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Significant Digits For Monday, May 11, 2015

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4 percent

That’s Alabama’s existing tax on rentals of “tangible personal property.”  The state’s department of revenue wants to extend that tax to rentals on, say, Netflix, which generally speaking is pretty intangible and impersonal. [The Washington Post]

5th-most productive

Willie Mays saw his career home run record eclipsed by beleaguered Yankee Alex Rodriguez last Thursday, but the stats still appear to show that Mays was the better ballplayer. Looking at all-time wins above replacement, Mays is in fifth place in the annals of baseball history, while A-Rod is 17th. [FiveThirtyEight]

11 percent

The new cigarette tax rate in China, up from 5 percent. About 1 million Chinese citizens die annually from smoking-related illnesses. The last time China raised the tax, the State Monopoly of Tobacco Administration — which owns the country’s cigarette manufacturer because, you know, communism — isolated actual smokers from the tax and just ate the costs. So let’s just wait and see how this goes. [Bloomberg]


At least 12 arrests

Please never change, Massachusetts: More than 100 people were involved in a brawl at Revere Beach in Massachusetts on Mother’s Day. There were at least 12 arrests after an altercation that began between two women and their friends spiraled into an all-out fight at the beach. [NECN]


60 kimberlite pipes

New research suggests that the plant Pandanus candelabrum can grow the presence of kimberlite pipes, or underground columns of volcanic rock. Who cares? Well, there are about 6,000 known kimberlite pipes, and a tenth of them have diamonds in them, and about a tenth of those have enough diamonds to be worth digging up. So keep your eyes peeled for Pandanus candelabrum. I don’t really know how this works but between you and me, this weekend I’m going to check to see if there might be diamonds under the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Shh! [CNET]


$86

Current projection for the fare to ride California’s future bullet train from Los Angeles to San Francisco. If you follow technology at all, you probably know by now that Californians are really bad at estimating the actual value of things — be it a train ticket or a startup — so it should come as no surprise that the estimate has been as low as $50 and as high as $105. [Los Angeles Times]

$1.1 million to $2.3 million

That was the range of the value of former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke’s assets back when he was running America’s favorite helicopter-based cash-distribution entity. He’s probably a little bit further in the black now that he’s consulting for Pacific Investment Management Co. and the hedge fund Citadel. [Bloomberg]

$5.4 million

That’s how much the U.S. Department of Defense paid NFL teams to honor and thank the nation’s troops from 2011 to 2014. The funds mostly came from the National Guard. [NJ.com via Scout]


$11,118,775.13

As of Friday, that’s how much money has been spent by the state of New Jersey on legal bills for the parties involved in the “bridgegate” scandal. About $7.8 million went to foot the legal bills of members of the governor’s office. [WNYC’s Matt Katz]

$50 billion

Uber is considering raising another $1.5 billion in funding, which would value the company at $50 billion, basically making it a herd of unicorns if my Silicon Valley terminology is up to date. [The New York Times]

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And, as always, if you see a significant digit in the wild, tweet it to me @WaltHickey.

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

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