By The Numbers

Has the Black Friday bubble burst?

Tony Wagner Dec 1, 2014
11 percent

That’s the drop in retail spending this Black Friday weekend over last year, the Wall Street Journal reported. That seems at odds with the improving economy and the National Retail Federation’s projected 4.1 percent rise in holiday spending. The drop could be a sign that “Black Friday” has just gotten too big; with deals advertised weeks in advance and available online, consumers might not be excited at the prospect of standing in line at 4 a.m. to get a deal.


That’s how many people comprise the Ferguson Commission, which meets for the first time on Monday. The group seeks to address systemic inequity in Missouri, like law enforcement practices, as well as education, housing and economic disparities. The diversity of the commission is also worth noting: There are 10 men, and six women; nine of the commissioners are African-American and seven are white.


That’s the age of Dr. Lowell Gess, a retired ophthalmologist in rural Minnesota who heads to Sierra Leone next month. And while he won’t be a front-line Ebola responder, he will risk exposure when treating patients with eye disease, as the virus spread through bodily fluids like tears. At his age, Gess says, helping people outweighs personal risk.


That’s how many New York Airbnb users rented out three or more listings in 2010. It’s a small portion, but they took in half of the city’s revenue on the site that year. A New York Times Magazine column examined the entrepreneurs who run businesses within the “sharing economy,” from ad-hoc (and likely illegal) Airbnb hotels to TaskRabbit subcontractors.

$800 million

That’s how much is raised in the annual sale of Girl Scout cookies. But that number may soon explode: the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. have approved a digital platform to sell cookies online. How soon before we have to worry about getting LinkedIn requests from our local troop?

20 million

The number of views the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” movie teaser racked up in its 24 hours online Friday. Compare that to the last time a “Star Wars” trilogy launched, with the trailer for “The Phantom Menace” in 1998. Fans lucky enough to have an Internet connection could download the two-minute trailer, CNET reported, and the unprecedented traffic put the still-young world worldwide web to the test.

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