HOBSON'S CHOICE

Number of registered charities in the UK by the end of 1998:

186,248

Of pounds 19.6bn given to charity in 1998, amount received by 0.3 per cent of charities:

pounds 8bn

Chances that a charity earned less than pounds 10,000 in 1998:

2/3

Maximum fee, per hour, that law firms charge charities (at a 20 per cent discount):

pounds 230

Amount that scientists can earn a day as expert witnesses in court cases in the US:

$2,000

Number of people in the US per every one lawyer:

300

Number of people in Japan per every one lawyer:

6,600

Budget of US Department of Health and Human Services' Bioterrorism Initiative last year, up from $14m in 1997:

$158m

Number of hoaxes reported in the US since 1998 in which people have claimed to have been exposed to anthrax:

150

Number of asteroids and comets for which Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory's internet service gives orbital data:

25,000

Number of new satellites launched every year:

100

Number of times the sun's diameter is greater than the moon's:

400

Number of times the sun is further away than the moon, thus ensuring the two discs appear identical in size when an eclipse is viewed from Earth:

400

Number of people blinded as a result of the last full eclipse seen in the UK in 1927:

20

Number of nudists holidaying on the north German island of Sylt this year:

200,000

Number of tons of snails eaten in France each year:

40,000

Number of Americans moving house every year, two-thirds of whom do not change county:

42 million

Number of chickens in the US fitted, in a trial, with tinted contact lenses which prevent them from seeing the colour red and pecking one another:

100,000

SOURCES: 'LEGAL WEEK', 'PROSPECT', 'TIMES HIGHER EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT', 'NEW REPUBLIC', 'NEW SCIENTIST', 'THE ECLIPSE' BY J P McEVOY, THE 'TIMES', THE 'GUARDIAN', 'ATLANTIC MONTHLY', 'THE COMPLETE MERDE' BY GENEVIEVE, 'NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC'

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