Skip to main content
ABC News
Significant Digits For Wednesday, March 13, 2019

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news. For even more facts, figures and discussion, check out our live FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast in New York City on March 20.

30 years old

Happy birthday to the World Wide Web, which has turned 30 years old. “It would be defeatist and unimaginative to assume that the web as we know it can’t be changed for the better in the next 30 [years],” its inventor, Tim Berners-Lee, said. Here’s hoping. [NBC News]

9 GG

(Sponsored by Mott & Bow) When shopping for a new sweater, material matters. Cotton and wool are good places to start, but even those materials can differ across brands. One often-overlooked stat is the “gauge,” or GG of the fabric. The higher the GG, the finer the sweater will be. The Liam Coverstitch Crew Sweater, which is 70 percent cotton and 30 percent wool, is made from 9 GG material and features a coverstitch that gives it a more casual look, making it the perfect year-round alternative to a typical sweatshirt.

17 percent less air pollution

Just as there is dramatic wealth inequality in the U.S., there is also dramatic pollution inequality. According to a new study in PNAS, white people experience 17 percent less air pollution than they produce through their consumption. Black and Hispanic people, however, experience about 56 and 63 percent more than they produce, respectively. [NPR]

687 deputies

North Korea held an “election” this week, sending 687 deputies to the Supreme People’s Assembly. However, only one candidate, approved by the state, appeared on each ballot. In a first, Kim Jong Un did not appear on any ballots at all. Experts said that this was not a weakening of power but rather an attempt to appear more democratic, as the president does not also sit in parliament in most “normal states.” [BBC]

50 people

Fifty people have been charged as part of the FBI’s so-called Operation Varsity Blues for their alleged roles in “a long-running bribery scheme” to guarantee privileged children’s admission to top colleges and universities. The scheme allegedly involved money bribes, cheating on entrance exams, and pretending children were athletes when they were not. The schools involved included Georgetown, Yale, Stanford, the University of Texas, the University of Southern California and UCLA. Those charged include the television actors Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. [The Washington Post]

$159,000 minimum salary

The musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra went on strike this week in a dispute over their pension plan which has lasted for nearly a year. The Chicago players are some of the best-paid in the business, making an annual salary of at least $159,000 “and often more.” As ticket sales have fallen, orchestras have been forced to try to cut costs and rely more heavily on donors. [The New York Times]

3 Orioles

The current incarnation of the Baltimore Orioles is one of the most anonymous teams in the history of Major League Baseball, my colleague Neil Paine writes. To wit, only three members of the team’s lineup have even two years of MLB service time, and they are “average players at best.” Beyond that, only three teams had lower WAR levels for their Opening Day starters than the Orioles will have this season. [FiveThirtyEight]

From ABC News:

It’s Morning, America: Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Love digits? Find even more in FiveThirtyEight’s book of math and logic puzzles, “The Riddler.”

If you see a significant digit in the wild, please send it to @ollie.

Oliver Roeder was a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied game theory and political competition.