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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 # 71: Ooops! 1 August 2003

In case you failed to read my last desktop - shame on you - here are some really pointless questions (answers at the bottom)

  1. What is the dot over a letter called?
  2. What is a pregnant goldfish called?
  3. What do you call the plastic things on the end of shoelaces?
  4. What is the longest one-syllable word in the English language?
  5. How many muscles are there in a cat?s ear?
  6. Canada is an Indian word meaning - what?
  7. Which fruit family are almonds a member of?
  8. What would Barbie?s measurements be if she were life sized?

San Francisco airport gets an honourable mention in the annual "Stupid Security" measures awards:

"Shortly after Richard Reid's attempt to light his shoes, I boarded a flight from San Francisco to London on British Airways. Travelling alone, I was singled out by the computer for further inspection. The polite inspector informed me that he had to check my shoes for explosives. I dutifully removed them and handed them to him. He picked them up one by one and slammed them down on the floor with full force. Apparently, as they hadn't exploded, they were not dangerous, and he handed them back to me to put back on. Let this be a warning to future terrorists. Your explosive shoes may go off in the crowded departure lounge instead of on board the plane."

The Japanese have two independent systems for counting from one to ten. They also have a system of counting nouns that requires the speaker to add types of counters specific to the nature of the entity. For example, there are different counters for small round things (like fruit), long cylindrical things (like bottles) for small animals (like dogs and fish), for cupfuls... the list goes on. This may explain why the Japanese are reputedly the most intelligent people on the planet and why they are all slightly mad.

Some quotes to ponder:

"Money is something you have got to make in case you don't die." - Max Asnas

"Whoever said money can?t buy happiness simply hadn't found where to go shopping." - Bo Derek

"When you've got them by the wallets, their hearts and minds follow." - Fern Naito

"When a person of experience meets a person with money, the person with experience will get the money and the person with the money will get some experience." - Leonard Lauder

A survey by the Chartered Management Institute revealed that the one thing which respondents thought would improve their working environment was tea/coffee making facilities (81%) followed by quality washroom facilities (78%). In third place came storage space (76%) and then good quality office furniture (71%). Background music came bottom of the list with a 5% score. 51% operated under flexitime.

Answers to the Quiz:

  1. a tittle
  2. a twit
  3. aglets
  4. screeched
  5. 32
  6. big village
  7. peach
  8. 39-23-33

Apology time (at least I don't have to run a column like The Guardian (London England))...

A correspondent writes: "Have to say that your 'Actual' headlines from 2002 did seem somewhat familiar. And by a truly remarkable coincidence (you'd be better able to work out the probability of this happening) 11 out of the 12 of last years actual headlines were also headlines from the Australian 'Sun' in 2000, according to your Stan 46. Can I claim an 'oops'?"

Hmmmmm. Someone is actually reading my archived stuff. Scary. But yes, I think you can claim an 'oops'. I rely on correspondents for some of the content of my desktop and this one slipped through. On the other hand, readers of the Australian Sun may not notice that the newspaper managers may simply change the date on the mastheads so that they have ever only produced one year's worth of papers and they just recycle them. Am I the only one or don't you think that one year's news is pretty much like any other year's? Thanks to my correspondent for spotting this - and for his kind comments about the column. Like all others, he remains anonymous.

Check in again at my desk soon!

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