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Significant Digits For Monday, June 11, 2018

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

3 airplanes

President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are scheduled to sit down together in Singapore tonight (U.S. time). Kim’s 3,000-mile trip to the site involved some cloak-and-dagger logistics and three airplanes. One was a cargo plane packed with supplies, the second a Boeing 747, and the third Kim’s private jet — aka Air Force Un. He left the airport in a Mercedes limo amid a heavily guarded convoy bound for the $8,000-a-night presidential suite at the St. Regis. The entrance to the hotel was tightly secured and shielded by large potted plants. [The Washington Post]

8 No. 1 albums

Shortly after he generated a storm of controversy by suggesting on camera at TMZ headquarters that slavery was “a choice,” Kanye West’s latest album, “Ye,” hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, his eighth consecutive album to do so. This ties a record held by Eminem and The Beatles. [Billboard]

1,079 feet

After years of delays, the building at 3 World Trade Center will open this week, soaring 1,079 feet as the fifth-tallest building in New York City. The $2.7 billion building is the third skyscraper completed where the twin towers once stood. [AP]


Solomon Lartey was a records management analyst earning $65,969 a year. And for the first five months of the Trump Administration, his job was to reassemble torn documents with clear Scotch tape. It turns out that Trump is in the habit of tearing up documents once he’s done with them — his unofficial “filing system.” The only problem is that, per the Presidential Records Act, the White House must preserve these documents and send them to the National Archives. [Politico]

7 million square miles

I’d complain about the rainy weekend where I live, but NASA’s Opportunity rover, who was just trying to do its job of roving, is caught in the middle of a dust storm covering more than 7 million square miles — an area larger than North America. The worry is that Opportunity is solar powered and needs to fuel its survival heaters, and the storm blocks out the sun. But Opportunity is a fighter and has seen some things — the rover has been exploring the red planet since 2004. [Space]

200 quadrillion calculations per second

The U.S. is now home to the world’s fastest supercomputer, wresting that mantle from China. The new machine, called Summit and built for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, can perform 200 quadrillion mathematical calculations per second, also known as 200 petaflops. Cooling the beast uses 4,000 gallons of water a minute. I, for one, welcome Summit and the artificial intelligences that will run on it, and pledge my undying loyalty. [The New York Times]

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

Oliver Roeder was a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied game theory and political competition.