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Significant Digits For Monday, Nov. 20, 2017

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

3 days

A robot took three days to travel 20 feet, but it successfully made it to the bottom of the Unit 3 reactor at the Fukushima nuclear plant to find melted uranium fuel rods. Now that the fuel has been located — it melted during the 2011 disaster and hasn’t been located since — hopefully a new clean-up phase at the plant can begin. [The New York Times]


Cost of a kilo of Mexican cartel marijuana, down from $74 per kilogram seven years ago. Turns out the invisible hand of the market works in messed up ways: The price crash is, in part, attributable to the legalization of marijuana in the U.S. To fill that void, Mexico’s cartels are pivoting to heroin, and are responsible for an increasing share heroin coming into the U.S. [Business Insider]

80 percent

There’s a piece of the GOP tax bill in the House that has top-flight college football programs at the edge of their seats — in some cases literally. There are three main revenue streams in college sports: ticket sales, media rights and donations. Donors, in turn, get access to premium tickets. Current law allows 80 percent of those donations to be deducted on federal taxes, but the GOP plan will do away with that. [Bloomberg]

$96 million

Estimated domestic box office haul for the hotly awaited “Justice League” this past weekend. That’s shy of industry expectations, which were in the neighborhood of $110 million. The film is doing well abroad, to the tune of $281.5 million internationally. But it’s the first DC Extended Universe film to open short of $100 million in North America. [CNN Money]

$328 million

Amount paid by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority — the agency that operates the New York subway system — to New York State over the past 15 years in bond issuance fees. A New York Times investigation found that those fees, which are often waived for other agencies, have been much higher than they’re supposed to be, and that the state has at times used the MTA as “piggy bank,” as one former member of the legislature put it. The subway system is a disaster at the moment, one of the worst on the planet, and it’s the result of decades of mismanagement. [The New York Times]

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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.