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back to article BBC: Monster cargo ship delivers '863 million tins of baked beans'

The BBC has sensationally quantified the cargo capacity of a new behemoth container ship as "863 million tins of baked beans". Auntie's penchant for describing very big, heavy, strong or long things in terms mere mortals can get their heads round is well known to Reg regulars. Last year, it described the constricting force of a …

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American Broadcasting Corporation?

Why does the Beeb like to use units of measurement which are totally meaningless to its audience when trying to make things meaningful? Containers filling a public square in somewhere in North America? How big is a Times Square? is it as big as Trafalgar Square? Or as big as Machynlleth Town Square? And is a Brooklyn Bridge as heavy as Trefechan Bridge in Aberystwyth (pretty heavy, believe me, it's made of stone) or heavier than the new Severn Bridge? Please, please, please use comparisons we understand.

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Childcatcher

Re: American Broadcasting Corporation?

This should not be a cause for complaint. Rather, look at it as an opportunity to unite both sides of the Atlantic through the Register Units of Measurement Program (RUMP). From now on, large weights should be expressed in terms of Brooklyn Bridges (bb) while masses of industrial building materials should instead be expressed in terms of Eiffel Towers (et). This is similar in concept to avoirdupois and troy measurements of weight. While it does nothing whatsoever to simplify the scales used to measure these things (especially as there are already official Reg UOMs for weight), there is nothing so unifying as confusion.

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Flame

Re: American Broadcasting Corporation?

My guess is that the BBC knows it has a large Amercian readership. The average UK citizen will have heard of Times Square and the Brooklyn Bridge whereas the average American won't have a clue about Trafalgar Square, etc.* After all, all American TV shows and films have to inform the viewer that London is in England and Paris, France, etc.

I agree though, it is slightly annoying.

* A sweeping generalisation, I know!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: American Broadcasting Corporation?

All part of the great Americanization program. Have you noticed what they've done to "BBC English"? The strange moratorium on the word aeroplane? I wonder how much longer they'll wait before feeling it's safe to start slipping in "airplane".

Y'all have a nice day.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: American Broadcasting Corporation?

Do get it right!

It's "Y'all have a good one".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: American Broadcasting Corporation?

"Paris, France, etc."

I thought Paris was in Texas. Oh well.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: American Broadcasting Corporation?

That's staggering! Americans can read English?

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Re: American Broadcasting Corporation?

Perhaps the same way that whenever US dollars are quoted the conversion to Pounds is omitted unlike with every other currency.

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Re: American Broadcasting Corporation?

"How big is a Times Square? is it as big as Trafalgar Square?"

Not everyone in the UK knows how big Trafalgar Square is either (other than on a Monopoly board).

I'm not sure and I've stood in it. Though that was pre-Olympics and I couldn't see a thing for the high fences.

How about George's Square? Or if piled outside Stirling Library, does it reach the cone on the statue?

http://comeheretome.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/well.jpg

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Facepalm

Re: American Broadcasting Corporation?

"Why does the Beeb like to use units of measurement which are totally meaningless to its audience when trying to make things meaningful?"

RTFA

I know there is a growing trend amongst hard of reading wing commentardship to prevent facts getting in the way of a decent rant but the BBC didn't make that comparison, that image was from Maersk

As the text under the image states

"This image from Maersk shows what 18,000 shipping containers look like in the wrong place"

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Re: American Broadcasting Corporation?

Alternatively, the BBC was just indulging in some lazy churnalism from the Maersk press release. Check the second photo on the page - it's Times Square:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21432226

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Z80

Re: American Broadcasting Corporation?

You're right, people don't take the time to comprehend things before they respond.

BTW I don't think Pen-y-gors was being serious. Take it easy Ace.

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Gimp

@Z80 Re: American Broadcasting Corporation?

I'm thinking about removing the "Ace" and fully embracing my inner Rimmer

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Re: American Broadcasting Corporation?

To be (slightly) fair, I've seen and heard American sources compare large objects (typically the bigger asteroids, or ice shelves that have calved from Antarctica/Greenland) to various smaller US states, several of which I'd struggle to place on a map beyond generally north-eastern USA, let alone have an idea of their general size (though I believe there is one that's the size of Wales, give or take a few sheep).

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Paris Hilton

Re: American Broadcasting Corporation?

I thought Paris was wherever she wanted to be..

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Re: American Broadcasting Corporation?

Speaking as an American, I can honestly say I haven't a clue how big Times Square is. Judging from the pictures, it's a lot like being in an overfull elevator only outside, unless you're unusually tall of course then it's more like a large overfull open air elevator. They might as well make comparisons to Bowditch crater. As for the Brooklyn Bridge, I've seen it from afar but never picked it up. While we're on the subject I've actually been in the Eiffel Tower but didn't take the time to estimate its mass.

Now then, how big is a tin of beans? In sardines preferably, but I can convert from linguine and jubs.

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Re: American Broadcasting Corporation?

They already have us covered. El Reg has a "Vulture Central units" converter

http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/page/reg-standards-converter.html

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Bronze badge

Re: American Broadcasting Corporation?

Probably quoting a press release & they couldn't be bothered converting to El Reg units

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Anonymous Coward

@Eddy Ito (Re: American Broadcasting Corporation?)

I believe the correct unit of measurement for beans is "hill". (That is, according to my extensive research into bean measurement metrics, which consisted of watching Casablanca.)

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Happy

Re: American Broadcasting Corporation?

The Chaser - English to American translator

The Chaser boys have a go at American tourists.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IX6K77zHwg

Bill Maher, makes his point how dumb,ignorant and uneducated the majority of Americans are.And backs it up with facts. The ones who dislike and hate Bill Maher, are the same people who belong to that category of ignorant, embarrassing dummies. Thank You for watching!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fys3MsKMpms

Julian Morrow (Chasers War on Everything) interviews (very stupid, normal) Americans and asks questions about the world. The answers are hilarious, enjoy! Very funny.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMC_ZZlGZkY

For the smarter yanquies... and those in Queens Land, we suffer the Dumb Fuck Syndrome quite badly in Australia too.......

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Childcatcher

Re: American Broadcasting Corporation?

Uniting via the RUMP?!

NO THANKS!!!

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FAIL

...terms mere mortals can get their heads round...

Sorry, no. I cannot visualize "863 million tins of baked beans" any more than I can imagine lots of double decker buses balanced on top of a brace of stegosauruses (which according to the BBC were the size of a single decker bus).

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Pint

Re: ...terms mere mortals can get their heads round...

All I know is that that many beans would produce one mighty fart....

Icon, because need need to was it down properly.

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Re: ...terms mere mortals can get their heads round...

How about 10 x 863 million student meals? Any easier?

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Re: ...terms mere mortals can get their heads round...

Has the Beeb now officially dropped Olympic Size Swimming Pools from it's official units of measurement?

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Boffin

Re: ...terms mere mortals can get their heads round...

863 million tins of baked beans

So how many Ann-Margret's could swin in that amount of baked beans?

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earth to moon is a bit further that reported ...

closest around 350,000km, not 350km

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Re: earth to moon is a bit further that reported ...

ISS not moon

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Anonymous Coward

Re: earth to moon is a bit further that reported ...

That's not a moon!

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too complex for us mere mortals to understand

All I need to know is, is it bigger than Wales?

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Pint

Re: too complex for us mere mortals to understand

According to my reckoning, it would require ~260000 million cans to cover Wales one bean deep, so 863m tins really isn't all that much. It would cover the City of London to about 4½ inches deep.

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Thumb Up

Re: too complex for us mere mortals to understand

It would cover the City of London to about 4½ inches deep.

Now that I'd like to see. Kickstarter?

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Re: too complex for us mere mortals to understand

But how much toast would that require ?

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Mushroom

Re: too complex for us mere mortals to understand

More importantly, how many of these ships would be required to drown the financial industry in their own waste products?

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Proper units

Area vs area of Wales, and volume expressed as a number of whales, please.

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Mushroom

Bang

At a shade over 46km, that tower of containers would have been about the right height to get clipped by Fridays meteor in Russia.

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Cosmic Jengo

Good job nobody had tried to stack them then, would've made quite a din when they tumbled

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Holmes

And the name of this ship is...?

<-- his skills are required, apparently...is the Triple E the class, or the name?

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Headmaster

"is the Triple E the class, or the name?"

It's the class, obviously. You see it, and you go "Eee, that's a big ship!"

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Re: "is the Triple E the class, or the name?"

Could we please have a suitable photo to illustrate how young ladies on the beach compare in size to an Eee

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JDX
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A billion tins of beans

Not any easier to get one's mind around... a billion is too many to conceptualise.

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Re: A billion tins of beans

I'd have been more impressed if they'd quoted the volume in the number of actual beans. Utterly irrelevant, but impressive all the same.

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Anonymous Coward

bit dubious about 18,000

I work in shipping and that may be a little on the high side. Largest extant per wiki (don't have official figures to hand) is currently about 15,000 and teu figures are fudgable. Weight is significant.

Perhaps more imporatantly, the shipping industry is run mainly by morons who sell at lows and buy, and commission massive newbuilds, at the peak of the market (from wiki, "In February and June 2011, Maersk awarded Daewoo Shipbuilding two US$1.9 billion contracts ($3.8bn total) to build twenty of the ships").

Going by that, the current bubble is about to burst. Caveat emptor.

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Go

Re: bit dubious about 18,000

I'm going to guess they've gone with the total ship volume which is naturally not the entire cargo area (small things like engines, crew accomodation, the tower, etc tend to get in the way...

18,000 total size, 15,000 actual cargo carry ability. Sounds about right to me...

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Re: bit dubious about 18,000

18,000 teu is how many they could stack and be within the height and sight line limits

15,000 teu is how many they could hold at typical average container weights

If next years christmas popular present is made of lead it will be lower, if there is a big craze for bubble wrap it will be higher

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Facepalm

And if you...

... lay the containers out flat they would cover an area the size of Felixstowe (or thereabouts).

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Re: And if you...

I thought Felixstowe was already covered by containers.....

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Boffin

How many olympic-sized swimming pools...

would you need to hold all those baked beans

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Coat

Re: How many olympic-sized swimming pools...

...and how many Roger Daltrey dolls would you need to sit in them with their loofah's?

Mine's the one with meaty, bouncy things in the pockets, and no they're not made of horse!

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When I read that article I just new El Reg was going to have a go.

I'll admit they did labour the point a bit.

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