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Significant Digits For Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news. To receive this newsletter in your inbox, subscribe.

0.86 percent

Go ahead, claim that “home office” as a business expense*: the IRS only audited 0.86 percent of individual tax returns last year, the lowest rate in 10 years. However, if you make more than a million, the rate is 7.5 percent, so make sure you triple check whether or not you’re a millionaire before you set up your home office. [Bloomberg Business]
*DO NOT TAKE TAX ADVICE FROM ME!

3 states

Weed’s legal in Alaska as of yesterday, making it the third state to do so. Call me when one of you figure out how to make an Orca into a functioning bowl. [NBC News]


$9.00

JP Morgan did $9 worth of business with Iran last year, according to documents submitted to the SEC. The largest bank in the United States went to comically laborious lengths to explain the $9 transaction in its 10-K, the result of two bank transfer fees on behalf of a client. [Business Insider]

43 categories

My colleague Neil Paine published a deep dive into how the folks behind Madden determine the 43 unique category ratings for roughly 2,600 NFL players. [FiveThirtyEight]

45.3 percent

Chicago mayor and profanity innovator Rahm Emanuel failed to win more than 50 percent of the vote in Chicago’s mayoral election. He will have to win a runoff in April against challenger Jesus Garcia in order to maintain the mayoralty of America’s premier second city. [Chicago Sun Times]


176 square feet

Average space per office worker in 2012, down from 225 square feet in 2010. Thankfully many of us were prepared for the new status quo by those really small desks in high school. [The New York Times]

500 bricks

The people behind “The Lego Movie” doled out 20 faux Oscars at the ceremony on Sunday. It took 500 bricks to build one of them. Everything is awesome. [CNET]

$50,000

Taylor Swift donated $50,000 to New York City schools, royalties from her song “Welcome to New York.” More to come, reportedly. [The New York Times]

$100 million

Last year Actavis, a generically named pharmaecutical company, bought Allergan, another generically named pharmaceutical company, for $65 billion. Since that deal went down, there’s the somewhat awkward situation of a superfluous CEO, Allergan’s David Pyott, walking around. Rather than settle this the old fashioned way — two chief executive officers enter the thunderdome, one leaves — Actavis is probably going to pay Pyott $100 million to get fired. [Bloomberg Business]

$2 billion

HP, the one-time important and influential computing company, will split into two separate companies in three months, one for its enterprise and business products and another for its computer and printer businesses. The cost of the split, we learned Tuesday, will be about $2 billion. [Business Insider]

If you haven’t already, you really need to sign up for the newsletter to be the first to learn about the numbers behind the news. I finally did, and since then I’ve lost 5 pounds, slept better and felt more confident at work. Results not guaranteed.

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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