Monday, December 21, 2009


Most actual thinking occurs in humans in the cortex of the brain, which is only on the surface and a thin 3.4 mm thick - to maximize the amount of surface area in a relatively cramped space (your skull), humans evolved brains whose surface has folds - if we unfolded the cortex it would stretch to nearly 3 square feet, or .24 square centimeters, roughly the size of a standard ironing board

The city of London has an average of 100 cameras per person, and the average resident or visitor is captured on video about 300 times a day

In the continental United States the odds that an adult will have sex within an hour of going to bed are 1 in 3.7

-- Younger generations (commonly referred to as Gen-X and Gen-Y) are more likely to give to charities focused on global issues of poverty or AIDS than older generations (Odds a Gen-Yer gave to an international charity in 2008:  1 in 4.2/ Odds that a Gen-Xer gave to a similar charity:  1 in 5.41/ Odds that a "Baby Boomer" gave:  1 in 6.76/ Odds that a "Silent Generation" person gave:  1 in 8.3/  Odds that a member of the "Great Generation" gave:  1 in 8.9)

-- Older generations tend to be drawn toward traditional charitable organizations that they are familiar with and such that care for the needs of the poor

-- About half of both the Silent Generation and the Great Generation give to charities that directly help the poor but are local, and often through their church or other place of worship

-- Younger generations are twice as likely to give to international groups and to diversify their giving among several causes, and are ten times more likely than older generations to donate online

-- Baby Boomers, of all generation groups in the U.S., are the most likely to restrict giving to charitable organizations based in the United States rather than providing assistance to groups who will carry the donation overseas

-- A 2009 report analyzed these trends and found a sharp decrease in donations to charitable organizations that meet people's basic needs of food, shelter and clothing and found a significant increase in donations to organizations working for broader public/societal shifts  -  The study concludes that these trends suggest that organizations providing local and immediate relief are struggling to keep up with innovative projects that seek to solve complex problems - digitally-connected younger generations are looking more broadly and giving globally

On average men hiccup more than women

American Charles Osbourne had the hiccups for 68 years (1922 - 1990) - they stopped as spontaneously as they had started - Osbourne had hiccuped about 50 times a minute through most of his life

Odds that an American holds at least a four-year college degree:  1 in 3.99 (roughly 25% of the population)

No single organization regularly collates STD/STI (Sexually Transmitted Disease/Sexually Transmitted Infection) statistics worldwide and individual countries vary significantly in their tracking methods and in what diseases and infections are tracked at all  -  despite this lack of hard data, the WHO (World Health Organization) estimates 340 million new cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia occurred throughout the world in 1999 in men and women aged 15-49 years  -  the WHO estimates this figure increased to over 400 million for these same age groups in 2009

About 5 million tons of petroleum produced each year ends up in the oceans

In the U.S., about 30% of energy used in households is consumed in heating water 

Despite the recent crash of world markets and a drastic recession in the U.S., the United States controls 53% of the world's wealth

Percent of Dutch teens who can speak fluent English:  90%
Percent of American teens who can speak fluent English:  84%

A lawsuit is filed against Walmart every 3 seconds each day somewhere in the world

By the end of the first quarter of 2010, the United Nations predicts India will become the home to the largest population of English speakers in the world

Country where you are most likely to be arrested:  United States 

Longest prison sentence given to an individual for a single crime:  10,000 years to a U.S. convict for the crime of murder

Number one behavioral cause of death:  Tobacco smoking

Men tend to dream about men, while women tend to dream about men and women with equal frequency

On average, 12 babies are given to the wrong parent(s) at hospital each day around the world

New York City has been undergoing work on the Second Avenue Subway project since 1919

Percent of Americans who say they save pennies:  92%

A single space shuttle toilet costs $24 million

Honda pays prisoners jailed in the U.S. $2 an hour for the same labor an autoworker in a factory would be doing for $25 an hour with benefits

Prison labor in the U.S. typically produces auto parts, blue jeans and other garments, electronics and furniture

In Oregon, 100% of state prisoners must work  -  in March 2007, Colorado replaced "illegal" farm workers with Homeland Security-mandated prisoners who now earn 60 cents a day (a prisoner who loses a day of work for illness or refusal, loses "good time" credit which can extend his or her length of incarceration)

While the incidence of crime has decreased in nearly every category in the U.S., including murder and other violent crime, the number of prisons has increased to meet the needs of an increase in those incarcerated, and sentences have also increased  -  many prisons are now privately-owned and operated, supplying prison labor for companies such as Walmart, JC Penney, Toys-R-Us, Revlon, McDonald's, Starbucks, Nintendo, and Dell Computers  (the largest users of prison labor)

Generally, for each dollar paid to a prisoner 20 cents is deducted for their incarceration, 11 cents is deducted for state and federal taxes, 10 cents goes to state victim compensation funds, and 59 cents goes to the prisoner who will work nearly two hours to earn $1 in net pay

Native Americans are the largest prison population in the United States per capita, followed by African Americans and Latinos  -  whites comprise the largest population by sheer number but that is declining   

The U.S. national unemployment rate is 10% but for Blacks and Native Americans in some areas of the country these groups face triple-digit unemployment rates or higher

Prisoners in 37 states now work for private corporations, including female prisoners who often are employed as customer service operators or reservation processors for airlines and rental car companies

Percent of men who claim they did not enjoy their first consensual sexual encounter:  14%  -  percent of women:  60%


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