Hobson's Choice

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The Independent Culture
Number of distinct mutations in the HIV virus identified since 1992:


Chances that an inhabitant of USA would have contracted cancer in 1900:

1 in 27

Chances that an inhabitant of USA will contract cancer now: 1 in 3

Number of cases of euthanasia and authorised assisted suicides in

Netherlands in 1995: 3,600

Number of police killed in South Africa last year: 223

Number of prisoners electronically monitored in the UK under Home Detention Curfew: 1,500

Percentage by which units of alcohol in Denmark, as used to calculate the daily approved unit allowance, is larger than that in Britain:


Number of days by which the start of spring - buds appearing, plants flowering - precedes that of 1959:


Number of days by which the start of autumn - leaves changing colour, falling from trees - lags behind that of 1959:


Number of miles a worker bee has to travel to make 1lb of honey:


Number of infant birds and mammals, apart from baby rabbits, who do not show signs of intense anxiety when separated from the nest:


Difference between the number of children currently being raised by step-parents or lone parents and the number of similar households in 1898:


Chances that girls aged 11-14 in the UK read the magazine Just Seventeen:

1 in 3

Amount the average British woman earns a week, compared with the pounds 427 the

average British man earns:

pounds 310

Percentage of part-time jobs in the UK occupied by women: 90

Number of Olympic gold medals, in all sports apart from sailing, won by East Germany between 1968 and 1988 which were not steroid-induced:


Number of horror films made in 1972, the peak year for the industry:


Sources: the Guardian, New Internationalist, World Health

Organisation, Time, Big Issue, the Independent, Institute of Manpower Studies, Radio 4, New York Times, the Independent, Social Trends, Arena, BSkyB.