I'll pass on reposting the comparison pictures of the inauguration of Barack Obama and the paultry rally that Beck claims drew nearly 2 million people; I want to see if ANY university did this study and if "body spacing" a crowd shot is real at all.
After searching online for some time, I could find no evidence of ANY university study that used "body spacing" to determine a crowd size of 1.7 million. I did, however, find an interesting perspecitve from a blogger that was there and compared a regular Saturday in DC and the amount of people that Metro transports. Then, I found this article by the LA Times:
Farouk El-Baz, a Boston University research professor and expert on crowd estimation, said his informal research from press coverage indicated 75,000 as the peak number. Pete Piringer, a spokesman for the District of Columbia Fire Department, said he made an unofficial estimate of 60,000 to 70,000 at the beginning of the event.
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority spokesman Steven Taubenkibel said Saturday that ridership figures indicated an extra 87,000 people took the subway all day, a significant increase over the 350,000 average.
That's 3 different estimates, and none near Beck's imagined number.