The Spectator

Barometer | 2 March 2017

Also in our Barometer column: tall men, London’s rough sleepers, and alternatives to flying round the Moon

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And the losers are…

La La Land was mistakenly announced as winner of the Oscar for best picture before the error was corrected in favour of the film Moonlight. Some other announcements which went terribly wrong:

— In 2015 Miss Universe host Steve Harvey announced Miss Colombia as the winner. Two minutes after she had been crowned Harvey came back on stage to apologise that he had misread the card and in fact Miss Philippines had won.

— In January 2016 Heart FM newsreader Fiona Winchester mistakenly announced that David Cameron, then prime minister, had died, before correcting herself and saying that David Bowie had died.

— In December 2015 the FT announced that the European Central Bank had held interest rates. They had in fact been cut to 0.3 per cent. The FT quickly corrected its story, but not before the euro had surged.

Tall stories

Britain’s tallest man, actor Neil Fingleton, died of heart failure aged 36. He measured 7ft 7.4in. Are Britain’s tallest men getting taller? Some previous holders of the title (many of whom also died young):

— Angus MacAskill, 7ft 9in, died 1863 age 38.

— William Bradley 7ft 9in, d. 1820 age 33.

— John Middleton, 7ft 9in (also reported at 9ft 3in), d. 1623 age 45.

— Frederick Kempster, 7ft 8.5in (also reported at 8ft 4in), d. 1918 age 29.

— Edward Evans 7ft 8.5in, d. 1958 age 34.

— Christopher Greener, 7ft 6.2in, d. 2015 age 71.

Street view

Who sleeps rough in London?

59% are not UK nationals.

32% have served a prison sentence.

10% have been in care.

8% have been in the armed forces.

Source: London Assembly

Why ask for the Moon?

Two space tourists have put down a deposit for a trip around the Moon next year for $80m each. How else could you spend that sort of money on a holiday?

— You could spend three nights each at the Lake Palace, Udaipur, the Umaid Bhawan Palace Jodhpur and the Rambagh Palace, Jaipur, every year for the next 60 years.

— You could take 50 people on a ‘Passport to 50’ deal, travelling in a private Boeing 767 to 20 cities in 20 days — and then repeat the trip five times.

— A family of four could stay at the New Style Shoreline Hotel at Butlins, Bognor Regis, for the next 1,923 years.