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Statistics: how many times a day are we caught on CCTV?

By James Crabtree  

half the world live on this. Or perhaps not?

Half the world, give or take.

What is the world’s most quoted, but least true, statistic? I’ve long been fascinated by the category of instrumental facts. Of the species of “1 in x people are a Chinese farmer” or “Eskimos have y words for snow,” these need not be exactly true, or indeed actually true—but they generally must plausibly illustrate some wider truth. David Aaronovitch cites another today, in a post bouncing off last Saturday’s Convention on Modern Liberty, an impressive gathering…

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