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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 # 48: Various anecdotes 15 June 2001

The Guardian's (London, England) e-finance page focuses on a remarkable statistic: the equivalent of 360,000 email messages are sent over the Internet in Britain every single second. The total flow of Internet traffic in one recent week was six gigabits per second, a 20% increase in two months. Can anyone remember what happened before e-mail? Those were the days when we actually told each other jokes.

AT&T fired President John Walter after nine months, saying he lacked "intellectual leadership." He received a $26 million severance package. Perhaps it's not Walter who's lacking intelligence.

A man spoke frantically into the phone: "My wife is pregnant and her contractions are only two minutes apart!" "Is this her first child?" the doctor asked. "No, you idiot!" the man shouted. "This is her husband!" This is a gag I thought I would toss in for a change.

Police in Los Angeles had good luck with a robbery suspect who just couldn't control himself during a line-up. When detectives asked each man in the line-up to repeat the words, "Give me all your money or I'll shoot," the man shouted, "That's not what I said!"

Fire investigators on Maui have determined the cause of a blaze that destroyed a $127,000 home last month - a short in the homeowner's newly installed fire prevention alarm system. "This is even worse than last year," said the distraught homeowner, "when someone broke in and stole my new security system."

Police in Oakland, California spent two hours attempting to subdue a gunman, officers discovered that the man was standing beside them, shouting to please come out and give himself up.

An Illinois man pretending to have a gun kidnapped a motorist and forced him to drive to two different automated teller machines. The kidnapper then proceeded to withdraw money from his own bank accounts.

A 9-year-old boy in Manassas, Virginia received a one-day suspension under his elementary school's drug policy last week - for Certs! Joey Hoeffer allegedly told a class-mate that the mints would make him "jump higher." And a student in Belle, West Virginia was suspended for three days for giving a class-mate a cough drop. School principal Forest Mann reiterated the school's "zero-tolerance" policy, not to be confused with the "zero-intelligence" policy.

A man in Taormina, Italy was hospitalised after swallowing 46 teaspoons, 2 cigarette lighters, and a pair of salad tongs.

A man walked in to a Topeka, Kansas Kwik Shop, and asked for all the money in the cash drawer. Apparently, the take was too small, so he tied up the store clerk and worked the counter himself for three hours until police showed up and grabbed him.

In Ohio, an unidentified man in his late twenties walked into a police station with a 9-inch wire protruding from his forehead and calmly asked officers to give him an X-ray to help him find his brain, which he claimed had been stolen. Police were shocked to learn that the man had drilled a 6-inch deep hole in his skull with a Black & Decker power drill and had stuck the wire in to try and find the missing brain. If he did that, then clearly he was right - he doesn’t have a brain.

More than 600 people in Italy wanted to ride in a spaceship badly enough to pay £10,000 a piece for the first tourist flight to Mars. According to the Italian police, the would-be space travellers were told to spend their "next vacation on Mars, amid the splendours of ruined temples and painted deserts. Ride a Martian camel from oasis to oasis and enjoy the incredible Martian sunsets. Explore mysterious canals and marvel at the views. Trips to the moon also available." Authorities believe that the con men running this scam made off with over six million pounds.

In Medford, Oregon, a 27-year-old jobless man with an MBA blamed his college degree for his murder of three people. "There are too many business graduates out there," he said. "If I had chosen another field, all this may not have happened."

A bank robber in Virginia Beach got a nasty surprise when a dye pack designed to mark stolen money exploded in his Fruit-of-the-Looms. The robber apparently stuffed the loot down the front of his pants as he was running out the door. "He was seen hopping and jumping around," said police spokesman Mike Carey, "with an explosion taking place inside his pants." Police have the man's charred trousers in custody.

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