Numbers Don't Lie

Friday, March 31, 2006

Numbers for March 30, 2006

1) Heart attack risk up to 4 times higher in pregnancy. If you get pregnant over 40, your risk of a heart attack is 30 times of that of a pregnant woman under 20.

2) In its annual April Fools' Day survey, found 33% of workers have played a practical joke on a co-worker and 17% are planning office tricks for this year's holiday.

3)10-12% of the human population has historically preferred the left hand.


Thursday, March 30, 2006

How to become a millionaire ?

In US, households with a net worth of at least $1 million, excluding primary residences, rose 8% to a record high 8.9 million, according to a recent survey. How to get this rich ? Old tricks:
1) 46% of those surveyed own investment real estate, like a second home or rental properties;
2) 70% owned stocks and bonds, and 68% owned mutual funds;
3) 19% owned in whole or part a professional practice or privately held business;
4) median age of the head of millionaire households is 58, and 45% are retired - wealth is the result of long-term wealth accumulation.


Are obese men feebleminded ?

Men who are obese may have less brainpower than their trim counterparts, according the research done at University of Boston. The study found that men with a BMI of 30 or more scored on average 23% lower marks in tests of mental acuity. However, the study didn't make it clear whether the obesity is causing the lower IQ, or vice versa. Also, no similar link could be detected for obese women.

Obesity is already known to significantly increase the risk of strokes, cancer and heart disease. Recently, the same researcher has found a positive link between high cholesterol and IQ.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

It is deadly to be lonely

A new study has found that loneliness in people over 50 increases their risk of high blood pressure. The loneliest people studied had blood pressure readings as much as 30 points higher than those who weren't lonely. This suggests loneliness can be as bad for the heart as being overweight or inactive.
Source: Psychology and Aging, March, 2006.


Monday, March 27, 2006

Heavy smokers likely to be impotent

Smoking may increase a man's risk of impotence by almost 40%, The correlation shows up in men who smoke more than a pack a day. Smoking up to 20 cigarettes a day correlated with a 24% increase in impotence. Data can be explained by nicotine and other related chemicals diminishing blood flow to the penis and blood pressure in it. However here is the good finding: moderate alcohol consumption significantly reduced the risk of impotence.

Source : Tobacco Control


Waist vs. IQ

56% of U.S. women surveyed said they would rather have a thinner waist than a higher IQ.
Source: survey


Stressed-out workers at much higher risk for heart disease

According to a latest British medical research, people who are seriously stressed out at work, are 2 times likely to suffer from obese, insulin intolerance, high blood pressure, high cholesterol than their laid-back coworkers. The funny (and sad) thing is, workers near the bottom of the corporate ladder are 2 times likely develop those heart disease and other cardiovascular problems than workers at the top of the corporate ladder.
Source: British Medical Journal, Jan. 21, 2006


Sunday, March 26, 2006

Humans spur worst extinctions since end of dinosaurs

According to the "Global Biodiversity Outlook 2", a report released by the United Nation's Convention on Biological Diversity, we humans are currently responsible for the 6th major extinction event in the history of the Earth, and the greatest since the dinosaurs disappeared, 65 million years ago. The other four extinctions were about 205, 250, 375 and 440 million years ago. Scientists suspect that asteroid strikes, volcanic eruptions or sudden climate shifts may explain the five.
It estimated the current pace of extinctions was 1,000 times faster than historical rates. Other conclusions in this report:
1) 2/3 of the services provided by nature to humankind are in decline, worldwide;
2) demand for resources globally exceeds the biological capacity of the Earth by some 20%;
3) the average abundance of species declined 40% between 1970 and 2000 while species in species in rivers, lakes and marshlands have declined by 50%.


Saturday, March 25, 2006

How to make your wife happy ?

A new research determined that women whose husbands bring home more than 68% of the bacon are the most content.
Regardless of what married women say they believe about gender, even for egalitarian-minded ones, women are happier when their marriages are organized along more gendered lines. In another words, wife want their husband being a good provider — provided that he is also emotionally engaged and fair.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

How babies learn their first words ?

Parents are probably already know this - babies are learning words at 10 months old. However parents don't know that babies don't care much what they say - infants tend to grasp the names of objects that interest them rather than whatever the speaker thinks is important, a new study, led by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a professor of psychology at Temple University, finds.
The infants were able to learn two new words in 5 minutes with just 5 presentations for each word and object. Importantly, the babies paired a new word to the object they liked best, regardless of what object the speaker referred to.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Where did the money go ?

The US economy has been growing since 2001, but all the benefits of that growth have gone into corporate profits instead of employees. In 2005, more than 80% of American workers saw their inflation-adjusted wages fall for the second year in a row.

Since 1990, while median family income has risen 5.8%, the cost of a bachelor’s degree jumped 63% at public colleges and 47% at private colleges. Health-insurance premiums rose 9.2% in 2005, more than 2.5 times the inflation rate.


Can love last a lifetime ?

A team of scientist recently found that romantic love involves chemical changes in the brain that last 12 - 18 months. After that, you and your partner are on your own.

Source: Reader's Digest, March, 2006.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Love that dog

66% of dog owner say they'd work longer hours with their dogs.
49% who say they'd switch jobs if they could take their dogs to work.
32% say they'd take a pay cut to work with their dogs.
-- from a survey of 150 of dog owners by


Monday, March 20, 2006

The cheating culture

If RadioShack CEO dared to lie about a 4-year college degree on his resume, which is something very fundamental as well as verifiable, then I guess anyone can cheat.
A recent Gallup survey reports that 70% of public high school students admit to serious test cheating, and 60% of public high school students say they've plagiarized papers.


America's big home

Remember the old definition of "good life" ? Which goes something like: " Japanese wife, French chef, English garden, America (big) home".
Below are average sizes of new homes built in various developed countries:
United States - 2,349 Sq. feet
Canada - 1,800
New Zealand - 1,900
Australia - 2,200
U.K. - 815
Ireland - 930
Japan - 1,000
The average American home swelled from 983 square feet in 1950, to 2,349 square feet in 2004 -- a 240% increase. Yet the American household shrank by 18% between 1970 and 2003, from 3.14 people to 2.57, on average.


Three year Iraq war stats

1) total civilian deaths - 33,661
2) US military casualties - 2,314, UK military casualties 103
3) Iraqi police killed - 1,914
4) the cost of US military - $200 million each and every day
5) number of WMDs found - 0
6) the average Iraqi policeman, doctor, teacher or soldier earns 5 or 10 times his previous salary
7) Iraqi security forces currently only controlled about 50% of the country
8) prospect of future - most Iraqis expect to face at least several more years of sectarian violence and instability
9) President George W. Bush approval rating - only 29% of the people surveyed - a new low- approved Bush’s handling of the situation in Iraq
10) Iraq political freedom - from none to dozens of newspapers, television stations and political parties


Saturday, March 18, 2006

Why South American tribes are warlike people ?

Napoleon Chagnon is a Professor Emeritus of Sociobiology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. For many decades he studied the Yanomamo, a warlike people who live in the forests of Brazil and Venezuela. He found that men who had killed in battle had 3 times as many children as those who had not. Since personality is heritable, this would be a mechanism for Yanomamo nature to evolve and become fiercer than usual.


Anorexia is mostly genetic

People with anorexia have a distorted body image and refuse to maintain a minimally acceptable body weight. Anorexics are about 10 times more likely to die in a given period of time than peers the same age.
A study of twins suggests anorexia is mostly genetic. Researchers compared the disorder's frequency in identical twins, who share all their genes, and fraternal twins, who share half their genes. They deduced that 56% of the "liability" for getting anorexia is genetic.
Conclusions: since the disease isn't "a choice", patients can stop being scolded by doctors, and insurers will have to pay for treatment. Parents don't have to feel guilty about giving their daughter an anorexic upbringing, or blame their parents for passing anorexic genes.


Friday, March 17, 2006

Spring break

74% of female college students and graduates said women on spring-break trips use drinking as an excuse for hehavior like public displays of nudity and table dancing.
57% of female students said being promiscuous is a way to fit in.

Source - TIME, March 20, 2006


China fact of the day

84 % of new car sales in China are to first-time buyers. In the U.S., just 1% are.
Source: Business Week, March 20, 2006


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Does music forms part of a your identity ?

You probably know why blogger's user profile , or most dating web sites, list participants favorite music. We all guess that music tastes may help people get to know someone. Here is a latest quantitative study on this subject:
A group of 74 students was asked to fill out a personality questionnaire, and also to make a list of their ten favorite songs. For each participant, the researchers created a CD of their top ten songs. Now a new set of eight observers was recruited to listen to each of the 74 CDs. After listening to a CD, the observers then tried to predict the personality traits of the person who had picked the songs on that CD. Observers rated participants on the same scale which participants had used to rate themselves previously. How did the observers do? In all, observers' ratings of participants were positively correlated with 14 different personality traits, such as conscientiousness, extraversion, forgiveness, imagination. The correlation numbers, for many of personality traits, range from 0.2 to 0.6. (correlations number scale from +1 to -1, with +1 being a perfect correlation and -1 being a perfect inverse correlation [opposite]). Researcher found that music preferences even beat videos and photos in allowing observers to predict the participants' own ratings of their agreeableness, emotional stability, and openness to experience.
Source: Rentfrow, P.J., & Gosling, S.D. (2006). Message in a ballad: The role of music preferences in interpersonal perception. Psychological Science, 17(3), 236-242.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Male drivers waste six million hours a year

"Christopher Columbus did not need directions and neither do we" - men's motto about driving.
Based on responses from 2,000 adults, the UK based Royal Automobile Club Direct Insurance found that men who are lost wait an average of 20 minutes before giving up and asking for directions. In total, British male drivers waste nearly six million hours a year lost on the road because they are reluctant to ask for directions. Women only wait 10 minutes before seeking help. Men even endure a "nagging period" of around 10 minutes from their partner before throwing in the towel and stopping to ask the way, the poll showed.
The survey also revealed that only 27% of couples plan their journeys before setting off.


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I couldn’t help it baby, it’s in my genes

There may be a genetic component to infidelity, says a professor at the Twin Research Unit at St. Thomas’ Hospital, London. This is based on the fact that if one twin exhibits infidelity, the other twin strays 55% of the time. In the general population, the number is 23%. The tendency to remain faithful is a component of personality, the scientist elaborates, which is governed both by a number of genes and societal factors.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Life's algorithm

I received a fun letter from a friend last week through email. The email has been circulating in US for last 3-4 years. This was 3rd time for me to receive the same thing, and it makes me laugh and reflect again. In case you missed it before, here it is :
> Smart man + smart woman = romance
> Smart man + dumb woman = affair
> Dumb man + smart woman = marriage
> Dumb man + dumb woman = pregnancy
> Smart boss + smart employee = profit
> Smart boss + dumb employee = production
>Dumb boss + smart employee = working from home
>Dumb boss + dumb employee = overtime
> A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs.
> A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn't need.
> A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.
> A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.
> A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.
> A successful woman is one who can find such a man.


Friday, March 10, 2006

The magical number 7

Back in the 1950s, a Harvard psychologist named George A. Miller wrote "The Magical number seven, plus or minus two," a landmark journal article. Miller studied short-term memory, especially the quick memorization of random sequences of numbers. He wanted to know, going into the study, how many numbers people could be reliably expected to remember a few minutes after having been told those numbers only once.
The answer - the magical number - was about 7. Some people able to remember 8 or 9 numbers and equal number of people able to remember only 5 or 6 numbers, so Miller figured that 7 (plus or minus 2) numbers accurately represented the ability range of nearly the entire population. That is why all local telephone numbers were designed as 7-digits.
Miller's concept went beyond numbers, though, to other organization of data. For example, most of us can remember about 7 recently learned pieces of similarly classified data, like names or clues in a parlor game. This is also explained the magic number 6 in my last post ( "Winner takes it all").
Source - Accidental Empires , Chapter 2.


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Winner takes it all

Although web users now have almost 76 million sites to choose from, yet most only visit 6 on a regular basis, according to a UK study. What's more, 95% say they go online with a specific destination in mind. The researchers are calling this the 'Supersite' phenomenon. The same is true here is US, I strongly believe.


Happy endings

According to a recent survey, 41% of respondents are overwhelmingly in favour of books with a happy ending, as against 2.2% who like it sad. Women were 13% more likely than men to say they want it all to end happily. Almost 1/5 of men expressed a preference for books with ambiguous endings.
Young people were most likely to prefer books with a sad ending - 8.6% of under 16s. Those aged 41-65, however, a group with more personal experience of sadness, dislike sad endings, with only 1.1% preferring books that end this way.


Sleep deprived nation

Although health experts recommend 8 hours of sleep each day, Americans' average weeknight sleep time is 6.5 hours. Every year drowsy U.S. drivers cause 80,000 to 100,000 car crashes, resulting in 1,5000 deaths and 71,000 injuries.
Source: TIME, March 13, 2006.


Monday, March 06, 2006

Sex with a partner is 400% better

All lovers feel that sexual intercourse with orgasm is better, more satisfying than an orgasm from masturbation alone. But how much better ?
In biology terms, following orgasm, our body releases a hormone called prolactin, which make us feel satiated. In a recent study, (Biological Psychology, vol 71, p312), scientists shown that after orgasm from sexual intercourse, the increase in blood prolactin level is 400% higher in both men and women, when compared with after orgasm from masturbation.

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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Women and depression

"Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is most depressed of all ?"
Scientists found that depression is 200% more likely in women as in men. Parenting increases her risk, not his.
Source: 6, 2006)


Until death do us apart ?

I know many old couples, my relatives included, after one of them dying, the spouse died within a year. It turned out that anything that is really physically, or mentally disabling to you, it is also harmful for your partner. A recent study (Reuters, Feb. 15) by Nicholas A. Christakis (Harvard Medical School) found that a man's risk of dying increases 22% if his spouse is hospitalized, and woman's risk rises by 16% in the reverse situation.

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Boss envy

Commenting on my previous post "Your bosses live longer than you", one reader asked whether I am the boss or the employee. I am not the boss. Here are more stats on the topic of bosses and employees:
54% workers who said they would never be paid enough to take their boss's job;
21% workers who said they pity their bosses;
On the other hand, in 2004, Company CEO's median salaries and bonus increased 14.5%, whereas average American works pay increased 3.7%.
Source: Money Magazine , March , 2006

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Friday, March 03, 2006

Your bosses live longer than you

Starting from 2001, Donald A. Redelmeier, a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, has been counting life expectancy for every actor and actress ever nominated for the Academy Oscars Award. His results were clear - oscar winners live nearly 4 years longer than losers, in another words, a 28% relative reduction in death rates. His theory: winners can bask in victory.
Researchers have long known that higher social status can indicate longer life. One famous study of British civil servants found that mortality rates declined as pay grades rose. An analysis of a 19th-century Irish cemetery showed that longer lives won taller gravestones.
So, I know you hate to hear this, but your bosses do live longer than you.anti-aging, anti-aging

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

The difference between deciding and doing

"5 frogs are sitting on a log. 4 decide to jump off. How many are left? Answer: 5. Why? Because there's a difference between deciding and doing."
Source: quote from The House select committee report on Katrina ("A Failure of Initiative"), page v (pg. 8 of the pdf).


Your DNA spell out your last name

A swipe of blood, semen, saliva or any other DNA-carrying bodily evidence at a crime scene can help implicate a suspect- if the police have one handy. But if there’s no one under suspicion, the DNA is largely useless.
Now researchers at the University of Leicester and the University of Essex in the UK have developed a method for linking genetic material to a last name. Here is the rational - the Y chromosome DNA, which determines maleness, is paternally inherited, just like most surnames in England. So, the scientists tested for Y chromosome DNA similarity among men with the same last name.
For some popular names such as Smith, researcher said they could predict a man's surname using his DNA data with 20% of accuracy; for names that are less popular, being in the bottom 80% of the regularity spectrum, they could up their success rate to about a 33% of the time. Not bad at all.
In the future, if the police go to a crime scene, got the DNA, they can analyze the Y-chromosome DNA, put it in this database and see what surnames it brings up. It might let police prioritize the suspect list - in UK, at least.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Am I crazy ?

For Americans who have wondered, "Am I crazy ?" the answer, it appears, could be easily yes. A 2004 study by the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions indicated that nearly 15% of adults meet the diagnostic criteria for one or more personality disorders.
For some medical/disease survey in recent years, this one included, I tend to suspect those survey results were inflated by ambiguous or subjective questions. But the surveys with alarming results do inspire more research and a public understanding.
Below are more details on the percentage of Americans adults with personality disorders from that study:
Obsessive, compulsive --- 7.9%
Paranoid --- 4.4%
Antisocial --- 3.6%
Schizoid --- 3.1%
Avoidant --- 2.4%
Histrionic --- 1.8%
Dependent --- 0.5%