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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Two weeks ago I came across this startling statistic quoted in 'The Week' magazine, and it's been troubling me ever since. It's one of those things that you read, go "wow...", and then happily accept. Usually. Unfortunately, having read it and gone "wow..." it suddenly occurred to me to wonder how on earth the 250,000 people who attended Live8 could have dropped 650,015 tonnes of litter in one day. That's two and a half tonnes per person. Now, I may not recycle as much as I should, but even I'd struggle to throw away that much.

So having wondered about it for two weeks, this evening I sprang into immediate action (a fortnight later) and decided to look it up on the internet. I've managed to find the Guardian article in question, and here it is. It does indeed say that "650,015 tonnes of rubbish" were removed from Hyde Park.

It goes on to explain that 150 tonnes of that were from the southern enclosure, with another 500 to come from the bigger northern enclosure.

Er... that's 650 tonnes.

Not 650 thousand tonnes.

So just a small error then.

Honestly, you do wonder who's more stupid - the Guardian sub-editor who printed it in the first place, or 'The Week' magazine for reproducing it without once stopping to wonder if it could be true.

Or alternatively me for taking two weeks to check it out.

And talking of stupidity, I saw an advert on TV last night for the Open University, which informed me that I should choose them for all my educational needs, "whatever level you want to learn at". Which is lovely. Although personally if I was going to do an English degree, I'd choose a university that doesn't end its sentences with prepositions.

Frankly I'm not sure the OU is a university you should go to. And 'at' isn't the kind of word you should end a sentence with. But it's a point I'm not going to argue over...