I finally got around to replacing my 2019 World Almanac with a 2021 World Almanac. I thought this one would be particularly interesting, what with all of the asterisks one might expect from the unusual year that 2020 turned out to be. Of course, a paper almanac can’t be completely up-to-date, and as I skimmed through it, I realized that while there was some data for 2020 (sports, elections), most data was current through 2018 or so. It made me think they should call it the 2021 World Almanac and Book of Facts for 2018.
Skimming the book, I did find some references to the unique conditions of 2020. Under Education Statistics there was a table titled “COVID-19 Pandemic Impact on Education by Selected Household Characteristics.”In the Sports section, there were asterisks noting that the baseball season was 60 games, for instance.
I like almanacs. I like the tables of figures they have. I like browsing through them looking for tidbits of information. I have a tendency to jump to Google to answer a piece of information, but I sometimes try to resist and rely on my almanac, just as I try to rely on the dictionary for definitions. Google and online dictionaries are very convenient, but not nearly as fun.
There are newer stats that I find amusing. Most-Visited U.S. Website, 2020. I’m afraid to say this blog is not among them. Google tops most of the lists.
In top operating system, it is interesting to see Windows at 93.85% in 2009, and 36.05% in 2020. Indeed, in 2020, according to my almanac, Window was number 2 in the OS market, following Android which had 39.06% of the market.
In 2018 the weekly hours spent online in the U.S. averaged 22.5 hours/week. I wish the had those stats for 2020.
Tuition, room and board at my alma mater cost about $33,000/year. Enrollment in the school was about 25,500. That’s up about 17,000 from when I attended.
The median price of a home in my metropolitan area was $472,100. That is still better than L.A., where the median price was $581,700.
Only one of the magazines I read regularly was in the top 20 best-selling magazines in 2020: National Geographic. Smithsonian, which I enjoy was 28. The New Yorker was 37. Harper’s, The Atlantic Monthly, Scientific American, Wired, Down East didn’t make the list. The three newpapers I read, New York Times, L.A. Times, and Washington Post, were the top 3rd, 4th, and 7th newspapers in the U.S. in terms of circulation in 2018. Apparently there was no data for 2019 and 2020.
I’m never sure what to do with my old Almanac. I could donate it to the library, but it is several years out of date. I suppose it could still be useful for someone needing information prior to 2016 or so.
Flipping through my almanac reminds me of something else that I miss: a real-life encyclopedia. We had one when I was growing up and I used to love dipping into it and reading various obscure entries. I like Wikipedia, but it is not as much fun as my old Britannica.