Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For January 12, 2014

Percentage of employers who say their organization blocks employees from accessing certain websites from work, according to a survey conducted for CareerBuilder.com: 51

Percentage of employers who say they've fired someone for using the Internet for a nonwork-related activity: 22

Source: CareerBuilder.com.

Amount of outstanding student debt in federal loans today, up from nearly $600 billion in 2008, according to a comprehensive study of the private student loan market by MeasureOne: $1.1 trillion

Source: MeasureOne.

Number of states where legalized recreational marijuana sales are approved as of Jan. 1, 2014, according to a survey conducted for TheStreet by GfK1: 2 (Washington and Colorado)

Percentage of Americans who do not think the sale and possession of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use should be made legal: 53

If the sale and possession of small amounts of it were legal, percentage of respondents who think marijuana should be sold at the pharmacy: 69

Percentage who think marijuana should be sold in its own store: 60

Source: TheStreet Inc.

Ranks of Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands on the list of countries that give the most in foreign aid based on the percentage of GDP committed to foreign aid, according to Statistics Brain: 1, 2, 3, 4

Rank of the United States on the list: 21

Source: Organization for Economic Cooperation.

Percentage of people who say they are germ-anxious and want to take steps to protect themselves against other people's germs: 34

Estimated percentage reduction in the chance of infection from colds and flu in the workplace by workers adopting the HYGIENIFY! wash, wipe, sanitize protocol, according to mathematical modeling referenced in the Workplace Wellness Intervention Study: 80

Source: Kimberly-Clark Professional.

Percentage of Americans who say that meeting for a drink or coffee is best for a first date, according to a survey by YourTango.com: 20

Percentage who prefer dinner: 48

In the age-old debate about whether a man should pay on the first date, percentage who said the man: 60

Source: YourTango.com.

Percentage of people who say that only certain subjects justify the expense of a college education, according to Global research company YouGov: 51

Of these, percentage who see engineering and technology degrees as the most valuable: 84

Percentage who see life science/medical (e.g., biology, chemistry and nursing) as worth the cost of a college education: 83

Ranks of pre-professional (business, accounting, hospitality management) (48 percent) and liberal arts (15 percent) on the list of those degrees seen as the most beneficial to success: 3, 4

Source: YouGov.

Percentage of women who ride their own motorcycles who are noticeably happier -- in life and in relationships -- compared to nonriders (16 percent), according to a study, conducted by Kelton and commissioned by Harley-Davidson: 37

Percentage who always feel confident compared to nonriders (18 percent): 35

Percentage of women riders who cite their motorcycle as a key source of happiness: 53

Source: Kelton Research.

Ranks of Jimmy Fallon, Miranda Lambert/Blake Shelton, Jennifer Lawrence, Sofia Vergara and Robin Roberts on the list of celebrities Americans would most like to have for a neighbor, according to the annual Zillow survey: 1, 2 (tie), 4 (tie)

Ranks of Kim Kardashian/Kanye West, the cast of "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga on the list of celebrities Americans would least like to share a fence with: 1, 2, 3 (tie), 5

Source: Zillow.

Percentage of Americans who were willing to exercise while binge watching instead of slouching on the couch, according to a survey by Netflix: 50

Percentage of respondents who agreed they would be more motivated to exercise if they had access to their favorite TV shows on-demand and commercial-free while working out: 45

Source: Netflix Inc.

Idle Thought

"The only thing one can give an artist is leisure in which to work. To give an artist leisure is actually to take part in his creation." -- Ezra Pound, poet

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