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Significant Digits For Monday, April 30, 2018

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

5 substances

Drug dogs are trained to alert handlers if they detect marijuana, methamphetamine, PCP, cocaine and heroin. The issue facing drug dogs now is that marijuana is increasingly legal, and it’s very hard to unlearn the skill of detecting it. [Mel Magazine]

22 states

With new cases in Mississippi, Tennessee and Wisconsin, the E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce is the worst in a decade, with 98 cases in 22 states. The last time there was an outbreak this severe was in 2006 when spinach was linked to hundreds of illnesses. [CBS News]


That is when China is projected to surpass the U.S. as the largest air travel market, according to a International Air Transport Association forecast. Right now, U.S. airlines are limited to 140 round-trip flights to China per week and Chinese airlines are limited to 180 flights per week. Recently, China’s Civil Aviation Administration sent a letter to United and American Airlines demanding they refer to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau not independent from China. [Foreign Policy]


Estimated value of a cache of allegedly stolen legos from the Portland home of a suspect believed to be linked to a ring that steals legos and resells the items on sites like Craigslist and Offerup. [Portland Live]

$250 million

It’s very close, but it appears that “Avengers: Infinity War” may surpass “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” for the biggest domestic box office opening weekend ever, with a forecasted $250 million opening putting it ahead of the $248 million that the Star Wars opener made. [Variety]

$27 billion

Sprint and T-Mobile agreed to a close to $27 billion merger on Sunday. As it currently stands, Sprint has 40 million customers and T-Mobile has 58 million. A hypothetical combined company would make them the second largest based on customers behind Verizon. [The Washington Post]

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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.