Monday, June 14, 2010

And a note about the importance of kissing.

Post 505 - Here are some miscellaneous facts and figures that crossed my mind in the past week.

In a recent survey, 73 per cent of air travelers said that a little small talk is fine, but they prefer to keep to themselves for most of the flight.

When the cost of a suitable house exceeds 20 times the rent of comparable quarters, the experts say it makes more sense to rent.

Natural gas, which is currently priced at just over $4 per thousand cubic feet, can power a truck as far as seven gallons of diesel.

New census estimates show minorities added more than two percent in 2009 to 107.2 million people. During that time, the white population remained flat at roughly 200 million people. Four states – Hawaii, New Mexico, California and Texas – as well as the District of Columbia, have minority populations that exceed 50 percent. Fifteen states, led by California, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania, have lost more than 10 percent of their younger white population since 2000.

The California State University system lost 10% of its teaching force in 2009 which is the equivalent of 1,230 full-time positions. The University of California's share of state general fund revenue of $2.6 billion in the 2009-10 fiscal year was 20% less than it was two years earlier. The number of full-time faculty members at American universities was around 51% in 2007, down from 78% in 1970.

The annual per–inmate cost of California’s corrections system is $47,000, which is 50% higher than the national average. About 20% of the 167,000 prisoners are “three strikes” offenders convicted of nonviolent drug offenses and property crimes.

The U.S. debt will top $13.6 trillion this year and climb to an estimated $19.6 trillion by 2015, according to a Treasury Department report to Congress. The total U.S. debt includes obligations to the Social Security retirement program and other government trust funds. The amount of debt held by investors, which include China and other countries as well as individuals and pension funds, will rise to an estimated $9.1 trillion in 2010 from $7.5 trillion in 2009.

Plastic bags are often made from polyethylene, which is derived from natural gas and petroleum. Californians use 19 billion plastic bags each year (that’s approximately 552 for each individual in the state). Less than 6% are recycled, leaving 147,000 tons of waste created by these bags. It’s estimated that it takes 500 to 1,000 years ffor plastic bags to degrade, although the exact figure hasn’t been determined. California spends $25 million annually to clean up plastic–bag waste and that’s on top of the $300 million that municipalities also spend.

According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses:
• Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms
• Employ more than half the private-sector employees
• Pay 44 percent of the total U.S. private payroll
• Have generated more than 64 percent of all new jobs during the past 15 years
• And create more than half the private gross domestic product

Chief Executive magazine’s CEO Confidence Index rose 15.6 points to 109.9 in May – a gain of 14.2%. The Current Confidence Index had the largest percentage gain, rising 24.4% to 86.9. Nearly 60% of CEOs forecast slow, continual growth in the economy.

And finally, a chewing gum commercial I saw on TV claims that the average American spends 20,000 minutes kissing in a lifetime. Compare this with the nine years glued to the tube that the average American watches in a lifetime, and you have some idea why our world is as screwed up as some of the statistics above indicate. So pucker up and do your part to move that kissing number forward and improve the quality of life in America. If you're unsure about your technique, go to for some tips on how to get better. It's worth a try!

As e. e. cummings wrote in since feeling is first, "and kisses are a better fate / than wisdom / lady i swear by all flowers..."

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