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The World In Numbers

Numbers play an important part in the world around us. Without them, we'd always be late for meetings, we'd catch the wrong bus in on the way to work, and we'd be wandering around with blank slips of paper, hoping to win the non-existent lottery and to win an imaginary amount of money.

It is also worth noting that some numbers are more interesting than others. This page documents some of the better numbers, starting with the big one - which, coincidentally enough, is "one".

1The number of heads on the average human body. This is despite of the existance of twin brothers Larry and Harry O'Marry from County Down balancing things out. Due to a problem during conception, Larry was born with Harry's head on his right shoulder. Harry's head is independant of Larry's body, and controls Harry's body via a form of telepathic interference. Both Harry and Larry have grown up normally, and are now aspiring actors - Larry wants to be the next Zaphod Beeblebrox, and Harry wants to play Charles III.

3The age of the world's youngest astrophysicist, Snoop-Puffy Smethick of South Wales. Born to an idiot, Master Jones was first confirmed as a genius when, aged just three days old, he managed to turn his crib into an armoured tank - although, as he had to use ham and apple puree instead of the more traditional ammunition, he was unable to put up a fight against the hospital porters. Aged one and one-quarter, he was admitted to Oxford University and passed a year later with the highest possible honours. Master Jones now works at the Greenwich Observatory, in-between going to University and writing his name all over the kitchen walls. Time Magazine recently voted him "Most Precocious Brat Of The Century".

7The seven wonders of the ancient world are well known. However, there are also seven wonders of the Weird to consider. These are:

  1. The Large Shapeless Blobs of Burkina Faso - built in an attempt to outdo the Large Shapeless Blobs of Burkina Faso were constructed several hundred years ago out of whatever came to hand - namely, sand, sand, more sand, a few elephants, sand, sand and an awful lot of dung. Absolutely no-one has visited the Blobs for hundreds of years on account of the atrocious stench that they give out. It is believed that an ancestor of Jeremy Beadle is buried under the largest of the blobs, although no-one wants to go anywhere near the blobs, on account of both the stench and the fear of getting Beadled to death.
  2. The Lighthouse of Ulan Bator - despite being several hundred miles away from any large enough body of water to warrant a lighthouse, the Lighthouse of Ulan Bator has proved to be a major attraction, especially since a helter-skelter was added to the outside.
  3. King Boris's Ladle - A fifty-foot long ladle, constructed five years ago by King Boris of Henley-On-Thames in order to test how well the soup in the kitchen was doing from his seat on the patio at the end of the garden. Sadly, King Boris was sadly killed when, due to a miscalculation, he managed to shove the end of the ladle directly into the mains, electrocuting himself. His spirit lives on in the King Boris Institute For Ladle Research And Development, Henley-On-Thames.
  4. The Car Park Of Austin, Texas - the world's biggest car park, serving the local Sprawl*Mart, as well as being the destination for several hundred pilgrims who think that the car park is built on the exact point where George W. Bush lost his dignity. In reality, he had no dignity to begin with, but with a large tourist trade amassing several million dollars each month, no-one likes to tell the believers any differently.
  5. Cleopatra's Washing Machine - currently available for £194.99 in Loot, Cleopatra's Washing Machine was owned by the girl group of the same name - that is, "Cleopatra", not "Cleopatra's Washing Machine". The washing machine was only used once, before it broke after a freak collision with a fork-lift truck at a concert. Why Cleopatra owned a washing machine of their own is not known.
  6. The Grand Dog Of Bandar Seri Begawan - a three-hundred foot tall dog, with a cocked leg pointing directly towards the Sultan of Brunei's main palace. In some cultures, this would be seen as shocking and a signal of disrespect towards the sultan, but the locals choose to ignore this seeing as the dog is entirely invisible. It was recently destroyed by a five-hundred tall invisible flea, but no-one in Bandar Seri Begawan will tell you this, because they didn't see it happen.
  7. The Dirty Great Big Hammer Of Hammerfest - built in Hammerfest in the 1970s, the Hammer Of Hammerfest was constructed mainly because it would be silly not for it to be in Hammerfest. In actual fact, the Dirty Great Big Hammer Of Hammerfest is only slightly bigger than a sledgehammer, but is made out of eta-lead, and as a result would be capable of splitting the world in two if it were to be dropped. As it is, it has been slowly sinking through first the foundations of the Hammerfest Hammer Museum and then the Earth's crust for thirty years, and is currently about five years away from breaching the mantle layer. The creator of the hammer has been quoted as saying "Well, at least it isn't a spanner in the works, eh?", at which point he was quickly mobbed and lynched by the Anti Atrocious Pun Foundation (Scandinavian Branch).

12The number of hours in the Murphy-Hammerfoot Reduced Time-Saving Day, devised by Seamus O'Lordy Murphy and Aubernon Hammerfoot in 1982 in order to shorten the working week to a sensible length. This was used in combination with the Murphy-Hammerfoot Enhanced 9-Day Weekend scheme. Sadly, Margaret Thatcher killed the schemes off, hence cementing her place as the evilest person in the whole history of EVER.

15The maximum score in snooker, as opposed to what snooker players, referees and commentators would have you believe. The whole of the game once one player gets past the score is a scam and a figment of the viewers imagination. In fact, what happens is that the entire game past fifteen points is computer generated for the benefit of television viewers, giving everyone else a chance to nip down to the pub. When Peter Ebdon is playing, you know that they've gone down there for an extremely long time.

17The weight, in tonnes, of the world's heaviest man, Jimmy-Bob-Joe Johnson of Craphook, Ohio. Mr Johnson has lived exclusively on a diet of lard and deep-fried whale blubber for the past twenty five years, and has never exercised. His weight is now so great that he is having a notable effect on the globe's gravitational field, which as a consequence causes paper clips and staples to stick to his body. Mr Johnson has not moved out of his armchair for thirty years, to such an extent that the chair has been overwhelmed by the intense weight and mass of Mr Johnson, hence becoming part of his body, and creating as a result the world's first human-furniture hybrid. Mr Johnson is single.

20The half-life, in femtoseconds, of Kokbalzium, an extremely unstable isotope of Americum, with over seventy million neutrons and only one, incredibly lonely electron. When seen with an electron microscope, the neutrons appear to spell out the word "Gunge". The discovery of Kokbalzium by the Polish physicist Zbigniew Kokbalz confirmed, once and for all, that the universe is an incredibly baffling place.

21The real number of symbols in the zodiac, when recent discoveries are taken into consideration. The other nine symbols are: Margot, a woman with the head of a snake and the handbag of a crocodile; Wibble, a man eating a fish with his left hand and drawing a picture of said fish with his right; Halibut, a fish with seventy legs and an extremely large ear on one side of its head; Groovy, an afro with arms and legs; The Amazed Yoghurt, a yoghurt that is amazed; Coccyx, a hammer-wielding walnut; Chocolate, a chocolate with hearing difficulties; Brillo, a small goat eating a bag of Skittles; and Jeffrey Archer, an arse.

23There is absolutely nothing interesting about this number. Nothing whatsoever. Philosophers have theorised for several millennia about why, precisely, the number 23 is so boring. However, no-one has ever written a thesis about it as those who have attempted to do so have often got sidetracked halfway through by something more interesting, such as watching anti-climb paint dry.

25The number of people in one place it takes for a Stage V Interesting Event to happen, using the Cockbill Scale Of Interest. The complete scale is as follows:

  1. 1 person. Nothing interesting happens. Typical events: changing of socks, brushing of teeth, picking of nose.
  2. 2+ people. Something only slightly interesting happens. Typical events: A game of rock-paper-scissors takes place, a secret is transferred to another person.
  3. 5+ people. Something slightly interesting happens. Typical events: A game of Risk takes place, someone is goaded into climbing up something they don't want to climb up, a secret is transferred to another person who really shouldn't know what the secret is.
  4. 10+ people. Something vaguely interesting happens. Typical events: A game of five-a-side football takes place, someone is goaded into taking off a piece of clothing they don't particularly want to take off, a secret is transferred to another person who really shouldn't know what the secret is as they are incredibly likely to tell the one person in the world who shouldn't know what the secret is.
  5. 25+ people. Something quite interesting happens. Typical events: A game of football takes place, a coachload of people are goaded into doing something incredibly embarrassing and expensive, the one person who shouldn't find out what the secret is about finds out what the secret is about.
  6. 50+ people. Something interesting happens. Typical events: Someone gets married to someone else, someone doesn't get married to someone else much to the amazement of the amassed congregation, the person who shouldn't have known what the secret was about but has found out what the secret is about attacks the person who was keeping the secret in the first place.
  7. 100+ people. Something noticeably interesting happens. Typical events: Lots of people take off their clothes and lie down on the ground for a photograph, someone announces that they have found the cure for the common cold, someone else claims that the cure for the common cold is a load of codswallop, the person who has attacked the person who told the secret in the first place is tried for GBH.
  8. 1000+ people. Something highly interesting happens. Typical events: Lots of people cheer one other person for hitting a ball in a way that another person/group of people weren't expecting, a Hollywood blockbuster movie is filmed only for it to be panned by the press and to be called the worst film in cinematic history (note: only applies to Ben Affleck), a number of people protest against the jail term of the person who attacked the other person with the secret.
  9. 10000+ people. Something very interesting happens. Typical events: Lots of people cheer a group of people for hitting a number of balls in ways that other people weren't expecting over a consistent time period of approximately a year, a large collection of people dressed up as rhinos or dressed in nauseatingly tight Lycra run 26-and-a-bit miles through a city, a number of people bring their protest against the treatment of the jailed person who attacked the other person with the secret to the government of the country in which the crime originated.
  10. 100000+ people. Something extremely interesting happens. Typical events: Lots of people cheer a group of people for hitting a number of balls in ways that the other people weren't expecting over a consistent time period of several years and in several different nations, a person who allegedly runs a country but in actual fact is the puppet for a secretive and evil regime visits people in another country entirely, a number of people protest against the government for not listening to the people protesting against the jail term of the person who attacked the other person with the secret as well as other similar cases.
  11. 1mill+ people. Something amazingly interesting happens. Typical events: Lots of people protest about a lot of other people who don't like the first group of people, partly because the first group of people think that the other people have been incredibly cruel to people such as the person who was jailed for attacking the other person with the secret.
  12. 1bill - 6bill people. Something mindbogglingly interesting happens. Typical events: A planet explodes. No secrets here.

26It is believed that there is a race of people in the rainforests of Saudi Arabia who have twenty-six fingers on each hand. The only person to have seen this tribe of people, Anthony "Groggy" Krueger, also reported seeing purple elephants and Jon Bon Jovi eating a ham sandwich on top of a double decker bus made out of Camembert. A small amount of LSD was found in his rucksack when he finally reached civilisation after a month in the jungle. It was also noted that there are no rainforests in Saudi Arabia.

28In 1997, Monsieur Francois Sacrebleu of France managed to eat a total of twenty-eight elephants in one minute. The previous record was held by Mr Nigel Lawson of the United Kingdom, who managed only 0.05 elephants in the same time. Onlookers of Monsieur Sacrebleu's attempt claimed that he was not actually eating elephants, however - he was eating peas instead. To counter these claims, Monsieur Sacrebleu donned a beret and said "I think they are elephants, therefore they are elephants", and as an encore drank twenty-thousand gallons (one glass) of Champagne in thirty seconds, before being rushed off to the nearest mental hospital.

32The number of lanes - each way - on the world's widest road, the Scunthorpe-Cleethorpes Motorway (A1622(M)). The A1622(M) was built in 1990 to relieve the traffic congestion around the two seaside resorts, and was originally going to be only three lanes in either direction, but a clerical error combined with a large whiskey and soda and a few party poppers led to the route we know today. The road accommodates an average of two cars per hours, with four cars at peak times.

37The number of verses in the complete version of John Lennon's "Imagine". There isn't enough room to go into all of the verses here, but here, as a taster, is verse 27:
Imagine there's no Spangles
It's a fate worse than death
Imagine there's no Colgate
And everyone has got bad breath
Imagine there's no... er... wallets
Where would we put our money?
Please give me my cheque now
This song is almost done
But if you thought that was the finish
There's more verses still to come!

39The number of runs made by the Australian MKS Flatsnagger in the first ever cricket over he faced, for Wooloomooloo University XI. Not only did he manage to hit six sixes in a row, he also managed to get the extra three runs by invoking the secret and incredibly obscure "Freemason's Cricketing Agreement", which allows any player with the middle names "Kipper Sandwich" to score an extra few runs by sticking a pencil up their nose. The bowler at the time, KP Nuetz of Waggawagga Academy, was said to be "furious and bloody annoyed with that blazing poofter" for invoking the Agreement, but soon got his own back - he invoked the "KP Nuetz Cricketing Agreement" the next over, which involves running past the no-ball line and kicking the opposing batter in the goolies.

41The length, in milliseconds, of the shortest ever song to get into the UK singles chart. The track, "Excited Monkey Time" by DJ Kapzul and MC Powdaman, samples Cliff Richard's 1980 classic "Wired For Sound" by speeding it up by a factor of 1000, and playing a quiet electronic beat (singular) over it. As a B-Side to their more famous track "Nu Phunky Sensations Word", most people just assumed that the track was an glitch on the CD, so much so that ten customers tried to return the CD to their record company, Myuzziikzound. The managing director of Myuzziikzound promptly refused to refund the CDs and, as an afterthought, had the complainants shot. Kapzul and Powdaman refused to comment on this action, but it didn't stop them releasing a track a few months later called "Shott Bangg Deadd Bastardds" (lasting a far longer 79 milliseconds).

50The number of people that one drop of Alphonsiatic Murder Acid can kill. Alphonsiatic Murder Acid is an extremely potent poison that kills people by turning their insides into a mulch that looks (and tastes) like butterscotch Angel Delight. Worryingly, Alphonsiatic Murder Acid can be made by mixing two parts butter with three parts Worcestershire Sauce, with a grated anchovy to taste. Over ten billion people were killed last year by exposure to Alphonsiatic Murder Acid, leading one expert in poisons to claim that such a feat was impossible.

59The Micronesian state of Flabsinia is comprised of 59 separate islands and atolls, of which only two are inhabited - one by approximately two million people, and the other by an American actor and a football. No-one on the larger island has ever attempted to get in contact with the actor, on the grounds that the world would be safer if he stayed put.

75In 2003, 75 species of wild carpets were discovered in the rainforest of Brazil, approximately 100 miles north of Brasilia. Wild carpets live on a diet of digestive biscuits and dog hairs, and can live for over 500 years. It was believed up until the discovery that all carpets were in fact manufactured through a strange and mystic process known only to outsiders as "Weaving" - however, this discovery seems to disprove this hypothesis. Two wild carpets, a male and a female, were shipped over to London Zoo, and last year the female gave birth to a small ball of fluff, the first such fluffball to have been born in captivity. The discovery has also lead to an environmental group's calls to ban Dyson vacuum cleaners, as they cause great harm to poor, innocent and defenceless carpets the world over.

89The number of times you can fold up a piece of paper before it falls in on itself and creates a black hole. This has only happened once - ten years ago, at Yale University, during a rather drunken post-exams party in the theoretical physics laboratory. The piece of paper was in actual fact the receipt for ten boxes of pizza and twenty-four cans of beer, and the black hole created by folding the paper was enough to destroy half of the theoretical physics lab and suck two drunken party goers into oblivion.

100In 1989, Russian scientists managed to create 100 clones of one of their work colleagues. They chose to clone Svetlana Kurokokski, their secretary, without her permission, as she was always out of the office getting her nails done when they needed her, and they couldn't afford any replacements. Unfortunately, the original Svetlana found out about her 100 clones, and in disgust let them free from the lab they were being kept in. Nowadays, they run their own hair crimping factory in St. Petersburg, except for one Kurokokski who has started up her own cloning lab, and has so far made 450 copies of Arnold Schwarzenegger's hair.