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Significant Digits For Wednesday, May 13, 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.

1.7 percent fall

Verizon is going to buy AOL for $4.4 billion, but you probably knew that already. Not saying you should read into this all too much — daily stock moves are rarely significant digits — but Verizon stock did fall 1.7 percent yesterday on the news. AOL stock, on the other hand, jumped 18 percent in morning trading. [The Wall Street Journal]


2 times the national average

Research from Hershey’s found that Utahans consume candy at a rate almost twice the national average. How come? Three in five Utah residents are Mormons, a group for whom sweets is one allowed indulgence. Plus, the state skews young. [Bloomberg]

2.5 percent

That’s how much alcohol consumption is down overall in wealthy countries in the last 20 years, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. But the OECD says there’s a newer “major public health and social concern” of binge drinking among young people. [Associated Press]


5 moons

NASA’s New Horizon probe is close enough to Pluto to snap images that capture each of the planet’s five known moons. Sure, Charon is the main object in Pluto’s life — and vice versa — but the four smaller moons Styx, Nix, Kerberos and Hydra (I just checked, only “Nix” has not been taken by a band with sweet taste in names) are now somewhat in clear view. [NASA]


27 percent

A Department of Transportation report saw a 27 percent increase in complaints submitted by air travelers in March over February. One possible reason? It was the first time Spirit Airlines was included in the report. [WLRN]

40 percent

Being a superhero is dangerous work: 40 percent of characters who were Avengers in the comic books died at least once. Don’t worry, most of them came back a-OK, because comic books are weird. [FiveThirtyEight]

46 percent

The percentage of New York City residents who think Bill de Blasio is distracted from his duties as mayor by his work in national affairs. De Blasio announced a progressive “contract with America” in D.C. on Tuesday, but I smelled urine on a subway platform during my morning commute, so please get with the program, Mayor, you have stuff to do. [Quinnipiac]

99 cents

Wal-Mart’s generic-brand bottled water could come from anywhere really — it’s tap water — but of course it comes from dry-as-hell California. The city of Sacramento charges 99 cents for every 748 gallons consumed by bottler DS Services of America, which supplies Great Value bottled water to the retailer, where it’s sold for 88 cents per gallon. So, you know, slight mark-up. [CBS Sacramento]

$7.85 million

A University of Virginia dean filed a defamation suit against Rolling Stone magazine over a discredited story by Sabrina Rubin Erdely that claimed a horrific sexual assault occurred on the dean’s watch. [The Guardian]


37 million metric tons

Even though large portions of the nation’s population are lactose intolerant, China has become the world’s third-largest producer of cow’s milk, after the U.S. and India. [Quartz]

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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.

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