There are more than 900 centenarians in Illinois, according to the state department on aging–and 69 of them still have driver’s licenses.

You’ve found your dream house, but you wonder: how many young children live in the neighborhood? How many Swedes? Ukrainians? Construction workers? How do the second-graders at the elementary school compare with city and national averages in mathematics problem solving? How many families have incomes between $40,000 and $49,999? What have nearby properties sold for in the last six months? What’s the auto theft rate? Who’s the alderman? Real A Stats provides this information and much more for between $40 and $60, for any address you’re considering–in the area bounded by North, Clybourn, Ashland, Irving Park, and the lake.

Why do fat people often have high blood pressure? Not because they’re fat, but because they’re always jumping on and off diets–at least that’s what studies of rats at Northwestern University Medical School suggest. Hypertension in the rodents was associated not with obesity itself but with erratic swings in food intake.

The following is an example of (a) dangerous moral relativism, (b) dangerous moral absolutism. The American Federation of Teachers’ Education for Democracy Project is upset over questions like the following, from the National Assessment of Educational Progress: “‘People have no freedom in China,’ Maria insists. “There is only one party in the election and the newspapers are run by the government.’ ‘People in China do have freedom,’ Ming insists. ‘No one goes hungry. Everyone has an opportunity to work and medical care is free. Can there be greater freedom than that?’ What is the best conclusion to draw from this debate? A. Ming does not understand the meaning of freedom. B. Maria and Ming differ in their opinions of the meaning of freedom. C. There is freedom in the U.S. but not in China. D. People have greater freedom in China than in the U.S.” According to NAEP but not the AFT, the correct answer is B.

Action Comics No. 1–the first comic book to feature Superman–cost ten cents when it appeared in June 1938. According to Book Collecting World, a copy in pristine condition recently sold for $68,000 in Chicago.

“If they try to stuff any more traffic into O’Hare there is going to be political and very possibly physical bloodshed,” attorney Joseph Karaganis of the Suburban O’Hare Commission tells Patrick Barry in Chicago Enterprise (July 1987). If they don’t try to stuff more traffic into O’Hare–which is within 5 percent of its capacity–then the choices are limited: build a new airport, probably south or southwest; expand an existing outlying airport; or let other hubs (Saint Louis, Minneapolis) take over more flights.

What’s an animal cracker? A veterinarian who uses chiropractic, according to the Wall Street Journal (July 13, 1987)–on everything from a giraffe (Daniel Kamen of Buffalo Grove) to a parakeet (Sharon Willoughby of downstate Port Byron). The bird’s recovery after a “neck adjustment” was astonishing: “Though she had never laid an egg before, she soon laid and hatched six.”

Get the government off my back–and onto his. The United Republican Fund of Illinois has issued a two-page press release congratulating the recently adjourned Illinois General Assembly for being a “do-nothing” legislature. Of course they don’t really mean it. Lawmakers did do “nothing” by rejecting tax increases and deregulating banking; but on the other hand, URF praises them for passing “sweeping measures” (not cheap, either) for AIDS testing and contact tracing, and for more severe drunk-driving penalties.

Those report cards on 193 metro-area high schools show that segregation by race largely means segregation by income, and that “schools serving high concentrations of poor children do not do well,” according to Metropolitan Chicago Public High Schools: Race, Poverty, and Educational Opportunity, a report by the University of Chicago’s Jim Garrett. “All-minority schools are very likely to have a high concentration of poor children, to have very high dropout rates, to have small fractions even taking the test required by most colleges, to have low college entrance scores for those who take the test, and to have poor attendance rates.” So ambitious minority students often find themselves in a jam: “Whatever their personal talents and objectives may be, they are in a situation where there will be less competition, lower expectations, fewer role models, and far less likelihood of being seriously prepared for college, or of even finishing high school.” But some schools over 50 percent minority are to some degree exceptions to this dismal rule: in Chicago, Curie, Kenwood, Lindblom, Morgan Park, and Young; in the suburbs, Aurora East, Thornton, Thornridge, Bloom, Eisenhower, and Hillcrest.

“Offenders tend to travel farther to commit most property crimes than they do for most violent crimes,” says the Compiler (Spring/Summer 1987), a publication of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. In a study of 31 Chicago suburbs, ICJIA found that “more than half of the people arrested for assault or battery (61 percent), sex offenses (58 percent), and burglary (53 percent) had addresses in the town where the crime occurred. The corresponding percentages were much lower for burglary or theft from a motor vehicle (41 percent), robbery (38 percent), and motor vehicle theft (37 percent).”

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Carl Kock.