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Fun With Statistics: The Indian Toilet

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start rant

Book of Lists

Harpers MagazineI
've been a subscriber to Wired Magazine for many, many years but I'm starting to wonder why. What began as an imaginatively-designed compendium of all manner of tech-porn has slumped into a restive middle age, resembling the old Sears catalogue more and more with each passing issue. Its stance towards novelty consumer goods used to have an enjoyably combative edge but now it seems content to simply grab its kankles and allow the advertisers to dictate content with a vigorous circular motion up its chrome-coated poop chute.

However, Harpers Magazine, which I've subscribed to for over twenty years, never changes. Great stories, commentary, poetry, and art. Month after month. This month they even feature a cartoon by adorable Kate "Hark! A Vagrant" Beaton.

One of the things I love about Harpers is the fiction found in the back. Nearly every one of the stories end without final resolution. It's a tribute to the imagination of the readers.

And let's not forget the Index.

Ah, the Index. A monthly, easy-to-swallow list of the odd, the unusual and the ironic. It's where I plagiarized the statistics about toilets and cell phones found in today's comic. It's always good for a laugh, a knowing smirk or a horrified gasp. This month's Index also included the following gems:

Average government expenditures since 2005 for military research and development: $77,000,000,000.

Average government expenditure in the same period for energy R&D: $5,000,000,000.

Percentage of 16-17 years olds who admit to text-messaging while driving: 34

Percentage of adults: 47

Number of states whose pension plans were fully funded in 2000: 26

Number today: 3

And so on.

Magazines are dying left and right as a result of the digital steamroller and there are a lot I won't miss after they're gone, but here's to Harpers. Long may they wave. Check it out.


Today's comic: In case you're feeling a trifle smug about the modestly doctrinaire information offered in today's comic I did a quick check and it seems that in the early days of the twentieth century telephones outnumbered bathtubs in this country. Phones outnumbered toilets, too, as indoor plumbing didn't really catch on until the 30s.

If it makes you feel any better, according to current data everyone in America has on average one cell phone and one toilet. That seems like enough.

In researching this information I learned that public restrooms in certain parts of the world are lit using blue lights. This makes it hard for drug addicts to find a vein. Clever.

Oh, and while searching Google for "number of toilets in America by year" one of the top results was "What is the total number of lawyers in the US".

Oh, Google. You wag.


end rant

Raging Pencils salutes the Mystery Readers of
Spruce Grove, Alberta
Whoever you are, thanks for reading my incontinent little 'toon.

Today's mystery web comic is:


Raging Pencils is an anxious conceit of:

Mike Stanfill, Private Hand
Mike Stanfill, Private Hand
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Today's Google Chow.

Fun With Statistics

Guy in toilet stall: "Hello, Bandhula? Bet you don't know where I'm calling from."

Bandhula: "Oh, I bet I DO!"

Almost twice as many people in India have access to a mobile phone as have access to a toilet.