You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news.
A graduate student working in the Royal Archives in England discovered a bill of sale from 1811. It showed a charge to the Prince Regent for 15 shillings for a copy of “Sense and Sensibility” — Jane Austen’s first novel. Given the bill’s date, scholars believe this to be the very first documented sale of an Austen novel. Austen herself, however, hated the prince, once criticizing in a letter his “gluttony, profligacy and infidelities.” [The New York Times]
80 feet long
Ain’t no story like a dinosaur discovery story. Twenty years ago, scientists dug up an enormous foot in Wyoming, nearly a meter wide. And they’ve now finally identified it. It apparently belonged to a brachiosaur that stretched some 80 feet long. It’s the largest sauropod dinosaur foot ever discovered and “the first confirmed pedal brachiosaur elements from the Late Jurassic of North America.” Pop the champagne! [Gizmodo]
1 million percent inflation
According to the IMF, inflation in Venezuela could exceed 1 million percent by the end of the year. In March, the Venezuelan president ordered that three zeroes be knocked off the denominations of the country’s bolivar currency. [CBS News]
33 million cord cutters
According to a media research firm, 33 million people — or 32.8 percent of television watchers — have cut the cord. That is, they’ve canceled pay TV in favor of “over the top,” or streaming, television services. That’s more than last year’s projections of 27.1 million, he typed as his shiny little black streaming device purred lovingly in the background. [Mashable]
2 billion years ago
So our galaxy, called the Milky Way, used to have a big sister galaxy, called M32p, a nice elliptical galaxy with lots of young stars. Cool, right? But, get this, another damn galaxy ate it. The Andromeda Galaxy, sort of a jerk, as it turns out, devoured big sis about 2 billion years ago. To make matters worse, Andromeda is a serial galaxy killer, thought to have done the same to hundreds of other smaller but well-meaning galaxies over the years. [Space.com]
$12 billion in emergency aid
Yesterday, the Department of Agriculture announced a $12 billion emergency aid package for farmers hurt by President Trump’s trade war with China and other countries. Trump, according to the Post, ordered the agriculture secretary to prepare a range of such options, to allay the negative effects of any trade disputes. [The Washington Post]
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