The Page That Counts :: Spring 2000

Percentage of girls in Fiji (where robust curves are typically admired)

who reported vomiting to control weight in 1995: 3%

Percentage of Fijian girls who reported vomiting to control weight in 1998: 15%

Year American TV shows, including serial drama Melrose Place, were introduced in Fiji: 1995 1

Number of the world's bird species that face extinction in the next century

because of environmental damage: 1 in 8 2

Amount New York City public schools spend per student on drug abuse programs: $30

Amount NYC public schools spend per student on library books and librarians combined: $15

Number of books per student in the library of PS 108 in Queens: 2

Number of books per student that experts cited by The New York Post say

school libraries should have: at least 10  3

Percentage of the world's insecticides used to grow cotton: 25%

Amount of chemicals it takes to make one cotton t-shirt: 1/4 pound 4

Grams of anthrax that a leading US expert on biological warfare smuggled through airport,

State Department, Pentagon, and CIA security: 7 5

Number of books banned from Texas schools in 1997–98: 55

Percent of books on the Modern Library's list of the 100 greatest books in English

that have been targets of censors: 50% 6

Average lifespan of a pair of toe shoes belonging to a company dancer

with the Pacific Northwest Ballet Theater: one performance  7

Cost of an annual subscription to the AstroEcon website, which uses astrology

as the basis for dispensing financial advice: $420

Date on which AstroEcon astrologer and appliance repairman Robert Hitt

says the stock market will reach an all-time low: May 5, 2000 8

Gallons of fuel, oil, and other materials US Navy ships spilled while patrolling the seas

between 1990 and 1997: 181,453

Amount in state fines the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk would have generated if Navy ships were not exempt from the US Oil Pollution Act: $90,000 9

Age at which humans start losing neurons in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that converts

short-term ideas to long-term memories: 30

Fraction of neurons in the hippocampus that have been lost when a human reaches her 70s: one-third 10


Sources: 1. “How TV Zaps your Confidence,” Fitness, January 2000.  2. Birdlife International, cited in News on Earth, Vol. 2, No. 11, November 1999. 3. “Where are the Books?” Rethinking Schools, Vol. 14, No. 1, Fall 1999. 4. Spector, Rebecca, “Cleaner Cotton,” The Green Guide, No. 66, April 1999. 5. The Washington Post, cited in “Anthrax and Security,” The Compendium Newsletter, Vol. 27, No. 5, September-October 1999. 6. Smith, Sam, Undernews, 3 June 1999.  7. “Showstopping Workouts,” Fitness, January 2000.  8. Shepherd, Chuck, “News of the Weird,” Universal Press Syndicate, 9 December 1999. 9. “The Navy's Big Mess,” News on Earth, Vol. 1, No. 7, December 1998. 10. Tuttle, Cameron, The Paranoid's Pocket Guide, San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1997.


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