Skip to main content
ABC News
Significant Digits For Wednesday, July 8, 2015

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

1 month

Bangkok, Thailand, is in the middle of a water crisis, with the city’s tap water supply in danger of running out within a month if there isn’t any rain. [Thomson Reuters Foundation]

15 cases

There’s an outbreak of rabbit fever (tularemia) among Coloradans, the result of a particularly good year for the wild rabbit’s elusive prey, vegetation. With more vegetation, rabbits are making even more rabbits, increasing the risk to humans of contracting the relatively rare disease. [Associated Press]

56 percent

That’s the proportion of traffic to larger websites that originates from bots like Google’s Web crawlers and programs designed to look like humans, according to a study published this year by a Web security company. The whole Internet traffic game — determining who gets seen and how much — is a shockingly murky enterprise, with lots of different ways for thumbs to get on the scales. [FiveThirtyEight]

60 trainees

In May, the U.S. government launched a program to train up to 5,400 Syrian opposition fighters per year to combat the Islamic State militant group. In testimony before Congress on Tuesday, the secretary of defense acknowledged that the U.S. was so far training only about 60, which is a little larger than an NFL team roster but nowhere near big enough to field an orchestra. Quiver in fear before our mighty force, ISIS! There are about as many fighters in “Super Smash Bros. 4.” [The Daily Star]


The MSRP for a forthcoming edition of Risk stylized as the continents from “Game of Thrones.” Unfortunately, there are no Greyjoy sigil armies available, so I will just drink Kraken on the sidelines and casually flip over pieces when nobody is looking. [The Wall Street Journal]

$100 to $1,000 per day

Those are the fines that businesses on the Hawaiian island of Oahu face if they don’t comply with a ban on plastic bags that now covers the whole state. [Mashable]


Harry Shearer reportedly will sign on for additional seasons of “The Simpsons” to the tune of $300,000 per episode. [The Guardian]

1 in 292,201,338

The probability of a given ticket winning the Powerball lottery jackpot will drop in October to 1 in 292,201,338 from its current probability of 1 in 175,223,510. [The Buffalo News]

$1 billion per minute of trading

The Chinese stock market is tanking at an impressive rate, losing almost $1 billion for each minute of trading on mainland exchanges over a three-week period. Official sources are blaming foreign investors and short sellers. But the data? Yeah, that explanation doesn’t make sense considering actual volume. [Bloomberg]

$3.28 billion

That’s the 2014 global sales figure for Oreos, which dominate the cookie market. This week, there’s a new addition to the Oreo product line — Thins, which have fewer calories than the originals. [The Washington Post]

If you haven’t already, you really need to sign up for the Significant Digits newsletter — be the first to learn about the numbers behind the news.

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

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.