Friday, 15 January 2021

Junk Statistics 8

In the UK, 51% of Black children have been sent home from school for wearing their hair naturally. (Dove advert. Pic shows historian Emma Dabiri.)

The UK population may have fallen by as much as 1.3m in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, academics have said.

The number of people born outside the UK resident here has fallen 800,000 on a year earlier. (Office of National Statistics, Nov 2020)

201K people immigrated to the UK from the EU in 2018. 145K people emigrated from the UK to the EU in 2018.

50-year study of tax cuts on wealthy shows they always fail to "trickle down". (

As people commute and socialise less, they don’t chew so much gum, says Mars CEO.

Supermarket sales figures show that beer sales have risen during the pandemic while make-up sales fell by £180m. Sales of toothbrushes and deodorant also fell.

In the 70s British people didn't drink wine in anything like the quantity they do today. (Good wine was expensive, and difficult to find.)

Over 60% of the total energy consumed in a house during its lifetime is during its construction (including manufacture of components).

40% of adults in Britain keep debts and other money secrets from their loved ones. (The Week. Young people are the worst, they add.)

The woods of North America are home to some three-quarters of a million black bears.

2% of black people in Britain live in the countryside.

Nine out of ten young people say they would like to get married in the future; 75 per cent of those under 35 years old currently in cohabiting relationships want to get married; over 70 per cent of people who expressed an opinion in a recent CSJ /YouGov poll supported introducing an extra tax allowance for married couples. (Centre for Social Justice report 2012)

The proportion of the population aged 16 and over in England and Wales who are married fell to 50.5%, down from 51% recorded in 2017. The number of adults who live with a partner but have never married has risen to 10.4%, up by 1.3 million people since 2008 to nearly 5 million. (Times 2019. There are legal differences between cohabitation and marriage.)

Nearly half of women in the UK remain childless at 30, says the Times. (Forty years ago, a woman who had her first child over 30 was referred to as an “elderly primipara”.)

Creative Diversity Network figuress show just 2.4% of production executives and 4.4% of series producer are non-White and only 1.6% of writers working in UK TV are Black.

10% of people listed in the Domesday Book are slaves.

The ten most obese European nations:
Turkey 32.1%
Malta 28.9%
United Kingdom 27.8%
Hungary 26.4%
Lithuania 26.3%
Israel 26.1%
Czech Republic 26.0%
Andorra 25.6%
Ireland 25.3%
Bulgaria 25.0%
(UK residents not vastly more obese than rest of Europe, as claimed, says @adamboultonSKY.)

Just over one-fifth of adults in Scotland (22%) do not use the Internet at all. (32% said they did not like using the Internet/computers; 27% said they did not need to use the Internet/computers and perhaps more importantly 25% said they did not how to use a computer., 2012)

1 in 4 Americans thinks Sun goes round Earth. (26% in a survey of 2,200 people conducted in 2012 answered that the Sun revolves around the Earth.) (National Public Radio

There are some (few) advantages is being relatively ancient. I remember a time when church leaders tut-tutted over the decline in Christian belief and church attendance, telling us that, if it continued, there would inevitably be a huge increase in crime. The decline in belief and church attendance has continued apace, but crime...? Well, actually, that's declined too. Oooops! (WS)

Sept 2019: Minimum pricing for alcohol in in Scotland reduced sales of alcohol for private consumption.

In 2019, 2% of young adults in England claimed to be part of the Church of England.

Four in five asylum seekers “are deemed to have no credible claim to asylum in the UK”, says Migration Watch. ( Not actually true. 53% of asylum claims are eventually resolved with leave to remain in the UK. @DanKaszeta)

40% of 18th century brides were pregnant on their wedding day. (Greg Jenner)

50% of marriages end in divorce.

All children on free school meals live in crack dens or brothels. Feckless parents just don’t know how to budget. (4.2 million children are in relative child poverty, 2.4 million of whom are in absolute poverty, 3.7 million in absolute poverty after housing costs; 72% of kids living in poverty are in working households; 2.5m live in food-insecure households.)

StoryTerrace has conducted national research, revealing that 1 in 4 people in Britain believe that their story is worthy of being made into a book or film. (PR Blurb)

800,000 kids go missing a year.

In England, more land is used for golf courses than for housing.

44% of women don’t know they have a cervix.

Only 15% of people in the UK who start work at entry level rise above that level during their working life, says Iain Duncan Smith early Feb 2020.

82% of women are wearing the wrong size bra (Every year for the past 50. Why do women never get the message?)

30% to 50% of zygotes never make it to fetuses. And 10% to 20% of fetuses never make it to birth. (Source: “the Internet”)

More here, and links to the rest.

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Technophobia 8

It’s January 2021 and Hilary Rose in the Times praises Harry and Meghan for giving up social media because it's pointless and ghastly – she knows because she’s never used it.

It’s 2021 and people are still talking about social media as if it was somehow contaminating. From someone who says he has “simply no use” for Facebook: I joined to have the occasional look at things I can't look at otherwise, entered the minimum personal info I could - and then edited out what had been put there for me. I am not interested in it in any other way. (He started off saying he never used it and wished the subject to be closed. Now he says he looks in once a week to catch up on people’s news.)

But sometimes a friend who has been on Facebook for years, posting the occasional picture of their child or political petition, suddenly realises you can chat to people and starts posting long updates about their lives and engaging in conversations all over the place at great length. (And generally sharing what people used to write in letters to friends.)

It’s 2020 and Matthew Parris is bragging that he’s never used Twitter.

It's 2021 and there are still Facebook posts and websites that are a huge block of text with no paragraphs. You're probably typing on your phone, but please break up the text with line spaces. And on web sites, use large type and leave white space either side.

I genuinely think that some people (read as: 60+ year olds) do not realise how public their comments are on social media. (Via Twitter. Some FB and Twitter newbies say “Why are you posting on MY PAGE?” if you reply to them.)

It’s nearly 2021 and I told someone on Facebook how to copy and paste.

It’s Dec 2020 and I’ve just told someone how to create a Twitter thread by replying to their own tweets.

It’s 2020 and someone on Twitter is asking how to turn off grammar-checking in Word. This is where I came in!

It’s 2020 and some people don’t know they can resize windows so that you can see, eg, email and a Word file side by side.

“I closed the tab and now I can’t find the link on the website again!” Apparently it is common to keep 100s of tabs open permanently, instead of bookmarking web pages you need to return to.

In 2020: “Twitter refreshed and I lost the tweet I was looking at!” “Go to the top, click on the star, select Latest Tweets.”

It’s 2020, and explains that putting text in double quotes will bring up only those pages where the wording matches exactly. This has been a feature of search engines since the early 90s.

I would stand behind someone who’d “highlighted everything by mistake and now it’s disappeared and I didn’t save it” and say “Don’t touch anything! Don’t touch anything!” They carried on hitting keys at random and lost their work.

People are still pushing the line that “likes give you a dopamine hit”. They think this means social media is addictive and you should be somehow ashamed of liking being liked. I’ll never understand Protestant guilt.

We can put a man on the moon, but if you write a review on it is almost impossible to find it again and update it. There ought to be an “immediate edit” option.

You don't keep up with technology that affects your job, so you can’t foresee that in a few years it’ll be possible for the company to shut down satellite offices and run the operation from overseas – when it happens you're terribly surprised. In the 80s, many journalists were amazed to find they were now effectively typesetting their own stories, and there were no longer printers in the basement. And when technology makes you redundant from your job operating an antiquated system that “runs on hamsters and steam”, you are simply astounded.

I just checked out a new coffee shop. At the register, there's a sign that says there's no wi-fi so that customers "make a friend." It worked! My new friend is a different coffee shop. (@legogradstudent)

Every so often an academic or novelist rants that some technological innovation (biros, Twitter, word processors, the electric telegraph) is going to destroy novel-writing, letter-writing, conversation, civilisation, life itself etc many years after it is such a part of people’s lives that nobody notices it any more.

Why is everything a hashtag these days? (Arthur Smith, Money for Nothing. Because Twitter has been around for 15 years, Brian.)

In the 80s the entire concept of “ignorance” was rendered unthinkable. Because you couldn’t give people orders, information was also tainted. You couldn’t even tell someone how to knit. No wonder 80s types had such trouble with computers. All opinions of them are not equally valid. And you can't manipulate them. If you got it right, they worked; if you didn’t, they didn’t. Computers came with thick manuals which people refused to read. I was told "Don't read the manual, it'll only confuse you". What do you think I did? But somehow all this idiocy went out of the window when anyone wanted to learn how to pass their driving test, or take out a mortgage. (They also feared computers might put people out of work. Some lost jobs – but others acquired them.)

Desk chairs are one of our best sellers. Everybody’s got a laptop, and they need a comfortable chair. (Salvage Hunters, 30 years after special “ergonomic” chairs were recommended for computer use. The typing chairs we already had were perfect for the task, oddly enough.)

What happened to all those products designed to “protect” us from evil computers – like the lightweight chainmail shirt for pregnant women? The tinted glass shade you stuck over your screen because the green letters were too bright and you couldn’t adjust screen brightness?

A lot of the arguments against phones at the table were also applied to books when I was young, and a lot of the arguments about snapchat filters etc were applied to women's magazines - at one point the source of all evil. (LW)

More here, and links to the rest.