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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 # 83: Growing new teeth… February 2005

Can you imagine working for a company that has a little more than 500 employees and has the following statistics:

29 have been accused of spousal abuse

7 have been arrested for fraud

19 have been accused of writing bad cheques

117 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses

3 have done time for assault

71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit

14 have been arrested on drug-related charges

8 have been arrested for shoplifting

21 are currently defendants in lawsuits

84 have been arrested for drunk driving in the last year

Can you guess which organisation this is?

It's the 535 members of the SOUTH AFRICAN PARLIAMENT - the same group that cranks out hundreds of new laws each year designed to keep the rest of the population in line.

In the US in 1900, only 13% of the population was aged 50 or older. In 2000, more than 27% had reached or surpassed their 50th birthdays. And by 2020, that figure will grow to more than 35%. One ray of hope is that in the UK, researchers believe that they have unlocked the genetic code that will enable people, using their own DNA, to grow new teeth. I fancy a new set of choppers.

In the US, there are 60 million grandparents and 72% of everybody over 50 in the US is a grandparent with the averaege age of first-time grandparents being 47.

Massachusetts, considered to be a liberal state (gay marriage, high taxes, social permissiveness) voted for John Kerry over George Bush by 62% to 37% whereas gun-toting, traditional Texas voted 61% to 38% for Bush. The divorce rate in Massachusetts is 2.4 per thousand inhabitants; in Texas it’s 4.1. The states with the highest divorce rates are from the South - Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia. Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Olklahoma; the lowest divorce rates are in Conneticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. All the high divorce states voted for Bush; every low state went for Kerry. 29% of Baptists and 21% of Catholics have been divorced. 23% of born-again Christians have been divorced twice or more. In Texas, 16.1% of births are to teenagers whereas in Massachusetts, it’s 7.4%.

In Texas, 32,4% of people are unmarried; in Massachusetts, it’s 26.8%. Even with a higher marriage rate, Massachusetts has a divorce rate almost half that of Texas. In liberal Holland, abortions are 6.8 per thousand women; in the religious, conservative US, it’s 21.

And the peace-loving US spends more on ‘defence’ than the next 20 countries put together. I can’t remember that many countries attacking the US. Perhaps that’s why they spend so much on defence.

The World’s Greatest Book of Useless Information by Noel Botham contains the following:

Mageirocophobia is the intense fear of cooking. I have an intense fear of eating what I have cooked but I don’t know what that is called except maybe rational.

The average adult spends 77 minutes a day eating. I know some people who seem to spend 77 minutes a day not eating.

Twins are born less frequently in the East than the West.

Margaret Thatcher is Honorary Vice-President of Blackburn Rovers football club (Blackburn for my overseas readers is the place where, according to the Beatles, there are 10,000 holes).

In Florida, it is illegal to sing in a public place while wearing a swimsuit. Having seen some of the contents of swimsuits in Florida, I think that people who don’t sing while wearing swimsuits should also be arrested on the grounds of bad taste.

Ten percent of your body weight would be from micro-organisms on your body if you were freeze dried. I wonder who voluteered to discover this fact?

In Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting, The Last Supper, a salt cellar near Judas Iscariot is knocked over. This is said to have started the superstition that spilling salt is unlucky. I was taught that it was Judas’ betrayal that lead to the Crucifixion but that it was the Crucifixion that lead to the redemption of man. So if Jesus hadn’t been betrayed we’d still not be redeemed. So, Judas actually did us all a big favour. Anyway, it’s unlucky to be superstitious.

Children born in May are 200 grams heavier than children born in any other month.

Elvis Presley weighed 5lbs at birth and had a still born twin. You have to wonder what would have happened if that twin had lived. Definitely one for blokes to argue about down the pub.

There is more alcohol in mouthwash than in wine. So maybe you should switch from that rough red.

A ‘nullipara’ is a woman who has never borne a child. I thought they were just called careful.

Four percent of the food we eat will be eaten in front of the refrigerator door with it open. How did they gather this information?

Monday is the favourite day for committing suicide. No explanation needed.

Shakespeare invented the phrase, "laugh it off" and the words, "bedroom" and "puke". So, children, I want you to write a sentence using words that Shakespeare invented.....

In Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift described the two moons of Mars - Phobos and Deimos - giving their correct sizes and speeds of rotation - more than 100 years before either moon was discovered. Very odd.

The catfish has more tastebuds than any other creature - more than 27,000. Now what is the point of that? Can a catfish enjoy a good claret?

The can opener was invented 48 years after cans were introduced. So what would possess people to buy cans that they couldn’t open? Yes, I know that they would use other methods to open cans, but it must have been a big handicap in selling the things. Why didn’t the inventer of cans go the whole hog and invent something to open them with? Why did he just stop there? Maybe his wife threatened him for spending too much time in the garden shed.

Male hospital patients fall out of bed twice as often as female patients.

In the 1631 publication of the Bible, a printer accidentally (yeah, right!), omitted the word ‘not’ from the seventh commandment encouraging readers to commit adultery. What a great promotional idea. Must put it on my ‘to do’ list.

Check in again at my desk soon!
stan@adweb.co.uk

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