Camp stats

Some household statistics while having a 10-year old son who is away at school camp (and an 8-year old daughter who isn’t).

  • Overall Nutella consumption: down 93%
  • Repeated instructions required: down 44% 
  • Amount of readily available milk and bread in house: up 76%
  • Early morning hugs for Dad: down 50%
  • Available charging points for electronic devices: up 134%
  • Parental checking of Facebook (for school camp updates): up 240%
  • Polite laughter at my crap jokes: down 81%
  • Last-minute recollection as we’re heading out of the door for the school run that we don’t have the most ever so very important thing which is needed for class first thing this morning, and which we had previously been assured was placed safely in school bag the previous evening: down 100% (so far, at least)
  • Requests to go and fly the Mavic: down 96%
  • Anticipation of some amazing stories upon his return tomorrow: up 80%

In the meantime, the somewhat confused and mildly depressed beagle will continue to fruitlessly search the house for him.

The mystery of the other 48.7%

Ah, the pisspoor Daily Mail. We’ve been here before, haven’t we, folks? Ad nauseum.
But this time – it’s a classic.

In a nothing piece entitled: “Generation who refuse to grow up: No mortgage. No marriage. No children. No career plan.” by nothing columnist Marianne Power, there’s this stat:

Three million 20-to-34-year-olds now live with their parents. A third are men and 18 per cent are women.

Here it is in full screenshot glory:

Fullscreen capture 20130712 113802 AM

Which leaves me – and I would imagine any of you who have more than half a brain – wondering what on earth makes up the other 48.7% of 20-to-34-year-olds who now live with their parents?

Because I’ve been doing some rudimentary calculations and it’s a significant number – 1,461,000 individuals, to be exact.

But what are these individuals? Cats? Dogs? I don’t think so, because 20-34 years old is awfully old for a cat or a dog to get to. And even if we were talking cat or dog years, these are their parents we’re talking about. So, maybe some sort of larger mammal, which generally have a longer lifespan? Horses, perhaps?

Well no, because horses only really last to about 30 years on average. So we’re going to have to go bigger again.
Elephants, then. They last for ages.

Yes, as far as I can work out, the Daily Mail is reporting that there are 1,461,000 elephants between the ages of 20 and 34 years old, living with their parents in the UK.

This amazes me for two reasons. Firstly, that having lived in the UK until 2004, I never saw any of these elephants living with their parents (save maybe for the ones at London Zoo). I recognise that the article suggests that there has been a significant increase in this number, which is one reason (albeit a bit of a minor one) why it is of interest. But even so, they say that even in 1997, 2.5 million individuals (including 1,217,500 elephants) living with their parents.

That’s a lot of elephants to be hiding.

And then, secondly, what of their parents? Given that the elephant is a normal sexually reproducing mammal, it takes a total of two elephants to make a small elephant, which they then tend and nurture through until it’s 20-to-34-years-old. That’s three elephants in a house, and, with the assistance of some dodgy maths, a total of 4,383,000 elephants that I have comprehensively not noticed living in the UK.

The WWF say that there are 470,000 – 690,000 African elephants in the world, and list their status as “vulnerable”. Not any more, guys. Happy days for the elephant population as I reckon I have the Daily Mail has just found another 800% of elephant numbers, living clandestinely behind closed doors in the UK.

It’s no wonder you didn’t count them. They’re hiding.

Unless of course you’re going to go out on a limb and suggest that the Daily Mail have got this one wrong.

Blogging by other people

This is great. While I’ve been out of the rhythm of writing blog posts and everyone else has been out of the rhythm of reading them, suggestions for blog posts have been coming in by email, facetube and twitter. It’s almost like you guys actually want me to write some stuff.

Do ya miss me? Huh? Do ya?

One such suggestion came from the UK, from an anaesthesiologist (I think that’s what she does, anyway?) and involved a retrospective cohort study, conducted in Australia, asking – after Amy Winehouse’s untimely but not entirely unexpected death and the fuss over the “27 Club” – whether 27 was really a dangerous age for famous musicians.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that Australian scientists have pondered important questions in the BMJ using cohort studies. Who could forget the seminal research of Lim et al at an Australia research institute back in 2005, investigating the disappearance of teaspoons from er… an Australian research institute?

This 2011 paper on the 27 Club (or, as it appears, the lack of it), comes from Adrian Barnett and others from Queensland University of Technology and uses complex statisical methods to analyse the mortality rate of musicians who had number 1 hits (albums) in the UK between 1956 and 2007 and compare them to the mortality rate amongst the general UK population. During this period 71 (7%) of the musicians died.

The sample included crooners, death metal stars, rock ‘n’ rollers and even Muppets (the actors, not the puppets). The total follow-up time was 21,750 musician years.

The authors used mathematical analysis to determine the significance of age 27. They found no peak in the risk of death at this age, however musicians in their 20s and 30s were two to three times more likely to die prematurely than the general UK population.

The research team found some evidence of a cluster of deaths in those aged 20 to 40 in the 1970s and early 1980s. Interestingly, there were no deaths in this age group in the late 1980s and the authors speculate that this could be due to better treatments for heroin overdose, or the change in the music scene from the hard rock 1970s to the pop dominated 1980s.

The authors conclude that the “27 club” is based on myth, but warn that musicians have a generally increased risk of dying throughout their 20s and 30s. They say: “This finding should be of international concern, as musicians contribute greatly to populations’ quality of life, so there is immense value in keeping them alive (and working) as long as possible.”

Their frame of reference begins with Frank Sinatra’s Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! on 28 July 1956 (dead), and continues through to Leona Lewis’ Spirit on 18 November 2007 (sadly still with us). However, as with any research, it has its limitations:

Our sampling scheme only captured three of the seven most famous 27 club members), as one fell outside our time period (Robert Johnson, who died in 1938), and three did not have a number one UK album (Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison).

Although we only captured three of the seven famous 27 club members, we did capture seven Muppets.

I can hardly wait to see what Australian statistical research provides us with in December 2017.

Thanks Lynn.

Expensive season

Incoming from my Dad as Sheffield United’s bizarre and frustrating season drew (literally) to what was a long foreseen, but still wholly unfortunate and disappointing close on Saturday:

Just been doing some stats on the home games; not good reading.

And he’s right.

While my Dad is a long-time season ticket holder at Beautiful Downtown Bramall Lane and a die-hard, die-cast, dyed in the wool supporter of the Red and White Wizzzzaaards, he’s had a busy few months nipping around the globe: France, Switzerland, the Isle of Man, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa, to name the ones I can remember. As the Ad Wizard once commented: “I want his air miles”.
Anyway, because of these travels, he only managed to attend 61% of United’s home games this season:

As you can see, in the games I went to The Blades were disproportionally poor.

And he’s right.

He managed to see just 43% of the games they won yet 72% of the games they lost. He only saw 52% of the dismal 27 goals they scored, but 64% of the 36 that the leaky defence… leaked. But it’s when it comes down to applying those stats to the price of the tickets that you one can see how he really lost out:

To add salt to the wound, this season cost me around £18.50 per United goal and £21.50 a point.
Not what I’d call value for money.

Enough evidence there to suggest that my Dad might want to take up watching a different sport, or at least consider supporting a different team. But that’s not how it works. While he and I (and many others) would be much happier if The Blades were riding high in the Premiership, it still doesn’t alter the passion and support we have for our team. As my Dad said:

Still, there’s always next season to look forward to…

And he’s right.