The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

March 8, 2013

You decide: Is it trivia? Or is it useless information?

Point Blank

By John Blankenship

— Some call it trivia. Others might refer to it as useless information.

Whatever the case is, more information is being produced today than ever before.

For instance, did you know (or care to know) that during an average year, the yellow pages are consulted 17 billion times?

And what about the people who live in France? Did you know that, according to a recent survey, the average number of adults in that country who have not read a single book since childhood is more than one out of every two?

How about this one? The average elevator travels roughly 10,000 miles per year, the distance between New York and Melbourne, Australia.

On an average day you take 7,000 steps; you will walk 65,000 miles in your lifetime.

In a crisis, women tend to remain calmer than men on the average, researchers claim.

The average New York City building is 9.3 stories high.

The average American’s vocabulary contains 10,000 words.

College-educated Americans spend an average of 33 minutes a day reading the newspaper.

The average reading speed for an adult is 300 words a minute.

Based on a six-year study of the garbage of Tucson, Ariz., residents, it was concluded that Americans throw away an average of 15 percent of the goods they buy a year.

The average number of letters lost in the mail is one out of every 265,000.

An average of 3 billion Christmas cards are sent out annually in the U.S.

On an average day, 150,000 hospital beds remain empty.

More than 20 billion tiny toys have been packed in Cracker Jack candies in the past 90 years — an average of more than 250 million per year.

The average number of Bibles distributed or sold worldwide every minute is 50.

About 21 billion gallons of sewage are produced in the U.S. each day, an average of about 100 gallons per person.

The average number of people who ride elevators each year is 50 billion. Of all those ups and downs, there are only about 1,500 accidents reported, and the majority of these were due to getting caught in closing doors.

Picasso, the most prolific modern artist, averaged more than five separate works each week for a period of 75 years.

An average of 7 percent of America’s water supply is lost annually due to leaky pipes.


Since 1997, Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch has published the winners of their “Wacky Warning Label Contest.” Here are some of the highlights:

A label on a baby stroller: “Remove child before folding.”

A brass fishing lure with a three-pronged hook on the end: Harmful if swallowed.

A flushable toilet brush: “Do not use for personal hygiene.”

A label on a hair dryer: “Never use hair dryer while sleeping.”

A cardboard car sunshield that keeps sun off the dashboard: “Do not drive with sunshield in place.”

A cartridge for a laser printer: “Do not eat toner.”

A can of self-defense pepper spray: “May irritate eyes.”

A snow blower: “Do not use on roof.”

A dishwasher: “Do not allow children to play in the dishwasher.”

A popular manufactured fireplace log: “Caution — Risk of Fire.”


Forty-eight-year-old Scott Bennett lost an eye in a fight at the Mavericks nightclub in Sioux City, Iowa, in July 2008, according to an Oct. 14, 2008, article in the Sioux City Journal. Then, in another fight at the same nightclub on Oct. 12, Bennett lost his other eye.

Managers of the cafeteria located in the U.S. Treasury Department building recently issued a memo stating that of the 2,040 individual pieces of silverware it owned, 1,430 pieces were missing and presumed stolen. Among other agencies, the building houses the Internal Revenue Service.

A new book is published in the U.S. an average of every 15 minutes.

And get this: more people are bitten by humans than rats or snakes during an average year. Hands and fingers receive about 60 percent of the bites, and head and neck account for more than 15 percent, with the remainder spread over the rest of the body.

By the way, the peak biting season seems to be spring and summer.


Top of the morning!

— Blankenship is a columnist for The Register-Herald. E-mail: