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 # 36: More trivia from the Data Doormouse

3 July 2000

Did you know that the combined wealth of the richest three people in the World is the same as the combined wealth of the bottom 600 million?
The answer to the mathematical question on my last desktop can be found at the bottom of this one, but in case you missed it (I can’t think why), I repeat the problem:
A little puzzle from Les:
What is the number less than 3,000 which:
when divided by 2 leaves a remainder of 1
when divided by 3 leaves a remainder of 2
when divided by 4 leaves a remainder of 3
when divided by 5 leaves a remainder of 4
when divided by 6 leaves a remainder of 5
when divided by 7 leaves a remainder of 6
when divided by 8 leaves a remainder of 7
when divided by 9 leaves a remainder of 8
when divided by 10 leaves a remainder of 9
At least one in 10 children was not sired by the man who believes he is their father according to scientists in paternity testing laboratories. David Hartshorne, spokesman for Cellmark, said that in about one in seven cases, the presumed father turns out to be the wrong man. "It’s surprising how often the mother is wrong about the person who she thinks is the father". In addition to DNA evidence, other studies of mass blood samples suggest that increasing numbers of women are unsure if their husbands are the fathers of their children.
Frequent readers of my desktop will recall that the last even number date until the 2 February 2000 was 28 August 888. This was 1111 years and 158 days between them not counting the 11 days which were removed from the calendar to bring it in line with the Earth’s actual position in relation to the Sun. In England, there were riots in the streets as the plebs thought that they had had 11 days of their lives taken away. And their descendants have the vote. Very worrying.
It is traditional for the Queen (of England) to send a telegram to all those who reach their 100th birthday. Will she send one to her Mother when she reaches that milestone this Summer? Maybe it would be easier to pop round to Clarence House (Queen Mum’s pad).
From the Data Dormouse:
It takes 3,000 cows to supply the NFL with enough leather for a year's supply of footballs.
Thirtyfive percent of the people who use personal ads for dating are already married.
The 3 most valuable brand names on earth: Marlboro, CocaCola, and Budweiser, in that order.
It's possible to lead a cow upstairs...but not downstairs.
Ten percent of the Russian government's income comes from the sale of vodka.
111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321
The Data Dormouse does provide some interesting facts. The one concerning personal ads for dating should serve as a warning (or an opportunity). But I am bemused by the knowedge that cows may be lead upstairs but not down. This is not likely to be of much use to me as far as I can see. But how does the Data Dormouse know so much about cows even if she is a farmer’s daughter? Why would anyone want to lead cows upstairs? What happens when they get them to the top? Who discovered this in the first place? What was he (or she) trying to achieve? We should be told.
As promised on my last desk top, I have provided you with more statistical titbits this time. Here are some quotations about statisticians:
"There are three kinds of statistician, those who can count and those who can’t."
(Unknown author)
"She was reading birth and death statistics. Suddenly she turned to a man near her and said, ‘Do you know that every time I breathe, a man dies?’ ‘Very interesting’, he returned, ‘have you tried using toothpaste?’"
Jacob M Braude
"There was a statistician from Needham
Who was so bright, his clients would heed him
Yet his embarrassed confession
Was that in linear regression
He’d never subtract an extra degree of freedom"
Joseph L Fleiss
"A statistician is a person who draws a mathematically precise line from an unwarranted assumption to a foregone conclusion."
(Unknown author)
"It is now proved beyond doubt that smoking is one of the leading causes of statistics"
Fletcher Knebel.
I would like to thank all of my readers who have sent me fmail (fan mail). Beavering away in my lonely garret, fighting the good fight, it is encouraging to know that my efforts are not entirely feckless. I try to answer all my correspondents personally, but please be patient if I have not replied to you yet.
Answer to the problem is 2519.
stan@adweb.co.uk