applications in 2018. Brexit contributed to almost 190,000 of these. The number of applications from England, Scotland and Wales were up 22 percent from the year before. [The Irish Times]


$500,000 worth of tequila

On New Year’s Eve, four men in Florida (obviously) were arrested and charged with stealing more than $500,000 worth of Patron tequila from a stolen semi trailer. Specifically, according to the sheriff, we’re talking about 966 cases of tequila with a retail value of $507,105, which would, according to me, make for a pretty regrettable New Year’s party. [NBC News]


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

Oliver Roeder was a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight.

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