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Protest Numbers!

On Sunday 24th of March, a group of protestors marched against the plan for the UK to leave Europe. The organisers stated one million people attended the march. I wonder if this is possible and toy with the numbers. 

Think about the logistics of moving a million people: 

Bus:

Fifty people travel on a bus – 20 buses are needed to transport 1000 people. To move a million people, the requirement is 20,000 buses. 

Car:

Four people travelling in a vehicle 250,000 vehicles are required to transport one million people. 

Train:

One hundred people to a train carriage 10,000 train carriages!

Lets split the requirement three ways:

Seven thousand five hundred buses, 85,000 cars and 3000 train carriages used to transport a million people into the city of London for the Brexit Protest. 

What if all the people were from London? How did they travel, tube, bus, or on foot? 

Next, we will consider the size of a group of one million people:

One hundred people wide equal a train of people 10,000 people long. If the depth of a human one-third of a meter (very generous ) and the line is tummy to back, The path of one million people would be nine kilometres long!

Break this into four lines of people:

For a million people 100 across, walking tummy to back four 2.25 km lines are need to see the figures being claimed.

Nice having fun with numbers! 

Now! You may think I’m trying to knock protest! Far from it! 

I’m just looking at the logistics of the claim. If you divide the numbers by four (25000 people), you’ll still need 5000 buses or 6500 cars or 2500 train carriages. or 2000 buses + 2500 cars + 800 train carriages. No extra trains were running into London on the 24th. Furthermore, a question requires consideration: Is there sufficient parking in London for 2000 buses?

I will put the figure at 200 thousand:

Maybe 100K came from London and 100K from outside London – To move 100 thousand people 2000 buses or 25000 cars or a thousand train carriages are required:- Spread the burden three ways – 800 buses – 8000 vehicles and 300 train carriages.

Something is amiss!

I receive a reply questioning the figures:

“You sound very good with the old mathematics? Just one flaw in your logic Ian – you do recognise that there’s no-one who lives in London, don’t you? It’s a ghost town with zero residents. 

Using my words – “Maybe 100K came from London and 100K from outside London” – maybe 1000k came from even within the bounds of London and no-one travelled from outside? Maybe creates Mayhem if taken as fact.

However, consider the following population of London currently, and see why it’s not that difficult to get a million there” 

→ Evidence is provided that 8.9 million people live in the surrounding area of London.

A second reply is Received:

Sorry, you took the first sentence in the wrong manner in which it was said. I was trying to set up the argument which followed in that many of the people in London who wanted to demonstrate would have not had much of an issue in getting transport there. 

If London were not populated, then everyone would have had to come from outside. But, London is not populated, and therefore we can expect a vast majority of those who turned out to actually be able to travel without as problem. 

End of reply:

There were other replies to my post: One suggested critical thinking was the answer to finding a solution. And my words are inaccurate: Because my thinking was inaccurate.

Is my thinking wholly inaccurate? Review the figures, especially the size of the crowd.

Will critical thinking take the idea further?

Critical thinking is not the solution per se. Critical thinking is a process which teaches us how to think. It is not a solution it helps us discover answers. The simple premise of critical thinking is: a series of facts are offered, and a counter-argument is provided. The counter-argument is reviewed. A critical thinker learns to use the process in a fair and unbiased way. Not only this there must be no personal opinion of people involved. This is hard to learn and a hurdle for many to overcome.

To comment critical thinking will prove my words incorrect is questionable. An analogy is: learning to read music will enable an individual to play the piano. Critical thinking is a process not an answer. The implication is my generalisations are inaccurate: Is this true?

One aspect of shoddy thinking is called ‘Critical Bias”- This is a process where one element of an argument is used to support the whole of the debate. In the example of the protest. My first observation references the logistics of moving a million people. And the second observation attempts to form a visualisation of a group of one million people.

The reply to my post is summed up here:

“I was trying to set up the argument which followed in that many of the people in London who wanted to demonstrate would have not had much of an issue in getting transport there.”

The reply has merit – although it does not establish if the number of protestors was indeed one million people. It suggests that one million people could get to the protest area with ease. Therefore the reply implies the figure indicated by the organisers is sound.  This is an example of conformational bias. 

Observing images of the march and reviewing the area and roads used in the march suggests otherwise. The figure of 300-400 thousand offered by Professor Keith Hall seems feasible. You will have to draw your conclusions after looking at the comparisons.

How could this be achieved? 

There is a need to see if a visual idea of one million people can be conceived. The reply to my original post infers that if it can be proven the protestors can arrive at the march, the figure of one million is accurate.  An analogy would be “a bath can hold seventy-five litres of water – Therefore because it can hold this quantity, it is always filled”.

The hypnosis is flawed if the number is lower than claimed. In my original post, I concluded 200 thousand might be feasible. The assessment of Professor Keith Hill suggests between 300 – 400 thousand. Here is his assessment of the crowd figures:

Could the image of a million people be realised?

Of course, it is possible to use a known figure or crowd and compare it to the area of the march. Glastonbury festival is a good example: The area of the land is known, the number of fans is known, and there is an accurate figure for fans attending a performance in a specific area. 

Glastonbury is the largest greenfield festival in the world, requiring extensive infrastructure in terms of security, transport, water, and electricity supply.

Organised by: Glastonbury Festivals Ltd

Genre: Music festival

Attendance: 135,000 (2019);

These figures are accurate. Here we will review one specific area: The Pyramid Stage.

The capacity for this stage and the area on the map is 120 thousand people.

The parameter of the festival grounds is superimposed over a map of London. And a box representing the Pyramid stage and arena is also placed in the plan. I have made the area serving the Pyramid stage smaller than the actual size on the Glastonbury map.

The area where the march took place is given generous proportions. If the organiser’s figure is correct, the protestors would have to fill the marked out space to prove the claim. Eight Pyramid arena areas would contain one million people.

Actual ROAD Route of March – The protestors marched on the roads:

The graphic is presented – The reader of this article is tasked with deciding if there could be one million marchers in this area on Sunday 24th March 2019.

Review the images with care.

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