Rank of the U.S. among the world's most competitive economies, according to a survey conducted by the IMD business school that ranked 55 global economies according to 331 criteria that measure how each creates and maintains conditions favorable to business: 1

Number of years in a row the U.S. has ranked No. 1: 15

Ranks of Singapore, Hong Kong, Switzerland and Luxembourg: 2, 3, 4, 5

Source: IMD.


Percentage by which gas mileage is lowered by aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) on the highway, according to the Department of Energy: 33

Percentage by which it is lowered by aggressive driving around town: 5

Source: Governors Highway Safety Association.


Percentage of married women who maintain a "honey-do" list, according to a survey sponsored by Mighty Putty: 94

Percentage of women who were likely to have between one and nine tasks on their list: 71

Percentage of those tasks that remain unfinished for weeks, months or even years: 78

Source: Nature's Pillows.


Estimated amount of money given by U.S. religious congregations of all denominations to the developing world in 2006 for relief and development in poor countries (figure excludes support for evangelism), according to the 2008 Index of Global Philanthropy, which is published annually by the Hudson Institute's Center for Global Prosperity: $8.8 billion

Official U.S. government aid in 2006: $23.5 billion

Source: Hudson Institute.


Percentage of the Silent Generation (born 1925 to 1945) who report that all of their childhood family vacations included some interaction with nature, according to a study by Vollmer Public Relations for Travelocity: 25

Percentage of families traveling with kids today who say the same: 15

Percentage of time that today's families with children spend at amusement parks: 13

Percentage of time that the Silent Generation visited amusement parks: 6

Source: Vollmer Public Relations.


Percentage of financial executives from oil and gas companies who think that the price per barrel of crude oil will drop below $100 by the end of the year, according to the KPMG survey: 55

Source: KPMG LLP.


Percentage of adults across the U.S. who enjoy grilling food outside, according to the U.S. Census Bureau: 33

Decade when outdoor grilling became popular and when charcoal briquettes were first sold by Henry Ford, made from scrap wood left over from the body framing of his Model T's: 1920s

Number of pounds of beef that each American consumes every year: 62

Number of pounds of poultry: 74

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.


Percentage of employees who say that they left their jobs to seek new challenges or opportunities that were lacking with their previous employers, according to a study by Right Management: 30

Percentage of respondents who reported leaving employers because of ineffective leadership: 25

Percentage who cited poor relationships with their managers: 22

Average percentage increase of an employee's salary that it costs to replace an employee (this includes recruitment, training, severance, lost productivity and lost opportunities): 300

Source: Right Management.


Percentage of all U.S. heads of household who have never used e-mail, according to National Technology Scan, a forthcoming study from Parks Associates: 21

Percentage who have never used a computer to create a document: 30

Source: Parks Associates.


Idle thought

"If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn't thinking." — George Patton


Readers can contact John MacIntyre at johnmacintyre@bwr.eastlink.ca.