Saturday, February 14, 2004

I have been really tired recently. Stressed. Battling a cold.

So I can't read entire sentences without dozing off.

During these difficult times, there is only one book that can keep me entertained:

The Top Ten of Everything 1999.

So it's outdated. But some things will never change. Like all the hamster facts.

The hamster has emerged as a top ten contender on three lists so far.

At 16 days the golden hamster has one of the shortest mammalian gestation periods. It is fourth on the list, after the short-nosed bandicoot, the opossum and the shrew.

The golden hamster is also one of the most prolific mammals, at #3 with an average litter of 11 hamsterlings. The Malagasy tenrec is the #1 baby-spewing mammal in the world, with 25 mini tenrecs to a litter, and the Virginian opposom follows with an average of 22 children.

Yet of the top 10 sleepiest animals, the hamster drops to sixth place, shared with the squirrel, for a mere 14 hours a day spent sleeping. The rest of the list is lemur (16 hours), opossum and armadillo (19 hours), sloth (20 hours) and, in the #1 place, the koala which only wakes for 2 hours of the day.

Come on, hamsters, you can beat the opossums!

After hamsters, I was interested in how my favourite places fared.

Ethiopia is #6 on the top 10 camel countries, with a 1997 camel population of 1,030,000. It is also #8 in the top 10 goat countries (16,900,000 goats), #6 on the top 10 horse countries (2,750,000 horses) and #7 on the top 10 cattle countries (29,900,000 cows). I am very proud of you, Ethiopia!

Romania appeared in plenty of the boring World War I and II top ten lists. It gets interesting later on: Romania has the #5 spot on the 10 worst rail disasters in Europe list. Moldova finally appeared as the 5th most accident prone country in the world and Romania as the 9th. Romania is #8 in the top 10 fastest shrinking countries in the world.

The #1 cause of work-related injuries in Canada is overexertion. I will be taking the next week off, Raspberry. ;)

Chicago appeared on too many lists. But their famous Iroquis Theatre fire is #6 on the 10 worst disasters at theatre and entertainment venues. Plus you have 59 independent bookstores, putting you at the #2 spot on that list, and you have the third largest public library in the US.

Something to ruminate on: the countries with the highest proportion of women enrolled in university are the United Arab Emirates (78%), Cyprus (77%), Qatar (72%), Mongolia (70%), Kuwait (66%) and Myanmar (64%).

The beagle is #8 on the list of 10 stupidest dogs.

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