Saturday, February 5, 2011

Saturday Summary

Most of us know snow shoveling can be difficult. The most recent stats available [from '99 to 2006] showed average yearly ER visits caused by shoveling were 11,500, the majority were lower back problems. There were, on average, 1647 deaths due to heart attacks. Given the fierceness of this year's storms I imagine we can up those figures by maybe 25%.

More statistics: only 15% of the Wikipedia contributors are women, this seems to be because young men are more likely to be computer geeks and the subjects are skewed towards areas and subjects that interest men more than women.

And another celestial statistic: So far 1235 planets in various solar systems have been defined as hospitable to life as we know it; as searches for such planets continue the numbers will certainly grow. So far, no communications from Out There have been received -- well, that's a matter of opinion because the UFO believers are many although we seem to be in a fairly quiet period just not, news-wise.

The US Government has issued a health statement asking Americans to eat less and exercise more. It's a gesture, there are no specifics attached to it. It sounds about as effective as grandmothers telling us to give up the four lettered words and always be polite to one another.

Here's an only-possible-in-Australia note: The Principality of Hutt River was created by Leonard Crasley 40 years ago. He is owner of a 18,500 acre farm. He was tired of paying taxes so seceded from Australia and became a Principality. Of course he's the prince. He issues his own money and requires visas of tourists wishing to five the 20-person town where they rarely stay over night because there are no motels/hotels, although among the tourists are many back packers who, possibly sleep under the stars. He pays no taxes, but he gets no benefits from Australian government either.

Lotteries in the US are a $70 billion industry. They have been around since early in our history. Lotteries were used in the initial building of both Yale and Harvard, as well as in funding the transcontinental railroads of the US. At present 43 states and all Canadian provinces have lotteries. The majority of the tickets are purchased by people in the lower 20% of the income scale in the US. Lotteries are often seen as a reverse tax -- because the people with the least pay the most. A Toronto mathematician/computer expert says the majority of the scratch-off cards have flawed programs and it's fairly easy to figure out which ones will have a pay off. Some Canadian lottery card printers have taken his warnings seriously and made changes. American lottery card printers have generally insisted their programs are too good to be cracked by a causal mathematician. Maybe ... maybe not. The Canadian guy has said even though he could crack the system the pay offs are not enough even to spend full time trying to live on the lottery; he does better at his current job, plus it's more interesting.


Anonymous said...

Wow!! So many things to think about. I use wiki occasionally to check things, and my professors have warned us to be careful of the wiki posts, so I always look at the citations.

Regarding the new solar systems the Kepler telescope uncovered: they found only 36 planets in the habitable zone (good distance from their respective stars), but the area surveyed was only 1/400th of the dark night sky yet to be examined with the new telescope.

Given the fact it took two years to get a sattelite to circle Mars,and that the nearest star in the new area of the sky is more that 2 light years away, I do not expect anything to happen anytime soon. I think we need to spend the money on other things besides space travel (like PE for kids maybe?).


June Calender said...

Thanks, Diane, the number of habitable stars listed was from an article this week, and I think it was from Hubble but I didn't make a note so don't know. I agree, they're too far away for any practical communication assuming it's possible. I think money should be spent making sure this planet remain habitable although that seems to be a low priority among the biggest powers with the most money.


June -- I find it interesting that the Principality of Hutt River has gotten out of paying taxes. I hope he doesn't drive over the road system outside his principality as I have a feeling they are subsidized by the Australian Government. Funny how folks can vote against taxation but are there to collect the benefits if it suits them -- like medicare. -- barbara