Cumberland Times-News

Bob Doyle - Astronomy

July 14, 2012

Survey reveals a few surprises about people

There was a fascinating book published last year called “The Unofficial U.S. Census” compiled from surveys by the Pew, Gallup & Harris poling firms and organizations both governmental and business that are reputable.

This paperback book was written by Les Krantz and Chris Smith, published by Skyhorse Publishing with ISBN 978-1-61793-345-5.

I’ll avoid any topics that some readers may find objectionable. But some of below figures may either elate or depress you.

Americans are the most tattooed people in the world with 16 percent bearing figures, inscriptions, etc. One third of Americans between age 25 and 29 have tattoos. 70 percent of NBA players are “decorated.”

Removing a tattoo is both painful and expensive (at $40 per square inch), often requiring several visits to a doctor who specializes in tattoo removal.

Women read more than men. Adults 55 years and older spend twice as much time reading as younger Americans.

For households with children, adults read about 12 minutes a day, both on weekdays and on weekends. Those with high school diplomas, or have taken some college courses or have a college degree average less than an hour of reading per day, whether weekday or weekend.

The 2010 Kids and Family Reading Report states that those between 6 and 17 years of age spend more time on their computers and cell phones than on recreational reading.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average adult spends $120 on reading material(books, magazines) compared to $2,700 spent on entertainment (DVD’s, rentals, movies, Pay Per View, concerts, cable charges, etc.) each year.

Of course, one can use our free public libraries.

As regards incomes and jobs, women earn only 77 percent as men in comparable positions.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that from 2008 to 2018, 15 million more jobs will open. Half of these new jobs will be in professional and related fields or in service jobs.

The three areas that will show the most growth in jobs will be the field of management, technical and scientific consulting, computer system designs and employment services.

Specific jobs that will need an average of 500,000 additional workers each include registered nurses, home health aides and customer service representatives.

As regard plastic “money,” households that owe on their credit cards average $15,788 in debt. The number of credit cards held by U.S. consumers is about 610 million.

There is an average of 3.5 credit cards per cardholder. Our total U.S. consumer debt (not including mortgages) is $2.42 trillion!

As regards computer usage, Pew Research reports that 79 percent of American men and women use the Internet. The highest Internet usage is 95 percent by those between ages 25 and 29.

Sixty per cent of those Internet users have high speed internet access at home; 134 million Americans use Facebook, consuming 11.7 billion hours each month. (This is over 86 hours per person per month.)

As for texting, Americans send out or receive 1.5 trillion texts per year. (A trillion is a million x a million.) If 150 million Americans send/receive texts, that’s an average of 10,000 texts per person each year or 27 texts per day.

As far as education and income, 46 per cent of adult Americans (ages 25-64) have at least an associate degree. Those who don’t finish high school average less than $20,000 a year income.

High school graduates average about $28,000 a year in income. Bachelor degree holders average over $47,000 a year. Those with graduate or professional degrees average $63,000 a year.

When unemployment is at a 10 per cent level. The unemployment rate for college graduates is less than 5 per cent.

SKY EVENTS THIS WEEK: At dawn this morning, the crescent moon was above brilliant Venus and to the left of the bright planet Jupiter. The moon will be lost in the sunrise glare on Tuesday.

Possibly this Saturday, the moon may be seen as a slender crescent, setting in the southwest a little more than an hour after sunset.

The first sighting of this crescent moon in Mecca will mark the start of the Muslim month of Ramadan, when the devout abstain from food and fluids from sunrise to sunset.

Bob Doyle invites any readers comments and questions. E-mail him at rdoyle@frostburg.edu . He is available as a speaker on his column topics.

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Bob Doyle - Astronomy
  • FSU Planetarium has new outreach program

    Several years ago, the FSU planetarium acquired an iPad. Months later, we purchased an iPad projector with necessary cables. I purchased a number of astronomical apps this year for the iPad. So I’m interested in visiting schools in this county to teach the stars and planets to classes. The astronomical apps allow you to survey the current evening night sky and show the planets, bright stars and star groups. One of the apps shows the planets close up with wonderful surface detail (as if you were cruising by in a spaceship). The apps I’ll be using can be purchased from the iTunes app store for a few dollars.

    July 27, 2014

  • It’s hotter here than in D.C. or Baltimore

    At this time of the year, the weather is a frequent subject of conversation, particularly the temperatures. We are now in the “Dog Days,” usually the hottest days of the year. The term comes from our sun appearing to be near the “Dog Star” (Sirius) and the “Little Dog Star” (Procyon). In reality, the sun is now about 94.5 million miles away while Sirius is 8.6 light years away with Procyon at 11 light years distance. Sunlight takes only 507 seconds to reach us, while the two dog stars’ light takes about a decade to travel to our eyes. So our sun is in the same direction (but not distance) as these two bright winter evening stars.

    July 20, 2014

  • Fronts, highs, lows determine weather

    Weather news on television and internet focus on violent weather, extreme temperatures and flooding.

    July 13, 2014

  • A long and winding road faces our food

    Last week’s column dealt with organs you can do without, our DNA (molecular blueprint for our bodies) and hair. My reference is “Body: Discover What’s Beneath Your Skin,” a Miles Kelly Book, written by John Farndon and Nicki Lampon and published in 2010. This column will consider finger and toe nails, breathing and coughing, saliva, mucus and your food’s long and torturous journey. Most cities and mid sized towns have nail shops where you can have your finger nails and toe nails adorned. Nail painting can be traced back 5,000 years.

    July 6, 2014

  • Here’s a look at what goes on inside you

    In high school, my favorite science course was biology. I can remember Mr. Munley in his wheelchair. Our class went on a field trip to the University of Miami Medical School where we saw the cadavers used by the medical students.

    June 28, 2014

  • Moon-watching easy when you know how

    Long before the first writing (scratches on clay tablets) appeared, our early ancestors noticed that the moon went through a regular cycle of shapes in about 30 days.

    June 21, 2014

  • Here’s how you can tell the stars, planets

    How can one tell one star from another at night? It’s a matter of knowing the sky areas (constellations).

    June 15, 2014

  • Smithsonian guide to stars is a good one

    At a local book store, I yielded to temptation and bought “Stars and Planets,” a Smithsonian Nature Guide written by four authors. Dinwoodie, Gater, Sparrow and Stott. It’s another Dorling Kindersley product with ISBN 978-0-7566-9040-3 and a 2012 copyright. “Stars and Planets” is a trade size paperback that is beautifully illustrated with appealing diagrams. “Stars and Planets” begins with the biggest topic, the Universe. There is a striking visual showing the known universe on the hugest scale, a delicate lacework of superclusters of galaxies with large voids. It resembles a bubble bath!

    June 8, 2014

  • Think a little more and be less frazzled

    Last Sunday’s column dealt with using technology carefully in education. What about technology in everyday life? There is a marvelous book “The Thinking Life,” by P.M. Forni, of The Johns Hopkins University which addresses this issue as well as timeless suggestions for living by Greek and Roman thinkers. “The Thinking Life: How To Thrive in the Age of Distraction” was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2011 with ISBN 978-0-312-62571-9. Dr. Forni also wrote “Choosing Civility” and “The Civility Solution”.

    May 25, 2014

  • Technology helps with learning, but take care

    Since I have been involved in teaching, two different technologies have been applied to learning at the secondary and collegiate level. The first was video (from videocassettes to DVDs) where a student or class might watch a presentation of some historical event, or a set of scientific principles or even a simulated exploration of the human body.

    May 18, 2014

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