Significant Digits For Friday Jan 30 2015

$50John Kerry, the United States secretary of state, owes the city of Boston a $50 fine for failing to shovel his sidewalk. Kerry was in Saudi Arabia — a nation not known for its snow-clearance legislation — as a blizzard struck New England this week. [The Boston Globe]63.9 percentThe home ownership rate is now at its lowest level since 1994, down to 63.9 percent in the final quarter of 2014. [Los Angeles Times]96 tonsAmount of dog poop generated in New York City each day. [FiveThirtyEight]98 percent of scientistsAbout 98 percent scientists say the public’s lack of knowledge about science is a problem, so why don’t you guys go learn a book or something, geez. [Re/code]3,000 storiesI thought I was safe in journalism — I’d picked a good field, one that couldn’t be automated. I was wrong. The Associated Press is already automatically generating 3,000 stories each quarter. Right now, those stories are about companies’ quarterly earnings, but who knows when the robots will move on to the dog poop beat. [The Verge]$1.3 billionNew York City cultural institutions spent $1.3 billion on new construction over the past five years on projects including the expansion of the Queens Museum and the renovation of the fountains at the Met. In 2014, construction expenditures were up 46 percent from 2013 to $208 million. [Crain’s New York] One more plea for the newsletter: Sign up for it now and be the first to learn about the numbers behind the news. And, as always, if you see a significant digit in the wild, tweet it to me @WaltHickey. You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news. To receive this newsletter in your inbox, subscribe.9 communications majors It shouldn’t come as too much of a shock that the notoriously taciturn Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch is not among the nine communications majors taking the field in Super Bowl XLIX. Playboy broke down the college majors of every player in this year’s game, and communications came out as the most popular course of study, with nine players, followed by sociology and general studies, with seven players each. [Playboy]11.8 percentAccording to the NFL, concussions decreased by 11.8 percent this season compared to last year, to 202 from 229. [The New York Times]14 percent riseThe average American office worker spends nine hours each week in meetings or thinking about meetings, up 14 percent from four years ago. [NPR]25 megabits per secondThe Federal Communications Commission raised the bar on the download speeds for “broadband” Internet to 25 megabits per second (Mbps) from 4 Mbps. Under the previous standard, 6.3 percent of households didn’t have broadband. Now 19.4 percent don’t. [Ubergizmo]

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