Digits: A strange boat, space debris, a loathed painting, and more

Giant pumpkins and more newsy numbers.

~897 pounds: The weight of Tormund, a giant pumpkin. The impressive gourd won its grower, Mark Peacock, a blue ribbon at the Royal Easter Show in Sydney, Australia, last month. It’s back in the news because Peacock’s friend, Adam Farquharson, carved it into a canoe and paddled it a mile down the Tumut River while donning a sailor hat and pipe a la Popeye. These are the hijinks we crave in these trying times.

A painting of Winston Churchill, a pumpkin floating on water, a man wearing a VR headset, and a satellite against a pink background.

33%: Share of US teens who have access to a VR device, per a Piper Sandler survey. And yet, 56% of those teens say they rarely use it. Teens continue to enjoy video games, with respondents planning to spend $225 on them over the first half of 2024 — so maybe they just prefer entertainment that doesn't require strapping a machine to their heads.

36,500: Estimated debris objects larger than 10 cm floating in Earth’s orbit, per the European Space Agency. This is crap we humans put there, including paint flecks, bolts, and old satellites. Recently, a 1.6-pound cylinder that was once part of a battery mount crashed through a Florida family’s roof, lodging in the floorboards. NASA had expected it to burn up when it entered the Earth’s atmosphere, but, uh, oops. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

$621.4k-$994.3k: How much Sotheby’s expects a study of Winston Churchill to fetch at auction. Artist Graham Sutherland was commissioned to paint the famous leader on his 80th birthday in 1954. Churchill hated the resulting artwork, and it was later burned in a bonfire by the brother of his private secretary. But Sutherland had also painted an oil study of Churchill in preparation. He gave it to art dealer Alfred Hecht, who kept it until he died, and it’s that work that will be auctioned this June.

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