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Significant Digits For Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017

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


Number of Week 1 NFL games decided by 7 points or fewer, the worst for any season-opener since 1973. It was a week seriously short on riveting games, but let’s be real: All you people who took a fantasy football flyer on Kareem Hunt because I mentioned him this past week must be pretty cool with your subscription to Significant Digits right now. [FiveThirtyEight]

12 hours

Hillary Clinton’s new book, “What Happened,” is out, and it’s entering the wildly varied political memoir market. Based on how long the average person actually listened to the audiobook, George W. Bush’s 20.2 hour-long “Decision Points” is the most stuck-with tome in the genre at 12.0 hours, beating Clinton’s own “Hard Choices,” which the average listener tuned into for 8.4 hours out of 27 hours in the book. [FiveThirtyEight]


Vitamin World filed for Chapter 11 relief on Monday, making it the 25th retail chain with over $10 million in liabilities to do so in 2017. [Reorg First Day]

38 percent

A survey of a panel of economists by the Chicago Booth Initiative on Global Markets found 38 percent agreed or strongly agreed that the rising use of A.I. and robots will lead to more long-term unemployment, compared with 21 percent who disagree and 29 percent who were uncertain. Those same economists agreed — 52 percent, and another 26 percent strongly agreeing on top of that — that the use of robots and A.I. will bring about economic benefits large enough to compensate those unemployed workers. [IGM Chicago]

130 tons

Estimated weight of a fatberg — if you’re new to sewers, I’ll explain in a moment — stretching for 250 meters underneath London. Here’s the reality: When you pour things down the drain, they go through a convoluted series of pipes underground. Sometimes people pour down liquid fat that they cooked with, not understanding that oil will solidify long before reaching its final destination. Other people flush wet napkins down the toilet that do not disintegrate but instead form a horrifying solid paste with the aforementioned fats. Over the years, these aggregate into fatbergs — an amalgamation of fat with similar blocking effects of an iceberg — and take like three weeks to remove, as is anticipated in this case. [The Guardian]


Once again, Olive Garden is selling pasta passes, which will allow cardholders to eat unlimited pasta, soup, salad and breadsticks at locations from Sept. 25 through Nov. 19 at no additional charge. The passes cost $100 this year in a first come, first served sale this Thursday at 2 p.m. Last year, Olive Garden sold 21,000 passes in one second. I picked the wrong month to quit eating carbs. [Business Insider]

CORRECTION (Sept. 13, 6:30 p.m.): A previous version of this article incorrectly said Olive Garden sold 22,000 pasta passes last year. It sold 21,000.

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Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.