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Significant Digits For Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news. To receive this newsletter in your inbox, subscribe.

0.5 percent per year

Credit-rating agency Standard & Poor’s has downgraded Russia’s sovereign debt to junk levels, forecasting growth of merely 0.5 percent per year over the next three years. [The New York Times]

89 percent

Percentage of people who sent pro-marijuana messages on Twitter who are under the age of 25, according to a Washington University in St. Louis study of 7.6 million tweets. People 25 and older presumably have learned to keep that ish on the down low. [Pacific Standard Magazine]

96.4 percent

Percentage of amputations related to snowblower injuries — caused by sticking a portion of your body (mostly the fingers) into a snowblower while it’s still running — where the victim was male. [The Washington Post]


Value of a statue of a bare-chested Celtic god of the sea, described as a “6-foot-tall striking local male with an athletic build,” missing from a Northern Irish town. Guys, I’m right here. [The New York Times]


Estimate of how much American Airlines could save in yearly fuel costs by flying without Sky Mall catalogs weighing down its planes, assuming there are 37.5 pounds of Sky Malls on every American 737 hopping around the skies. It takes fuel, however little, to lug every pound to 35,000 feet on each flight, and that can add up in the aggregate. [Wired]

$9.2 million

Denmark plans to spend 60.9 million kroner, or roughly $9.2 million, over the next three years on programs aimed at de-radicalizing Islamic extremists. Most of the money will go to efforts to prevent young people from joining radical groups. [Associated Press]

40 million

Since 1996, the number of tourists visiting Times Square every year has doubled to 40 million. As a result, companies attempting to accomplish actual things — such as the publisher Condé Nast and the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom — are fleeing the seething hellhole of a neighborhood. [The New York Times]

$921 million

In the era of “freemium” apps, extra content is where the real money is. Games developer Electronic Arts saw a whopping 24 percent year-over-year growth in revenue derived from this extra content for its games, such as add-on levels or other downloadable content. The developer took in $921 million in revenue from extras, compared to $420 million from full-game digital downloads. [Polygon]

11.2 billion years old

Scientists believe they have found a 11.2 billion-year-old star with five Earth-sized planets orbiting it. Our own sun is only about 4.5 billion years old. [Iowa State University]

$18 billion

Apple announced $18 billion in profit in the last quarter, the most profit of any company in history over a single quarter. [BBC, h/t @Bazaarbrett]

One more plea for the newsletter: Sign up for it now and be the first to learn about the numbers behind the news. And, as always, if you see a significant digit in the wild, tweet it to me @WaltHickey.

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.