HOBSON'S CHOICE

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Year in which a Colorado newspaper mistakenly gave the unlisted number of the Commander-in-Chief of the North American Aerospace Defense (Norad) Command as Santa Claus's direct phone line:

1955

Number of hits in a day last year on Norad's website, which at Christmas charts Santa Claus's progress from the North Pole on radar used for monitoring air attacks against the US and Canada:

28 million

Amount residents of Iznmo in Japan are paid if they have a third child:

pounds 1,750

Amount residents of Hachijo-machi in Japan are paid if they have a seventh child:

pounds 17,700

Value of the Pope's new vehicle, given to him by Fiat, which he will use for the first time in St Peter's Square on Christmas Eve: pounds 1m

Number of wild turkeys in the US in the 1970s:

30,000

Number of wild turkeys in the US now:

5 million

Number of cheetahs in the wild: 12,000

Century in which the wheelbarrow was developed in China:

3rd AD

Century in which the wheelbarrow was developed in Europe: 12th AD

Number of airline tickets sold by airlines linked to IATA each year: 1.5 billion

Number of tickets sold by Indian railways each year:

4.5 billion

Number of "Peanuts" strips Charles M. Schultz drew, inked and lettered during his career:

18,000

Number of newspapers "Peanuts" appears in, in 75 countries and 21 languages:

2,600

Number of films the director Peter Bogdanovitch claims to have seen between the age of 12 and 30:

5,316

Number of industrial robots presently in the world:

14 million

Minimum number of minutes the head on a Heineken beer should last:

4.5

Maximum number of minutes the head on a Heineken beer should last:

5.5

SOURCES: NEW SCIENTIST, COLOURS, EVENING STANDARD, THE INDEPENDENT, NEWSWEEK, THE ECONOMIST, NEWSWEEK, EASY RIDERS, RAGING BULLS: PETER BISKIND, NEWSWEEK, NEW SCIENTIST.

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