Monday, January 07, 2019

Our Favorite Facts of 2018

Each day, our editors collect the most interesting, striking or delightful facts to appear in that day’s stories throughout the paper. Here are 60 of our very favorites.

Each day on Page A3 of the Times print edition, our editors collect the most interesting, striking or delightful facts to appear in that day’s stories throughout the paper. Here are 60 of our very favorites from the year that was.
1. The computer power needed to create each Bitcoin consumes at least as much electricity as the average American household burns through in two years.
There Is Nothing Virtual About Bitcoin’s Energy Appetite
2. The vast bulk of criminal cases never go to trial — 97 percent of federal criminal convictions are the result of guilty pleas.
Prosecutors Had the Wrong Man. They Prosecuted Him Anyway.
3. Chile powder and chili powder are two different things. Chile powder is just dried, pulverized chiles. Chili powder is a mixture of dried, ground chiles with other spices.
Texas Chili Makes a Welcome Guest
4. The share of people in Oregon counties with kindergarten vaccination rates over 95 percent was close to 100 percent in 2000; in 2015, it was about 30 percent.
After a Debacle, How California Became a Role Model on Measles
5. M.R.I. studies suggest that all of a person’s neural connections form by age 3.
Why Are Our Most Important Teachers Paid the Least?
6. The transliteration of Emmanuel Macron’s name into Chinese forms a phrase that roughly means “horse overcomes dragon.”
In China, Macron Offers a Horse, and a Vision to Counter Trump
7. Some 40 to 50 percent of smokers try to quit each year, but fewer than 5 percent of them succeed.
Why Even Tougher Regulations on Smoking Are Justified

8. According to one study, people typically touch their phones 2,617 times per day.
How Companies Scour Our Digital Lives for Clues to Our Health
9. In the United States there are roughly 310 million firearms in the hands of civilians, nearly one for every adult and child.
Is Israel a Model When It Comes to Guns, as Mike Huckabee Says?
10. The Girl Scouts of Colorado said in 2014 that it did not allow scouts to sell cookies in front of marijuana shops, liquor stores or bars. It has since abandoned that policy.
A Girl Scout Sold 300 Boxes of Cookies Near a California Marijuana Shop
11. The oldest ice skates that anyone has found so far were made in Finland 2,000 years before the birth of Christ.
The Hidden Drama of Speedskating
12. In 1949, 75 percent of Chinese women were illiterate. Today, China has one of the lowest rates of female illiteracy in the world — as well as the highest percentage of self-made female billionaires.
First Comes Love, Then Comes What Exactly?

13. Women with abdominal pain wait in emergency rooms for 65 minutes compared with 49 minutes for men, and young women are seven times more likely to be sent home from a hospital while in the middle of a heart attack.
Three Views of the Crisis in Women’s Health
14. Ada Lovelace, the 19th-century British socialite whose writings about computing have earned her recognition as the first computer programmer, was the daughter of Lord Byron, the Romantic poet.
Overlooked: Ada Lovelace
15. During the 2016 election, fewer than 3 percent of Americans cited print as their most important source of campaign news.
For Two Months, I Got My News From Print Newspapers. Here’s What I Learned.
16. The strands of hair on the head of President Trump’s wax replica at Madame Tussauds in New York City are a mix of human and yak. (For his eyebrows: squirrel.)
The Politics of Waxing
17. Only three humans have visited the deepest part of the Mariana Trench, the deepest known ocean trench in the world — fewer than have been to the moon.
The Ruthless Phronima, and Other Hidden Wonders of the Sea

18. Eight million horses died in World War I.
Galloping Through History
19. The green-haired turtle, an Australian species that split from other living species about 40 million years ago, can breathe through its genitals.
Threatened: A Green-Haired Turtle That Can Breathe Through Its Genitals
20. The sweet potato is one of the most valuable crops in the world, providing more nutrients per farmed acre than any other staple.
All by Itself, the Humble Sweet Potato Colonized the World
21. The Vatican formally recognized an International Association of Exorcists in 2014, which keeps its 250 or so members updated on the latest best practices in confronting the Devil.
‘Shut Up, Satan’: Rome Course Teaches Exorcism, Even by Cellphone
22. More than 4.4 million people — mostly women — work in Bangladesh’s 3,000 factories, where the minimum wage is 32 cents an hour.
Why Won’t We Learn from the Survivors of the Rana Plaza Disaster?

23. Of Hawaii’s 1,200 native plant species, 90 percent exist nowhere else.
O’Keeffe’s Paradise, Lost and Found
24. Detroit is one of the most expensive places in the United States to insure a car.
Which Poor People Shouldn’t Have to Work for Aid?
25. The word “scientist” was only coined in 1833, by the philosopher William Whewell, who sought to professionalize science and separate it from philosophy.
Essays That Make Sense of the Infinite and the Infinitesimal
26. Until 1954, all private tombs in Venice, whether below or above ground, were leased for eternity. Since then, the city has leased tombs for a varying number of years. In some cases, leases can be renewed.
A Chance to Spend 99-Plus Years in Venice (in the Afterlife)
27. An eHarmony report on relationships found that American couples aged 25 to 34 knew each other for an average of six and a half years before marrying, compared with an average of five years for all other age groups.
Put a Ring on It? Millennial Couples Are in No Hurry

28. In the 19th century, critics of bicycles labeled them tools of the devil.
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Electric Scooters
29. Of the roughly 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics produced worldwide since the 1950s, about 6.3 billion have been thrown away, according to a 2017 study in the journal Science Advances.
Whale’s Death in Thailand Points to Global Scourge: Plastic in Oceans
30. Dolphins can put one side of the brain to sleep as they swim while the other side remains alert. Then they can switch, putting the other hemisphere to sleep.
Hot Heads: Why Mammals Need R.E.M. Sleep
31. There has been a 40 percent increase in Google searches for “crystal healing” over the past four years.
Is Astrology Religion for Those of Us With No Religion?
32. A 2017 report by the United Nations predicts that all 29 World Heritage coral reefs will die by 2100 unless carbon emissions are drastically reduced.
In the Philippines, Dynamite Fishing Decimates Entire Ocean Food Chains

33. Many food historians believe that Bills in Sydney, which opened in 1993, was the first restaurant to serve avocado toast.
The Art of the Australian Breakfast
34. Chia seeds absorb 30 times their weight in water and can provide the body with slow-release hydration, especially during long bouts of physical activity in high heat and humidity.
Drink Up! Most of Us Could Benefit From More Water
35. Saddam Hussein used an Arabic version of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” as his campaign theme.
How a Director Uncovered Whitney Houston’s Secret Pain
36. After Spanish conquerors brought home a tomato from the Americas in the 16th century, it was long used only as a table decoration.
Old Recipes, New Format: Spain Puts Historic Dishes on Video
37. Honeybees pollinate about a third of the nation’s crops.
With a Sniff and a Signal, These Dogs Hunt Down Threats to Bees
38. All together, over 500,000 animals have been surgically implanted with Neuticles, prosthetic silicone testicles for neutered pets, according to Gregg A. Miller, who invented them in 1995.
The Secret Price of Pets

39. There are roughly 200 American “news deserts” without any local newspaper coverage, and even more areas where a single source dominates.
When a Local Paper Gets New Owners, Partisan Strife Hits Its Doorstep
40. In 2017, 86 percent of the more than 17,000 people arrested on marijuana possession charges in New York City were people of color, according to data analyzed by The Times.
At an Updated Head Shop, High Meets Highbrow
41. The acclaimed conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein employed a hair puller to keep the blood flowing to his signature pompadour.
Leonard Bernstein Through a Daughter’s Eyes
42. Over 17 percent of teachers drop out within their first five years.
What Role Do Teachers Play in Education?
43. London’s subway system is recognized as a global pioneer of playing classical music in stations to deter antisocial behavior, having used it since 2003. It currently plays tracks in over 60 stations.
Will Jarring Music Drive Drug Users From a German Train Station?

44. Humans kill approximately 100 million sharks a year, while unprovoked shark attacks killed just five people in 2017.
How to Survive a Shark Attack
45. A full 29 percent of last year’s freshman class at Harvard were relatives of Harvard graduates.
At Elite Colleges, Racial Diversity Requires Affirmative Action
46. In the 1970s, a typical American drank about 30 gallons of cow’s milk a year, but now it’s about 18 gallons, according to the Department of Agriculture.
Got Milk? Or Was That Really a Plant Beverage?
47. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have declared sleep deprivation a public health epidemic, with one-third of American adults getting insufficient slumber.
Tech Can Hurt Our Sleep. So I Tried Bose Sleepbuds for Help.
48. Human brains are predisposed toward distraction, wandering for an average of 47 percent of the day.
Having Trouble Finishing This Headline? Then This Article Is for You.
49. Fifty-six percent of Americans have never listened to a podcast.
Endeavor, Always Looking to Grow, Starts Podcast Division

50. Bananas are often forbidden on fishing boats. Explanations include tales of naval crew members slipping on rogue peels and bananas floating tauntingly after the ships that carried them sank to the bottom of the sea.
This Is the Most Lucrative Moment in History to Catch Bass
52. White Americans earn about 77 percent of total income in the United States.
White Americans Gain the Most From Trump’s Tax Cuts, a Report Finds
53. A cup of live jellyfish provides just five calories — one-third the amount in a cup of celery.
Who Wants to Eat a Gooey Jellyfish? Pretty Much Everyone in the Ocean
54. Big Bird, the “Sesame Street” character, is 8 feet, 2 inches tall.
Original Big Bird, Caroll Spinney, Leaves ‘Sesame Street’ After Nearly 50 Years

55. The median salary in the W.N.B.A. was about $70,000 last season, and the top salary is $115,500. The N.B.A. has a minimum salary of more than half a million.
W.N.B.A. Players Opt Out of Collective Bargaining Agreement
56. Twenty-two states have never elected a woman as governor.
Women Lead Parade of Victories to Help Democrats Win House
57. The average bra size in the U.S. is 34DD.
Victoria’s Secret? In 2018, Fewer Women Want to Hear It
58. Mark Twain was so famous in his time that his editor once journeyed to Washington to ask President Theodore Roosevelt if he would move Thanksgiving because it coincided with Twain’s birthday plans.
The Story of America, Told Through Mark Twain’s Favorite Foods
59. The average N.F.L. career lasts just over three seasons. Players don’t qualify for a pension until they complete the third game of their fourth season.
He Was 302 Pounds, but in This Battle, He’s David and Not Goliath
60. Following the end of World War II, Hungary printed notes of ever-higher value to finance its recovery. The fastest-ever recorded hyperinflation resulted: At its peak in July 1946, prices doubled every 15 hours.
What 52,000 Percent Inflation Can Do to a Country

Illustrations by Nadine Redlich
Alexandria Symonds is a senior staff editor at The Times. @a_symonds
Katie Van Syckle is a senior staff editor at The Times. @KatieVanSyckle
Melina Delkic is a senior staff editor. @MelinaDelkic
A version of this article appears in print on , on Page F7 of the New York edition with the headline: The Most Interesting Facts of 2018. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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