Skip to main content
ABC News
Significant Digits For Wednesday, March 25, 2015

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news. To receive this as an email newsletter, please subscribe.


The U.K. inflation rate in February, bolstering the case for the Bank of England to maintain low interest rates. [Bloomberg Business]

Once every 4 days

The U.S. power grid experiences a physical or digital attack about once every four days, a USA Today investigation of federal records has found. Please note that I used “digital” rather than “cyber.” That is because the word “cyber” is dumb and must be destroyed. [USA Today]

23 years

Debra Milke was convicted in the 1989 killing of her 4-year-old son and then spent 23 years on death row in Arizona. The charges against her were formally dismissed Monday. [Arizona Republic]

36 percent

Support for Boston’s bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics among residents as of last week, according to polling by the city’s NPR news station. The group organizing the bid now supports putting it to a referendum. [New York Times]

75 days

Costa Rica derived its electricity from renewable sources for 75 days straight, a trend facilitated by heavy rain and power generation from, conveniently, hydroelectric plants fueled by the rains. [IFL Science]

250 miles

Scientists in Australia have discovered what they are describing as the largest asteroid impact area ever. The area, which is 250 miles wide, was found during drilling for a geothermal research project. The asteroid is thought to have hit at least 300 million years ago. [BBC]

470 delicious, savory calories

Taco Bell is out with a new biscuit taco, combining my two favorite words in the English language. It has a maximum of 470 calories. It sounds amazing. God bless America. [Christian Science Monitor]

$20,000 per year

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s wife is taking a leave of absence from her job at Goldman Sachs to help him campaign for president, meaning that the couple is losing their $20,000 per year health insurance policy. [Bloomberg Politics]

4.6 million

Through a records request, tech blog Ars Technica obtained a data set of 4.6 million license plate scans taken by the Oakland Police Department’s automated readers between Dec. 23, 2010, and May 31, 2014. The data can be used to approximate where people live with some degree of accuracy. [Ars Technica]

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.

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

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.