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Significant Digits For Wednesday, May 20, 2015

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2.4 percent

This should come as a surprise to exactly no one: No one actually reads Thomas Piketty’s 696-page “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.” Based on a study of annotations in Kindle ebooks, people tend to make it only 2.4 percent of the way through that tome. (I’ve got two copies of it sitting on my bookshelf and, uh, still plan to read it.) Piketty actually edges out Hillary Clinton, though — readers get just 2.04 percent through her “Hard Choices.” [The Fix]

4 inches

How much shorter boys who smoke marijuana before puberty are, according to a new study. So much for, ahem, getting high. (Sorry, I had to do it.) [The Telegraph]

$15 an hour

Los Angeles’s minimum wage … soon. The city council there voted 14-1 to raise the wage from $9 to $15 by the year 2020. If all goes according to plan, the first bump, to $10.50 an hour, will come next summer. [Los Angeles Times]


25 years

How long the human race has been wasting time playing the solitaire game on the Windows operating system. Also, approximately how long nosy passersby have been yelling at me to put that red 7 over there. No, over there! [PC Magazine]

60 percent

The share of Americans who support same-sex marriage — an all-time high according to Gallup. The Supreme Court is set to rule on the issue in June, and it may be that their decision dovetails with the ongoing shift in public opinion. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg officiated a same-sex wedding last weekend and, reportedly, emphasized the word “Constitution.” Many are reading the tea leaves as a positive sign for same-sex marriage proponents. [Gallup]

Over 70 kilograms

The amount of heroin federal authorities seized from a Bronx house over the weekend (in what sounds like a scene from a lost episode of “The Wire”), after a yearlong investigation. That’s roughly 154 pounds, or $50 million worth, of the drug. They also found $2 million in cash under the floorboards. [The New York Times]


6,028 shows

The length of David Letterman’s late-night tenure. The run — which began in 1982 with NBC’s “Late Night” — ends tonight, as he bids farewell to “Late Show” on CBS. [Variety]


40,150 minutes

Just about four weeks, or how long Hillary Clinton had gone without answering a question from the press. The streak was broken Tuesday with “five minutes of questions from various reporters following a group meeting in Iowa.” If she manages to maintain this pace until Election Day, she’ll only answer questions about 19 more times. Make ’em count, reporters. [The Fix]

$25 million

The former bounty for information leading to Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts, and the current figure for Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden’s successor as al-Qaida leader. Some, however, think these figures should be much higher. Economist Alex Tabarrok has written that the bounty on bin Laden should’ve been $500 million. “We could have avoided several wars at that price.” [The Atlantic]

33.8 million vehicles

The number of vehicles airbag manufacturer Takata said it would declare defective. The move affects 11 automakers, and is in response to airbag inflators which can lead to lethal explosions. It’s thought to be the biggest recall of any consumer product in U.S. history, eclipsing the recall of 31 million bottles of Tylenol in the early 1980s. Six deaths and over 100 injuries have been linked to the airbags. [The Detroit News]

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Walter Hickey? Walter Hickey? Nope, guess he’s still on vacation. Well, if you see a significant digit in the wild you should tweet it to me @WaltHickey @Ollie.

Oliver Roeder is a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight.

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