Stan the Statistician <<Last | Next>> | Current Stan | Archive Stan
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 # 55: Prison V Work December 2001

As the Festive Season approaches, I thought that a little mental exercise would be appreciated by my readers.

What ten digit number has the first digit the number of zeros in the number, the second digit, the number of ones in the number, the next digit, the number of twos in the number and so on up to the last digit of the number, the tenth, which is the number of nines in the entire number? Answers of course, on my next desk top.

An explorer was captured by a tribe whose chief decided that the man should die. The chief was a very logical man and gave the explorer a choice: he was to make a single statement. If it was true, he would be thrown over a high cliff. If it was false, he would be eaten by lions. What statement did the clever explorer make that forced the chief to let him go free?

Prison v Work

You spend the majority of your time in an 8X10 cell.

You spend most of your time in a 6X8 cubicle.

You get three meals a day (free).

You only get a break for one meal and you have to pay for it yourself.

You get time off for good behaviour.

You get rewarded for good behaviour with more WORK.

A guard locks and unlocks the doors for you.

You must carry around a security card and unlock open all the doors yourself.

You can watch TV and play games.

You get fired for watching TV and playing games.

You get your own toilet.

You have to share.

They allow your family and friends to visit.

You can not even speak to your family and friends.

All expenses are paid by taxpayers with no work at all.

You get to pay all the expenses to go to work and then they deduct taxes from your salary to pay for the prisoners.

You spend most of your life looking through the bars from the inside wanting to get out.

You spend most of your time wanting to get out and go inside bars.

Which one sounds better?

Escape artist Hans Klok was half an hour late for a show in Annen, Holland, when he became trapped in the lavatory when the lock jammed.

A husband cruising the red light district in the German town of Aachen discovered that his wife was already there working as a prostitute. Police were called after a row broke out between the couple.

An unemployed actor has set a new world record for watching television after sitting through 46 hours, 30 minutes and 50 seconds of NYPD Blue. Kevin Keavney, from Brooklyn, was competing with 19 other people in a contest to find the biggest couch potato. "I had never watched NYPD Blue", he said, "But now I’m a big fan."

As Christmas approaches, an update on Diet Rules:

  1. If you eat something, but no one else sees you eat it, it has no calories.
  2. If you drink a diet coke while eating a chocolate bar, the calories in the chocolate bar are cancelled by the diet coke.
  3. When you eat with someone else, calories don't count as long as you don't eat more than they do.
  4. Foods used for medicinal purposes never count. For example hot chocolate, brandy, toast, cheesecake.
  5. If you fatten up everyone else around you, then you look thinner.
  6. Movie-related foods do not have calories because they are part of the entertainment package and not part of one's personal fuel, buttered popcorn, maltesers and hot dogs.
  7. Broken Biscuits contain no calories. The process of breaking the biscuit causes calorie leakage.
  8. Late-night snacks have no calories. The refrigerator light is not strong enough for the calories to see their way into the calorie counter.
  9. If you are in the process of preparing something, food licked off knives and spoons have no calories. Peanut butter on a knife, ice cream on a spoon.
  10. Food of the same colour have the same number of calories. Examples are spinach and pistachio ice cream, mushrooms and white chocolate. Chocolate is a universal colour and may be substituted for any other.


The tabloids claim to have discovered the "most boring map square in Britain". It's SE830220 on Map 112, near the village of Ousefleet in East Riding. "The square kilometre plot has nothing in it except a single pylon," reports the Sun, and it is otherwise blank. A photograph of the area confirms its featureless appearance. "Most desolate places have minor markings, but this is featureless," said an Ordnance Survey spokesman. Naturally, it will now become a shrine for the anoraks.

Check in again at my desk soon!

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