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By prospect   August 2008

In the 2004 US presidential election, every city with more than 500,000 inhabitants returned a majority vote for John Kerry. (Granta, summer 2008) Iran’s fertility rate has fallen from 6.5 in 1980 to 2.1 today. (Martin Rees speech) Handel and Bach were born within a month of one another and less than 100 miles apart—but never met. (Handel: The Man and His Music, by Jonathan Keates) During the 1960s, a top ten song in the US charts had an average of 176 words. Last year it had 436. (Harper’s, August 2008) 135m postcards were sent last year, 30m more than…

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