Sunday, June 6, 2010

Post 501 - Here are some more recent facts and figures that caught my interest:

In California, motorists younger than 18 can’t by law transport other youths unless a licensed adult driver, 25 years or older, is in the car. State law also bans teens from driving between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless accompanied by a licensed adult driver.

The world’s urban population, currently about 3.3 billion, is projected to nearly double by 2015, adding the equivalent of a city the size of a Philadelphia each week.

China’s middle classes are concentrated along its coast, where an estimated 140 million internal illegal immigrants have moved to find work in its factories. Last year, China’s central government budgeted $88 billion to build more intercity high-speed rail. It has laid as many miles of track in four years as Europe did in twenty. That’s as well as paving 30,000 miles of highway and building runways for 40 new airports in major cities.

India expects to spend $500 billion on roads, rail and runways by 2015 to sustain its current growth rate.

More than 8.2 million animals, nearly a fifth of all the livestock in Mongolia, have died in a winter of snow, cold and gales so severe that Mongolians have a special word for it. It’s “dzud.”

2009 was the third year in succession that the Irish counties on the Atlantic seaboard experienced record rains and flooding. Some counties had 32 consecutive days of rain. As a result, waters rose in rivers and lakes and gushed out of drains and manholes because the tropical downpours fell on land already saturated by earlier rains. The famous Lakes of Killarney spilled over and inundated the ground floor of the four-star Lake Hotel for the first time in its 190-year history.

In most states, it’s one-third property tax, one-third sales tax and one-third income tax. But in California it’s 55 percent income tax. And 45 percent of that comes from the top brackets.

Overall, American states other than California gave away $1.8 billion in incentives to Hollywood between 2006 and 2008. In 2002, five states offered such discounts to movie companies. Today, 44 do. As tax credits lured production to states like Michigan, Georgia and Louisiana, feature-film location shooting days in Los Angeles fell to 929 in the first quarter of 2010, down 61 percent from 2,386 in the first quarter of 2008, this according to FilmL.A., which monitors filming in the area.

The Conference Board reported last week that its index of consumer confidence in the U.S. grew in May for the third month in a row.

The monthly jobs report just issued by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) showed 540,000 jobs added in May - by far the largest jump in more than 10 years. The overwhelming majority of these job gains are temporary hires from the Census Bureau, and almost all of them will reverse within the next three months. Only 41,000 of the 431,000 non-farm jobs created in May were in the private sector, and perhaps 20% of those were to help clean up the oil spill.

A new study of 500 couples by the British dating site ForgetDinner found that people married one year spend 40 minutes of an hour-long dinner engaged in conversation. By 20 years of marriage, they’re down to 21 minutes. By 30 years, it’s 16 minutes. Those married 50 years are talking for just three minutes.

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