Numbers Don't Lie

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Don't sit up straight !

Your mother's advice to sit up straight in your chair could be a prescription for lower back pain. A new study using new imaging technology reveals that sitting upright with a straight back (90 degree) and thighs parallel to the floor increases the strain on the lumbar discs in the lower back.
In fact it's better to lean back a bit in a chair, even if looks like slouching. The best position is what you get in a La-Z-Boy, 135 degree between back and thighs.
Source: Chicago Tribune, Nov.28, 2006.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Miniature Earth Project

If we could turn the population of the earth into a small community of 100 people, keeping the same proportions we have today, it would look something like this ...
1) 47 live in an urban area;
2) 61 Asians, 12 Europeans, 16 Africans;
3) 9 are disabled;
4) 33 Christian, 18 Muslins, 16 are non-religious;
5) 6 people own 59% of entire wealth of the community;
6) if you have a bank account, you are one of the 30 wealthiest people in the world;
7) this community spend more than $1.12 trillion dollars on military expenditures, but only $0.1 trillion dollars on development aid.
See more at: The Miniature Earth Project


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Job burnout could boost the risk of illness

We all heared this already - the daily rigors of work, such as tight deadlines and long hours, can lead to job burnout, which then lead to an increase in rates of heart disease, flu virus, and high blood pressure. A recent study showed those who experienced job burnout were 1.8 times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, in which a person's body becomes resistant to the sugar-regulating hormone called insulin.
Source: Psychosomatic Medicine, Nov. 2006.

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

The math of life (1)

Ever heard those math of life before ? See below:






Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The math of politics

E=MC2 (Election = Message times Candidate squared)

Explanation: people vote for a candidate they trust with the right message. For the mid-term election just passed, it looks like to me that Republicans never found their true voice and the message on why they should have stayed in power.

The formula was coined by Joe Gaylord in his book "Flying Upside Down".

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Friday, November 17, 2006

The link between health and wealth

We all know the health leads to the wealth. Here are some numbers to back it up - a study of 10 industrialized countries from the beginning of the 20th Century through the mid-1990s found that better people's health - such as better dietary and medical care - increased the rate of national economic growth by about 30%. As an example, 10% fall in cardiovascular mortality alone can generate 1% increase in per capita income.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Funny statistics - how do we invest ?

source link


Friday, November 10, 2006

How many of us are addictive gamblers ?

According to research cited by the National Council on Problem Gambling, 2 million adults (1% of the population) meet the diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling. Another 4-8 million adults (2-4% of the population) can be considered problem gamblers who are experiencing direct problems as a consequence of gambling.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

People aren't losing their virginity at ever younger ages

A survey produced some surprises about global sex trends. One of the findings is people are not losing their virginity earlier:
"Nearly everywhere, men and women have their first sexual experiences in their late teens — from 15 to 19 years old — with generally younger ages for women than for men, especially in developing countries. That is no younger than 10 years ago".
"Still there are considerable variations across countries. In the United Kingdom, for example, men and women tend to lose their virginity at ages 16 1/2 and 17 1/2 respectively. In comparison, men and women in Indonesia waited until they were 24 1/2 and 18 1/2 respectively".

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How many passwords do you have ?

The average adult in the U.S. has to remember 9.8 passwords, PIN codes, or other bits of secret information.
The number "1" is the most common number people use in their passwords — almost twice as much as any other number.
Source: Perfect Passwords


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Hip-Hop and breast implants

  • Are you a Hip-Hop fan? This fact may someday be used to against, or for you. A survey by British psychologist say 53% of Hip-Hop fans confessed that they've committed a crime, compared with 18% of fans of musicals.
  • Know someone has breast implants? Be careful. Canadian epidemiologists find that women with breast implants have a 73% higher suicide rate than the general population.
Source - Discover, Dec, 2006.


Atheists - the least trusted group in America ?

It is well known that most people (90%, suggested by the most recent poll) in US believe in God or a supreme spirit . A recent University of Minnesota study there are only 1% of the national mix dares to identify itself as atheists, and that lonely group is the least trusted one in America.
However, one recent Harris poll study found that 42% of adult Americans were not "absolutely certain" about the existence of God, up from 34% three years ago.
Source: USNEWS, Nov.13, 2006


Sunday, November 05, 2006

Does a picture worth 1,000 words ?

People remember pictures more readily than remember words. This is because our brains short-term memory for line drawings was superior to memory for printed words. Who doesn't know the old saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" ?
In an recent experiment, volunteer participants were asked to recall as many of the words as possible on some pictures or printed words they just saw. The experiment was repeated until the list of 54 words (simple nouns like "baby," "whale," and "handcuffs") had each been used (embedded) in picture and print form. As expected, pictures were correctly recalled more often than printed words, but only by 1.5 times more. Thus, technically, a picture may in fact only be worth about 1.5 words, not 1,000.
Source: Memory & Cognition, 33(3), 499-513, 2005.

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Information overload


Saturday, November 04, 2006

How to live a longer life ?

1) the refrigerator is used to lengthen the life of food, and a new study suggests a similar principle could prolong life, too. Researchers have found that lowering the body temperature of mice by just 0.5°C extends their lifespan by around 12% for males and 20% for females. In the future, people might be able to take a drug to achieve a similar effect on body temperature and enjoy a longer life.
2) the only previously proven method of significantly increasing the lifespan of an animal has been through a restricted calorie diet. In an recent experiment, mice fed with 30% fewer calories than usual lived 20-30% longer.


Friday, November 03, 2006

Does weekend polls favor the Democrats ?

In US, it's a common claim that weekend political phone polls skewed toward the Democrats. Here is the reasoning: on the weekend, the people who are most likely to answer their phones are older people who are more likely to be at home, so the polls may not be representative of all Americans; the poll samples could have a bias toward the older people. My dad told me this claim few time before.

However, a recent review rebuffed this common claim. For the last 3 presidential elections, among the Sunday-to-Thursday people polled in 2004, 49% supported Bush and 46% supported Kerry. Polls of the stay-at-home, Friday-to-Saturday folkls produced similar numbers - 48% and 46%.

It is reassuring that our polling methodology and standards have much more scientific merit than common claims.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Men do compulsive buying too

I have long believed that only women experience compulsive buying disorder, a condition marked by compulsive buying and subsequent financial and relationship ruins. It turn out that men have the same problem, according to a survey done by Stanford University School of Medicine. The researchers found that 6% of women and 5.5% of men in US had symptoms consistent with compulsive buying disorder.
Well, we are all human; men and women just buy different things.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Divorce harms women's long-term health

Another study from Iowa State's Institute for Social and Behavioral Research suggests divorce harms women's long-term health. In the short term, women who got divorced reported 7% more "psychological distress" than those who didn't. After a decade, the divorced group reported 37% more physical illness than the married group. Women who remarried fared better than those who didn't.

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