"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
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In 1939, George Bernard Dantzig, a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, arrived late for a statistics class. He copied down the two problems on the board, assuming that they were the homework, and handed the problems in a few days later. Several weeks later, Dantzig was awakened by his statistics professor excitedly knocking at the door. It turned out that the two "homework" problems were in fact hitherto unsolved problems in statistics that Dantzig had managed to prove. (source)
World Statistics Day was celebrated for the first time on October 20th, 2010. (source)
In 1915, statistics were compiled from 18 U.S. states of the number of deaths from three branches of outdoor sport. 16 people were killed in football, 59 in hunting, and 59 in baseball. (source)
In the 2001 census for England and Wales, around 390,000 people specified their religion as "Jedi". The Office for National Statistics in the United Kingdom does not recognise "Jedi" as a separate category, so those listing "Jedi" were classified as atheists. (source)
You might think that the most common street name in the United States would be "First", but according to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, the most common street name is "Second", with 10,866 occurrences. Funny enough though, "First" isn't in second place either; "Third" is in second place with 10,131 occurrences, while "First" is in third place with 9,898. (source)
The population of the Earth can be a source of many interesting statistics. In the year 8,000 B.C., there were only 5 million people on Earth. Four thousand years later, the population had only risen by 2 million people, to 7 million people. Nowadays, Earth's population rises by 2 million roughly every nine days. (source)
In 1662, John Graunt, a London merchant, published the first set of actuarial tables in his book Observations on the Bills of Mortality. Graunt provides many interesting statistics regarding causes of deaths in London in 1632. Seven people are listed as being murdered, 10 people as having died from cancer, and no specific mention is made of heart ailments. On the other hand, 13 people are listed as having died from "planet", 38 from "king's evil", and 98 from "rising of the lights". Possibly the saddest statistic, however, is that out of 9,535 deaths that year, infants made up 2,268 of them, over 23%. (source)
Twins occur once in approximately 87 births.
Over 88% of the world's population lives north of the Equator. (source)
In total, Americans drive around 7,000,000,000 miles on an average day.
Over 50% of people who win the lottery jackpot return to work.
The typical person breathes 370,000 cubic metres of air in their lifetime.
According to a study by Swiss researchers, people are 14% more likely to die on their birthday than on some other day of the year. (source)
In the United States, a person's lifetime risk of being struck by lightning is 1 in 10,000.
A group of researchers counted the number of troubles in the world, and came up with a total of 2,653. (source)
It is estimated that most people forget 99% of phone numbers given to them but not written down or otherwise recorded.
The number of television sets in American homes increased around 10,000% between 1947 and 1952. (source)
Britain's Royal Mail lost 14.4 million letters in 2002–03. (source)
Thirteen percent of the world's population lives in deserts, which account for about one-third of the Earth's land surface.
On August 18, 1913, on an unbiased roulette wheel at Monte Carlo, evens came up 26 times in a row. The probability of this happening is 1 in 136,823,184.
Railway passengers in Great Britain wasted the equivalent of 4,632 years in 2001 as a result of late trains. (source)
One's lifetime risk of dying due to living with a smoker is 1 in 4,200. (source)
In a game of bridge, there are 53,644,737,765,488,792,839,237,440,000 possible ways in which the cards can be dealt. (source)
Half of the population of Uganda is under 15 years of age. (source)
It has been estimated that over 100,000 different religious faiths have existed since the dawn of humanity. Most of them, of course, have failed. (source)
100 people a year choke to death on ball-point pens.
For every 100,000 girls, 223 will become doctors and 17,475 will become nurses.
Around 40% of murders occur during arguments. (source)
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In 1936, Literary Digest magazine polled 10 million people using the telephone and its mailing list to try to predict the outcome of the United States presidential election, more people than in any previous presidential election survey. Their results indicated that Alf Landon, the Republican candidate, would defeat Franklin Roosevelt, the Democratic candidate, by a margin of 370 electoral votes to 161; however, in the election, Landon was trounced by Roosevelt by a margin of 523 electoral votes to 8, at the time the largest landslide in a contested presidential election. The problem with the survey was that, during the Great Depression, telephones and magazine subscriptions were luxuries that not everybody could afford. Those who could afford such luxuries tended to vote Republican, but the voting public in general was more inclined to vote Democrat. (source)
A 1947 study found that during the Second World War, only about 15 to 25 percent of the American infantry ever fired their rifles in combat. (source)
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