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Significant Digits For Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news.


Odds that a random spectator would score on a half-court shot after warming up a bit, according to a company that specializes in underwriting those types of promotions — the ones with the disproportionately large checks — seen at basketball games, golf outings and NCAA bracket tournaments. Rather than actually putting up the money up front, organizers pay for insurance from companies like SCA Promotions to hedge their bets against paying out. [Bloomberg]

4 of 10

Chris Ingraham at The Washington Post tracked down 10 reported incidents of a dog accidentally shooting a person since 2004, the latest of which occurred in Indiana last weekend. Not really shocking anyone, four of the 10 took place in Florida, where weird news brews in the primordial soup of synthetic marijuana and weapons. [Washington Post]

7 percent

The percentage of U.S. kids ages 17 and below who have had a parent in jail at some point in their lives. [PBS]

8 percent

As part of a U.S. budget deal reached this week in Washington, the federal government will sell more than 8 percent of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve starting in 2018. The U.S. is currently sitting on 695 million barrels of reserves. [Bloomberg]

31 percent

Apple announced a huge quarter Tuesday: The tech firm’s profits rose 31 percent compared with the same period last year, largely bolstered by sales in China. [Wall Street Journal]

99.88 percent

Jason Pierre-Paul, the star defensive end for the New York Giants who suffered an injury from fireworks this summer that resulted in the loss of his right index finger and part of his thumb, signed a deal with the franchise and may get back on the field as early as Week 10. I did some calculations, and it’s nice to have 99.88 percent of Pierre-Paul back, especially because the Giants have a mere nine sacks this year. [Bleacher Report]

184 goals

Abby Wambach, who led the United States to victory at this year’s Women’s World Cup, announced her retirement from the sport. She’s definitely the greatest of all time, going out with 184 goals in international play, more than any soccer player in history, man or woman. [FiveThirtyEight]


The amount of money raised by venture capital firms in the third quarter of 2015, according to an industry trade group and Thomson Reuters. That is down 59 percent from the second quarter and down 33 percent from the same quarter last year. Maybe the smart money is walking out of the room, maybe not, but that is a precipitous slip. [National Venture Capital Association]

$79 billion

Northrop Grumman won a contract estimated to be worth $79 billion to produce up to 100 stealth bombers for the Air Force, a massive deal even by defense industry standards and one that will basically set the course for how good America might be at bombing stuff with subtlety for the next half-century. [Daily Beast]

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Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.