Numbers Don't Lie

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Women are Safer Drivers

An recent report found that women are far safer drivers than men. As a matter of fact, according to the assembled data, men have a 77% higher chance of dying in a car accident than women. Some of the notable facts from the report are:
- An 82 year old woman is more 60% more likely to die in an accident than a 16 year-old teen.
- Drivers 40-50 are the lease likely to die in an accident.
- The safest passenger in a vehicle at any time, any where is an infant in a car seat in a van.
- School buses have a fatality rate that is 1/50th that of a passenger car.
- Motorcycle riders are 32 times as likely to be killed than drivers in a passenger car.
- A rider between the ages of 21 and 24 riding between midnight and 4AM is 45,000 times more likely to be killed on the bike than in a car.


Saturday, January 27, 2007

US household credit card debt

a)heard from the NPR radio (1/26/2007): the average US household now carry credit card debt of $7,753 , after many years of climbing of debt.

b)spot the stock price of Mastercard Inc. at Yahoo as of 1/26/2007:


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Computer in our everyday lives

According to this recent survey, 65% of us (Americans) spend more time with computers than our spouse.
I am pretty sure among our bloggers, that percentage number is much higher.
If you are a parent, the ratio of time spending on computer vs. time spending on kids are also increased in recent years, since kids playing with computer more than before.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The cost of having kids

What is the take and give for having kids? If you think caring for children is taking years off of your life, you might be right! While researchers always assumed there was a human "fitness cost" for having kids—the price parents pay in their own health and longevity—a new study (which looked at 21,684 couples who lived in Salt Lake City and married between 1860 and 1895) actually quantifies this cost. Researchers found that a mother with 12 kids had a 5 times greater chance of dying prematurely than a mother of 3. And the toll on women was greater than that on men: Older mothers were 4 times as likely to die within a year of having a child than their male spouses were.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Overcoming procrastination

I procrastinate quite often. According to Pies Steel, a human resources professor at the Univ. of Calgary's Haskayne School of Business, 95% of us procrastinate at times, with 15% to 20% being chronic offenders.
Three factors make us procrastinate: (1) lack of confidence about finishing the job; (2) boredom with the task; (3) human tendency to go for immediate reward over long-term gain. A common ploy for avoiding work at the office is reading each email, or IM, as it comes in.
How to overcome procrastination? Professor Steel believe the key is cut off distractions from the working environment. In his words, "millions of people-hours are spent making distractions as succulent as possible ... there are so many ways we could do something else ... convenient access to inferior choices is decidedly inconvenient".


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Rich people sleep better

According to an recent report (American Journal of Epidemiology, June 1st, 2006), sleeping comes easiest and lasts longest for the wealthy, white, and female. Researcher Diane Lauderdale followed the sleep habits of 669 Americans aged 35 to 50 and found that those with yearly income of less than $16,000 spend longer in bed than those making $100,000 or more, but they sleep less (...a lot to worry about), so there is this "Sleep Efficiency" difference between poor people (68%) and rich people (85%).

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Adult Literacy Statistics

Globally, literacy has risen considerably over recent decades, and developing countries are catching up with developed countries quickly.
According to Unesco Institute For Statistics, below are adult literacy(age 15 and over) statistics in 2005:
EUROPE - 99%;
OCEANIA - 94%;
ASIA - 78%;
AFRICA - 65%;
World Average - 82%.
Projected adult literacy in 2015 is -
EUROPE - 99%;
OCEANIA - 95%;
ASIA - 82%;
AFRICA - 73%;
World Average - 85%.


Friday, January 19, 2007

A bipolar world

In Dec. 2006, the 5 brokerage firms in New York - Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Lehman brothers, Bear Sterns and Goldman Sachs - paid out $36 billion as bonus to their brokers. Their compensation and bonus together roughly are equal to Vietnam's GDP.
We are living in a bipolar world with huge wealth concentration.
Source: Barrons, Jan 15, 2007


Do homosexual marriages last longer ?

There will always be battles during heterosexual marriages between the sexes because men and women want different things. According to one study, over 40-year span, the divorce rate for heterosexual couples in their 1st marriages is 67%.
Guess what is the divorce rate of homosexual marriages ?
In theory (and many studies have showed), gay/lesbians couples should understand their partners' bodies and biases with a certainty, resulting relationships less mired in deception and friction. However, it turned out that the break-up rate for homosexuals, over a 40-year span, is grim 64%, and gay men are far more likely to split than lesbians.
Well..., we are all Homo sapiens.
Source: Psychology Today, Jan/Feb, 2007.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Why we don't like our bosses

Many employees complain about their boss being clueless on the dynamics of working environment. Now a new study shows that powerful individuals have a reduced ability to comprehend how others see, think and feel.
Researcher used a unique method in which the participants were told to draw the letter E on their forehead. If the participant wrote the E in a self-oriented direction, backwards to others, this indicated the participant have not thought or cared about how others might perceive the letter. On the other hand, when the E was written legible to others, this indicated that the person had thought about how others might perceive the letter. The results showed that those who had previously been randomly assigned to a high power group were almost 3 times more likely to draw a self-oriented E than those who were assigned to the low power condition.
In summary, researcher found that possessing power itself serves as an impediment to understanding the perspectives of others.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

51% of women live outside of traditional marriages

According to a New York Times analysis of census results, in 2005, 51% of women in US said they were living without a spouse, up from 35% in 1950 and 49% in 2000.
There are several factors contributed to this statistical shift - women are marrying later or living with partners more often and for longer periods; women are living longer as widows and, staying single longer after a divorce, sometimes delighting in their newfound freedom.
As for men, a larger share of men are married and living with their spouse - about 53%. Men often remarry quickly than women after a divorce.
Source link (you need to register to see the article)

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Sports Stats

  • More than 1/3 of the American population is expected to tune in to the Super Bowl on February 4 this year. Super Bowl is almost like America's modern town-hall meeting.
  • At least 90 million toilets will be flushed during the Super Bowl - enough water to flow over Niagara Falls for 3 minutes.
  • In recent years, several US professional teams (Chicago Bears, for one) were given new stadium to play. 24% of a team's home field advantage is lost during their 1st year in a new arena, but after that it's smooth sailing.

Source - Psychology Today, Jan/Feb, 2007.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Having pets improve health

Needless to say having pets can improve pet owner's health. I just found some numbers for this:
1) one study of women recovering from breast cancer found 87% reported that their pets filled at least 1 important role in their social support. 43% reported that their pets fulfilled more than 10 important support functions, such as being cared for, tactile comfort.
2)another survey pulled more than 11,000 people from 3 countries found that over a 5-year period pet owners made 15-20% fewer annual visits to the doctor than non pet-owners, and those who went to the doctor the least were those who continuously owned a pet.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Quick thinking is better thinking

We all expect people to make more accurate decisions when given the time to look properly. But it turned out that in many cases, people performed better when given almost no time to think.
In a recent study, participants were asked to identify an oddly rotated symbol on a screen of more than 650 identical symbols. When subjects were given 0.5 second, participants picked the correct answer 95% of the time. With 1.0 second to contemplate an answer, this accuracy dropped to about 80%.
Researcher attributes this result to the difference in the abilities of the subconscious and conscious minds to recognize the rotated symbol as different from the original. Often, our instincts and higher-level functions are in conflict and in this case our instincts (subconscious) are often silenced by our reasoning conscious mind.
Anyone who have read the book Blink will found above numbers very assuring.

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Corporate funded nutrition researches are biased

After examing 206 scientific papers on the health effects of soft drinks, fruit juice and milk (111 of which declared their funding source), researchers at Children's Hospital in Boston (US) found that industry-backed papers are 7 times more likely to produce a conclusion favoring a company's product. The reasons for the bias may include a failure to publish unfavorablele findings, or a tendency of firms to back only studies that are likely to present their products in a positive light.
Source: heard from radio station wbbm780 , Jan 9, 2007.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Numbers of Sins

1) I have never placed a sports bet (in US) before; according to an article on WSJ (Jan 5th, 2007), this makes me a member of social minority. The amount of money Americans wager on sports has grown to rival the gross domestic product of New Zealand. In 2007, 118 million people will wager an estimated $96 billion on different sports events.
2) According to a new report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 45% of teenagers surveyed had consumed alcohol within the previous month, and 64% of that group admitted to more than 5 drinks in a row (so called binge-drink). Girls ages 12-14 were more apt to binge-drink than their peers, although boys outdrank girls in other age groups.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

How do you discipline children ?

It is so hard to discipline children nowadays. We used many approaches: time-outs, removal of privileges, yelling and spanking. Sometimes they works, many time they don't, and we give up. In a survey of more than 2,000 parents of children between the ages of 2 and 11, researchers have found that more than 38% were using the same discipline methods their own parents used on them as a child. Overall, 45% of the parents using time-outs as a disciplinary action. Almost 42% removed their child's privileges, followed by 13% who resorted to yelling and 9% who opted to spank their children. Here is the bummer though- almost 31% of participants reported they believed their methods were not effective !

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Is silver hair really sexy on guys ?

According a recent pull among users, the answer is yes. 72% of women think gray hair is hot! Apparently many women believe men with gray hair (silver fox ?) having more money and power, and much more mature in terms of building relationships and families.

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Housework beats athletics at reducing cancer risk

Housework prevents breast cancer more effectively than athletic activity or manual paid labor does, according to a recent study of 200,000 women. According to researchers, "out of all of the activities, only housework significantly reduced the risk of both pre- and post-menopausal women getting the disease", and spending "16 to 17 hours a week cooking, cleaning and doing the washing" reduced cancer risk "by 30% among the pre-menopausal women and 20% among the post-menopausal women".

All exercise alters hormones and metabolism, which affect breast cancer, but why housework beats athletics? Researchers explained that moderate forms of physical activity, such as housework, may be more important than less frequent but more intense recreational physical activity. Another reason why women live longer than men ?

(the original research paper link)

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

The non-secret formula of long life

The non-secret formula of long life is stay in school, according to Dr. Lleras-Muney, an economist at Princeton. People's life expectancy at age 35 was extended by as much as 1.5 years simply by going to school for 1 extra year; or expressed in another way - 1 year of education lowers the probability of dying in the next 10 years by approximately 3.6%.
About 100 years ago in US, different states started passing laws forcing children to go to school for longer periods, say, 6 years to 7 years. In 1999, Dr. Lleras-Muney went back and found the laws in the different states and then used data from the census to find out how long people lived before and after the law in each state was changed. She then found out the above formula. So far it has been confirmed by other studies covering many other countries.
It is not clear yet how it works between Education and Health (correlation? causation?). In my opinion, education promote the habit of acquiring knowledge, and knowledge in turn help people optimizing their lives in many ways.


Everyone has a boss to deal with

1)when employees were pulled to pick New Year's resolution for their managers,
- 18% say 'deal with workplace conflicts faster'.
- 14% say 'be less of a micromanager'.
- 12% say 'recognize work well done'.
- 0% say 'plan events for building office morale'.
Source: Businessweek, Jan 3rd, 2007.
2) when asked to rate their managers, a study found that:
- 39% of workers said their supervisor failed to keep promises.
- 37% said their supervisor failed to give credit when due.
- 27% said their supervisor made negative comments about them to other employees or managers.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Washing hands can save lives

The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 90,000 Americans die every year from infections they contract while hospitalized. So some hospitals asking Doctors and nurses to follow few simple and cheap procedures - as basic as hand-washing - to reduce the spread of infection in hospitals.
The current New England Journal of Medicine reports on a study conducted in Michigan hospitals to see if increased vigilance on hand hygiene would cut down on the incidence of catheter infections. And it worked, big-time. A year and a half after the hand-washing procedure changes were made, the rates of catheter-related bloodstream infections dropped by 66%, according to the study.
What were they (Doctors and nurses ) thinking?

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Top 15 posts in 2006

To all my blog readers, have a Happy and Prosperous New Year!
I have digged some numbers on this blog at the year end. In terms of popularity (by the number of linking/commenting/searching), below are the top 15 of more than 300 posts I made in 2006: