Trivia 2I


There are some stories that you just couldn’t make up if you tried.

Japan Tobacco, the third largest cigarette company in the world, recently purchased all rights to any lung cancer vaccines developed by the American companies Cell Genesys and Corixa. Now, smokers have one stop shopping available to them. They can visit Japan Tobacco and be vaccinated against lung cancer, buy some smokes and, since Japan Tobacco is also working on treatments for other smoking related diseases, receive medical care for those other pesky but life-threatening illnesses.

Now, why didn’t good old Yankee ingenuity come up with that one first? ( 1 )

The Boston Globe recently reported that a number of truly “upper crust” restaurants were adding real flakes of gold to their meals. These flakes are meant to be eaten, not removed from the food at hand. In fact, Boston’s Riba restaurant recently offered “risotto of summer’s golden squashes with leaf of 24-carat gold.” According to Riba’s owner, “There’s a feeling of plenty around. People are feeling rich.”

Correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t that pretty much the feeling that the wealthy and royal families felt just prior to their heads and their torsos going their separate ways during the French Revolution? ( 2 )

A little unsettling (but expected) news from the Sunday Oklahoma newspaper. A recent article revealed that the Feed the Children charity, the one with all the dirty and hungry little foreign kids in their commercials, took in over $6 million in just the 45 days following the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Officials from the charity are now admitting that only half of the money ever was given to the victims of that disaster with the other half being “invested”. Explained Larry Jones, president of Feed the Children, the money was distributed like this because there was no proof that the donors intended the money for the bombing victims. He later also admitted that “almost none” of the $47 million raised in 1999 by the charity has ever gone towards actually feeding any children anywhere on Earth. ( 3 )

File this under “Rebel Without a Clue”.

Last January saw a bill introduced into the Vermont legislature by one Rep. Fred Maslack which would have required every adult citizen of that state to pay a $500 fee for the right NOT to own a gun. The legislation, I’m happy to report, was defeated.( 4 )

How about some sad, shocking, amazing or just disgusting information, courtesy of “Harper’s Index”?

Number of companies that controlled over half of all U.S. media outlets in 1983 - 50.

Number of companies that controlled over half of all U.S. media outlets in 1999 - 6.

Percentage of committee members advising the U.S. on the World Trade Organization’s forest-issue negotiations who are lumber executives - 100%.

Minimum number of miles, estimated, of streams in West Virginia that have been buried by mining waste since 1986 - 470 miles.

Rank of Adam Sandler and Bill Gates among the most popular role models for male college freshmen - 1 & 2, respectively. (Sigh!)

Estimated number of people in the world who must live on less than $30 income per month - 1,300,000,000.

Estimated number who are enslaved - 27,000,000.

Number of banks in the U.S. in 1921 - 30,456.

In 1933 - 14,207.

In 1999 - 8,675.

Number of the 10 largest multinational corporations that produce automobiles or gasoline - 9.
(Now we don’t need to wonder any longer why alternative energy sources will never see the light of day.)

Percentage increase in the number of beds in privately owned or managed prisons since 1990- 856%.

Percentage of the world’s total of all AIDS deaths that have occurred in sub-Saharan Africa - 80%.

Chance that a soldier who died in combat during the 20th Century was an American - 1 in 72.

Chance that a civilian who died due to war during the 20th Century was an American - 1 in 62,000.

Now for some absolutely useless trivia.

Number of the universe’s spatial dimensions of which physicists now believe we are unaware - 7.

Estimated temperature of Hell, according to the interpretation of the Bible by two Spanish physicists - 832 degrees F.

Estimated temperature of heaven - 448 degrees F.

According to the American Institute of Physics, the number of angles who can dance on the head of a pin - 1,064.

The number if they were dancing “Rockettes-style” - 1,032.

Factor by which the estimated size of the universe has increased since 1900 - 1,000,000.

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Copyright 4/20/2000