On an average, a four-year-old asks 437 questions a day. An interesting fact. Precise and to the point. Says my dictionary, a fact is a â€œthing that is known to have happened or to be true or to existâ€. It doesnâ€™t take a rocket scientist to figure that. But one comes across so many fantastic-sounding facts in life that we find it nigh impossible to believe them. How many times have you said, â€œNo way! That cannot be true.â€ But these do make us ponder hard.
Facts make conversations interesting, scholastic lectures realistic, evidence or findings concrete and tirades exciting. In short, it plays with our conscience and brings out our perspective on the issue. â€œAn estimated 0.7 per cent of the worldâ€™s population is drunk at any given time.â€ Such a fact, if introduced in a conversation, makes the chitchat more interesting and peppy. Next time youâ€™re out drinking, mull over the 42 million tipplers, then.
A statement of â€œaround three babies are born every secondâ€ will certainly make more of a impression than a bland â€œthousands are born every day.â€ The more in-depth yet precise statement of fact, the better. What a great difference there is between saying â€œKathmandu is highly pollutedâ€ and â€œThe pollution level in Kathmandu is twice the internationally safe standard.â€
In any discussion on AIDS, assumptions make little impact on the listeners. But when the conversation turns to the precise number of deaths caused by the disease, one is at once staggered and awe-stricken.
Consider a few more. â€œFor every 10 successful attempts to climb Mt. Everest, there is one fatalityâ€. If ten have made a successful climb on a trot before you, beware! But, in some cases, generalisations, in the garb of facts, can completely cloud the truth. For instance, nine out of 10 people believe Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, when, in truth, it was Joseph Swan who did.
Catchy headlines similarly distort many a fact. The trouble is, if they fail to draw peopleâ€™s attention, the stories wouldnâ€™t be read either. Hence there exists a thin line between a fact and a hint. By the way, can you tell me the original name of the glitzy LA, California? Simple. â€œEl Pueblo la Nuestra Senora de Reina de los Angeles de la Porciuncula.â€