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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 # 80: Accidental shooting of nether regions September 2004

51% of perpetrators of child abuse in Scotland in 2003 were the natural mother, 26% were the natural father and 4% a step parent. Only 2% were a person unknown to the family.

10% of the world’s 30 million CCTV cameras are in Britain. The average Briton is caught on camera 300 times a day.

About half of all humans who have ever lived have died of malaria.

The Royal Mail is now receiving 400 complaints an hour - nearly as many as the German postal service receives in a year.

Staff at the Department of Work and Pensions took an average of 12.3 sick days a year - double the national average. Maybe the Department should be renamed.

The Times (London, England) reported the following story on 26 June 2004:

"A man accidentally shot himself in the testicles with a sawn-off shotgun after putting it in his pocket ready to confront a friend after a drunken argument. And to add insult to injury, David Walker, 28, who had both testicles removed after the accident, now faces five years in jail after admitting possessing a prohibited weapon at Sheffield Crown Court. Andrew Hatton, for the prosecution, said that Walker had drunk 15 pints of beer when he got into an argument at a pub with a friend. He went home to collect the single-barrelled shotgun and put it in his pocket before going back to the pub. But as he walked along the street, the gun went off.

Gular Syed, for Walker, said that his client had suffered permanent medical disability from the accident and will require further surgery to remove pellets from his leg. Sentencing was adjourned for medical reports and Walker was remanded in custody. Judge Patrick Shaw told him: "You face a sentence of custody and it’s very likely it will be five years." Walker had been due to stand trial on charges of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life or to cause fear or violence, but the charges were not proceeded with."

I am pleased to note that the piece states that Mr Walker 'accidentally' shot himself in the testicles. I would be worried if he had done it on purpose. But who would want to be a friend of Mr Walker’s if entering an argument with him causes him to go home for a sawn-off shot gun? How did Mr Walker manage to have any friends at all when arguing with him bore a risk of being shot? Although he failed to kill himself, we can be fairly sure that he will be unable to pass on his genetic inheritance to little Walkers, and so probably qualifies for the Darwin awards. It was also interesting to note that even though Mr Walker was clearly upset about the argument, he still had the presence of mind to count the number of pints he had drunk, although I am not sure why he would do that. Did he use a calculator or some kind of bead system? How did he keep track, especially while arguing?

The medical report requested by the court should prove interesting reading. "Mr Walker shot his bollocks off, your honour". What more is there to be said? We fail to learn what the argument was about.

According to a survey for the Office for National Statistics, the average couple spends 150 minutes together every day, of which they choose to spend more than one third (55 minutes) watching television. The Sunday Times writer, India Knight, who reported this fact, says she cannot understand why people like doing it in groups of two or more given that it involves sitting in silence. I have asked her to provide me with the names and addresses of any couple who sit in silence watching television. In my experience, women are not passive watchers; they prefer what might be termed interactive watching. They feel duty bound to explain the plot to the men folk and speculate on what might happen next. This is then related to other films/plots/relations/work colleagues and so on. I always wondered if men find it genetically difficult to follow plots or if they miss key parts because they are listening to the women folk. Obviously, men can’t do both.

A car crashed into Gordon White’s living room on Tuesday 6 July 2004; a year after the same car crashed into the same room driven by the same driver. The same fire crew attended and the same car recovery man came to rescue the silver Ford Escort. White of Cleckheaton (Yorks, England) said: "It was bad enough the first time, but for the same guy to do it again on the same day - it’s just like Groundhog Day." Motorist Eric Williams, 60, is thought to have had a blackout. "I wish it had been my house", he said. No doubt Mr White shares those sentiments.

There are 10 types of people in this world: those who understand binary numbers and those who don't.

In 2003, 34,427 Japanese people killed themselves and a quarter of the suicides were attributed to debt or business difficulties.

Check in again at my desk soon!
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