HOBSON'S CHOICE

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The Independent Online
Number of murders committed in Colombia every day:

99

Likelihood that a murder committed anywhere in the world will be committed in Colombia:

1 in 10

Mean time between the American F-18 fighter aircraft either failing or needing maintenance:

2.2 hours

Number of man-hours of maintenance required for every hour the F-18 is airborne:

28.2

After the age of maturity for females was lowered from 15 to 9, number of pregnancies the average Iranian woman had between 1980 and 1985:

6

Iran's current population, compared to 34 million in 1979:

70 million

Amount, according to the US Agriculture Department, that US food embargoes, against countries such as Cuba, cost US farmers annually:

$1.2bn

Estimated worth of the marijuana exported annually from the Canadian province, British Columbia:

$1.4bn

Percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol, the compound that produces a "high", in British Columbian marijuana, as compared to the 12 per cent in the strongest Jamaican marijuana:

17.5 per cent

Number of people arrested last year in the US for marijuana offences:

700,000

Number of years the ground beneath Centralia, Pennsylvania has been on fire, plumes of smoke billowing out from the abandoned coal mines under the town:

37

Number of public baths in Rome in 4th century AD, up from 170 in 1st century BC:

800

Number of changes of clothes English envoys took to the marriage of the Infanta in Madrid in the 15th century:

0

Number of times the average US worker's pay that the average US top executive earns:

419

US minimum wage - now $5.15 per hour - if worker pay had risen at the same rate as executive pay in the 90s:

$22.08

Number of octaves Oscar Peterson, the Montreal-born jazz pianist, could span before his hands were affected by arthritis and a stroke:

11/2

Number of lorries travelling every day through the village of L'Argentiere- la-Bessee in the Hautes Alpes on their way to or from Italy, since the Mont Blanc tunnel has been closed:

850

Number of Britons living in or around Cannes in the South of France:

100,000

SOURCES: TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT, NEW STATESMAN, NEW YORKER, ECONOMIST, GUARDIAN, NEW REPUBLIC, WASHINGTON POST, TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT, TIMES HIGHER EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT, LE MONDE, FINANCIAL TIMES.

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