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What could Muslim women do within 48 miles of home? Almost everything

Also in our Barometer column: how astrologers fool people; the debts of the aged; DNA profiles

14 May 2016

9:00 AM

14 May 2016

9:00 AM

Secrets of the stars

The astrologer Jonathan Cainer died after beginning his last horoscope for his own star sign: ‘We’re not here for long. So make the best of every moment.’ Why do people believe horoscopes?
— In 1948 psychologist Bertram R. Forer gave each of his students what he said was a unique assessment of their character and asked them to rate it for accuracy. The average rating they gave was 85%.
— The assessments were in fact identical, and cribbed from horoscopes in newspapers. The students, Forer suggested, wanted to believe the descriptions and so blinded themselves to their vagueness.

Old debts

The Nationwide Building Society said it would offer mortgages with a term which runs up the borrower’s 85th birthday. How many 80- to 85-year-olds are in debt?

Owe credit on a storecard 2.5%
Hire purchase agreement 0.9%
Personal loan 1%
Overdraft 0.4%
Debt to mail order firm 0.7%
Debt to friends and family 0.4%
Mortgage 2.4%

Average debt for the age group: £89.19
Source: English Longitudinal Study of Ageing/International Longevity Centre (2010)

Going the distance

The Blackburn Muslim Association told women that they should not travel more than 48 miles from home without a male chaperone. What activities would that curtail for the general population?

Average miles travelled on a single trip
Going for a walk 1.0
Education 3.4
Shopping 4.2
Participating in sport 6.4
Entertainment 7.6
Day trips 12.6
Business 20.1
Travelling to base for holiday 46.1

Source: National Travel Survey

Gene warehouse

A 64-year-old painter and decorator pleaded guilty to a murder in Bath 32 years ago after being linked to the scene by a DNA sample. How many of us are on the National DNA database?
— There were 5.8m individual profiles as of last March, including 7,900 pairs of identical twins and 10 sets of triplets.
— There were 487,000 samples from crime scenes waiting to be matched.
— The number of individuals’ samples on the database peaked at 7.2m in 2013, prior to profiles of the innocent being deleted.

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