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 # 69: Cows have girls' names June 2003

The North West Evening Mail, based in Barrow-in Furness (England) reports: "After years as the focus of the tabloid press, football fans and screaming teenage girls, David Beckham (Captain of England's football team) is now making his debut on the farmer's field."

But what is he doing on the farmer's field? Playing football? Spreading muck? Chasing sheep? It turns out to be a south Cumbrian slant on a national story which, since it failed to make the national papers, I will retell here.

"According to an NFU study of what farmers, including Cumbrians, call their cattle, sports, pop and film stars' names are becoming popular," reports the Mail. The study was based on a phone poll of 200 farmers (not all of them Cumbrians). Some said they liked old names such as Daisy and Marigold but trendier sons of the soil are now opting for Camilla, Kylie and Posh.

At least these are all girls' names, even if one implies an insult to a potential royal consort. But the farmers are also choosing to call their cows Beckham and Brooklyn, which suggests someone ought to tell them something about birds and bees as well as bulls. It must have been a slow news week.

Acording to an online survey by, 64% of Intenet users aged 50 plus would sooner live without television than their computer.

According to psychologist Judi James, 40% of people meet their partners in the workplace. Have a look round. Scary or what? Still, better than meeting them in rehab or behind Kings Cross.

In another study, another psychologist, Jo-Anne Bachorowski from Vanderbilt University, Tennessee, found that men laughed 13 times around male friends but only 8 with female pals. Women laughed 12 times with men and 7 with females. "Women who laugh around men are subconsciously viewed as more attractive" she says. Men generally laugh more with men so they'll be seen as friend, not foe. This is no laughing matter. Watch out for those hyaenas in the office.

Important research from the University of Bonn has found that the British are the fastest washers-up in Europe. In tests on participants from nine nations, the British cleaned their 140 pieces of cutlery almost an hour faster than the last placed Turks. Firstly, I always thought that there were more than nine countries in Europe. Secondly, what does this say about the Brits? My guess is that it doesn't take as long to put cutlery in a dishwasher. Many men I know go dizzy when they lean over a sink.

A survey of 2,000 drivers by Max Power reveals that young drivers sacrifice safety for the buzz of behind-the-wheel sexual thrills. Readers were asked what they get up to while driving and one in five said they had had sex behind the wheel. I suppose you have to find something to do in all those jams (traffic). Surely not on the move? The logistics must be quite challenging. It is much easier to get your head round how one in two managed to receive in-car entertainment from their passengers - while half admitted to taking themselves to a higher gear during a long journey. Seven in ten use a mobile phone at the wheel, even though one in two admit it can be dangerous, and one in two have sent text messages. One in four have skinned up a joint and four in ten have eaten a burger while driving. Nobody admitted to doing all of these things at once.

From a correspondent...

In a local election, the Republican garnered 4,596 votes. The Democrat 4,179 votes. There were 4,596 Republican voters, 2,560 Democratic voters, 2,084 Other voters. Now, the above Republican is facing a Primary Election (Republican v. Republican). The question is, using only the Republican numbers above, can you tell me how many Republicans didn't vote for the Republican above? In other words, can you deduce from the numbers the amount of Republican defections to the Democrat? Are there any other ways of estimating an answer?

Answers to be emailed to me.

Check in again at my desk soon!

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