When did elephants become a unit of measure?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by unid, May 16, 2010.

  1. unid macrumors regular

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    #1
    I read this article in the New scientist (Feedback) today.

    I saw another example in the guardian last week.
    "deployed helicopters to drop sandbags the size of elephants"

    What else should be measured in elephants?
     
  2. MrCheeto macrumors 68030

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  3. -aggie- macrumors P6

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    #3
    I LOL’ed. :)
     
  4. -aggie- macrumors P6

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    #5
  5. MrCheeto macrumors 68030

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    #6
    As if. Do you think I'm old enough to be married?! Hahahaha!
     
  6. renewed macrumors 68040

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    #7
    Elephants?

    Ex: "That elephant was the size of an elephant."

    I think it's fitting.
     
  7. unid thread starter macrumors regular

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    #8
    I'd guess you were around the same age as an elephants gestation (replacing years with months).
     
  8. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

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    #10
    You have to be very careful with these units of measurement. I believe a few years back a space probe was lost due to differences in the US and European systems, and the resulting confusion over the length of a football pitch.
     
  9. unid thread starter macrumors regular

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    #11
    I think that was Imperial Vs Metric confusion, only the US Burma and Liberia haven't adopted metric. How many elephants wide is your pitch?
     
  10. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

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    #12
    Silly unid – you're getting confused. Elephants are of course a measurement of mass, whereas a football pitch can be used as a measure of length or area.

    For the record, there's quite a discrepancy between the length of an American Football pitch and its far nicer Association Football cousin. As sports fans everywhere will know, the American version (minus end zones) measures in at 10.83 London buses in length, whereas the UEFA approved Association version comes in at 12.5 London buses.

    That's quite a difference when you consider the precision required to fire stuff at Mars...
     
  11. unid thread starter macrumors regular

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    #13
    Sorry yes my bad, perhaps I meant how many tigers wide is your goal :p
    (it seems elephants on stilts can also be a unit of pressure).

    As an aside Duchamps' famous piece '3 stoppages' is inspired by the adoption of the SI metre.
     
  12. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

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    #14
    Too many went wide, all too frequently... :eek:
     
  13. steve2112 macrumors 68040

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    #15
    Here in the U.S., we use states as a unit of measure. For instance, the oil spil in the Gulf of Mexico is now the "size of Rhode Island". For some reason, Rhode Island is often used as a unit of measure. For really big stuff, Texas may be used.
     
  14. -aggie- macrumors P6

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    #16
    We also use “pant load” (and its variants), but this has never been accurately quantified.
     
  15. unid thread starter macrumors regular

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    #17
    Similiarly over here people often use Wales as a measure, i.e the subsurface oil plume is the size of Wales.
     
  16. Queso macrumors G4

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    #18
    And how many sizes of Wales the world loses in rainforest every year. We're good at measuring Wales we are.
     
  17. unid thread starter macrumors regular

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    #19
    Yep. Rhod Gilbert does a skit about it in his standup, pointing out that it tends to be used as a measure of disasters.
     
  18. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #20
    UK news people need to be clear whether they are using the word as a measure of volume or area. I can just imagine a Brit turning to pub companion and asking whether the news was talking about a Humpback, Grey, Blue, or Minke Welshman .... :D
     
  19. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #21
    That would make an interesting survey for a US media class. Since the US has 50 states available for area comparison purposes, do certain states get "picked on" and used as measures of disasters, and other states used as a measure of good things......
     
  20. steve2112 macrumors 68040

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    #22
    Oddly enough, Adam Savage from Mythbusters tried to do just that. He published this survey called "Survey to Yield an Accurate Taxonomy of Idioms Pertaining to Large and Small Amounts". He was asking people to rate the relative size of things based on phrases. I have it saved in a PDF. Try this link (warning, it opens a PDF) for the survey. Some of the terms are great.
     
  21. unid thread starter macrumors regular

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    #23
    Strangely enough here's another article written today pertaining to the same thing.
     
  22. iowamensan macrumors 6502

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    #24
    Better question, what the hell is a packet of bacon?
     
  23. -aggie- macrumors P6

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    #25
    Okay, for us across the pond, what is a “football pitch?"
     

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