NPR Fun Facts


One of the great joys of listening to NPR is not knowing where the next story will take me. Will it be the Steppes of Mongolia? A prison in Alabama? The inside of the Federal Reserve?

Often embedded within these pieces are facts, figures, and fascinating trivia; but the smooth, dulcet tones of the reporter distract me, allowing the information to slip out the back. I will attempt to collect these morsels of hard data and post them here.

If you hear something, share something. But only the facts; not subjective thoughts, loose approximations, or unprovable claims.

Link: The first recorded instance of Supreme Court justices attending the State of the Union was in 1957.

From that period forward, they attended in force. Up until 1980 there were at least eight justices, on average, there. It has fallen off since 1980, and particularly in the - the early 2000s; Justice Breyer alone was in attendance at three of the addresses.

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Link: Before entering construction, then media and politics, Silvio Berlusconi was a cruise-ship crooner.

Through political patronage, he created a near-monopoly of commercial TV. He entranced viewers with a glitzy carousel of scantily dressed showgirls.

With 80 percent of Italians getting information only from TV, the adoring audience was a ready-made electorate.

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Link: The US military spends $15 billion a year on energy, making it the largest user in the country by far.

Over the last four years the military has tripled its investment in technologies like biofuels, solar panels and electric vehicles. The Defense Department spends $1.2 billion a year on alternative energy.

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