April 27, 2013
Crisis: On "American Averages" - 4
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1. "Food and Drink"
2.  "Wheels"
3.  "Having Fun"
4.   "Lord Knows What Else"
About ME/CFS


Today there is a choice from the last bit of the "American Averages".

Please note that most of the time I am quoting only a part, sometimes a small part, from the section I quote from.

And there also is an endnote, in which I explain there is to be no more.

1. "Food and Drink"

In this section, there are mostly figures I do not know the stability of.
How our diet has changed.
90 per cent more beef than we did in 1950.
Only a quarter as much butter as in 1910.
65 per cent less cabbage than in 1920.

42 percent more fresh and frozen food than in 1960.
10 times as much food colorings as in 1940.

Nearly 7 times as much margarine as in 1910.

A third more sugar and other caloric sweeteners than in 1909.
I think these are fairly substantial changes.
The truth about white bread. Seventy per cent of all bread (..) is (..) white bread.
It's probably roughly the same in Holland.
Waste. (..) 25 to 30 per cent of the food that gets to the supermarket gets never eaten.
I know I should cut down. In 1974, the average American was eating 200 calories a day more than he or she did 9 years earlier...
More probably than not, most of that is the additional sugar.
Good news. (..) obesity may be hereditary. (..) 84 per cent of parents who are both slender are slender too.
I have no idea, except that it seems a considerable size is not. (But how large "considerable" is?)
Well, pickle me in brine! The average American consumes 60 times as much salt as he or she needs.
This depends on the veracity of what is needed. I did read recently it may be more, but even so the consumption is high.
The American appetite. By his or her seventieth birth day, the average American will have eaten 150 steers, 24,000 chickens, 225 lambs, 26 sheep, 310 hogs, 26 acres of grain, and 50 acres of fruits and vegetables.
Being myself nearly 63 and 1.95 meters, it is likely I ate that amount already...
The national sweet tooth. The average American eats about 93 pounds of sugar a year.
And no doubt rather a lot more now.
Where beef comes from. (..) your average 1,000 pound steer yields but 615 pounds of carcass, which, when bones and fat are cut off, yields only 432 pounds of beef (..).

Eating less than Grandpa. The average American eats 4 pounds of food a day. In 1950, she or he ate 4.1 pounds. In 1910, she or he ate 4.4 pounds.
Which is in part explained by the fact that in 1910 people worked a lot more.
Drinking customs. (...)
Alcoholism is a big problem. (..) estimates there are 9 million problem drinkers, that their problems affect the lives of 1 person in 6, that drinking is a factor in close to 30,000 highway deaths a year and 20,000 of these deaths are caused by drivers with "ongoing drinking problems, that half the murders and a quarter of the suicides - 11,700 deaths a year - are related to drinking, and that the whole problem represents an annual $ 15 billion drain on the economy (..)

As far as I know, this only got more serious a problem. (But I don't drink, and almost never drank, and never got drunk.)
The booze gap. The people of only two countries - the Soviet Union  and Poland - outdrink Americans.
Would this be a constant?

2. "Wheels"

This section is mostly, but not only, about cars.
Getting there by all means. The average American travels 8,080 miles a year.
No doubt outperforming everyone else: Cheaper gasoline and larger distances are two reasons why.
Let's talk cars. For everyone who buys a new car in America, 3 people by a used car.
Interesting... and my guess is that is still around the same.
The car-people ratio. For every 10 cars bought in the United States in recent years, only 7 have been scrapped. This leads to a diminishing car-to-people ratio, to wit:
Year                                  Persons per car
1910                                      202
1920                                        13
1970                                       2.5
1978                                       1.9
Projected by the National Automobile Dealer's Association: 
2000                                       1.4
I am not certain, but it seems now it is about 1:1.
The auto  gap. There is 1 car for every 25 people in Mexico, 1 for every 18 in Brazil, 1 for every 6 in Japan, 1 for every 37 in Hong Kong, 1 for 23,378 in China.
This is bound to be lower now, though I do not know by how much. In any case, it is a great pity there are so many private cars: 75-95% of nearly everything that gets transported is wasted.
The school bus is safer. A child is at least 9 times safer in the school bus than in the family car.

Farewell, choo-choo. Nearly 2 out of 3 U.S. communities have no rail service at all (..)
This is a great pity, also in the US. (And I never owned a car.)
Wrecks versus war. Anyone living in the United States from 1900 though 1976 was 3 times as likely to be killed in a car wreck as in a war.
It's a statistic...but OK: Even with 2 World Wars, there was a much more effective way to be dead before your time in the US, especially for males.
Thanks, America. On average, you're safer driving in the United States than in any country in the world.
One important reason being that there is much more country.
You never know when. For every hundred miles you drive you face 1 chance in 303,030 of being killed in a wreck. The risk was almost 5 times as great 50 years ago (..)
Which at least suggests driving was fairly dangerous.
Fill her up for her. Women are behind the wheel 2 out of every 5 cars pulling into gas stations. One car in 4 is registered in a woman's name.
Meaning - taking the income difference in consideration - driving is about as likely for men as for women.
Look at those young singles go! (..) young singles take 3 times more pleasure trips, go farther, and spend 60 per cent more on vacation than other adults.
Sure, but when else can they do it?

3. "Having Fun"

And we have arrived at fun, or what is or was supposed to be fun.
Outside pep. Of every 100 Americans
22 walk for exercise
17 swim
14 do calisthenics
13 bicycle
13 bowl
11 jog
This again is a selection.
America at the flicks. The average young American goes to 5 movies a year.
On the average day, 3 million go to the movies. That's way down compared to the peak of 1946, when 11 million went to the movies each day.
The difference is TV.
Marijuana and friends. Half the people in America between the ages of 18 and 25 admit to having tried marijuana at least once.
This is for the 1970ies. It's bound to be more now. Indeed, it very recently got legalized in 2 states (as indeed is by far the sanest).
Here are our drug preferences. Among Americans 12 and older, marjuana is used by 1 of every 11 persons. (..) amphetamines are used by 1 of every 95 persons 12 and older, cocaine by 1 of every 107 (..) and LSD and other hallucinogens by 1 out of 155.
One of every 2 Americans 12 years and older drinks alcohol, and 1 of every 3 smokes cigarettes.
I have no idea how this relates to the current numbers, except that there are fewer smokers of cigarettes.
Those darned commercials. One of every 3 adult Americans is willing to pay a yearly television fee in order to get rid of commercials. (..) But 2 out of every 3 adult Americans said that commercials constitute a fair price for television entertainment.
One of the important reasons for me not to have a TV, for the 43rd year in succession, is that I do not want to be lied to, if I can prevent it. And the whole notion that "2 out of every 3 adult Americans said that commercials constitute a fair price for television entertainment" is complete and utter crap.
No fun for me. (..) They were asked what they don't do. (..)
One in 5 working Americans never goes to the movies.
One in 4 never goes to parties, nightclubs, or dances.
Three in 10 never go to museums, concerts, plays or lectures.
One in 5 never does anything athletic.
One in 5 never works around the house or yard for pleasure.
One in 5 never goes to church or temple.
Actually, I do not do any of these things. But then indeed I am ill.
Fisherwomen. For every girl or woman who fished in 1972, 3 fished in 1977. For every girl or woman or scuba dived in 1972, 4 scuba dived in 1977.
This was selected because it's a major difference. (But I have no idea about its constancy, though my guess is the female scuba diving might be considerably more these days.)
Here comes WHOOSH. (..) Counting only persons over 16 years old, 1 American of every 13 skis. (..)
There are 7 downhill skiers in America, for every cross-country skier.
Having learned to ski in Norway, this shows skiing is underrepresented in the US (and everywhere except in Scandinavia).
Let's catch some action on the box. When asked to name his or her favorite television program, 1 adult American in 6 picks a sports show. The typical American man devotes more than a quarter of his TV time to sports, compared to 15 per cent of the average American woman.
This is a sickness.
More channels. Back in 1964, 22 per cent of the homes in America could get only 1 to 3 channels on their TV sets, and only 4 per cent could get 10 or more.
  Now a third of all homes get 10 or more channels, and two thirds get 7 or more.
Hence: This is very much from the beginning of TV-watching, that really took off only in the 1970ies.
Who sees skin flicks? One American out of every 3 polled by Gallup in 1977 said that he or she had seen at least 1 X-rated movie.
How honest was that? In any case, as is and as has been the last 15 years or so, the greatest attractor of the internet is porn.
Why get all sweaty? Of every 4 Americans, 2 prefer to spend  their leisure time sitting around, relaxing. One prefers going out to a movie, bar, or restaurant. The fourth chooses exercise of some kind or other.
It's more or less as one would expect.
Culture vultures. Of every 100 Americans

36 go to museums
29 go to plays
25 go to rock or folk concerts
13 go to classical concerts
11 go to dance performances
I don't have any idea how this is now.
Hobbies. Of every 100 Americans

48 garden
39 do handicrafts of one kind or another
22 paint or draw
18 play a musical instrument
11 sing in a choral group
  5 play chess
  3 dance
  1 is an ardent photographer
I am especially amazed at the gardeners and the singers. (Then again, I have played chess daily for 25 years at least.)
Are we watching less television? (..) the typical American 18 or older watches 3 hours of TV on an average weekday and 3 hours 25 minutes on an average weekend day.
Two out of every 3 adult Americans watch TV every day. Nineteen of every 20 watch at least twice a week. Only 1 in 50 never tunes in at all.

This is worse now, and was quite bad then. It really is a waste of time, even though it also is - in fact, if probably not widely acknowledged - what most men seem to live for: To be able to watch TV.
The tube and the tot. The average preschooler watches up to 30 hours of TV a week - a total of 6,000 hours before he or she sets foot in a first-grade classroom.
More or less the same remark applies.
I prefer the murders. By the time he or she graduates from high school, the average American has watched 15,000 hours of television and has seen 350,000 commercials and 18,000 murders.
And more of the same. Whoever saw 18,000 murders?! (I certainly did not, but as I said: I have no TV since I was 20. Almost everybody else did.)
The life cycle of TV watching. (..) the average kid, during the first 16 years of life, spends as much time with television as in school.
  In a study of sixth graders, over a quarter said they watched more than 5 hours on school days. (..)
  The committee says TV viewing is not the "universal, global, nonrational, automatic manifestation of behavior", it seems.
That committee was a bunch of complete and brazen liars: TV viewing IS THE "universal, global, nonrational, automatic manifestation of behavior".
A nation of pianists. Two out of every 5 American children take piano lessons at some time or other. (..)
  Roughly half of the kids who took lessons can still play, at least a iittle bit, as adults.
This is just to end on another note - and unfortunately I do not play an instrument, though the one time I ever got a chance to play a piano, for some hours, it was clear that I lost a lot by never getting a chance to pick this up.

4. "Lord Knows What Else"

This indeed is a varying and last section.
Who robs banks. (..) the typical bank robber is an unemployed, unskilled man, 18 to 25 years old (..)
In case you doubted this. Then again, it is especially the male of 18 to 25 who creates most problems anyway.
The loot. The average bank robber got away with $ 4,858 per job in the United States in 1977.
I have absolutely no idea how this is now.
Going to the dogs. For every person in the United States, there are 4 or 5 pets.
Which means that there are, just in the US, over 1 Billion pets.
The guilty, the innocent and the still pending. Of every 100 people charged with a crime in the United States, 36 are convicted, 12 are acquitted, and 34 are referred to a juvenile court. The cases of the other 18 are still pending.
Again, I have not much of an idea how much of this is still the same. Buit what is fairly striking is the juvenile proportion.
But still diverse. One American in 8 is black, 1 in 16 is Hispanic, 1 in 10 is over 65, and 1 in 3 is a child.
This seems to be about the same, except that there are more Hispanics.
And mostly city folks. Seven of every 10 Americans live in metropolitan areas, 3 of them in cities and 4 in suburbs.
Probably more or less the same, except that the proportion will be higher.
The first Americans. For every $ 100 earned by the average American family, the Indian family earns $ 61. The typical Indian lives to be 44, a third time less than the average American. Suicides among American teen-agers are 3 times the national rate. The average educational level for Indians under federal supervision is 5 years of schooling. (..)
  Between 1890 and 1970, the Indian population increased by 320 percent. So did the US population.
And this is to end the book, at least in this selection: The "first Americans" have been destroyed mostly, and without there being a need for this.

Endnote: Well... that was it. I do not believe I have in 10 years spend 4 successive days on one and the same topic, but I have now. Why? Mostly because of what I wrote yesterday at the end: This was, both in the US and in Western Europe, the ways people spent their lives from - roughly - 1968 till 2008.

My own guess is that we are at the end and that the coming century will be quite different and quite difficult.

But I might be wrong about this, though this is less and less likely.

In any case: This was a survey of the top of civilization, ever. And if it grows less, it is - mostly, though not: totally - due to the average level of intellect.

About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which is a disease I have since 1.1.1979:
1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

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