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Significant Digits For Monday, April 29, 2019

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news. For even more facts, figures and discussion, check out our live FiveThirtyEight Politics podcasts in Texas in May.


270 election staff

Some 7 million people have been helping to oversee and count the ballots in the April 17 election in Indonesia, in which the country combined its presidential election with national and regional parliamentary elections to save money. More than 270 of those election workers have died, “mostly of fatigue-related illnesses.” Many worked overnight in hot conditions to count paper ballots by hand. [BBC]


630,000 pieces

Police in China have shutdown a counterfeit Lego ring, raiding the offices of a company called Lepin. The ersatz toy bricks were copied from authentic Lego blueprints and sold around the country. A “Star Wars” knockoff, for example, went by “Star Plan.” The police seized around 630,000 pieces worth more than $30 million. [AFP]


200,000 species of virus

New research in the journal Cell found that there are some 200,000 species of virus in the planet’s oceans, 12 times than we previously were aware of. The research has implications for understanding climate change, and could potentially help scientists “to engineer the ocean at some point to combat climate change,” one of the study’s authors told CNN. [CNN]


Between 100 and 300 meters wide

This week, at the International Academy of Astronautics Planetary Defense Conference, NASA, FEMA and other groups will be prepping for disaster. Specifically, they will be simulating their would-be response to an asteroid bearing down on planet Earth. This (hypothetical) asteroid is between 100 and 300 meters wide, and has a (hypothetical) chance of striking in 2027. And here I thought we’d figured this all out already. [Gizmodo]


$1.2 billion global debut

Posing a rather formidable challenge to the law of diminishing marginal utility, “Avengers: Endgame,” the 22nd movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, accounted for more than four out of every five tickets sold at the U.S. box office this past weekend. The movie made $1.2 billion worldwide. [Variety]


11 of 17 apps

In the last year, Apple has “removed or restricted” 11 of the 17 most popular apps for controlling screen time and the content children can access on devices. These moves came after Apple introduced its own screen-time tracker. “They are systematically killing the industry,” said the chief executive of one such app company. Others saw it differently. “We don’t want people using their phones all the time,” said Tim Cook, the CEO of, uh, Apple. “This has never been an objective for us.” [The New York Times]




From ABC News:


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Oliver Roeder was a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight.

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