*Percentage of American teenagers who believe that the Soviet Union is a member of NATO: 17

*Ratio of engineers to lawyers graduated each year in Japan: 10 to 1

*Ratio of engineers to lawyers graduated each year in the U.S.: 1 to 10



Average number of Americans killed each year by private citizens using guns in self-defense: 350.

Average number who use guns each year to commit suicide: 20,000

Fine levied on a Swedish couple in March for naming a son Brfxxxcccxxmnnpcccclllmmn- prxxvvclmnckssqlbbllll6: $746

Days in jail to which a British retiree was sentenced in February for excessive pigeon feeding: 56

Chances that an American with a 1994 B.A. in journalism works in public relations, advertising, or is unemployed: 1 in 3

Ratio of Americans who die from smoking-related illnesses each year to those who die as a result of illegal-drug use: 21:1

Estimated number of security personnel per athlete at the Olympics this month: 5

Minimum length the European Committee for Standardization set for condoms this year, in inches: 6.7

Maximum number of months humanity could survive without invertebrates: 6

Ratio of tax dollars spent each day on a U.S. public-school student to the amount spent on a prisoner: 2:7

Ratio of the amount the federal government spent last year on Americans under 18 to those over 65: 1:5

Year in which America last had as bad a relationship with Britain as it does today (Nov 96), according to James Baker: 1773

Year in which the British sacked the city of Washington and burned the White House: 1814

Ratio of RAM needed to run the Space Shuttle's on-board computers to that needed to run WordPerfect for Windows '95: 1:8

Percentage change in the homicide rate in Canada since the 1976 abolition of the death penalty there: -27

Length of the average sex session, including foreplay, in minutes: 33.24

Ratio of Americans who die from tobacco-related illnesses each year to the number who are murdered: 17:1

Ratio of U.S. defense spending to the combined total spent by Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, Iraq, and Libya: 2:1

Number of wars ever fought between countries that both had at least one McDonald's franchise: 0

Average age of a member of one of the ten top-grossing rock-concert bands in the United States: 41



Amount Bill Clinton earned last year in residuals for his 1992 saxophone performance on Arsenio Hall : $76

Ratio of pollution generated by a leaf blower in one hour to that generated by driving a car one hundred miles : 1:1

Percentage of the lab animals launched aboard NASA's Neurolab last April that died in orbit, snails excluded : 70

Amount the California prison system has spent since 1993 to prevent birds from being electrocuted by its fences : $3,400,000

Number of days last March that a Georgia teen was suspended after wearing a Pepsi shirt on his school's "Coke Day" : 1

Estimated number of firebomb-wielding live bats that the U.S. considered dropping on Japan in early 1944 : 1,000,000

Truckloads of nuclear waste the Department of Energy plans to begin driving to New Mexico for storage this year : 37,000

Number of highway accidents the DOE estimates these shipments will be involved in through the year 2033 : 50

Total number of marriages experienced by the co-authors of Staying Married and Loving It : 5

Amount British Nuclear Fuels paid the British Scouts last year to add its logo to their scientist badge : $49,776

Chances that a Briton believes that Britain did more good than harm to its colonies : 3 in 5

Number of rubber ducks accidentally spilled in the North Pacific by a freighter in 1992: 7,250

Number of oceanographers studying the ducks dispersion as a measure of ocean currents: 2

Ratio of the number of miles the Japanese drive to the number that ride on trains: 2:1

Ratio of the number of miles Americans drive to the number that ride on trains: 288:1

Ratio of scientists who married scientists to artists married who artists: 5:1

Percentage of the universe believed by scientists to consist of "nothing": 99

Fraction of Americans who are left handed : 1/7

Fraction of mathematicians who are left handed : 1/5



*Amount of foreign aid that the US gives Israel per square mile = $110,000

*# of world's 50 poorest countries in Africa = 38

*Ratio of US aid to Africa vs US aid to Israel = 1:1

*Population of Israel = 5 million

*Population of Africa = 1 billion

*% of Americans who believe in Heaven who think there will be Harps = 43

*Factor by which US child homicide rate exceeds that of 25 other most industrialised countries = 25

*Ratio of murder + attempted murder charges against South African police compared to charges against general public = 2:1



Briey, France : Eleven garden gnomes have been found hanging from a bridge in north-eastern France in what appeared to be a mass suicide, police said yesterday. A suicide note was found in which the gnomes said they wanted to "quit this cruel world" to join the "sect of the temple of submissive dwarves." No one in the area has reported any missing gnomes.

Congo : Lightning strikes during a football match in the Democratic Republic of Congo, killing all 11 members of one team whilst leaving the opposing team untouched, leading to accusations of witchcraft.

USA : A woman who bets regularly in the Rhode Island and Massachusetts state lotteries saw each set of her numbers come up, but in the wrong states.

Dallas, USA : Hon-Ming Chien, a former professor in Taiwan, leads 150 sect members to the Dallas suburb of Garland where he believed God would appear on March 31 last. When God fails to show, Dr. Chen is refreshingly apologetic, "You can take what we have preached as nonsense."


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