You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news.
On Saturday, Naomi Osaka defeated Serena Williams to win the U.S. Open singles tennis title. But the match was marred by controversy, and Williams was charged with three “code-of-conduct violations” (two of which were questionable). One was for receiving illicit coaching, one for “racquet abuse” (she smashed her Wilson on the ground) and one for “verbal abuse” (she called the chair umpire a “thief”). The latter two of these brought a point penalty and a full game penalty, respectively. And now, on top of that, she is fined $17,000: $4,000, $3,000 and $10,000 for the three violations, respectively. [The New York Times]
It’s the 70th anniversary of North Korea — the platinum anniversary, according to Wikipedia — and so naturally North Korea held a giant military parade and “revived its iconic mass games.” Those games featured 20,000 people flipping placards to create mosaics while thousands of other people did gymnastics and danced in formation. For good measure, the country also showed off some of its missiles. [AP]
About 1,000 dolphins
A number of rare “superpods” full of dolphins, their members totaling nearly 1,000 animals, went hunting bait fish off the coast of California, close enough for people on land to see them. A Monterey Bay Aquarium employee likened the event to a dolphin “Burning Man or the Super Bowl.” [The Washington Post]
$1 million prize
Scientific interest in a previously obscure theory about Alzheimer’s disease has been seeing renewed interest, driven at least in part by a $1 million prize for clarification offered by Leslie Norins, a physician turned publisher. The idea in question is the so-called “germ theory” of Alzheimer’s — that is, whether the disease is caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites. In other words: Is Alzheimer’s contagious? [NPR]
$1 billion data center
All those embarrassing photos and posts from your mom and Russian trolling has to go somewhere, and so some of it is going to go to Singapore, and Facebook’s planned 1.8 million square-foot, $1 billion data center. It’s slated to open in 2022. [BBC]
$3 million prize
Elsewhere in the world of science prizes: In 1967, Jocelyn Bell Burnell built a telescope, pointed it toward the heavens, and discovered pulsars — one of the most important astronomical discoveries of the century. But in 1974, a man who was Bell Burnell’s adviser, Antony Hewish, received the Nobel Prize in physics for the discovery. But now Bell Burnell is receiving some just and rich desserts: the $3 million Breakthrough Prize, one of the most lucrative awards in science. [The Washington Post]
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