You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news.
Cost of a raffle ticket at the Vatican City Post Office, where you can win some of the Pope’s stuff. NBC News reported that Pope Francis is raffling off many of the gifts he has received from world leaders and the faithful. Proceeds will go toward the poor, and a $10 ticket could score you, reportedly, prizes ranging from a four-wheel drive Fiat, an espresso machine, a very nice hat or any one of dozens of other gifts people tried to give the Pope. [NBC News]
Percentage of Americans who had only cellular phones in their homes in the first half of 2014, up 3 percent over the previous six months. Looking at kids alone (under 18 years old), 52 percent had no landline. [CDC]
What Stephen Soderbergh watched in 2014. [FiveThirtyEight]
164 percent increase
The United States Coast Guard is worried that the defrosting of U.S.-Cuba relations has kicked off an unintended spike in migration from Cuba to the U.S., as Cubans worry the “wet-foot dry-foot” policy, which gives preferential treatments to Cuban immigrants who make it onto American soil, will end soon. Coast Guard interceptions of Cubans attempting to boat to the U.S. were up 164 percent in the second half of December compared to the first half of the month. [NBC News]
Number of employees of U.S. Steel that have been laid off. The move follows the idling of two plants that produce piping for oil and gas exploration. The company is coping with demand issues stemming from the recent plunge in oil prices and reduced incentives to drill new wells. [Wall Street Journal]
1,371 luxury cars
The Hoegh Osaka, a container ship that ran aground off the coast of England, may be forced to scrap its cargo, among which is $53 million worth of luxury cars. The ship is carrying one very expensive-sounding Rolls Royce Wraith, which I choose to believe is carrying on a torrid yet doomed romance with one of the Jaguars from steerage as the disaster unfolds. [Business Insider]
“I’ll never let go, Jag.”
87 million euros
Estimated cost of the California high-speed rail project that first broke ground Tuesday in Fresno, according to experts. The line would connect San Francisco and Los Angeles. The project is due to be completed by 2028, a time at which I sort of assume we’ll already have that Hyperloop thing, or at least a SpaceX flight to Kepler 438b. [Los Angeles Times]
A Significant Digits daily newsletter is coming soon. If you want to be one of the first to receive it, sign up here. And, as always, if you see a significant digit out in the wild, tweet it to me @WaltHickey.