Thursday, November 09, 2006

Harper's Index for October

I love silly factoids and statistics, so I've always enjoyed Harper's Index.

Harper's Index for October 2006

Portion of U.S. banking assets in 1996 that were controlled by the ten largest U.S. banks: 1/4 [Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (Washington)]

Portion today: 1/2 [Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (Washington)]

Average salary package last year among all full-time employees of Goldman Sachs, including support staff: $521,000 [Goldman, Sachs & Co. (N.Y.C.)]

Chances of a recession in 2007, according to a chief economist of Merrill Lynch: 2 in 5 [David Rosenberg, Merrill Lynch (N.Y.C.)]

Number of the last six years that fine-art prices have outperformed the S&P 500: 5 [Mei Moses All Art Index (N.Y.C.)]

Percentage change since 1999 in the number of consumer complaints about harassment by U.S. debt-collection agencies: +564 [Federal Trade Commission (Washington)]

Number of Americans whose past-due accounts the IRS will turn over to private debt collectors by 2008: 350,000 [Internal Revenue Service (Washington)]

Portion of the IRS's staff of estate-tax auditors that the government plans to eliminate this year: 2/5 [National Treasury Employees Union (Washington)]

Salary of the White House's new Director for Lessons Learned: $106,641 [The White House (Washington)]

Factor by which the jobless rate among veterans under 25 of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars exceeds the U.S. average: 3 [Bureau of Labor Statistics (Washington)]

Percentage change since 2004 in the number of Army recruits admitted despite records of “serious criminal misconduct”: +54 [U.S. Army Recruiting Command (Fort Knox, Ky.)]

Estimated total number of people killed in Middle East wars since 1945: 1,640,000 [International Peace Research Institute (Oslo)/Harper's research]

Rank of the Lebanese government and Hezbollah, respectively, among Lebanon's top employers: 1, 2 [Hilal Khashan, American University of Beirut]

Days beforehand that Deep Purple had to cancel the July 27 Lebanon date on its “Rapture of the Deep” tour: 4 [Thames Talent Ltd. (Westport, Conn.)]

Hours after the start of its war against Hezbollah that Israel's army chief sold $32,000 of his stock holdings: 3 [Maariv (Tel Aviv)]

Percentage of Americans in July who said the U.S. had “a responsibility to try to resolve” the Israeli-Arab conflict: 33 [New York Times‒CBS News Polls (N.Y.C.)]

Percentage of Americans who think that the president has “a lot” of control over the price of gasoline: 63 [New York Times‒CBS News Polls (N.Y.C.)]

Number of the 66 U.S. senators favoring the anti-flag-burning amendment in June who signed up as its named sponsors: 59 [Congressional Record (Washington)]

Minimum amount of USDA farm subsidies since 2000 that have been paid out to people who do not farm: $1,300,000,000 [Washington Post (Washington)]

Minimum value of “small business” contracts given out by the U.S. last year that went to Fortune 500 firms: $1,200,000,000 [Eagle Eye Publishers, Inc. (Fairfax, Va.)]

Percentage of funds used to get Pennsylvania's Green Party Senate candidate on the ballot that came from right-wingers: 100 [Federal Election Commission (Washington)/Paul Kiel, (N.Y.C.)]

Number of U.S. coal-burning plants on which construction has begun or been completed since 2005: 153 [National Energy Technology Laboratory (Pittsburgh)]

Energy, in megawatt hours, saved over thirty-five years by a bicycle rider who does not drive a car: 109 [Karl T. Ulrich, University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)]

Portion of these savings that will be used up over the extra years the biker will live: 9/10 [Karl T. Ulrich, University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)]

Percentage change since 1990 in the number of elderly Americans: +16 [U.S. Census Bureau]

Percentage change in Nevada: +106 [U.S. Census Bureau]

Chances that a U.S. retiree says that he or she was forced to stop working earlier than planned: 2 in 5 [McKinsey & Company (N.Y.C.)]

Estimated chance, according to new fossil research, that a Tyrannosaurus rex lived to full maturity: 1 in 50 [Gregory M. Erickson, Florida State University (Tallahassee)]

Ratio of the estimated number of tigers living in the wild to the number living as U.S. pets: 1:1 [World Wildlife Fund (Washington)/The Humane Society of the United States (Washington)]

Estimated amount that a farmed tiger could fetch if sold for parts, according to an Indian free-market think tank: $120,000 [Liberty Institute (New Delhi)]

Amount the Alaska Zoo paid last year to build a treadmill for its 8,000-pound elephant: $150,000 [Alaska Zoo (Anchorage)]

Number of times the elephant has used the treadmill so far: 0 [Alaska Zoo (Anchorage)]

Factor by which the number of attacks on U.S. forest rangers last year exceeded the number in 1995: 14 [Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (Washington)]

Estimated amount that tourism will add to Rwanda's economy next year: $26,000,000 [Rwanda Office of Tourism and National Parks (Kigali)]

Number of “genocide sites” that the country has opened up to visitors: 35 [Andrea Dooley, California College of the Arts (San Francisco)]

Estimated number of minutes of cocoa picking required to make a treat-sized Hershey chocolate bar: 1 [Harper's research]

Estimated number of people worldwide who die each year from too much sun: 60,000 [World Health Organization (Geneva)]

Percentage of tea drunk in America that is served iced: 85 [Tea Association of the USA (N.Y.C.)]

Percentage of volunteers in a four-year psychedelic-mushroom study who said they experienced “strong or extreme fear”: 31 [Roland Griffiths, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Baltimore)]

Percentage who described the experience as “among the five most meaningful” in their lives: 67

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