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Significant Digits for Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014

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

3 years of rent

The 26-year-old English singer Jessie J reported she was able to live comfortably for more than three years on the earnings from writing a single song, Miley Cyrus’s 2009 hit “Party In The USA.” [ET]

34 percent of parents

According to a survey conducted by Netflix, 87 percent of parents are spending New Year’s Eve with their children. And 34 percent of parents plan to fool their children into thinking it’s the new year before the clock actually strikes midnight. Netflix intends to aid in this temporal façade, with a lemur-themed countdown parents can stream at any point in the evening. [CNN]


Attention masochists! For a mere $299, you can spend your New Year’s Eve in the Times Square TGI Fridays. Amenities include appetizers, a dinner buffet and an open bar of TGI Friday’s specialty drinks. [Gothamist]

4,900 tons of burning money

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve is tasked with getting rid of old paper bills that are too worn out. My sensible solution — place the unusable bills by vending machines on K Street in Washington in an effort to cut down on lobbying — has yet to gain traction. Instead, the Fed has invented a way to recycle the discarded bills into energy by sending them to local power plants to be burned for electricity. [Gizmodo]

7,842 deaths

The World Health Organization announced that the Ebola outbreak has killed more than 7,842 people in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. At the moment, though, most people are focused on a single case in Scotland. [Turkish Press]

$11,000 processing fee

The fee to obtain a vanity address in the City of New York, which allows developers to choose a luxury address for their new buildings — for instance, the forthcoming “432 Park Ave” located on 56th street. A Park Avenue address is worth 5 to 10 percent more than a comparable apartment on an adjacent side street, because real estate makes no sense in this godforsaken city. I never thought it would be possible to make a grid system complicated. [Bloomberg Businessweek]


The number of homeless people in New York City, a record high. [WNYC]

$24 million

Placing a lot trust in an organization notorious for dropping players who have passed maximum efficiency, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady restructured his contract to give the franchise $24 million back to spend during the off-season. Brady can now be released at any time without any liability. [ESPN]

30 million unauthorized downloads

“Frozen” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” top the list of most-pirated films of the past year, with 30 million downloads by torrent users. The fact that the top five illegally downloaded films of 2014 were all released in 2013 is — if anything — a grim reminder of how terrible most movies were this year. [Variety]

$82.5 million

Revenue in fiscal year ending December 2013 for rapidly expanding burger chain Shake Shack, which filed for an initial public offering Monday. The chain has 63 restaurants according to the report, one of which essentially turned New York’s Madison Square Park into an elaborate line that would haunt the most hardened DMV veteran’s nightmares. [Business Insider]

If you see a significant digit out in the wild, tweet it to me @WaltHickey.

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.