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Significant Digits For Wednesday, July 15, 2015

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

4 percent

Ethicists aren’t superb at practicing what they preach. In one study, ethicists suggested that a typical professor should give 7 percent of their income to charity. When the ethicists were asked how much they had in fact donated to charity, they had only donated around 4 percent of their own income. [Aeon]

8 excerpts

“Go Set a Watchman,” the new book from the legal representative of Harper Lee, hit shelves Tuesday. It’s not a sequel, but more like an early draft of “To Kill A Mockingbird.” Quartz compared the text of each novel and found at least eight sections where the language was nearly identical. [Quartz]

18 points

Yesterday FiveThirtyEight launched an interactive database that looks at how endorsements affect the presidential primaries. If an endorsement from a member of the House is worth 1 point, a Senator is worth 5, and a Governor is worth 10, Jeb Bush is leading the Republican pack with a mere 18 points. Hillary Clinton has 263. [FiveThirtyEight]

23 days

July 14 was the 23rd day of summer. It was also the day that a massive pile of snow, ice, and Boston street detritus finally melted after being pushed to 5 stories tall in February. [New York Magazine]

38 percent

A lot of the global economic growth has been happening in China — you know, that place that had the cratering stock market last week. 38 percent of global GDP growth last year was China’s. We’ll have to wait a while for this year’s reading. [Bloomberg]

42 percent

How you perceive the amount of sleep you get isn’t always the same as how much actual sleep you get. In one study, 42 percent of insomniacs underestimated their amount of slumber, even though they actually got a normal amount of sleep the night before. [The Wall Street Journal]

60 percent

On both Facebook and Twitter, about 60 percent of users don’t consider the service an important way to get news. To the other 40 percent of you, @FiveThirtyEight awaits. [Pew Research Center]

82 percent

How people feel about the Iran deal has a lot to do with how they feel about President Obama. Looking at 18 different American subgroups’ opinion of the Iran deal, their approval rating of the President accounted for about 82 percent of the variation. [FiveThirtyEight]


That’s the number of federally incarcerated drug offenders. Following the President’s commutations of 46 of their sentences, Zach Hindin at the Atlantic suggests he consider a blanket pardon of all federal pot offenses. [The Atlantic]

500,000 barrels a day

Should the West’s deal with Iran go through, Iran can immediately crank up exports of oil by 500,000 barrels a day according to the nation’s oil minister. [Bloomberg]

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

CORRECTION (July 15, 9:25 a.m.): An earlier version of this post stated Jeb Bush leads the GOP field in endorsement points by 18 points. He leads it with 18 points.

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.