Just 4 U
It has been something of an anxiety-inducing week for those of us who live with dyscalculia. Numbers have been bandied around willy-nilly and most of them, frankly, have been baffling.
It all started with Nasa. The most powerful telescope ever to have been launched into space has released images of far-flung galaxies as they were 13 billion years ago. This is the time it has taken light to travel from that part of the cosmos to Nasa’s new toy. 13 billion? It’s an utterly incomprehensible period for anyone who isn’t an astrophysicist buff, so allow Insight to offer some perspective.
Well, as the old joke goes, 13 billion years ago was approximately the last time Newcastle United won any silverware.
More worryingly, 13 billion pounds represents only around ten percent of the UK’s annual NHS budget. Coincidentally, that figure also represents around ten percent of the total income raised by VAT. £130 billion is indeed an astronomical sum by anyone’s reckoning.
In matters a little closer to Earth – but no less out of this world – the Conservative leadership election process is now under way. Like a black hole, the process has sucked in all other news and comment in print, broadcast and social media, to the exclusion of anything else.
The machine of government has ground to a halt while the runners and riders make their way around a sort of political Grand National which offer just as many thrills and spills.
This exhaustive exercise too, has been all about numbers: The next leader will be selected by a process initially run by 329 MPs, before the final two are put in front of the party’s 200,000 members.
At the time of writing, the original field of ten has been reduced to five. And, just to confuse us further, some of the candidates have committed one of the most egregious crimes known to creative directors – that of hackneyed practise of conjoining numbers and letters, and substituting numerals for words.
Yes, we’ve had NZ4PM Suella4leader and PM4PM.
Arguably, however, by far the most scary number making the news this week is 40.
That is the temperature in degrees Celsius that is being forecast for parts of the UK next week.
Now isn’t that something we can all look 4ward 2?