You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news.
You may have heard about a large black sarcophagus uncovered by archaeologists in Egypt a few weeks ago. It hadn’t been touched for two millennia. Well, those brave souls decided to open it up. In addition to a room-clearing stench, the sarcophagus contained three rather unremarkable skeletons. The good news, though, was that it did not unleash some global, biblical-scale curse. “We’ve opened it and, thank God, the world has not fallen into darkness,” the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities said. Yeah, about that … [BBC]
6 de Koonings
A Manhattan art gallery owner spent $15,000 on a New Jersey storage locker that at a glance appeared to contain “a bunch of junk.” But inside were six paintings believed to be by the abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning, possibly worth tens of millions of dollars. (And one by Paul Klee, you know, for good measure.) If modern art is the new religion and museums the new cathedrals then this is a bit like finding the Shroud of Turin in an abandoned laundry basket. [New York Post]
.247 batting average
Khris Davis, the Oakland Athletics outfielder, is the most consistent hitter in baseball history. The only problem with that fact is that Davis is apparently eternally stuck hitting just .247. He’s done so each of the past three completed seasons. He hit .244 the year before that. This season, as I write, he’s hitting … .246. C’mon, Khris, pick up the pace! [FiveThirtyEight]
700 Uber rides
In a story that now feels inevitable but the description of which would have been literally incomprehensible even a few years ago, Jason Gargac, an Uber driver in St. Louis, livestreamed nearly 700 of his passengers’ rides via Twitch, a video streaming website popular with video gamers, without their knowledge. He’s since been suspended from the Uber app. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
Sylar lives in a $500,000 mansion in Beijing. Sylar is named after a character in the TV show “Heroes.” Sylar did tricks. Sylar went viral. Sylar got hundreds of thousands of followers on social media. Sylar made his owner rich. Sylar is a border collie. [The Washington Post]
$8 million in rare books
A library archivist and a bookstore owner were arrested and charged last week in a nearly 20-year scheme whereby the archivist would brazenly walk out of the library with its rare books, maps and “other items,” and then sell them to the shop owner. The items fenced this way over the years are worth more than $8 million. “This is a huge deal” in the rare-book world, said another dealer. One wonders, however, how high that bar really is. [The New York Times]
If you see a significant digit in the wild, please send it to @ollie.