The Box: Pandora

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The Independent Online
Women's millennium view

London is hosting the "Female Millennium" global conference this week and many of the distinguished women delegates have contributed items to go into a time capsule. Some of these are predictable, like Hillary Clinton's humble donation of four of her own speeches on women's issues. Rabbi Julia Neuberger is more down-to-earth; she's offering a babygrow. But Pandora believes none of the VIP women will be able to match in earthiness our former head of the Secret Service, Stella Rimington, who wants to deposit a disposable nappy.

It just doesn't add up

The Associated Press newswire carried an interesting item on Saturday about British fireman, David Thomas, who has set a new world record: he can remember 22,500 digits of the infinite number pi. Unfortunately, the AP wrongly printed the first five digits of pi as "3.164" and later had to issue a correction for the figure: "3.1416". The AP's mistake is perfectly understandable to someone with Pandora's own pathetic mathematical prowess.

A night at the White House

Recently President Clinton released the names of all those guests who had been given the honour of spending a night in the White House between 1993 and 1996. Pandora found the "arts and letters" section of the list made depressing reading. Far more Hollywood stars and moguls than authors, painters or musicians were treated to a night in the Lincoln Bedroom. The lucky guests included Candice Bergen (right), Chevy Chase, Ted Danson, Tom Hanks and Barbra Streisand. The moguls included David Geffen, Peter Guber, Norman Jewison, Sherry Lansing, Steven Spielberg and Ted Turner. Naturally, some of the guests were also heavy contributors to Clinton's Democratic Party including Spielberg ($225,000), Geffen ($234,300) and Streisand who gave a mere $86,400.

Wrong connections

Undoubtedly the most entertaining section of the Guardian appears on its obituaries page every day under the headline "Corrections and Clarifications." Pandora, of course, salutes this shining example of journalistic integrity, particularly the tongue-in-cheek style in which these embarrassing or trivial "corrections" are written. Last Wednesday, for example, the paper confessed to having given the wrong telephone number to students interested in obtaining more information about business and management awards. "The number we gave connected callers was the Interactive Speakeasy Chat and Date Service and provided an alternative number for gay callers." How very droll.