Numbers Don't Lie

Saturday, April 29, 2006

IQ determine wealth and of nations

According to the recent book IQ and the Wealth of Nations, among many factors explaining why some countries are rich while others are poor, it is the people's IQ that does the heavy lifting -- for the 81 countries, the mean national IQ correlates powerfully - 0.73 - with per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP). (In the social sciences, correlations of 0.2 are said to be "low," 0.4 are "moderate," and 0.6 are "high"; so 0.73 is most impressive).


Friday, April 28, 2006

When mama's not happy, nobody's happy

Sex is more satisfying in countries where women and men are considered equal, according to an international study of people between the ages of 40 and 80, by researchers at the University of Chicago.
Austria topped the list of 29 nations studied with 71% of those surveyed reported being satisfied with their sex lives. Spain, Canada, Belgium and the United States also reported high rates of satisfaction. The lowest satisfaction rate -- 25.7 % -- was reported in Japan.
Researcher believes that the "male-centered cultures where sexual behavior is more oriented toward procreation tend to discount the importance of sexual pleasure for women''.
As the saying goes, when mama's not happy, nobody's happy.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Do human use only 10 percent of their brains ?

There are several variations on this statement- humans use only 10% of their brains. This folkloric statement has been around for at least a century. Fortunately, it's just not true. A recent MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) imaging clearly demonstrates that humans put most of their cerebral cortex to good use, even while dozing.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Lack of sleep can lead to high blood pressure

People who get less than 6 hours of sleep are 60% more likely to get high blood pressure, a recent study show. The pattern starts at age 32 but stops at age 60, possibly because people with high blood pressure and other risk factors die out by that age(60).
According to James E. Gangwisch, the lead author of the study offer following explanation for above observation:
1) sleep deprivation overworks your heart;
2) lack of sleep changes your insulin sensitivity and appetite, thereby making you fat;
3) not enough sleep makes you cranky, gloomy, and impatient, thereby ruining your health habits.


Girls much quicker than boys at timed tasks

I know for fact that my wife and my female co-workers get routine tasks done quicker than I do. A new study of 8,000 people age 2 to 90 found females handle timed tasks more quickly than males. The difference is most pronounced among pre-teens and teenagers. On the portions of standardized tests that reflected processing speed, and among those age 14-18 in the study sample, girls scored 8.1% higher than boys. However researcher made it clear that the study did not reveal significant overall intelligence difference by gender, and "to truly understand a person's overall ability, it is important to also look at performance in un-timed situations".

Source: Intelligence, May-June, 2006.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Churchgoers live longer

The common believe that churchgoers live longer tuned out to be true. A new study finds people who attend religious services weekly live 1.8-3.1 years longer. Researcher speculated that the social aspect of religion could play a role in the results; religion can decrease people's level of stress in life or increase their ability to cope with stress.


Monday, April 24, 2006

Immigrants have lower unemployment than native-born

In 2005 foreign-born workers (whites, blacks, Asians, Hispanics--in all cases) only had a 4.6% unemployment rate, substantially lower than the 5.2% for native-born workers. That's according to a new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In my opinion, in order to come to America one has to overcome adversity to achieve a long term goal, the (legal) immigration itself is an asset on a person's resume.


Sunday, April 23, 2006

To be on diet or not to be ?

Some data show that the idea of all Americans being obsessed with weight loss is a myth - a 1993 Yankelovich survey found that over 50% of Americans said they weren't at all concerned with watching their weight, and studies show that fewer than 25% of Americans are dieting. In 2002 Glamour magazine asked more than 11,000 readers what they would give up to slim down permanently. 75% would not give up eating dessert, and only 41% would pay $3,000 to be thin forever. Almost 25% said they would not give up anything to lose weight.

The simple fact is that losing weight just isn't that important to many people.


Saturday, April 22, 2006

The oil and us

Nearly 88% of Americans drive to work each day, with an average round-trip taking 52 minutes. No wonder United States is the world's largest user of petroleum, consumes about 20 million barrels a day.

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Friday, April 21, 2006

The Lake Wobegon effect and obesity

Have you heard of "the Lake Wobegon effect" before? According to the wikipedia, the Lake Wobegon effect is the human tendency to overestimate one's achievements and capabilities in relation to others. It is named for the fictional town of Lake Wobegon from the radio series A Prairie Home Companion, where, according to the show host Garrison Keillor, "all the children are above average". One example: surveying drivers, Ole Svenson (1981) found that 80% of respondents rated themselves in the top 30% of all drivers.
Here is the latest one: a Pew Research Center study found that 90% American adults say most of their fellow Americans are overweight, but just 70% say this about "the people they know", and only just 39% say they themselves are overweight.


Thursday, April 20, 2006

The power of BECAUSE

Some people are influential because they are good at using right words at right time. (I doubt those skill are teachable in a short period of time). For example - influential people like to use the word 'because'. The power of 'because' has actually been documented by social psychologist Ellen Langer. Langer performed an experiment where she asked to cut in line to use a copy machine. She tested three different ways of asking, and recorded the results:
Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?
60% said OK.
Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I'm in a rush?
94% said OK.
It appears that giving the "reason why" of because I'm in a rush boosted the effectiveness of the request immensely.
But here is the kicker:
Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies?
93% said OK.
The word "because" is so powerful that it didn't really seem to matter what is the "reason why".


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Is overworked American a myth ?

Although we often felt we overworked on the jobs, a recent quantitative study show that in US, leisure for men actually increased by 6-8 hours per week (driven by a decline in working hours) and for women by 4-8 hours per week (driven by a decline in home working hours). This increase in leisure corresponds to roughly an additional 5 to 10 weeks of vacation per year, assuming a 40-hour work week. Some people believe leisure hours in the US are also higher than they are in Europe.

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Monday, April 17, 2006

How we prepare taxes ?

In US, here is how people likely to prepare for their 2005 federal income taxes:
1) 60% people use professional helps, like H&R Block;
2) 20% people use software such as Turbo Tax;
3) 20% people still use pencil & paper.
80% of Americans think the tax code is too complex. More people complained about the complexity of doing their taxes than about how much they had to pay.

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

How long does it take to notice if someone's attractive?

We all know attractive people receive preferential treatment - they're more likely to be noticed, dated, hired, and promoted. There was a recent study trying to answer this question - how long does it take to notice if someone's attractive? The results is 13 milliseconds; as if people noticed it before people even know they looked. Researcher found people's (brain) reaction times to attractive faces were significantly faster than that of un-attractive faces.


Many people think US Tax system is not fair

An recent Ipsos Poll found almost six of 10 people, 58%, say the system is unjust, a number that is virtually unchanged from 20 years ago. People think the middle class, the self-employed and small businesses pay too much in taxes, while those with high incomes and big businesses don’t pay enough.


Laughter therapy

According a recent report, just the anticipation of the mirthful laughter involved in watching your favorite funny movie has some very surprising and significant neuroendocrine/hormone effects. In this research, the blood drawn from experimental subjects just before they watched the video had 27% more beta-endorphins and 87% more human growth hormone, compared to blood from the control group, which didn't anticipate the watching of a humorous video.

Researcher say "mirthful laughter diminishes the secretion of cortisol and epinephrine, while enhancing immune reactivity.... The physiological effects of a single one-hour session viewing a humorous video has appeared to last up to 12 to 24 hours in some individuals, while other studies of daily 30-minute exposure produces profound and long-lasting changes in these measures".


Friday, April 14, 2006

Beer, wine and lung cancer

Beer may increase your risk of lung cancer—but wine may lower it. In recent studies, after discounting smoking, drinking up to six beers per week increased the risk of lung cancer by 20%, and by 50% for seven or more beers consumed in the same period. Beer appears especially harmful to men who did not eat fruit and vegetables regularly.
However, men who drank wine saw their lung cancer risk drop by 40%, and women by 70%.
Researcher say above data could be explained by the different components that go into beer and wine or different lifestyles of beer and wine drinkers.


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Don't worry, anxiety has its benefits

People in general don't want to be anxious. But is it possible that being anxious is actually a sensible approach for staying alive in dangerous situations ? To answer this question, a recent research studied fortunes of 5,362 people in UK. The researchers found that those individuals who had higher anxiety were significantly less likely to die in accidental circumstances before they were 25 (only 0.1% of them did) than were non-anxious people (0.72% of them did).
It’s not all good news for anxious people though. Researchers found after the age of 25, they started to show higher mortality rates than calmer types thanks to increased illness-related deaths.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The gap between prosperity and happiness

Source: "A whole new mind"


Girl power

As many as 20% of wives make more money than husbands, according to researchers at St. Louis University. Since women have been doing well in both schools and market place in past years, that number will go higher in the future; unless, more of them decideding to stay home. Speak of girl power !


Monday, April 10, 2006

Is retirement hazardous to your health?

In a paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research, economists concluded that "complete retirement leads to a 23-29% increase in difficulties associated with mobility and daily activities, an 8% increase in illness conditions, and an 11% decline in mental health."
In my opinion, retirements need to be fully planned and prepared, just like a another job.


Minds of brides-to-be

59% proportion of brides-to-be who expect to have sex on their wedding night; 28% plan only to sleep, according to a survey of women in 17 states.
16% proportion of brides-to-be who hope to get pregnant right after the wedding.

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The return of romance ?

An poll conducted in 2005 by knot ( a wedding web site) found 81% female respondents took their spouse's last name, up from 71% in 2000. Hyphenated surnames dropped from 21% to 8%.
A another survey by Youth Intelligence ( a market research firm) found that 68% of 3000 married and single young women will ditch work if they could afford to.

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Saturday, April 08, 2006

U.S. national debt

Where are you in the struggle to balance your checkbooks every month?
According to the U.S. national debt clock, US national debt has continued to increase an average of $2.44 billion per day since September 30, 2005; and each US citizen's share of this debt is $28,083.56, as of today.

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Knowledge is money

There were 2,974 patents awarded to IBM in 2005, the most to any company. IBM's worldwide active patent portfolio now exceeds 40,000. The compnay earned $948 million last year off its global patent portfolio licensing, alone.

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Friday, April 07, 2006

Grandparents are the greatest

75% of grandparents who say they vote primarily with the interests of their grandchildren in mind.
82% of grandparents who see their grandchildren at least once a month.
70% of grandparents who give more presents than anyone else at birthday parties and other family occasions.
32,000 number of years ago when something nice first happened: Human beings started living long enough to make grandparents possible.
Source:, April, 2006


The passage of time

Written communication in the UK is now dominated by email and text messaging. Only 12% of it are done through pen & paper.
Source - new scientist, April, 2006.
(The last time I wrote a letter to my parents - with a pen on paper - was 13 years ago.)


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Just for fun

Blonde answer to geometry question #3 in school's math test.


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Retirement overconfidence

The Employee Benefit Research Institute's annual retirement confidence survey, released om 4/4/2006, found that about 68% of workers are confident about having adequate funds for a comfortable retirement. At the same time, more than 50% of all workers say they've saved less than $25,000 toward retirement, according to the Washington, D.C., based research group. Even among workers 55 and older, more than 40% have retirement savings under $25,000.
Source link


Blogging as good therapy

A new study finds nearly 50% of bloggers see the activity as a form of therapy.
For me, blogging is definitely therapeutic. It releases tension, stress and it is cost effective.

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Distant prayer doesn't help

Praying for other people to recover from an illness is ineffective, according to the largest, best-designed study. 52% of patients experiencing complications regardless of whether they were the subject of prayers. And worst of all, 59% of the patients who knew they were being prayed for experienced complications. I think this should put to rest the notion that distant prayer has any effect.
Source: American Heart Journal, April. 2006.

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Monday, April 03, 2006

Is marriage only for white people ?

African Americans are the most uncoupled people in the country, and black child was more likely to grow up living with both parents during slavery days than he or she is today.
The marriage rate for African Americans has been dropping since the 1960s. In 2001, according to the U.S. Census, 43.3% of black men and 41.9% of black women in America had never been married, in contrast to 27.4% and 20.7% respectively for whites. African American women are the least likely in our society to marry. In the period between 1970 and 2001, the overall marriage rate in the United States declined by 17%; but for blacks, it fell by 34%.

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If you believe in you are lucky, you will get lucky

If you believe in you are lucky, you will get lucky, according to experimental psychologist Richard Wiseman, the author of the book The Luck Factor . Wiseman gave research subjects the "big five" personality scale, which measures "agreeableness," "conscientiousness," "extroversion," "neuroticism" and "openness." Although there were no differences between lucky and unlucky people on agreeableness and conscientiousness, Wiseman found significant differences for extroversion, neuroticism and openness.
1) Lucky people score significantly higher than unlucky people on extroversion. Wiseman explains: "Lucky people meeting a large number of people, being a 'social magnet' and keeping in contact with people." Lucky people, smile 2 times as often and engage in more eye contact than unlucky people do, which leads to more social encounters, which generates more opportunities.
2) The neuroticism dimension measures how anxious or relaxed someone is, and Wiseman found that the lucky ones were 0.5 times as anxious as the unlucky ones--that is, "because lucky people tend to be more relaxed than most, they are more likely to notice chance opportunities, even when they are not expecting them".
3) Lucky people also score significantly higher in openness than unlucky people do. "Lucky people are open to new experiences in their lives.... They don't tend to be bound by convention and they like the notion of unpredictability." such, lucky people travel more, encounter novel prospects and welcome unique opportunities.
Those luck factors don't apply to winning lottery though. Although lucky people were 2 times as confident as the unlucky ones that they would win the lottery, there was no difference in winnings found by Wiseman's research.

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Saturday, April 01, 2006

Women buy more books than men

Publisher Weekly stated that women buy more books than men - to the tune of 68% of all books. (no surprise here). Of books that are read, 53% are fiction and 43% nonfiction., and 64% of book buyers say the bestseller list is not important.