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Significant Digits For Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018

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

25 years ago

Wanna feel old? Myst — the computer puzzle game we all obsessed over with our best friend Sam while fueled by Surge and Doritos in a dingy basement in front of some 60 MHz beige monstrosity — was released 25 years ago. Shoutout if a glimpse of this image causes either salivation or perspiration or both. [Fast Company]

$2.3 billion fast-food chain

In a deal almost identical in size but quite different in content from yesterday’s news that Michael Kors was buying Versace for $2.1 billion, Arby’s parent company will buy the burger chain Sonic for $2.3 billion. The company, Inspire Brands, can soon add Ched ‘R’ Peppers® and the Bacon Cheeseburger Toaster® to its portfolio, which also includes the gastrointestinally challenging offerings of Buffalo Wild Wings and something called Rusty Taco. Now, when Michael Kors acquires Inspire Brands, then we’ll really have a good story. [USA Today]

37.6 minutes per game

Jimmy Butler, the former Chicago Bulls and current Minnesota Timberwolves star, wants to be traded. But he won’t fit everywhere — the size of his contract, the role he’d demand to play, and how he might age all make Butler a risk, my colleague Chris Herring wrote. Over the past five seasons, for example, he played an average of 37.6 minutes per game, the highest in the NBA. [FiveThirtyEight]

3 to 10 years

Bill Cosby, the disgraced former television star, was sentenced yesterday to three to 10 years in state prison for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman named Andrea Constand. He’s the first celebrity of his caliber to be convicted of sexual assault in the era of the #MeToo movement. [Associated Press]


A speedrunner known as Kosmic broke the world record time for beating Super Mario Bros. — twice in one night. The record for the game, first released in 1985, now stands at 4:55.913. Speedrunning Super Mario Bros. is a complex and noble pursuit, requiring the programming chops worthy of hackers, the collaboration of hard-scientific academia, the patience of monkhood, and the coordination of neurosurgery. I’m completely serious. [Mashable]

700 grizzly bears

A federal judge restored Endangered Species Act protections to grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park, blocking what would have been the first hunts of the bears in 40 years. An estimated 700 grizzlies live in and around the park, up from roughly 125 when they were first protected in 1975. [The New York Times]

Love digits? Find even more in FiveThirtyEight’s new book of math and logic puzzles, “The Riddler.” It’s out on Oct. 9 and available for pre-order now — I hope you dig it.

If you see a significant digit in the wild, please send it to @ollie.

Oliver Roeder was a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied game theory and political competition.