Thursday, March 08, 2012

Unexpected Facts

London-based HSBC is one of the largest banks in the world, and they advertise a lot in airports. On my recent trip to China, I noticed some of their current advertising posters which feature interesting or surprising facts with the tag line "We find potential in the most unexpected places. Do you?"

One that especially caught my eye was, "Of all the people in the world who have ever lived to be 65, two-thirds are alive today." I guess that makes sense given that during most of human evolution, life was "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short" (at least according to Thomas Hobbes). Here are a few others I like, found in this article:
  •  0.3% of Saharan solar energy could power Europe.
  • Only 4% of US films are made by women, compared to 25% in Iran.
  • Right now, there are over half a million people traveling the world by air.
  • Over 138 million people work outside their country of birth.
  • There are five times more people learning English in China than there are people in England.
  • The U.S. has more Spanish language newspaper readers than Latin America.
  • Recycling one tin can saves enough energy to power a TV for three hours.
I assume these statements are more or less true, though I don't know the assumptions or calculations involved. I just find them thought provoking.

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