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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 # 62: London Underground Cleanliness August 2002

Subject: Writing Techniques

Avoid alliteration. Always.
Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
Avoid clichés like the plague. (They're old hat.)
Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
Contractions aren't necessary.
Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
One should never generalize.
Comparisons are as bad as clichés.
Don't be redundant; don't use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.
Be more or less specific.
One-word sentences? Eliminate.
Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
Who needs rhetorical questions?
Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

A Romanian smoker is making a coffin from discarded cigarette packets. Miha Cepleuca, from Bucharest, has used 7,000 packets and says he only needs a few more to complete it. The pensioner, a two-packet-a-day man, plans to be buried in the coffin, which has a pillow made of filter tips.

The end-of-year quiz in the Washington Post included these tough questions:

Great Britain had great troubles with which disease affecting livestock:
a. Tongue and tail? b. Foot and mouth? c. Bubble and squeak? d. Foot and tail?

On which day did terrorists hijack and crash four US jets:
a. Aug 30? b. Sept 11? c. Oct 15? d. Dec 7?

If America’s ruling class is puzzling over these sort of questions, then maybe the World is in deeper trouble than I thought.

From the Chichester Observer (England): "The British Dental Health Foundation has issued a free dental helpline advice service for the holiday period. However, helpline staff do not have information on which individual dental surgeries will be open and the helpline will be closed from December 21 until January 2."

An election candidate in Chile has won 1,000 votes despite dying during sex before the election (not sure if it was before an erection as well). Raul Velosso had a heart attack but his name was mistakenly left on the ballot paper in Santiago where he was planning to stand for the Humanist party. A party spokesman said, "It was especially impressive to see that he did better than some of the candidates who were still alive." I wonder if this is the problem with our politicians, we elect them when they are brain dead.

One in four British workers has had sex in a car park after the office Christmas party, according to an unnamed survey reported The Sunday Times (London, England) while 80% of people say they have had sex in cars. Women in Cheshire have more sex in cars than anybody else: 20% admitted doing it once a month or more. One in three of the 40,000 people who replied to the survey said they had enjoyed a sexual experience in the back of a taxi.

If you are a regular traveller on the London Underground, here are some facts which you are going to wish you hadn't read.

During Autumn of 2000, a team of scientists at the Department of Forensics at University College London removed a row of passenger seats from a Central Line tube carriage for analysis into cleanliness.

Despite London Underground's claim that the interior of their trains are cleaned on a regular basis, the scientists made some alarming discoveries. The analysis was broken down. This is what was found on the surface of the seats:

4 types of hair sample (human, mouse, rat, dog)
7 types of insect (mostly fleas, mostly alive)
vomit originating from at least 9 separate people
human urine originating from at least 4 separate people
human excrement
rodent excrement
human semen

When the seats were taken apart, they found:

the remains of 6 mice
the remains of 2 large rats
1 previously unheard of fungus

It is estimated that by holding one of the armrests, you are transferring, to your body, the natural oils and sweat from as many as 400 different people. It is estimated that it is generally healthier to smoke five cigarettes a day than to travel for one hour a day on the London Underground.

It is far more hygienic to wipe your hand on the inside of a recently flushed toilet bowl before eating, than to wipe your hand on a London Underground seat before eating.

It is estimated that, within London, more work sick-days are taken because of bugs picked up whilst travelling on the London Underground than for any other reason (including alcohol)

Check in again at my desk soon!

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