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Significant Digits For Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news.

6 trains per hour

There are two 107-year-old train tunnels connecting Penn Station in New York to New Jersey. Right now, Amtrak and New Jersey Transit can run 24 trains an hour through those tunnels. Those two tunnels are decaying, and if one failed, Amtrak and New Jersey Transit could only run six trains per hour through one tunnel. That would be an economic catastrophe: Some 30 percent of Manhattan’s workforce lives west of the Hudson river. [Bloomberg]


15 percent

That used to be the alimony tax, but the GOP tax law changes the way that alimony is taxed federally. Previously, the payer of alimony got to write off the payments, while the recipient of alimony paid taxes at a rate of 15 percent. The new bill shifts the burden, with the recipient paying no tax, and the payer unable to deduct the payments. Who can possibly envision a situation where couples fight over the timing of the divorce so as to push the tax burden from one person to the other? [Yahoo Finance]


59 percent

Percentage of Brits who describe American football as very or quite boring. In fairness, this is also the population that considers snooker slightly more exciting, so don’t feel too miffed, Americans. [YouGov]


$90 million

The Overwatch League, an esports league that kicked off its first games last night, reportedly cut a deal with Twitch to stream every regular season and postseason game for two years on their service for at least $90 million, believed to be the biggest exclusive esports distribution deal ever. [Sports Business Daily]


130 mmHg

New research from the University of Eastern Finland shows that saunas can have a wonderful effect on users’ health, rendering me effectively immortal. Time in a hot sauna reduced systolic blood pressure from 137 to 130 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure from 82 to 75 mmHg, which means my Russian bath habit should be covered by my health insurance. [Time]


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If you see a significant digit in the wild, send it to @WaltHickey.

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

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