Figuratively Speaking for August 01, 2010

Percentage of elementary school students who will start school with a new laptop, according to a PriceGrabber report: 15

Percentage who will have computer accessories: 13

Percentage who will receive a new cell phone or smartphone: 10

Source: PriceGrabber.com.

Globally, the percentage of consumers who go online to visit a social network or blog (an increase of 24 percent over last year), according to Nielsen Research: 75

Estimated number of minutes the world now spends on social networks and blog sites per month -- 22 percent of their time online: 110 billion

Source: Nielsen Media Research.

Percentage of Americans who are familiar with Twitter and know that it is an online information-sharing service, according to The Pew Research Center's latest News IQ Quiz: 85

Percentage of Americans who know that the government's bailout of banks and financial institutions was enacted under the Bush administration: 34

Percentage who are able to identify John Roberts as chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court: 28

Source: Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

Percentage of adults surveyed in 23 countries who don't agree with the statement that "a woman's place is in the home," according to a Reuters News poll: 74

Ranks of Argentina, France, Mexico and Sweden on the list of countries with citizens most likely to disagree that "a woman's place is in the home": 1, 2, 3, 4

Ranks of India, Turkey, Japan and China on the list of countries where inhabitants are most likely to agree that "a woman's place is in the home": 1, 2, 3, 4

Source: Reuters.

Percentage of managers who indicated that support staff play a role in helping their firms to reduce spending, according to a study developed for the International Association of Administrative Professionals: 50

Percentage of supervisors who said they have turned to administrative personnel for help with technology: 32

Percentage of support professionals who said their employers do not provide leadership training to administrative staff: 51

Percentage who said they would find these courses valuable if available: 96

Source: OfficeTeam.

Median income level of the elderly population (the midpoint -- 50 percent above and 50 percent below) in 1974, according to a study by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI): $13,264 (all figures quoted are in constant 2009 dollars)

Average income of the elderly in 1974: $18,750

Median income of the elderly in 2008: $18,001

Source: EBRI.

Ranks of Tiger Woods and Kobe Bryant, Derek Jeter, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning on the list of America's favorite sports stars, according to a Harris poll: 1 (tie), 3, 4, 5

Ranks of Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Danica Patrick and Mia Hamm on the list of America's favorite female sports stars: 1, 2, 3, 4

Source: Harris Interactive.

When asked how much of the $800 billion economic stimulus package was used to create jobs by rebuilding and improving highways, roads and bridges, percentage of voters who incorrectly guessed 25 percent, according to a poll for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers: 20

Percentage of voters who think worse of the stimulus package when they learn that only 3 percent of its funding was dedicated to rebuilding highways, roads and bridges: 53

Source: Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

Percentage of homeowners who say they don't regret buying their home, according to a poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International: 90

Among homeowners who regret having bought their homes, percentage who said they feel woeful because they are unable to sell and move on: 31

Percentage of respondents who said it was because they couldn't afford the monthly mortgage payments: 22

Source: Bankrate Inc.

Percentage of Americans who plan to vacation 100 miles or more away from home during 2010, according to the results of a consumer survey commissioned by the U.S. Tour Operators Association: 60

Of those, percentage who said they would travel in the offseason or "shoulder" -- period between the peak season and offseason -- to save money: 45

Source: United States Tour Operators Association.

Idle Thought

"Like cars in amusement parks, our direction is often determined through collisions." -- Yahia Lababidi

(Readers can contact John MacIntyre at johnmacintyre(at)bwr.eastlink.ca.)

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