You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news.
6 p.m. Eastern
Today is the day — this is not a drill. The first polls close at 6 p.m. Eastern tonight, and my colleague Nathaniel Rakich has you covered from there on with this hour-by-hour guide. The 7 p.m. hour brings two of the most interesting governors races; 7:30 p.m. could bring early signs of a “blue tsunami” (or not); 8 p.m. brings dozens of House races including some close ones; in the 9 p.m. hour we could well know who will control the House; and in the 10 p.m. hour, we could well know who will control the Senate. Might I suggest a nap now? [FiveThirtyEight]
69 committee meetings
Speaking of Congress, it’s sort of stopped working. A Washington Post and ProPublica analysis found “a weakened legislative branch in which debate is strictly curtailed, party leaders dictate the agenda, most elected representatives rarely get a say and government shutdowns are a regular threat.” For just one empirical example: In 2005 and 2006, House committees met 449 times to consider legislation, and Senate committees met 252 times. By 2015 and 2016, they met only 254 and 69 times, respectively. [ProPublica]
1,000 times stronger than morphine
The Food and Drug Administration has approved an opiate painkiller tablet, called Dsuvia, that is 1,000 times stronger than morphine and 10 times stronger than fentanyl. It’s meant to be used in hospitals as “a fast-acting alternative” to intravenous painkillers. [USA Today]
According to two unnamed U.S. defense officials, President Trump’s plan to deploy as many as 15,000 troops to the southern border ahead of the arrival of a caravan of migrants from Central America will cost some $220 million. A Pentagon risk assessment of the caravan found that it poses no threat to the U.S., CNBC reports. [CNBC]
The Trump administration’s sanctions against Iran took effect yesterday morning. They ban Iranian oil imports and hit more than 700 Iranian banks, companies and individuals. Eight governments — those of China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey — were granted waivers, allowing them to temporarily continue importing Iranian oil. [The Wall Street Journal]
The hardware store Lowe’s (“Never stop improving”) is closing 51 stores in the U.S. and Canada. Both the company’s stock price and its revenue have trailed that of its arch-rival Home Depot (“More saving. More doing.”). Home Depot’s revenue surpassed $100 billion last year, while Lowe’s was below $70 billion. My all-time favorite, though, as a born-and-bred Midwestern television addict: “Save big money at Menards.” [CNN]
Love digits? Find even more in FiveThirtyEight’s new book of math and logic puzzles, “The Riddler.” It’s in stores now! I hope you dig it.
If you see a significant digit in the wild, please send it to @ollie.