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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Authors Should Learn The Facts


The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2015 was just launched.  I remember, as a boy of the 1970s, thumbing through the annuakl guide that is now, according to its publisher,  the best-selling American reference book of all time.  I still enjoy looking random facts up in this easy-to-use 1,000-page edition.

The Internet has much more information than any book could have but what it doesn’t have is a professional editor and fact-checker, as this book has.  Further, the book invites readers to discover all kinds of things that perhaps you’d otherwise not need to look up or would even know existed.

So what might you find in the book of data and lists?  Election results, top 10 news stories of 2014, offbeat news stories, sports stats, national disaster records, sa elected list of endangered species, and all kinds of trivia, such as these selected tidbits.

·         The US only ranked 19th in 2013 for nations with the highest percentage of Internet users (84.2%)

·         Iron Man was 2013’s top-grossing movie with $409 million.  32 movies topped $100,000,000.

·         U2 averages the most money per concert, generating over $6 million.

·         The number of radio stations has grown in the past decade, from 10,732 in 2004 to 11,099 in 2014.

·         The number of triplets has declined significantly, from a US high of 7,110 in 2003 to 4,598 in 2012.  Quintuplets decreased in half, from a high of 91 in 2007 to just 45 in 2012.  Twins are down too, from nearly 139,000 in 2007 to barely 131,000 in 2012.

·         When gas averaged 3.52 a gallon in 2013 in the US, it was $6.66 in South Korea.

·         Medium home price in SF area is $900,000 this year – but just $99,400 in Cumberland, MD.  It’s $399,000 in the NY-area.

·         25 years ago Law & Order debuted on TV.

·         There are 196 countries in the world.

·         7.2 billion people live on earth.

·         In the US there are 5.24 million Jews out of 318,000,000 residents.  Almost 48 million are agnostic.  Atheists number 1.37 million.  Muslims number 4.41 million.  There are 72.6 million Catholics and 20.6 million Southern Baptists.

·         In 1810, there were 4.3 people per square mile in the US.  By 1910 it was 26 per square mile, and now in 2010 it was 87.4 people per square mile.

·         In 1820, a little over 1 in 7 Americans were slaves.

·         NJ is the most crowded state with 1195 people per square mile.  NY state by comparison, has 411 per square mile.  Alaska has 1.2 people per square mile.

·         The tallest building in the world is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai at 2717 feet and 163 stories.  The tallest one in North America is One World Trade Center at 1,776 feet.  There are at least 88 buildings 1000-feet tall or more and NYC has nine of them.

·         38% of those attending college did so part-time in 2012.

·         Women outnumber men in college, 11.7 million to 8.9 million.

·         The hottest day recorded on Earth was 134 degrees in Death Valley, CA, in July 1913.

·         The circulation of US daily papers is 42.7 million. It was 62.3 in 1990.  There were 1,878 newspapers in 1940 and under 1,400 dailies now.

·         A US postage stamp costs 49 cents now.  It was 33 cents 15 years ago and 22 cents  in 1985.

Ok, I can endlessly quote you random stats, facts, and trivia.  I find the numbers of life fascinating.  As we quantify the world we live in, a picture forms.  But it’s a moving picture and over time one can see how things trend up, down, or phase out.  But swimming in all of this data makes me feel brainy and secure.  I feel like I’ve begun to understand human behavior by seeing patterns in what we do.  But I know it’s a false comfort, for all I know is the end number and not the how or why used to get there. 

That’s for another book to figure out.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

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