Rome is a bizarre place to be right now, and I find myself torn between harrumphishly ignoring the whole fandango and drowning myself in every tiny detail. Waiting for the train -- delayed 70 minutes for arriving pilgrims -- everyone from work had another little stone to add to the memorial cairn. So, I already knew that somewhere between 2 million and 5 million Poles were expected to make the trip to Rome. But I didn't know, as someone averred, that they were bringing little bags of Polish soil. What for? To bury him in? To throw in the simple coffin? Nobody knew.

But let's just say that they plan to bury him in Polish soil. And say that only 2 million turn up, and that each of them brings a teaspoon of soil. That's 5 ml each. Uncompacted, that's about 10,000 litres of soil. A lot, or a little? Actually, about the right amount. A cube 215 cm on each side would do it. Or, if you prefer, a block 1 metre by 2 metres by 5 metres. Ok, so, a bit long for the little fellow, but not by a lot. In fact if only a million Poles turn up, it'd probably be just right.

Brought to you in the interests of numeracy and with the assistance of Google. 1

  1. 22 January 2016: The old Google calculator no longer exists. But there are many, many alternatives now. 

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