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  • Two thirds of the world’s people have never seen snow. (Canadian Weather Trivia Calendar 2008)
  • In Britain, the mean average weekly wage for foreign-born workers is £424, compared with £395 for the native-born. (The Times, 17th October 2007)
  • A pedestrian anywhere inside Paris’s “75” postal code is never more than 500 metres from a Metro station. (International Herald Tribune, 18th June 2007)
  • Vladimir Nabokov spent seven years as a research fellow in entomology at Harvard. (At Large and at Small: Confessions of a Literary Hedonist by Anne Fadiman)
  • The Harappan civilisation in what is now Pakistan and northwest India had flushing toilets in houses linked with drains in 2500 BC. (Spiked online, 30th October 2007)
  • The total value of global mergers and acquisitions in 2006 was $3,861bn—as recently as 1995 it was just $850bn. (Financial Times, 19th June 2007)
  • In the US, tobacco kills nearly half a million people annually; more than HIV, alcohol, illegal drugs, suicide and homicide combined. (Times Literary Supplement, 28th September 2007)
  • The two most popular US presidential candidates among donors affiliated to the military are the Republican Ron Paul and the Democrat Barack Obama, both of whom are antiwar. (The Daily Dish, 19th October 2007)
  • Only one in every 400 stop and searches carried out under the anti-terrorism laws leads to an arrest, In 2005-06, one force, City of London, carried out 6,846 stops of pedestrians and vehicles without finding enough evidence to justify a single arrest. (The Guardian, 31st October 2007)
  • China won 63 medals at the 2004 Olympics, 32 of them gold. India won one, a silver in shooting. (Prospect, December)
  • About 11 per cent of the British population is left-handed—up from 3 per cent a century ago. (Sunday Times, 16th September 2007)
  • In Britain, eight walkers have died as a result of cow stampedes in the past ten years. (Daily Mail, 29th October 2007)
  • 27 per cent of Americans say they have not read a book in the past year; but only 20 per cent of African-Americans. (Harper’s, November 2007)
  • Last year, more women (244) than men (234) were ordained as clergy in the Church of England for the first time since the introduction of women priests in 1994. (The Guardian, 14th November 2007)
  • In 1990, it was made illegal in Iran for Iranian women to marry Afghan men. (Prospect research)
  • In central London in the late 17th century, post was delivered ten to 12 times a day. (At Large and at Small: Confessions of a Literary Hedonist, by Anne Fadiman)
  • Norman Mailer featured as the subject of New Yorker cartoons eight times, but wrote for the magazine only five times. (Emdashes, 12th November 2007)
  • The three most common requests by people planning their own funerals are to be cremated with their pet’s ashes; to have a mobile phone in the coffin; and to ensure they are dead. (Age Concern)
  • Egyptians, Indians and Turks search for “sex” on Google more than any other nationality. “Hitler” is most popular in Germany, Austria and Mexico; “Nazi” in Chile, Australia and Britain. “David Beckham” gets most hits in Venezuela. (Reuters, 17th October 2007)

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