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Don’t worry Brooks Newmark: paisley was sexy once...

...200 years ago. Plus: Who sexts, the deadliest borders, and why weather records always seem to be getting broken

4 October 2014

9:00 AM

4 October 2014

9:00 AM

Paisley power

Paisley pyjamas were in the news. While associated with the town in Renfrewshire, whose mills produced the patterns from 1805, what we know as paisley was first popularised in France thanks to its part in the courtship between the power couple of the day: Napoleon and Josephine.
— While stationed in Egypt in 1798 he sent her a shipment of Kashmiri shawls which did not immediately grab her eye. She described the design as ‘ugly and expensive but light and warm. I have serious doubts that this fashion will last.’
— But she later changed her mind and was painted wearing one of the shawls, leading to mass popularisation.

Who sexts?

Brooks Newmark resigned as minister for civil society after texting explicit images of himself to a ‘PR girl’ who proved to be an undercover reporter. Who indulges in ‘sexting’?
24% of 14- to 17-year-olds*
33% of 18- to 24-year-olds*
49% of 18- to 54-year-olds†
*AP/MTV survey †McAfree

Deadly crossings

The International Organisation for Migration recorded 4,077 deaths among migrants while in transit between January and last month. Which are the most deadly places?

Mediterranean  3,072
US/Mexico border 230
East Africa 521
Bay of Bengal 205
Horn of Africa 123
South-east Asia 70

Record shopping

The Met Office recorded the UK’s driest September since reliable records began 104 years ago. What is the probability of one of the Met Office’s weather records being broken in any one year?
— The Met Office publishes weather records for England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the whole UK, for each month, each season and the year as a whole: 17 time periods. There are four main records which elicit interest: the warmest, coldest, wettest and driest. Therefore there are a total of 340 records to be broken.
— With 104 years of data, there is a 0.96% chance that a given weather record will be broken in any one year — and a 99.04% chance it will stand. But the chance of all the records surviving the year is 0.9904 to the power of 340: 3.7%. In other words, there is a 96.3% chance that at least one Met Office record will fall in any given year.


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