Summer patterns

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The Independent Online

If crop circles didn't exist, you'd have to invent them. Hang on a minute - someone already has. Radio 4's Today programme has proclaimed the work of Colin Andrews, a former local government engineer, who says some crop circles are caused by strange electromagnetic effects. But it neatly glossed over the fact, detailed by Mr Andrews himself, that at least 80 per cent of the circles are created by people.

If crop circles didn't exist, you'd have to invent them. Hang on a minute - someone already has. Radio 4's Today programme has proclaimed the work of Colin Andrews, a former local government engineer, who says some crop circles are caused by strange electromagnetic effects. But it neatly glossed over the fact, detailed by Mr Andrews himself, that at least 80 per cent of the circles are created by people.

It is, of course, the time of year when crop circles, and the latest theories about them, can rank right up there on John Humphrys' agenda with William Hague's drinking habits. Yes, the silly season.

But, in defence of the silly season, we might observe that those little perturbations in the landscape every summer do make one wonder, and if it takes the politicians all going off on holiday to make us turn our attention to how they are generated, perhaps that is no bad thing.

It is refreshing to think that in the midst of our busy lives of getting and spending, some people have the energy, curiosity and plain silliness to hoax scientists and New Age enthusiasts. Now all we need is for someone to find a way to genetically modify corn to grow in circular patterns, and the summer fun will be complete.

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