Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Search Harper's Index

Since 1984, Harper's Magazine has featured and "index" that present a thematically related set of statistics to provoke thought or amuse. For instance, the February 2008 list began:
Projected total cost of medical care for U.S. veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars: $500,000,000,000

Ratio of this to the total military spending on both wars so far: 1:1

Chance that an Iraq war veteran who has served two or more tours now has post-traumatic stress disorder: 1 in 4

Percentage change since 1997 in the number of Vietnam-era veterans seeking treatment for PTSD: +108

Number of confirmed suicides in the U.S. Army in 2006: 102

Number of years since accurate record-keeping began in 1981 that the rate was as high: 0
But it's not all serious. The same list includes:
Length, in feet, of a prehistoric sea scorpion whose fossil was first reported last November: 8.2

Number of votes tallied in an online Greenpeace poll last fall to name a humpback whale in the South Pacific: 152,000

Percentage that favored the name “Mr. Splashy Pants”: 79
Now you can Search Harper's Index. Try plugging in "law school" or "seattle" or "legal aid" or, well, anything. It's entertaining and intriguing. And each statistic has a source listed: they don't just make this stuff up!

For more sources for statistics, see our guide, Nonlegal Research.

Thanks: WisBlawg.

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