Talk about Newsnight

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Wednesday, 12 September, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 12 Sep 07, 05:53 PM

Gerry and Kate McCannMcCann Investigation
We're planning to lead the programme tonight with an exclusive interview secured by our Science Editor Susan Watts about the DNA evidence in the case of Madeleine McCann.

And Madeleine Holt is in the Algarve talking to the Portuguese media about the criticism they've faced about lurid headlines and unattributable sources. Some of what they've reported weeks ago was officially denied but has turned out to be the case. So have they been vindicated?
McCanns consider own tests on car

Just days after the county was declared Foot and Mouth free, another outbreak has been confirmed in Surrey, and there are suggestions that a pig farm in Norfolk may also be affected. We'll have the latest.
New foot-and-mouth case confirmed

Quality of life
The Conservatives' Quality of Life report is out tomorrow, over 500 pages of ex-tree. Newsnight's seen a copy, and we'll be assessing whether the welter of policy proposals, from taxing parking in the workplace to creating a Public Diet Institute will really have a postive impact on our quality of life. We hope to speak to one of the report's authors later.
Tory group urges 'green rebate'

Iraq troops
We've heard nothing from the two men credited with "authoring" the US Iraq surge strategy since General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker began their assessment of its effectiveness to US congress on Monday. We'll have the first interview with one of them tonight.
Bush 'to announce Iraq troop cut'

Led Zep
And, believe it or not, the debate that's been raging in certain parts of our newsroom today: were Led Zeppelin a heavy metal or a blues band? It hasn't come entirely out of the ether - the band's promoters have announced today that they are getting back together for a special gig at the O2 centre. Peter Marshall will put the question to bed tonight, with the help of a rather impressive tribute band.
Led Zeppelin confirm reunion gig

Not measuring up...

  • Newsnight
  • 12 Sep 07, 04:01 PM

By Jackie Long, BBC Newsnight

Jackie Long and her formulaLet me put it this way - there's a reason Stephanie Flanders is Economics Editor round here.

As the producer approached me yesterday with my task for the day I said to him: "Please, anything but the weights and measures story." The look on his face told me it was too late.

Now I'm not entirely useless at maths. Seven years as a Saturday girl in a bread shop means I can price up two large twists, a dozen doughnuts and a sausage roll in a jiffy. But algebra, fractions and... er... conversion formulae... rather stretch my talents.

Perhaps that's why, in some ways, I was a good person to report the story. One of the areas we were looking into was how using both imperial and metric measurements side by side has left some of us rather confused.

Well confused I can do. I went out onto the streets of Chiswick, a sort of poor woman's Esther Rantzen, and gently (I hope) quizzed the public. My favourite answer from one lovely "mature" lady simply: "I'm eighty one love!"

Anyway, my complete undoing was an attempt at the end of the piece, to helpfully give out a list of conversion formulae, including how to change distances given in miles to distances in kilometres.

To convert miles to kilometres, I helpfully explained, "multiply your miles by 1.069".

It was, rather UNhelpfully, wrong. The real formula is 1 mile = 1.609 km.

So, I'm sorry. Genuinely, It's always poor to get things wrong. And particularly things that can be easily checked.

If only I could say: "I'm 43 love" and leave it at that. But that doesn't quite work does it - much like some of my conversion formulae.

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