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Significant Digits For Wednesday, March 18, 2015

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15 percent drop

Weight Watcher’s shares dropped more than 30 percent after the company’s earnings came out Tuesday. According to the weight-loss company, membership decreased by 15 percent in the final quarter of last year. Analysts think Weight Watchers may be bleeding members to free alternatives to its subscription service. [Business Insider]


24 to 36 hours

The sun is exploding. That isn’t exactly news — that’s what the sun is doing all the time — but it’s been exploding provocatively since 10 a.m. Tuesday, producing a severe geomagnetic storm. This can affect electronics and GPS equipment, so consider trusting Apple Maps less than usual until this all ends (it’s expected to end sometime Wednesday). [Mashable]

34 percent

Of Americans familiar with recently revealed domestic government surveillance programs, 34 percent have taken one or more steps to hide their information from the feds. [Pew Research Center]


165 mph winds

We’re finally getting data about the monster cyclone that hit the small island nation of Vanuatu in the South Pacific. At peak strength, the cyclone had winds of 165 miles per hour, equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane. Port Vila, the nation’s capital, was devastated by the storm. [Weather Channel]


340 percent rate of return

Karen Rubin analyzed the performance of Fortune 1000 companies from 2002 to 2014. Rubin found that when a female CEO was at the helm companies generated a 340 percent return for investors, compared to a 112 percent return for the S&P 500 benchmark. [Quartz]

550 tons of donated weapons

The nation of Bosnia-Herzegovina is donating 550 tons worth of ammunition and arms left over as surplus from the Bosnian war to Iraq to aid the country’s fight against Islamic State. [UPI]

32,000 awesome people whose day was ruined by a Nordic furniture store

Ikea said they will not allow people to play hide-and-seek in their stores in the Netherlands. Ikea’s decision came after a Facebook event for a game where 32,000 people signed up. This is a bummer, because the ASKVOLL bed frame really makes a perfect hiding spot (in addition to a nice bedroom accent). [NPR]

170,000 miles

Rep. Aaron Schock, Republican of Illinois, announced his intention to resign Tuesday after POLITICO reported that the congressman had billed the government for mileage he did not drive, potentially reaping tens of thousands of dollars in the process. The representative billed taxpayers for 170,000 miles on his car, which only had about 80,000 miles on the odometer when it was sold last summer. [POLITICO]

$8 million

The Secret Service wants $8 million to build a replica of the White House for training purposes. The Secret Service, an organization tasked with protecting the president, fighting counterfeiting and — presumably — not soliciting prostitutes abroad, has not had a great run of it lately. [New York Times]

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And, as always, if you see a significant digit in the wild, tweet it to me @WaltHickey.

CORRECTION (March 18, 10:43 a.m.): A previous version of this article incorrectly said Schock is a representative from Indiana. He is from Illinois.

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

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