There are, said Benjamin Disraeli, three sorts of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

We are all familiar with the shifty use of statistics. The percentage sign is the paralogist’s weapon as well as the statistician’s glory. But we are living in an age of such extraordinary numbers that simply assembling some of the more poignant digits may be an illuminating, if also a melancholy, exercise. Accordingly, we’d like to share with our readers a short inventory of numbers. They pertain to a wide variety of subjects, are gleaned from disparate sources, and bear profound ...