Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For May 22, 2011

Rank of Apple on the list of the most valuable brands in the world, after registering a staggering 84 percent increase in value over the past year, ending the four-year reign of Google at the top of the table, according to the sixth annual BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study: 1

Value of the Apple brand, as calculated by dollar value, an analysis based on financial data combined with consumer measures of brand equity: $153.3 billion

Percentage increase in value since 2006: 859

Source: Millward Brown.

Projected cost of the 200-mile-per-hour hybrid car that Jaguar plans to introduce, according to the Kelley Blue Book: $1.2 million

Source: Kelley Blue Book.

Percentage of Americans who say they have already cut back or canceled vacation plans due to high gas prices, with the summer vacation season fast approaching, according to this month's RBC Consumer Outlook Index: 47

Percentage who say they have scaled back their plans because of high airfares: 20

Percentage of consumers who have already reduced their discretionary spending: 30

Source: Ipsos Public Affairs (MG).

Percentage of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year -- approximately 1.4 billion tons -- that gets lost or wasted, according to an FAO-commissioned study: 33

Amount of food wasted by consumers in rich countries every year: 244.7 million tons

Entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa: 253.5 million tons

Source: FAO.

Percentage reduction in annual energy use by the Empire State Building as a result of its retrofit project, according to Johnson Controls Energy Efficiency Indicator: 38

Estimated reduction in carbon emissions over the next 15 years: 105,000 metric tons

Source: Johnson Controls Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI).

Percentage of consumers who believe that grocery prices have risen in the past three months, according to a consumer sentiment and behavior survey by Technomic: 84

Percentage who believe restaurant prices have risen: 62

Percentage of consumers who believe packaged food sizes have gotten smaller: 50

Source: Technomic.

Percentage of Americans who say all new drivers should be required to complete a driver education course before they can get a driver's license, according to a survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and conducted by Knowledge Networks: 86

Rank of road accidents on the list of causes of death for young people worldwide (including in the U.S.): 1

Source: AAA.

Percentage of people who would save family photos above all other possessions in the case of fire and after knowing their loved ones were safe, according to an Eye-Fi survey: 53

After family photos, rank of other miscellaneous items, electronics, a specific item of clothing, jewelry, and a particular book on the list of people's most treasured possessions: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Source: Eye-Fi.

Percentage of workers who were laid off from full-time jobs in the last year who reported they found new positions, according to a survey conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder: 59

Percentage of workers who took jobs in new fields, reflecting a growing trend where workers are re-educating themselves and/or repackaging their skill sets, up from 48 percent last year: 60

Source: CareerBuilder.com.

Percentage of Americans who believe Social Security and Medicare costs are already creating a crisis for the federal government, according to a Gallup poll: 34

Percentage who believe Social Security and Medicare costs will create a crisis within 10 years: 33

Source: Gallup Organization.

Idle Thought

"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe." -- John Muir, naturalist, explorer, and writer

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