Harper’s Index!


Oh, Harper’s Index!  Why do you confuse me so?  After being bombarded with your many statistics, I somehow never know what to do –– should I be depressed, or angry, or submissive, or amused?  Are you trying to compel me to action in some way, and if so, what sort of action shall I take?  What kind of conspiracies are you alluding to when you parallel a statistic about the estimated portion of Colombian cocaine revenue that is laundered through banks in First World countries (9/10) and one about the ratio of the number of genes in microorganisms inhabiting the human nostril to the number in the human genome (168:1)?  Are you trying to tell me to do cocaine, or to feel bad about being white and a helpless bourgeoisie, or to use a neti-pot?  Is it wrong to want to respond to each of these statistics, which in the end sound hollow and pointless, by retorting, “Yeah, well, 86.4% of statistics are made up”?  HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO FEEL, HARPER’S?

Some examples of frustration this week:

1. [Amount] at which the average college-educated woman’s [salary maxes out] at age thirty-nine: $60,000

Damages awarded in June to an Oregon woman who contracted herpes from a man she met through online dating: $900,000

This seems to be telling me that it would be more lucrative for me, as a lady, to get an STD from a stranger than to just, like, work and be normal.

2. Average number of eggs a bedbug will lay after feeding on “clean” human blood: 44

After feeding on blood with an alcohol content of 0.10: 12

I think you’re telling me… to be drunk, always, lest I risk the wrath of the dread bed bug.

3. Percentage of US households that are headed by millionaires: 4.3

Of Swiss households: 17.1

Duh.  Moving on…

4. Chances a Republican believes today that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction at the time of the 2003 invasion: 2 in 3

Amount paid at auction in June for one of Annie Oakley’s guns: $143,400

We care too much about guns?

5. Number of plastic spoons Northern Ireland stockpiled as part of a recently declassified plan to prepare for nuclear war: 58,292

I… really have no idea what to do with this information.  Maybe… nothing?

6. Minimum gigabyes of data stored in a typical gram of human feces: 10,000,000

And we’re done here.


2 Responses to “Harper’s Index!”

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