Nine facts which sound like they are lies but surprisingly aren't

Louis Dor
Tuesday 01 December 2015 18:00

The old adage that "there are lies, damned lies, and statistics" is, funnily enough, rather hard to find an original source for.

It was popularised by the American author Mark Twain, who attributed it to British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli.

But we digress.

Here are nine statistics, courtesy of a Reddit thread, which will make you very much doubt them:

1) Two out of three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70

The Cancer Council of Australia says that, over past decades, the incidence of skin cancer has risen in Australia - by 60 per cent between 1982 and 2010 in melanoma diagnoses.

Between 1998 to 2007, GP consultations to treat non-melanoma skin cancer increased by 14 per cent, reaching 950,000 visits each year.

2) You could fit the world’s population in the boundary of New York City

However, this would only happen if there were no buildings, the land was perfectly flat and everyone stood bunched together exceptionally tightly, according to calculations by

This is also based on the assumption that ten people can stand in a square meter, determined by an experiment by Canadian journalists and the average size of a person on a global scale.

It would be pretty uncomfortable though.

3) The average cloud weighs 500 tonnes

As Peggy LeMone of the National Center for Atmospheric Research says, the water density of a typical cumulus cloud is 1/2 a gram per cubic meter.

The average size of the same cloud is around a kilometer long, wide and tall, meaning they are around one billion cubic meters in volume.

This means the average water content of a typical cumulus cloud is 500,000,000 grams, or 500 tonnes.

4) Samsung accounts for 20 per cent of South Korea's GDP

The electronics company's 2014 revenue was $305 billion, 21.67 per cent of South Korea's 2014 GDP of $1.410 trillion.

5) Nintendo existed at the same time as the Ottoman empire

The games company was founded as a playing card company in 1889, whereas the Ottoman Empire existed until 1922.

Nintendo only developed into a video game company in the 1970s.

6) The University of Oxford is older than the Aztec Empire

The triple alliance between the city states of Tenochtitlan, Texcoco and Tlacopan began in 1427, whereas there is evidence of teaching at the University of Oxford as early as 1096.

7) In terms of numbers of species, 20 per cent of mammals are bats

There are around 1,240 classified bat species, compared to around 5,400 mammal species.

The mammals group is relatively small in itself, as there are around 1.2 million species of animals, 950,000 of which are insects.

8) Six per cent of all humans that have ever lived, are alive now

Depending upon population projections at different points in history, slightly over 100 billion homo sapiens are predicted to have been born, ever.

The current population of the earth is around 7.3 billion, meaning that today's cohort is roughly seven per cent of all people to tread on Terra.

9) Most silent films are lost

Martin Scorsese's Film Foundation has estimated that 90 per cent of American films made before 1929, are gone forever.

Most were intentionally destroyed because studios saw no need to preserve them and the material was too expensive to house.

Other reasons include the fact that nitrate film (commonly used until the 50s) is highly flammable and prone to deterioration or combustion, such as in the studio fires at Fox Pictures in 1937 or MGM in 1967.

HT Reddit

More: 14 amazing things you didn't know the human body can do

More: Here are some of the most mind-blowing facts about the universe