Hobson's Choice

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Amount offered to Holocaust survivors by the Hungarian government as compensation for each parent killed in the Holocaust:


Amount offered by the Hungarian government for each sibling killed in the Holocaust:


Amount allocated in President Clinton's proposed military budget to the completion of a national missile-defence shield, similar to "Star Wars":


Acres of genetically modified crops sown in the world in 1997, five times the acreage sown in 1996:

30 million

Global average number of boys born, for every 100 girls:


Average number of boys born in China for every 100 girls:


Ranking of "Ashley" in the list of most popular girls' names in New York City since 1992:


Number of reported cases of forged bank notes in Poland last year:


Chances that a musical recording, on CD or cassette, will be a pirated copy:

1 in 3

Number of parking tickets issued in London each year:

3.5 million

Average speed of traffic in Central London:


Number of dust particles in the 16 kg of air breathed daily by the average British office worker:

5 million

Square yards of skin on the average human - home to as many bacteria as there are people in the US:


Amount charged an hour by Mary Ward in Boston, a professional "nitpicker" who teaches parents to remove lice from their children's hair:


Number of leeches the Welsh company Biopharm supplies to hospitals around the world each year:


Chances that a Spaniard still has time to take a siesta - ideally of 20 minutes - after lunch:

1 in 5

Percentage of time a mallard duck sleeps with one eye open and one half of its brain awake, a type of rest known as unihemispheric slow-wave sleep, when predators are nearby:


SOURCES: Associated Press, Time, Panos, Le Monde, New York Times, Warsaw Voice, Granta, Daily Telegraph, Mainichi Shimbun, Frontier, National Geographic, Economist