Prime Numbers

Tolls, prizes and liquid nitrogen: The week in numbers

How much is the Nobel Prize worth to YOU? And after the first two debates, how likely is it that Obama will remain president?

EVERY WEEK, offers a selection of statistics and numerical nuggets to help you digest the week that has just passed.

$1 - The amount a Pennsylvania man tried to steal from a bank, hoping he’d be sent to jail. Jeffrey McMullen demanded the money hoping he would be sent to jail, presumably so he could receive free food and medical care. He’s not the first person to try it either.

9 per cent – The average interest paid by someone in Ireland on a short-term loan – like an overdraft, credit card debt, or loans falling due within a year. That’s quite a bit higher than the Eurozone average of 7.77 per cent.

18.2 per cent – The amount of the average Irish household spending which went on housing in 2009 and 2010. That’s higher than food, at 18.1 per cent. It’s the first time in Irish history that the average home has spent more on the roof over their head than on the food in their bellies.

10 cent – The increase in motoring tolls from next January. The NRA says the tolls are regulated by inflation and that the M50 roll will be going up by 10c over the New Year period – and suggested that other privately-operated tolls are likely to follow suit.

€748 million – The estimated size of the deficit in the Irish Aviation Pensions Scheme, which is operated by the Dublin Airport Authority and Aer Lingus. SIPTU members are likely to pursue strike action over the deficit after talks at the LRC broke down.

€9.1 billion – The value of Irish exports in August, the highest figure on record, and up by 16 per cent compared to July. Imports were only up 5 per cent – meaning Ireland’s trade surplus hit an all-time record of €4.92 billion.

21.1 per cent – The pay differential between men and women working in the private sector in 2010, according to CSO figures. Analysis shows that the gap is widest among lower earners, and decreases as earnings increase. There’s a similar gap of 12.1 per cent in the public sector.

0 – The amount of garlic bread in a shipment of ‘garlic bread’ seized by customs officers in Dublin Port last Sunday. The shipment of ‘Garlic and Cheese Tear & Share’ actually contained 8 million contraband cigarettes with a street value of €3.1 million.

€3.36 billion – The amount repaid to the State by the seven lenders covered under the two banking guarantees. Sadly, that’s nowhere near covering the €64.1 billion we’ve put in so far, but every little helps…

0.178 cent – Your share of the winnings from the EU’s victory in the Nobel Peace Prize.

137 years – The amount of time it’ll probably take before you could actually hold your prize, if it was distributed in euro. If current bank interest rates remained unchanged, it would take 137 years for your prize to accumulate to 10 cent. (It’d take 59 years to get to 1 cent, but we’re assuming the 1c coin will have been abolished by 2071.)

61.1 per cent – Barack Obama’s chance of retaining the US presidency in next month’s election, according to New York Times poll analyst Nate Silver. Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog gives Mitt Romney a 38.9 per cent chance, based on current polling in each state – but that’s up from just 15.1 per cent eight days ago.

-196°C – The temperature at which liquid nitrogen turns to gas. Bafflingly, a bar in Lancaster was selling cocktails featuring the substance – presumably as a way of creating a cloud of vapour – but one girl celebrating her 18th birthday lost part of her stomach after drinking a cocktail.

Want more? Check out our previous ‘In numbers’ pieces >

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