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 # 56: Some Useless Information January 2002

Welcome to the first palindromic year since 1991. Unless the research into telomeres (those bits on the end of the chromosomes) shows promise, it’s unlikely that you will see the next which is, of course, 2112. So, enjoy.

From my last desk top:

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?

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?

Answers at the foot of the page, for those of you who missed these questions on my last desk top (shame on you).

More people watched Coronation Street (a popular UK soap) than voted for the winning party in the General Election on 7 June 2001

It has been reported that a ten year old girl called Laura Buxton from Staffordhire (UK) dispatched a helium balloon in honour of her grandmother’s birthday with a message attached. The balloon travelled 150 miles and was found by ten year old Laura Buxton. Both have a black labrador pet.

George W Bush (Dubyah) has surprised pupils at Oakhill primary school in Blackburn Lancashire, England who sent him a letter of congratulations on winning the US Presidency, by referring to them as young Americans. Well, not yet, Dubyah, but I guess you have plans you haven’t told us about.

Did you know (and did you care?) that the first classified newspaper advertisement appeared in 1657 in the Publick Advertiser, the first English paper consisting entirely of adverts? There had been newspaper ads before this date, but they were not arranged according to type. In the Advertiser, small ads were split into eight sections which included, Shipping, Stage Coaches, and Lost and Stolen (featuring people as well as property). Seamen seeking employment were charged the equivalent of 15p for an ad. The price of an ad for a house sale would depend on its value. It would cost £1 to advertise a mansion valued at £240.

The Sun (London, England) tells the story of Julie McGrath - a panicky flyer from London - who was horrified to find that the booking code for her RyanAir flight was K3DEAD. Her bad feeling about the flight became worse when she was assigned a seat in row 13. But Julie was sure she was about to die when she realised the pilot was not the authoritative male figure she was expecting. "I know it shouldn't matter if the pilot is female, but there's something calming about the deep voice of a male pilot," said Ms McGrath upon her safe arrival in Dublin.


Every year, parks in London alone are doused in one million gallons of dog urine.

The germs present in human faeces can pass through up to ten layers of toilet paper.

The best (?) recorded distance for projectile vomiting is 27 feet.

Contrary to popular belief, if you swallow chewing gum it does not stay in the gut. Usually it will pass through the system and is excreted without incident. However, several cases have been reported where the gum has stuck in the rectum, causing the unfortunate sufferer to excrete long sticky trails of gum, like a pink spider's web.

Several well-documented instances have been reported of extremely obese people flushing aircraft toilets whilst still sitting on them. The vacuum action of these toilets sucked the rectum inside out.

It is physically possible to cough your guts up.

If your body's natural defences failed, the bacteria in your gut would consume you within 48 hours, literally eating you from the inside out.

What is one of the most difficult items for sewage works to handle, as it is insoluble, yet fine enough to pass through most filtration systems? Every month Thames Water removes over a ton of this substance from its water treatment plants, whereupon it is taken away to a land fill site and buried. You guessed it - pubic hair.

Parasites count for 0.01% of your body weight.

Henry II was murdered by his homosexual lover, who pushed a red-hot poker 0.5 metres up his rectum.

The longest recorded tapeworm found in the human body was 33 metres in length.

A woman who had recently visited South America, where she had been on safari in local rainforest, began to experience severe pains in her left ear, accompanied by headaches, dizziness and constant rustling sounds, at first put down to tinnitus. It became so serious that exploratory surgery was required, which revealed that a spider which become trapped in her ear. Eventually it had eaten through her eardrum and was living within the aural cavity. The rustling sounds were from the spider crawling around inside her skull. An egg sac was also removed.

A man in Australia was concerned about a growing lump on his nose, was examining it in the mirror and saw a red back spider crawl out. Doctors found an entire red back nest inside his nose.

An obese woman was admitted to a Queensland hospital with stomach pains. It turned out that her T.V. remote control was stuck in between rolls of fat and had eventually become an abscess.

Another woman in Queensland who had lost a lot of weight went to the doctor with a big, hard, horn-like object protruding from her abdomen. Closer examination determined that it was years of compacted belly-button fluff.

The answers to my Christmas Quiz are:

  1. 6210001000
  2. I will be eaten by lions.

When the going gets tough, the tough do whatever they do (go shopping or something). Survivors read my desktop.

Check in again at my desk soon!

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