The United Nations doesn't understand Venn diagrams

The UN has been making "venn diagrams". Oh dear.

Forget Mitt Romney, the United Nations needs to go back to school to learn about Venn Diagrams. Business Insider — with the headline "This Is The Most Useless, Baffling Chart In Obama's State Of The Union" — highlights this chart, cited by the White House to support the President's claims on renewable energy:

I… what? As Dan Davies points out, the only way that chart makes any sense as a Venn diagram is if it's showing that around $10bn of renewable investment in China and the US is the same money. Which seems unlikely.

Anyway, it seems like a waste of time to remake our lovely primer on Venn diagrams, but for the chart-makers at the UN, here's an example of a real Venn diagram:

Photograph: Getty Images

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

Photo: Getty
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Fight: Arron Banks versus Mary Beard on the fall of Rome

On the one hand: one of Britain's most respected classicists. On the other: Nigel Farage's sugar daddy. 

Tom Lehrer once said that he would quit satire after Henry Kissinger – him of napalm strikes and the Nixon administration – received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Your mole is likewise minded to hand in hat, glasses and pen after the latest clash of the titans.

In the blue corner: Arron Banks, insurance millionaire and Nigel Farage’s sugar daddy.

In the red corner: Mary Beard, Professor of Classics, University of Cambridge, documentarian, author, historian of the ancient world.

It all started when Banks suggested that the fall of the Roman Empire was down to…you guessed it, immigration:

To which Beard responded:

Now, some might back down at this point. But not Banks, the only bank that never suffers from a loss of confidence.

Did Banks have another life as a classical scholar, perhaps? Twitter users were intrigued as to where he learnt so much about the ancient world. To which Banks revealed all:

I, Claudius is a novel. It was written in 1934, and concerns events approximately three centuries from the fall of Rome. But that wasn't the end of Banks' expertise:

Gladiator is a 2000 film. It is set 200 years before the fall of Rome.

Your mole rests. 

I'm a mole, innit.