Keeping Perspective



During a one day battle between Carthage and Rome more men were killed than during the entire Vietnam war.


The IRS reported just 47% of American workers were required to pay federal income tax in 2009. 40% of workers actually received more money back from the fed than they contributed. The top 1% of wage earners paid 24% of all fed income taxes.


Scientists estimate there are a billion trillion stars in our galaxie alone. NPR 2-2-10

There are more bacterial cells in a human body than human cells.    NPR Science Friday 4-4-08

The combined "open" space in the average American house (the gaps, cracks, holes) is equal to a 4' x 4' year round open window.

3.4 billion sq. ft. of tile is laid in the U.S. each year.

The average U.S. home takes 88 trees to build, equal to 3.2 acres. 16.7% of the wood is never used and discarded.   Green Guide

A hole the size of your finger through the vapor barrier of your house wall can allow 30 quarts of water/year to enter your wall.

2.9 billion gallons of gas are burned each year while people sit in traffic congestion.   NPR 12 Feb 2008

There are 9 million millionaire households in America. 8% of households have a net worth over one million dollars. 1% of households have a net worth of six million or more.  85% of millionaires earned their own fortune.

There are officially more TV sets than people in American homes.  WSJ 9-22 06

10% of the people who drink consume 60% of the alcohol.  NPR  8-23-06

The average American spends 14 hours per year mowing the lawn and 375 hours driving. An average American driver uses 500 gallons of gasoline per year.

Walmart's computer system holds 570 terrabits of information, more than all of the internet's fixed pages. 

One third of U.S. kids under five live in a household where the TV is turned on all day.    Wall St. Journal 5-14-06

Dubai has dredged an island in the shape of a palm tree in the Persian Gulf that has 75 miles of beachfront and the worlds most luxurious and tallest hotel: 1,053 ft. A second, larger island is planned with 1,060 homes on stilts surrounding it forming a 7.5 mile long line of verse: in Arabic: "Take wisdom from the wise- Not everyone who rides a horse is a jockey".

At the peak of the stock market boom in 1929 the average annual income of salaried employees was the equivalent in purchasing power of $16,000.00 today. And there was no social security.

Around the world more than 100,000 people in 630 kitchens produce around 1 billion in-flight meals per year. WSJ 12-20 04

Becker Furniture World stocks enough chair recliners that were they all stacked on top of one another the pile would be taller than the Sears Tower     Mpls Star & Trib 01 12 05

95% of Americans' time is spent indoors - average of 30min. per day outdoors

Radon is the number 2 leading cause of cancer MN Dept of Inspections

On average we sweat away 4 gallons of water per month during our sleep. NPR 02 02

Americans work 50% more hours than the Germans, the French or the Italians.  Mpls Star & Trib 8-1-04

At any given time 25% of the workforce of Norway is not working for some medical reason or other. WSJ 7-26-04

The Olympic torch alone requires three full time staff and costs $50,000,000.00 per year.      WSJ 17 July 2004

150 million people pass through LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) every year.    NPR 21 Sept 2004

One of every nine people ever born is alive today. NPR 1-18-04

Credit Swisse Group blocked use of directory assistance phone services and saved two million dollars last year  WSJ  11/10/2003

The president's use of Air Force One costs the taxpayers $35,300 per hour   Mpls Trib 10/20/03

Parents of a baby girl are 6% more likely to get divorced than if it was a son. Parents of three girls are 10% more likely to get divorced than parents of three sons. WSJ 9/12/03

One in 20 American men will spend time in prison.    NPR 11 - 04 -03

Nation wide, one in 8 black men are denied the right to vote because of past felony charges.  NPR 11-04-03

The error rate of the American voting system is 4%. In the 2000 election four states were decided by less than 1/2%.  NPR 11-03-03

Two billion people in the world suffer from some sort of hepatitis.  NPR 10 03

There are 40 million miles of fiber optic cable laid in the U.S. alone equal to eight round trips to the moon. Only about 15% of the capacity is being used. WSJ 08 / 15 /03

7 million Americans a year take cruises. Each cruise ship discharges 50,000 gallons of waste water and 20 tons of solid waste into the ocean each day. They are exempt from all clean water laws. On average $300.00 is spent per person per day on "extra" charges.

With the increase in defense spending after 9/11 the U.S. now spends more on defense than the next 15 largest militaries in the world combined.  WSJ 9-1-02

1862, The Battle of Antidum during the Civil War 6,000 men were killed. In 1900 a flood in Galveston Texas killed between 6,000 and 10,000 people. In 1918 a flu epidemic in the U.S. killed 670,0000 people. 2,850 people were killed on 9/11/01.

2000: 174 billion raised through venture capital, 2002: 45 billion extra requested for U.S. defense, 2002: 24 billion in total foreign aid of which less than 2 billion used to actually buy food and medicine.

In Henry Fords' day there were only an estimated 500,000 White Tail Deer in the U.S. Today cars alone kill more than 1.8 million deer per year.  WSJ 08-01-02

Obesity in the U.S. has doubled to 26% of the population in the last 20 years. There is no country in the world where obesity is not increasing.  WSJ 07 26-02.

Coffee is second only to oil as the worlds' most traded commodity. WSJ 07-08-02

1% of all American income is spent on beer.   MPR 6-6-02 

The number of people who died of lung cancer in 2000 was greater than all US casualties  from battles in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Mexican War, Spanish American War, WW1, the Korean conflict and Vietnam combined.    WSJ 1/25/02

More people die of Alzheimer's disease (49,044) than in motor accidents(41,804).    WSJ 1/25/02

81 people per hour die of heart disease.   WSJ 1/25/02

Sealed Air Inc. manufactures enough Bubble Wrap each year to cover the earth in a 6-inch layer of the stuff.  WSJ 12/01

60% of American adults are overweight.  25% of American adults are obese. NPR 12/17/01

The average North American household uses 17 times as much energy today as they did in 1949. 

400 tons of extra-planetary material lands on the earth every day.

In the U.S. five billion dollars will be spent this year decorating dorm rooms (not incl. computers).

The average U.S. citizen consumes the energy equivalent of 2,500 barrels of oil each year.

One of every 10 black males in their twenties is currently in prison. MPR 6/14/2001

One of every four black males born today can expect to spend at least one year in prison. NPR 6/14/01

Over half of all guests staying in hotels in America purchase pornographic movies.

Pornography spending exceeds that spent on baseball, basketball and hockey.

Baseball is now the eighth most popular sport with kids, recently falling behind volleyball and skateboarding. 

Plans are in the works to break the freefall record. A man is planning to jump from 130,000 miles, breaking the sound barrier in the process. He will fall at 1,100 mph and it will take him just over 10 minutes to fall to earth.

3 out of 4 firearm deaths in Minnesota are suicides.

From 1900 to 1949 Smallpox killed more people than all the world's wars combined plus all HIV deaths. 

Every day there are 35,000 blood transfusions in the U.S.

Every day 30,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with leukemia.

In 1900 one hectare fed four people, today one hectare feeds 80 people.

26 million Americans are addicted to alcohol or drugs

In 1950 the average grocery store stocked 200 different items. In 2000 the average grocery store stocked 45,000 different items. 

Minnetonka, MN is the sixth least diverse city in the U.S. 

The U.S. spends roughly the same amount on legal gambling as it does on all construction spending.

Today 20% of North Americans earn their income from farming, 50 years ago it was 94%.

There are 19,000 airports in the U.S. and over 600,000 pilots. NPR 1/2001

The average U.S. citizen eats 26 pounds of French fries in a year.

More than fifty public companies employ more than 100,000 workers.

By itself California would be the sixth largest economy in the world. 2/13/2000 Wall St Journal

Exxon's 4th quarter net of $5.2 billion was the highest quarterly profit ever for a U.S. Corporation
Wall St. Journal 1-25-2001

Every year the average U.S. household gets 543 pieces of junk mail. Second place goes to Switzerland where each household gets 108 pieces. 
Wall St. Journal 12/17/99

MN insurance claims for l998 equaled the total for the previous 49 years: 350,000 claims 
MPR 12/30/98

Henry Ford went bankrupt four times before he started making cars

The 356 wealthiest people's wealth equals the bottom 40% (2-1/2 billion)-
The financial times MPR 3/4/97

10,000 people in U.S. per day turn 50.
99 09 07 MPR

A lightning bolt is about 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit - or five times hotter than the surface of the sun. 

The economic output of 41 poorest nations (550 million people) is less than the net worth of three richest people - Treasury chief Summers

1998 Ratio of executive pay to factory worker pay 419 to 1.    In 1980: 42 to 1. 

In 1997 43.3% of U.S. households owned stock. However 90% of all stock is owned by 10% of households and 51% is owned by richest 1%

There are now 2 million people in prison in the USA

25% of all meals consumed in the U.S. are consumed while driving in a car. 
Nat. Pub. Radio 

The average CEO of a major corporation makes more in 2 hours than a full time minimum wage worker makes in a year.
3/22/00 MPR

12 kids per day are shot and killed in the U.S. 
5/6/00 MPR

The average woman college graduate knows only slightly more about current events than the average male high school graduate
Pew Foundation Study 5/2000

60% of the worlds population has never made a phone call, 40% have no access to electricity.
MPR 10 / 2000 

Dust mites constitute 10% of a pillows weight.

The average mattress will double in weight in ten years because of mites and their excrement
KFAI 3/31/97

1.2 billion people subsist on less than $1.00 US per day -
1/2 of the human race exists on less than $2.00/day 
I.M.F. report NPR 10/10/2000

The Library of Congress home page has 4-1/2 million items of just maps

Thomas Carlisle is the last human reputed to have read everything written.

Michael Jordan makes more money from Nike annually than all of the Nike factory workers in Malaysia combined.

It takes 3,000 cows to supply the NFL with enough leather for a year's supply of footballs.

American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one olive from each salad served in first-class.

The world consumes 75.5 million barrels of oil per day. WSJ 3-1-2001