By David Boyle, Anita Roddick
All of us come across numbers countless numbers of instances an afternoon. this can be a choice of probably the most abnormal, extraordinary, stunning, or hilarious numbers lets locate. they're intended to make you think that, to problem your assumptions (and your credulity), to make you chuckle, to maneuver you to motion, or just to entertain. This publication additionally bargains a glimpse into the background of humanity’s fascination with numbers and the way our courting with them finally finds how we relate to one another and our international.
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Asked later whether he'd enjoyed it, all he could say was that there were 5*202 steps taken during the dances and 12,445 words spoken by the actors. He could also drink. He is said to have downed 5,116 pints of ale since the age of 12. But his real skill was in mental arithmetic. When he was asked what would be the cost of shoeing a hors« with 140 nails if the price was one farthing for the first nail, then doubled for each remaining nail, he arrived at the figure of £725,958,096,074,907,868,531,656,993,638,851,106, 2 shillings and 8 pence.
And diagnosis is increasingly carried out like this in the upside-down world of psychiatry and psychology, using a series of checklists to work out whether or not we are psychotic or schizophrenic, or any of their other conceptions. These numbers here may not keep us sane - some of them may drive us mad — but they can give an insight into the way the world really is, and that can give us a more level headed view of the place we live. That is, if we believe them. 7 Age a t which Admiral Nelson was killed 47 Mental arithmetic The 18th-century prodigy Jedediah Buxton could not read or write, but he could certainly count.
Economists would like to convince us that you can. Government officials and lawyers would like to persuade us that if you pay people $20, then they will be $20 happier. This is nonsense. Many of the mega-rich, like Michael Jackson and other reclusive millionaires, became richer and richer, but more miserable sis well. In fact, the five happiest nations on earth - if you believe the figures produced by The Economist — sire Columbia, Switzerland, Denmark, Costa Rica, and Iceland, and they are not necessarily the richest by any means.
Numbers by David Boyle, Anita Roddick