Warwick University economists have proved that ignorance is indeed bliss. A study of workplace happiness shows that workers with university degrees are less happy than those with A-levels or GCSEs, while the happiest employees are those with no qualifications at all. If you want to catch up on foregone happiness, try missing out on sleep. Canadian researchers have found that sleeping for an hour less than you need reduces your IQ by one point; repeating this the following night cuts two points off. After a week the average person can become “borderline retarded.” The quickest way to reach this nirvana is to get internet access at home-you spend 15 per cent less time sleeping, according to Continental Research. But you also spend 8 per cent more time socialising with friends.
When definitions used for measuring economic data are changed, government statisticians usually issue revised historical data to ensure fair comparisons over time. The documentation with Gordon Brown’s last budget shows that he has classified his cut in mortgage interest tax relief as a ?2.75m fall in public spending, not as-heaven forbid-a tax increase. So perhaps now we can look forward to a Treasury press release stating that under the last government, Brown’s favourite campaign slogan of “22 Tory tax rises” should actually have referred to 21.
An investigation in the Guardian has shown how performance indicators for the police boosts their incentive to fiddle crime statistics and falsely increase detection rates. Nottinghamshire Police got one criminal to confess to five burglaries which hadn’t happened, and another five which had occurred when the offender was in prison. One district in the US reported an 80 per cent drop in serious crime. It turned out that many robberies were being downgraded to cases of “missing property.”
Compiled by Martin Rosenbaum m.rosenbaum@MCR1.poptel.org.uk