Things I Learned While Reading This Summer (1997)
(and will use to develop problems for my class)
by Dick Sietz

  • Half of the people in the world have never placed a phone call.
  • Three quarters of the residences in the world do not have phones.
  • The average call to a foreign country cost eighty-eight cents a minute.
  • Americans place five billion dollars worth of calls to foreign countries.
  • Over 29 billion aspirin were taken in the U.S. last year.
  • Each gallon of gas burned by a car produces 20 pounds of carbon dioxide.
  • 240 million auto tires are thrown away each year.
  • The average consumption of ice cream per capita is 16.1 pounds.
  • 60% of UPS employees are part-time workers.
  • About 5% of our GNP moves by UPS each day.
  • A runner's feet will hit the ground 42,000 times during a marathon.
  • You could buy a complete Thanksgiving dinner for 35 cents in 1940.
  • Woolworth stores did not sell anything costing more than 10 cents until 1932.
  • Bill Gates is planning to support 288 satellites in space to improve communications.
  • Each day 150,000 pieces of mail have incomplete addresses that stop delivery.
  • There are 75 people responsible for finding where the incorrectly addressed mail should be delivered.
  • A postal worker has 0.4 seconds to read the ZIP code and 0.6 seconds to key the number into a machine that places a mailing code on an envelope.
  • The Javits Center convention center has 900,000 square feet of exhibit space, 16,000 panes of glass in its roof and employs four window washers.
  • The Plymouth-Canton Phase III gym has 16,000 square feet of hardwood floor.
  • In 1869 the University of Michigan was the first American institution of higher learning to use a millage tax as a source of revenue.
  • There are 150 million cars in the United States and the average car gives off 10,700 pounds of pollutions each year.
  • An 800 square foot apartment in downtown Hong Kong will cost you $2,000,000.
  • $150,000 will buy you a parking space for your apartment in Hong Kong.
  • There is an apartment in Greenwich Village (NYC) that is three stories high but only nine and a half feet wide. It rents for $4,000 a month.
  • 1,000 people move to Las Vegas each week and each person will use 350 gallons of water each day.
  • The common mole can tunnel under sod at the rate of seven feet every 12 seconds.
  • Workers in Haiti making Disney products for the Wal-Mart stores earn that country's minimum wage which is $3.00 a day for an eight hour shift.
  • Cleanup crews for the two-mile long Champs Elysees avenue average eight pieces of gum per square yard that has to be removed every night.
  • The average undergraduate in the state of Michigan paid $3,816 in tuition cost for the 1996-97 school year, a 3.6% increase from last year.
  • The average monthly cost of day care in the state of Michigan is $388 per child.
  • At Computer Associates, e-mail is banned from 10 a.m. to noon and again from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • One-third of the earth's land is desert that receives less than 25 cm of rain during a year.
  • Artificial skin is now available for burn victims and a 4 by 10 inch piece costs $1,000.
  • First published in FACTORIAL, a publication of the Detroit Area Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Vol. 29, No. 1.
  • Reprinted in VIRGINIA MATHEMATICS TEACHER, Volume 24, No.2, Winter 1998.


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