Category Archives: Startling Fact

Graphic: Starvation in the UK

Obesity is responsible for approximately 8,500-times more deaths in the UK than starvation (illustration, Patrick Lydon | sociecity)

Obesity is responsible for approximately 8,500-times more deaths in the UK than starvation (illustration, Patrick Lydon | sociecity)

According to recent studies by the United Kingdom National Health Service and an Oxford Journal of Public Health study, Obesity is fast becoming a major cause of deaths, accounting for around 9% of deaths in the UK.

But we gleaned something that might perhaps be even more disturbing from this: while around 44,221 persons in the UK died of over-eating in 2009, only 5 persons died from starvation during the same time period.

Food for thought? We think so.

Enough Aluminum Cans for an Air Fleet?

Startling Fact for (7/16/12):

A plane on approach to San Jose International Airport, seen through the leaves along Guadalupe River (photo: Patrick Lydon | sociecity)Most of us are aware that when it comes to tossing trash in the landfill, the U.S. far outpaces other countries. it might not even be surprising to find that the latest World Bank report sees Americans tossing out something on the order of fifteen times their body weight in trash each year.

But this tidbit from a report by Sarah Zhang at Mother Jones gives use an interesting perspective on how massive even a tiny portion of our waste can be. Our Startling Fact this time around:

Americans throw away enough aluminum to rebuild their entire commercial air fleet every three months.

Even in the wake of our intensive recycling programs, we often forget that our very own EPA-penned theme prompts Americans to reduce and re-use before even thinking of recycling. Recycling = last resort, and the real green revolution starts with each one of us, thinking critically about our resource usage and purchasing choices as consumers.

How do you reduce and re-use in your own life? Send us a note and we will feature the top responses right here on sociecity!

World Bank Trash Charts – Mother Jones
Recycling Alone Won’t Solve our Trash Problem – Mother Jones

Diet, Exercise, Repeat…

This week’s startling fact (1/2/12):

High Tech Exercise BikeMillions of Americans will stream into diet clinics and gyms this week, beginning the inevitable “New Year’s Resolution” rush, a phenomenon that routinely starts with a new-found energy and then quickly fades into non-existence.

But for all of our no carb diets, Jenny Craig meals, Slimfast shakes, and gymnasium boot camps last year, we still live in a nation where 70% of the population are overweight or obese. According to statistics from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and US Census Bureau

Americans are more likely to graduate college (29%) than they are to be of a healthy weight (21%).

Well then, apparently whatever we are learning in college, it isn’t how to be healthy. The reality is that it’s natural for us to look for quicker, easier, cheaper ways to stay healthy — and the market isn’t ignorant to this fact — so we are often duped into buying less-healthy pre packaged foods instead of more nutritious ‘real’ foods.

One of our New Year’s Resolutions is to help buck that trend. What’s yours?

Caring for Cancer with Organic Foods
Nutritional Superiority of Plant Based Organic Foods – PDF

(Slightly) Startling Fact About Facebook

This week’s startling fact (12/5/11):

Sociecity's Facebook Insights Page as of Dec 4, 2011

Sociecity's Facebook Insights Page as of Dec 4, 2011

Ever wonder why Facebook has such lousy “customer” service? Why they don’t implement the features you want, why new features stay broken for days or weeks, why they change the interface around to make it more difficult to navigate instead of easier?

There is a very simple answer to this, and it’s not because Facebook is a company who is just bad at customer service; they are, in fact, rather amazing at customer service.

As users of Facebook, we assume we are the customer, yet what do we ever pay to Facebook for the privilege of using their service? We pay with information, very personal information, not just the things we type in, but where we click, who we are friends with, what pages we visit, even our actions outside of Facebook are on the radar.

They have our M.O., and all of that information on us gets packaged up neatly and is used to build a product for the real customers of Facebook. The advertisers.

Which brings us to this week’s startling fact…

Like it or not, the advertisers are the customers of Facebook. We users… are the product.

Then Again… what would we do without Facebook? Our very own publication has gone from a clean slate to over 1,000 followers in just a few weeks thanks to the virality of Facebook. Sure, Facebook censors our posts about Wall Street, and often does not publish our content to the feeds it should be in… at least they haven’t given us the boot just yet.

In Los Angeles, Who Needs a Car?

Interstate 10 in Los Angeles, Looking East (photo: Downtowngal, CC BY-SA)

Interstate 10 in Los Angeles, Looking East (photo: Downtowngal, CC BY-SA)

This week’s startling fact (11/28/11):

The folks at 24/7 Wall Street have released a study which ranks major U.S. cities based on people’s ability to get around without a car.

Public transportation availability is, logically enough, noted as a major factor, as the study notes “The Los Angeles metropolitan area runs more than 500 bus lines, covering 96% of neighborhoods. Similarly, San Jose covers nearly 96% by running about 100 bus lines. Although these cities do not have exceptional levels of rail service, residents can avoid owning automobiles by relying on city buses.”

And so they have come to what seem like a surprising conclusion:

Los Angeles is one of the best cities to live without a car.

Then Again… this study leaves out other statistics, like the 91% of L.A. households that own one or more cars. And beyond statistics, there are qualitative measures: inefficient routes leading to 30 minute vehicle trips that take 2 hours by transit, lack of transit hubs, questionable on-time service, etc…

To its credit, Los Angeles is making strides in public transit, but unfortunately for this particular 24/7 Wall Street study, there are simply not enough cities in the U.S. that do public transit correctly to warrant a list of “Best U.S. Cities to Live in Car Free.”

Source: 24/7 Wall Street – The Best Cities to Live in Car Free

Startling Fact about American Truckers

semi-truck-PRA1024px-American_truck (photo: PRA | CC BY-SA)

American Truck (photo: PRA | CC BY-SA)

This week’s startling fact (11/21/11):

The New York Times published the article Hard Turn: Steering Away From Bad Diets today, in which writer Abby Ellin profiles obese truckers.

The take? Obesity is an occupational hazard for the pilots of these 80,000-pound rigs. Ellin highlights a serious health problem, yet also takes note of the individuals and organizations who are attempting to reverse this trend. Which brings us to this week’s startling fact…

Eighty-six percent of truck drivers in the United States are obese or overweight.

Then Again… this number is only slightly ahead of the seventy-four percent of people in the United States who are overweight or obese.

Source: The Journal of the American Dietetic Association