# South African dam sluices 609 elephants per second

Regular readers know that we at the El Reg Bootnotes bureau are big fans of alternative units of measurement, so we'd like to raise a pint today to South African engineer Danie van der Spuy, who recently quantified the amount of water passing through the sluice gates of the Bloemhof dam as the equivalent of "609 elephants every …

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#### Never mind elephants!

Haven't those guys got the BEST names in the world!!!

#### Elephants per second

That has just shot to the top of my list of favourite measurements, wiping the floor with the Wales and even beating the Bulgarian Airbag.

#### Mentioning the 'wales'

Should an animal based unit of volume measurement be 'Whales'? We can also set a standard for measuring how upsetting something about in 'Wails'.

#### lordy

enquiring minds want to know, is that 609 perfectly tessellated elephants per second, or are there gaps?

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#### Surely...

5 boring metric tonnes of propellent is 1.087 elephants? Assuming of course the average elephant tips the scales at 4.6 metric tonnes, but even if that 4.6 is british tons the figure is still only ~1.07 elephants.

#### 609 elephants per second

It's good, but I think 6.09 × 10-10 PPP* sounds more boffinesque.

(*Pachyderms Per Picosecond)

#### 609 elephants per second

No need to over-egg things, PPM (Pachyderms Per Minute) has a sufficient ring to it I think.

#### Nice

Especially as this would rate the dam at a magnificent 3654 PPM.

#### re: 609 elephants per second

It would be more correct as:

6.09 Ps^-1 = 6.09 Pachyderms per second, or

6.09x10^-10 Pps^-1 = for Pachyderms per picosecond (or should that be x10^-12?)

#### Too confusing!

You can't use elephants as a unit of liquid volume - elephants are a unit of time. If you remember "Gregory's Girl" the geek photographer/voyeur kid makes it clear that one elephant corresponds to one second (he counts 'one elephant, two elephant' etc)

So that would make the dam handle 609 elephants per elephant...or is that elephants squared?

#### Precisely

Six hundred and nine elephants per elephant can be annotated as 609 elephant². In other words, by establishing the relationship between mass and time, you begin to demonstrate the concept of acceleration, and if you keep working on this you'll find that an infinitely small piece of elephant can quickly reach phenomenal speed, which is how light gets about so quickly.

It may be Friday, but it's not going-home time yet.

#### Re: Precisely

>It may be Friday, but it's not going-home time yet.

Oh yes it is.

Local time here is 13:30 and not only is 14:00 going home time it's also going on holiday time so I'll be winding down with as many bootnotes as possible before disappearing for two weeks.

#### are you sure?

"which is how light gets about so quickly"... or could it be that light is merely a gazillion sub-atomic elephants bouncing all over the place at their natural velocity... and whilst sub-atomic... that'd explain why light slows down when transferring between mediums... we'll, they gotta pause to make sure they don't fall in any sink holes!

#### Mississippi surely?

Time is measured in Mississippis.

Which means the Orange River was discharging 609 elephants per Mississippi.

#### @Nathan Billett

Yes, I'm quite sure.

#### African or Indian?

And how does this translate to mammoths per microfortnight?

Okay, I'm going...

#### Afrincan or Indian?

Surely Indian elephants would only be relevant as an Imperial measure, and since the article uses cubic metres and kilometers, it must refer to African elephants.

yeah, yeah, I'm going. Mine's the big flappy grey one with the odd protrusion from the front.

#### African

South African dam, African elephants.

If Indian dams ever break the 600 (African) elephant per second barrier, then we can start to argue.

#### best units ever?

_Nothing_ will displace my choice of Best Units Ever: "Acceleration measured in furlongs per square fortnight" (first seen in an '80/90s computer mag as an example of "you stored the values in units of <x> but the user wanted to see them in units of <y>")

#### Dam it

Can we make him the villain in the next James Bond movie (use his real name) and have him drown for real in a freak accident during the filming.

In which case, please note the volume in the tank before and after the accident so that I can I can calculate the flow of this dam in idiots per second.

#### @ Dam it

I'm searching and searching for the reason you would 1) wish death upon this man 2) call him an idiot....

I can only guess you didn't RTFA and are purely going by the headline. true commentardary!

#### Grumpy

Who sprinkled grumpy powder on YOUR porridge this morning/

#### 609

That's really Pachyderm in isn't it?

#### Re: 609

That was terrible, you should be shot.

#### For users in the northern hemisphere

We'd need to be able to convert to the local imperial measurement in sheep, so we can visualise the flocks per microWales

#### Holy Grail

So, were they African or Indian elephants?

Bush or forest?

No problem with carrying coconuts so that bit of the argument is sorted.

#### 609 elephants per second

Still having difficulty in grasping this.

Does this mean a body of water equivalent to the volume of 609 elephants?

Or what 609 elephants would pass as a body of liquid in a second?

It's the sluicing thing that makes me wonder.

#### Or...

the amount of water passed by 609 elephants in a second?

#### buıʞɐʇɥʇɐǝɹq

"This represents a breathtaking 2,800m³ a second"

Personally, I think I'd have problems taking a breath if I found myself inside 2,800m³ of water.

#### I didn't quite understand...

unless you convert in Jumanji's stampedes. *

*One Jumanji's stampede is the amount of elephants, baby zebras and other wildlife running across the screen in so many seconds it took them to cross through the mansion. Say like... 40 seconds?

Since in a JS you have barely 3 PPS...

#### Delightful image

Of elephants lounging in inner tubes going 'wheeeeeeeee!' as they sail down-river.

#### Ellyphants pee in water... or not?

Never mind all those ellyphants going through, is the water safe to drink, or is it full of ellyphant pee?

#### Microfortnight?

Oooooh... I love the "microfortnight" as a time measurement. 1 microfortnight of course being 1209.6 seconds.

#### Oh no....

1209.6 seconds is a millifortnight! A microfortnight is 1.2096 seconds!

#### Too metric.

Shouldn't that be 1.2096 seconds?

I prefer the old Imperial unit, the Varge: 700 seconds (or 'long ten minutes')

12 x 12 x 12 Varges = 1 fortnight.

And you can still divide it by 4, 5 and 7!

How many First Lady asses would that be a second?

#### short for EPS

Now that sounds much better.

Tusk. Tusk.

#### Four elephants

My favourite unit had been the micro-Helen (The amount of beauty required to launch one ship). If I were to assume that one ancient Greek ship has the volume of 4 elephants, that would give:

micro-Helen = amount of beauty required to launch 4 elephants.

#### Milli-Helen

Surely that should be a milli-Helen, not a micro-Helen which is a millionth of a Helen. i.e. the amount of beauty to launch a thousandth of a ship, otherwise known as the level of beauty outside a nightclub in Ibiza at 4am...... :-)

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#### I can beat that

If we assume a photon moving at the speed of light has energy (and therefore by e=mc squared) mass, a single photon with a wavelength of 400nm moving past you would have, according to my calculations 1,656 yoctoelephants per second (i.e. 1.656 x 10 to the power of -27 elephants) :-)

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