Able-bodied drivers who sneak into disabled parking spots are not, it seems, otherwise law-abiding citizens just desperate for somewhere to park. A Huddersfield University survey has found that it is part of a pattern of criminal behaviour-a third of these parking cheats have criminal records and a fifth were suspected of being connected with some unsolved crime. This is not simply of academic interest. Apart from the fact that the police now know where to look for criminals, it has also boosted the self-esteem of local traffic wardens.
Is fat really a feminist issue? It may depend on where you live. In Russia, 28 per cent of women are obese, compared to 10 per cent of men. But a survey of 15 European nations managed to find two countries where men are actually fatter than women-Denmark and Italy. Incidentally, despite their fondness for deep-fried Mars bars, Scots of both genders are thinner than the English.
Statwatchers can often find plenty to enjoy in the monthly bulletin of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Dubious statistical assertions exposed in the latest edition of the bulletin include: a horse-racing betting tips service which claimed “100 per cent sure wins”; a “radiation eliminator” which was supposed to block “up to 97 per cent” of the radiation emitted by a mobile phone-the ASA was not satisfied that the device could do this without preventing the phone from working altogether; and a telephone card which would save “up to 60 per cent” on hotel phone charges-the ASA upheld a complaint from someone who found he was billed for over twice the sum the hotel would have charged.
If your mind is beginning to wander, it’s not your fault. Deborah Kern, owner of a wellness centre in Dallas, says: “Most people have about 60,000 thoughts a day, which drains energy and willpower.” Who would’ve thought it?
Compiled by Martin Rosenbaum m.rosenbaum@MCR1.poptel.org.uk