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Work in the media? Struggle with statistics? Stan's irreverent (and often irrelevant) review of the latest media reports, news and gossip may not help at all... Stan the Statistician

Stan # 15: Hell burns at 445 degrees centigrade 6 September 1998

The regional press (UK) is a very serious business as anyone with the dubious pleasure of working in it will tell you. However, it does have its lighter moments. I have selected some interesting items taken from the pages of these worthy journals (as well as a few from the USA for my American readers).

"Actor sent to jail for not finishing sentence" - The El Paso Times

"To clean your oven, put water and ammonia into a pan and sit in the oven" - Daytona Daily News

"Let's have spontaneous fun, and here's how" - Singapore Times

"Bandleaders come and go, but the perennial Duke Ellington, like Tennyson's brook, seems destined to go on forever" - Bath & West Evening Chronicle (Duke died the next day)

"On Friday, when he retired, Mr Reber was presented with a portable television and a pair of binoculars" - Essex County Standard

"Yorkshire man takes Supreme Pig title" - Harrogate Advertiser

"Woman is Sheep Dog champion" - The Guardian

"Outed RSPCA man says he was a scapegoat" - The Times (London)

"Everything for your pets. Send a s.a.e. for ill. cat." - Shropshire Star

"Our father who art in Havant" - anon Portsmouth schoolboy. This is especially for my friends in Portsmouth

"Biggin Hill police investigating the theft have asked pet shops in the area to be on the lookout for canaries going cheap" - Kentish Times

"Young lady required in accounts office, previous experience not essential, busts must be able to type" - Portsmouth Evening News

"The identity of the headless corpse foung in a woodland near Liskeard will not be positively known until dental records have been checked" - Western Morning News

"£8,000 Facelift for Westerham Sportwomen" - Sevenoaks News

"Mother's help wanted to help with children and lighthouse work" - East Grinstead Gazette

"The judge in the IRA bomb trial is feared to be high on the terrorist's hit list.... and could face months of round the cock protection" - Belfast Telegraph

"No responsibility can be accepted for losses arising from typographical errors. Advertisers are expected to check their smalls to ensure correct appearance" - Rhodesia Herald

Three marketing academics at the University of Illinois varied the displays of 21 products in 89 grocery stores in Chicago, Philadelphia and Iowa, with particular attention to the numbering involved. Amongst their findings was the revelation that rationing sells. Thus when shoppers in Sioux City, Iowa, saw a grocery display that advertised canned soup as "79 cents - No limit per person", they typically bought three or four cans. When the display was changed to read, "79 cents - Limit 12 per person", they purchased twice as many, an average of seven cans each.

It has been calculated that Hell burns at 445 degrees centigrade. According to the Book of Revelations, "the fearful and unbelieving.... shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone". Brimstone, better known these days as sulphur (or sulfur for my US readers) boils at 717.6 degrees Kelvin which is 445 degrees centigrade. Heaven, on the other hand, is 232 degrees centigrade. Isiah said, "moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days". Using the well known Stefan-Boltzman fourth power law of radiation, this works out at 232 degrees centigrade.

So it would appear that both saints and sinners are to get a pretty hot reception in the afterlife. However, a spokesman for the Church of England said that Hell should be seen as a state of nothingness rather than eternal torment and burning fires. At least, that is the doctrine of this week. But if they were wrong about Hell before, maybe they are wrong now. Someone, when asked, said that they were not a member of any organised religion; they were Church of England. Says it all.

Check in again at my desk soon!

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