Thursday, October 13, 2005


I get a kick out of numbers, and stats. I know that stats can be abused, and used to prove nearly anything. Hold that thought. A 40-something year old lady across the parking lot just did the thumb on nose, fingers up, wiggling, tongue sticking out hand gesture. Awesome. She's got a mullet too. I can't tell who it was directed at, because the only other person in the parking lot is an old man, who didn't seem to react at all. Wow.
Anyway, stats. Yah, they're fun. Monthly, our good friends at Harper's Magazine publish the 'Harper's Index'. I think I've posted highlights from it before. The most recent index is great. Here's a small sampling:
Increase in the total value of U.S. residential property since 2000, expressed as a percentage of 1. GDP : 60[Federal Reserve Board (Washington)/Bureau of Economic Analysis (Washington)]

Increase in the value of all U.S. stocks between 1995 and 2000, as a percentage of GDP : 59[U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission/Bureau of Economic Analysis (Washington)]

Chances that a U.S. job created since 2001 has been in a housing-related field : 2 in 5[ (West Chester, Pa.)]

Number of consecutive years that the value of housing in Japan has dropped since its housing bubble burst : 14[Japan Real Estate Institute (Tokyo)]

Average number of $75 anal bleachings that an L.A.-area salon performs each day : 5[Pink Cheeks Salon (Los Angeles)]

Number of chickens trained by European scientists to choose between photos of human faces by pecking : 6[Stefano Ghirlanda, Universita di Bologna (Bologna)]

Chances that college students select as "most desirable" the same face chosen by the chickens : 49 in 50[Stefano Ghirlanda, Universita di Bologna (Bologna)]

Numeral whose underlying concept has been partially understood by a Massachusetts parrot, according to scientists : 0


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