by Kathy Wolfe
This week, Tidbits crunches some numbers – how many of this, how many of that. Follow along and add it all up!
• If you’re asked how many Hawaiian Islands there are, you might say seven. There actually are seven MAIN islands, all of which are inhabited. However, the grand total of islands is 136. Some are small islets, while others are coral islands circling a lagoon. The “Big Island,” Hawaii, is the largest in square miles of all, with 4,028 square miles, and is the only island containing active volcanoes. Oahu is the third largest of the major islands, but it’s the most populated, with that number upwards of 950,000.
• There are 30 Major League baseball teams – 15 teams in the National League and 15 in the American League. Twenty-nine of the teams are in the United States and one, the Toronto Blue Jays, in Canada. The New York Yankees have played in the most World Series, with 40 appearances and 27 wins, the most recent in 2009. The St. Louis Cardinals have won 11 of their 19 Series appearances. Only one team, the Seattle Mariners, has never played in a World Series. The Blue Jays are the only franchise from outside the U.S. to appear and win a World Series, taking the title in 1992 and 1993.
• Most of us were taught in school that there are seven continents – Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North American, and South America. However, many geologists assert there are just six, claiming that Europe and Asia are actually Eurasia because it is one large land mass. There are 195 countries in the world, of which 54 are in Africa. Asia is home to 48 countries, while 44 are in Europe, and 33 in Latin America and the Caribbean.
• How many handicapped parking spaces are in the average parking lot? The minimum requirement for handicapped accessible parking spaces is one per every 25 total spaces. A 50-space lot would require two handicapped spaces, three spaces per 75 regular spaces, and so on.
• It’s a misconception that the number of rattles on a rattlesnake equates to its age in years. It’s actually the number of times the snake has shed its skin. During the first year of life, a snake might shed its skin multiple times, with a new rattle added each time. The first molting might be just a few weeks after birth. In addition, as rattlesnakes slither along with their rattles held up, the rattles often break off. The average life span of a rattlesnake in the wild is 10 to 20 years.
• Forbes magazine tells us that there are close to 2,800 billionaires in the world, which is the equivalent of about .35 billionaires per million people. More than 25% of that number live in the United States. China is a close second in numbers, followed by India and Germany. The total worth of all the world’s billionaires exceeds $13 trillion. Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk go back and forth on a regular basis for the title of the world’s richest individual.
• As of 2022, there are 7,151 recognized languages. However, that number is always changing, as new languages are discovered. About 2,000 different languages are spoken in the countries of Africa. Although the country of Papua New Guinea is just 4.71% the size of the United States, more than 840 languages are spoken there, making it the most linguistically diverse country in the world. A mere 23 languages account for more than half the world’s population. English is the largest, if you count both native and non-native, but if only native speakers are counted, Mandarin Chinese has the largest number of speakers. About 40% of the world’s languages are now endangered, many with less than 1,000 speakers remaining.
• If you’ve ever wondered how many dimples are on a golf ball, there’s no pat answer. The number can vary between 330 and 400. Most American golf balls contain 336. The dimples reduce the aerodynamic drag on the ball, resulting in the ball flying a longer distance. The spin of the ball is also affected by the diameter of the dimples as well as their shape. Some golf balls have round dimples, while others are hexagonal.
• Roman numerals aren’t used much anymore, except for outlining, clock faces, and numbering the Super Bowl! There are seven symbols in the system: I, V, X, L, C, D, and M, representing 1, 5, 10, 5, 100, 500, and 1000, respectively. A letter placed after another letter of greater value increases it, for example, VI = 6, LXX = 70, and LXXXVIII = 88. A letter placed before another letter of greater value decreases it: IV = 4, XC = 90, CM = 900. The system originated in ancient Rome and continued in use until about the 14th century, when they began being replaced by our current Arabic numerals.
• A baby is born with about 300 bones, but by adulthood will have just 206. Why is that? A baby’s bones are mostly cartilage rather than solid bone. As the baby grows, some of the bones fuse together, and much of the cartilage turns into bone, a process known as ossification, reducing the number of bones from 300 to 206. The 206 bones make up about 15% of an adult’s body weight.
• A 2019 survey of 1,400 undergraduate students at Yale University revealed that 14% of that number confessed to having cheated on tests and homework. In another nationwide survey of 30,000 students, 60.8% admitted that they had cheated on their assignments and tests. The poll also revealed that 16.5% of them had no regrets over their actions. One survey revealed that most students believe that it’s permissible to cheat in classes they don’t like much.
• The annual Kentucky Derby horse race held at Churchill Downs each May has a length of 10 furlongs. What exactly is a furlong? It was originally the length of a furrow, which was the distance a team of oxen could pull a plow without stopping to rest. A furlong translates to about 220 yards, or 201.168 meters. The Derby’s distance is 1.25 miles (2.0 km).
• Crafters might know that there are about 40 yards (36.6 m) of fabric on a bolt. A skein of yarn consists of 120 yards (109.8 m).
• One year has 365.242189 days, a total of 8,765.812536 hours