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Significant Digits for Wednesday, July 1, 2015

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

1.89 kills per cat per month

It’s crucial to remember that house cats are descended from a line of apex predators and that the urge to hunt never fully left them. New research in the “Ecology and Evolution” journal suggests that outdoor cat owners vastly underestimate the efficient killing machines in their care. In a study of British cats and their owners, the mean number of things a cat kills every month was 1.89. The cats’ owners, meanwhile, had no idea how many things their own cats were killing. Keep them inside, people. The birds don’t stand a chance otherwise. [Ecology and Evolution via Gizmodo]


2-0

THE UNITED STATES WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM BEAT GERMANY IN THE SEMIFINALS AND NOW THE TEAM IS GOING TO THE WOMEN’S WORLD CUP FINALS. We told you it was going to be the best game ever. [ESPN]

22 dildos

Earlier this week, the single greatest CNN segment in CNN’s history went on the air. It was a discussion of a purported ISIS flag at an LGBT pride event in London — a discussion that was later invalidated when the flag was revealed to be comprised of dildos rather than legitimate Arabic text. By my count there are 22 distinct dildos represented on the flag, all arranged to appear to look like the banner of the brutal contingent that has assumed control of portions of Syria, Iraq and other areas. Its craftsman is now speaking out about his motivation. [The Guardian]


65th show

Billy Joel will break Elton John’s record for number of shows played at Madison Square Garden Wednesday night. [Newsday]

124 people

The number of people killed by police this year who were suffering from mental illness or undergoing an emotional crisis. That’s out of 462 total by the Washington Post’s reckoning. One potential cause of this, the Post reports, is that police don’t spend enough time learning how to assist the emotionally disturbed. [The Washington Post]

25,000

The estimated number of annual deaths caused by sugary beverages, according to new research in an American Heart Association journal. Worldwide, the annual death toll is estimated to be 180,000. [The Los Angeles Times]

€802,079

A crowdfunding campaign to raise 1.6 billion euros for Greece — enough to pay the nation’s most recent missed debt payment — has raised €802,079 at press time from 47,570 people who do not quite get how much a billion euros is, or are maybe all in on a joke to show how dumb crowdfunding is. I can’t really tell. [Indiegogo]

$2 million

The estimated salary cap for the 2015-2016 NBA season was $67.1 million for each team, but the actual cap could be $2 million higher. The negotiation period for free agents begins midnight Wednesday, so figuring out how to deal with the still-nebulous cap is likely on general managers’ minds. [CBS Sports]

52.6 million

The United States has eclipsed Spain to be the nation with the second-highest number of Spanish speakers, behind only Mexico. An estimated 52.6 million Americans speak Spanish. [New York Daily News]

$500 million

I got into this business for a couple of reasons, but none of them were because I wanted to write a daily newsletter that regularly talked about Donald Trump. And yet, here we stand. The presidential candidate and former television personality is suing Univision in a $500 million defamation, breach of contract and free speech lawsuit. [The Hollywood Reporter]

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

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

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