back to article So, what's the velocity of a sheep in a vacuum?

In a recent piece on red-giant star Mira, we rather foolishly suggested that the "comet-tailed" body was travelling across the heavens at roughly 150,000 times the speed of the average sheep. This rash assertion provoked many readers to demand the maximum velocity of a sheep and, more to the point, the maximum velocity of a …

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  1. laird cummings

    Simply brilliant!

    "...eruption of Vesuvius took out an area of 13 milliWales, although the effects of the blast were felt up to a thousand brontosauruses away. Survivors reported rocks and pumice the size of Bulgarian airbags falling from the sky for three days before the tragedy, and experts have calculated the total debris would fill around 120,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools..."

    Pure comedy gold!

  2. Nick L

    Inspired. Pettition to replace SI now!

    Superb, and so easy to understand. How do we vote to get that daft metric system overthrown?

    (This velocity of sheep had me crying with laughter in the office. My colleagues are worried - but not as worried as some of the sheep in your calculations.)

  3. Ian Yates

    I love it

    But one criticism: which "trillion" are we referring to for number of Brontosaurus' (Brontosauri?)?

    Personally, I use "million", "billion", and "trillion" to read "mono", "bi", and "tri" respectively. Hence, "1e6", "1e12", and "1e18" (also called long-scale); however, the media have a distressing tendency to take the USA short-scale usage and use "1e6", "1e9", "1e12"...

    Just need to make sure that I am quoting the length across the known universe accurately.

  4. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    It's Friday, isn't it?

    I can tell...

  5. kaiserb_uk

    I think you'll find...

    ...that there's no such thing as 'Brontosaurus'. I heard it on QI, and wikipedia confirms it, so it must be true.

    'Apatosaurus' would be the correct designation.

  6. Robert Ramsay

    I never knew...

    ...that Verity Stob was in fact Lester and Lucy!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Obsolete unit . .

    But surely the Brontosaurus can't be an acceptable unit of measurement since Brontosauruses-es-es no longer exist and have been redesignated as Apatasaurii-ii-ii.

    Have a nice weekend.

  8. Josh Hamilton

    Hilarity Ensues

    I have asked my employees to start utilizing these measurement standards as part of their daily reporting duties. I downloaded the text of the article and wrote a quick P&P, with proper credit given of course!

    Only one of them questioned my motives... so sad, but so funny.

    Thank you for making my day MUCH more entertaining.

  9. RichardB

    How antiquated!

    "Wales is 20,780 square km x 1 metre depth

    = 20,780,000,000 cubic metres = 103,300,000 cubic furlongs

    "

    Whatever happened to the gf units?

  10. Atilla the Hun (No relation)

    Pub....

    Which hostelry do you frequent? I want some of that loopy soup!

  11. Morely Dotes

    Corrections

    "everyone knows that Welshmen do not in fact have intimate relations with sheep"

    That's because the sheep are so bleedin' fast, but 'twere another story altogether if the Welshmen could start without the 6-pint handicap.

    I do wish, however, that _El_Reg_ would stop using speed and velocity interchangably. According to dictionary.com (and my Science instructors, back in the day), speed can be in any direction*, whereas velocity is "A vector quantity whose magnitude is a body's speed and whose direction is the body's direction of motion." I'll grant you that dictionary.com makes that the secondary definition, but if you insist on writing a scientific article, you should stick to the accepted scientific definitions. Incidentally, you neglected to provide the most important unit of volume as defined in gf - how many gf in a pub pint?

    * - and that direction can be quite random, to judge from the gits I see driving on the daily commute, particularly on Friday after work.

  12. Chris Morrison

    Oh my word!

    When did aManFromMars start writing the articles for the register!

    Almost as random!

    Home time!...woohoo!

    Chris

  13. Mark

    What about time?

    Surely you have missed a trick what with forgetting the other major unit...

    Time

    The standard short time should be NJS or New York Second which I believe has been defined as the time between the traffic light going green and the car behind you honking its horn!

    For longer time periods we have the SBUT or standard boot up time - which given the amount of crap on the machine I have to use at the office is about 5 minutes!

    For even longer times we could begin to use distances given we have already defined lengths and speeds! how about time measured in SSxBrontosauri ... heh

  14. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    Not to be pedantic

    but... Wouldn't the maximum velocity of a sheep in a vacuum be 26.22 kilobrontosauruses per nanofortnight?

  15. Bjørn Vermo

    Greenness in the eye of the beholder

    I must take objection to your usage of the unit "Wales" for simple area.

    Clearly, a Wales is the measure for a self-serving Wikipedia edit.

    The self-servingness of a Wikipedia edit is expressed as the number of characters edited multiplied by the coefficient of modification.

    Changing "Wales paid the guy who made the software" to "Wales made the software" is defined as having a coefficient of modification of 1. Thus, this edit has a self-serving value of 13Wales, since we do not count whitespace characters.

    Calibration of the coefficient for values smaller or greater than 1 will need a lot of research, but does not make the need for this unit any less. I expect that we will be able to come up with a fairly accurate estimate for the Vatican edits before long.

  16. Fluffykins Silver badge

    The joke's on us lot.

    Some idiot got PAID for writing that.

    PAID, I tell you. PAID.

    Ye Gods.

    It reminds me of the time, many years ago, when we worked out an alternative RCF system of units, based on the Rod, Hundredweight and Fortnight.

    We didn't get paid though.

    <Gets coat and exits for the weekend, wearily shaking head and mumbling>

  17. Nexox Enigma

    Simply Amazing

    This article has got to be the best thing that I've read for weeks. Excellent work.

  18. Neil Daniels

    2 Olympic swimming pools...

    "...Bill Gates' wealth in _$1m_ dollar bills..."

    Methinks that wouldn't be too huge of a pile...

  19. Jeremy Lucas

    It's all great...

    ...but the Campbells as a measurement of distance still has me laughing. Then, tossing in Foxy Brown for the example... genius!

    Thanks for a great Friday piece.

    WeakGeek

  20. Pretty Lady

    Serious logical flaw

    This is bosh. A starlet cannot use one brain cell. The brain operates holistically, as a function of a network of signals, not by the muscular impulse of isolate cells. A minumum of two brain cells is required to produce a rudimentary panty-shedding response.

  21. sean

    @Eddy

    "Wouldn't the maximum velocity of a sheep in a vacuum be 26.22 kilobrontosauruses per nanofortnight?"

    only until the sheep has run out of pda's to campbell* in the opposite direction

    *verb, means to throw viciously

  22. J

    Ah...

    "he felt the raw energy of the four-Bulgarian-funbag powerplant throbbing between his legs"

    Oh, lucky bastard...

  23. dave

    Brontosauruses

    Shouldn't that be "Brontosauri?"

  24. Woenk

    But...but...

    If I drink 8 pints in a pub, how fast do I run to the toilet after the 6th pint, how far can I get them out of my body again with 1,5 linguines length and most improtant of all, how big does my head feel the other morning if I did not have to pay for anything and thus had to drink at least 10 more pints ?

  25. bill stiller

    another standard

    I've always been fond of the speed of light: 1.80262 furlongs/fortnight

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fantastic

    Please provide your workings to at least 5 DP. Please also comment any REALLY tricky stuff.

  27. bill stiller

    Title

    oops.... make that 1.80262 Trillion furlongs/fortnight.....

  28. Darren Brooke

    re: welshmen & sheep

    "since everyone knows that Welshmen do not in fact have intimate relations with sheep and any reference to the same is just a cheap attempt to drum up laughs."

    oh yes we bloody do

    twice a day & three times on sundays

    i alwyas look forward to a bit of sheep dip

    ;o)

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time

    I think time could be defined differently... we already have the completely useless "swatch internet time" (a tick is a 1/100th of a day if I remember rightly). No wonder it never caught on: I'll meet you in the pub at 75 ticks past midnight.

    We could also go with the time between an article being published and the "where's the IT angle" response, abbreviated to wtita.

    For longer durations, there the time between plusnet wiping out customer emails, currently averaging about 4 months I think, or 12,000 ticks.

    For longer periods still, we can use the limit of the 32bit unix epoch, approximately 68 years, abbreviated to 32e... should lead to some interesting interpretations: a year being 0.0147058832e

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Angles

    We also need to determine a format for angles... the standard degrees and radians simply aren't good enough...

    I'm voting for a standard based on the curve of a banana... the horizontal viewing angle of this monitor, sir? that would be approximately 27 bananas.

  31. Adam T

    More importantly..

    How fast is an iPhone?

    (haha, some idiot has to mention it!)

  32. Fluffykins Silver badge

    Re: Brontosauruses By dave

    If the plural of Brontosaurus is Brontosauri, whats the plural of whatatitamus?

    OK, that's my coat.

  33. Col

    Also

    we need to update the frankly archaic "bit", "byte" etc. I suggest renaming the binary digit as the "finger" and moving to a 5-finger - or "hand" - basis for what I'm choosing to call "digital" computing.

  34. Dan

    Angle of Dangle

    By a strange twist of fate, a previous measuring system I was once involved in the development of had a Welsh(man) based unit of angular measure.

    Lets say, measure depended upon the observer, and proximity of certain ladies.

  35. Steve VanSlyck

    Who authorized a change to SHEEP?!

    Who is El Reg to start measuring stuff by sheep?!

    For aeons the standard measure of speed has been the SWALLOW; the standard measure of distance has been the OCEAN; and the standard measure of weight has been the COCONUT. Not sheep, stars, and grapefruits of all things! Traditional measures area clear, precise, and understood by all. There's no need to go mucking about and getting Science involved.

    All this sheep stuff is just gonna confuse people, not to mention making life difficult for lonely adolescent shepherd boys who might not be able to keep up. Now let's have no more of this.

  36. 4.1.3_U1

    What about ...

    Temperature!

    We need proper units for describing how hot things are. My suggestion for the base unit is

    Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey (bM).

    Bath temperature (bT) = 3.14159 bM

    Piping Hot (pH) = 5.43656 bM

    Now we can start to cook something:

    Deposit 1.414 Bulgarian airbags of water in a saucepan and heat to 1.7 pH (9.24 brass monkeys). Add a chicken egg (0.35gf) and wait until it's cooked - 1 sbut if you want to dip soldiers, up to half a wtita if hard boiled is more to your liking.

    Mmmm ... time for breakfast

  37. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Velocity of sheep in a vacuum ?

    surely this is dependent on the energy suplied to the rear of a sheep by a welshman....

  39. Steven Knox

    DNA would be proud.

    'nuff said.

  40. Fred

    Petition....

    Brilliant!!!

    This should be submitted as a petition on downing streets website to get the standard units changed,

    Genious, i love the reg...

  41. Mike Tubby

    Correct unit for measurement of speed

    Since the early 1980's, when I was at school listening to Genesis and the like, we came across the Furlong per Fortnight (the FpF) and this was widely adopted as the measure of speed (well throughout several schools in Worcestershire :o)

    Checking on Google reveals information on the FpF at Wikipedia, to quote:

    "One furlong per fortnight is very nearly 1 centimetre per minute (to within 1 part in 400). Indeed, if the inch were defined as 2.54 cm rather than 2.54 cm exactly, it would be 1 cm/min. Besides having the meaning of "any obscure unit", furlongs per fortnight have also served frequently in the classroom as an example on how to reduce a unit's fraction. The speed of light may be expressed as being roughly 1.8 terafurlongs per fortnight."

    More at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_strange_units_of_measurement

    I suggest that Vulture Central get with the program and adopt the FpF as the standard unit of speed...

    Mike

  42. Philip Webb

    Wales (Wa) Units

    Presumably if the lower multiples such as nano, micro and milli Wales are acceptable so are the larger multiples such as DeciWales (DWa) KiloWales(KWa), and maybe even MegaWales(MWa).

    This causes me to ask, what is the average length, end of nose to end of tail fin, in KiloWales, of a Killer Whale?

  43. Ishkandar

    Re. super-sticky particles

    >>> Assuming one super-sticky particle per cubic metre (or one brain cell per three starlets - don't ask us to guess which of them is currently using it), <<<

    Shurly that is based on the Heisenberg Principle (or should that be the Hasslehof Principle ) wherein the starlet using that one brain cell is the one **NOT** next to Mr. Hasslehof (on the basis that if you can see em, then it - the brain cell - is not there).

    @ Pretty lady - It is presumed that that one brain cell can function in the Virtual Machine mode, whereby it can access the computational power of the unused AND unpickled cell(s) in Hasslehof's brain and, thus, obviating the need for massive localised computational power !! Just one local cell plus one from him WILL make the two requisite cells.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why do Welshmen sh@g sheep?

    Because we know the English will eat them.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Know any Paki jokes?

    Nice taking the piss out of the Welsh.

    Why not make the SI unit for area relative to the area occupied by a Pakistani corner shop?

    Or unit of energy relative to a black man dancing (cos they dance so good)?

    I'm sure you can think up some more funny ones relative to Jewish noses or Irish stupidity. I guess you'll probably skip anything to do with English arrogance and lack of respect, labelling it "get a sense of humour". Minorities love that.

  46. Jon

    Well somebody had to get upset about Wales!

    Of course, this entire article was written to put Welsh people down and the humourist is wearing a white cowl and a pointy hat and burning people on crosses... Not!!

    Comeon guys, I get it that labelling people in a derogatory way when you don't like them is bad, but Wales is a neighbour, and what's the world coming to if you can't have a friendly rib at your neighbours?? We call the French Frogs, and they call us Rostbef and can't work out why the English don't find this insulting.. We call the Scots Jocks, which is not my favourite piece of sports wear, but if a cricket ball is heading in the general direction of my nether regions, I'll be glad if I'm wearing one.. We take the mick out of the Irish, call the Dutch Potheads, and complain that all the Germans run out and put their towels round the pool before dawn.. All of them.. Even when they're at home.. Wales has a lot of wide open spaces, inhabited by sheep and coal mines.. The coalmines were all closed by Thatcher so that's probably a bit of a sore point, which leaves the sheep.. Comon guys, stop bleating about how being labled just because the english can't think about anything cleverer than Sheep intimacy.. It's only because we're jealous.. We've got a sense of humour you know.. if a Welsh person actually say something funny to insult the English with, rather than just "English arrogance and lack of respect" then perhaps we'd laugh with you too! We're not trying to hurt anyone with this sense of humour, it's just the way we are.. If we didn't talk about the Welsh like this, we wouldn't talk about Wales at all!

  47. Kelly Dickerson

    Finally -- Units that ordinary people understand!

    With this article, we now have units we can understand upon sight and thought immediately. The claim of the metric crowd is that we are to move away from units with arbitrary multiples to create larger units. With metrication, we have merely moved from random units to random tens of units, subject to constant revision upon the whim of the SI. I've thought of taking a stretch of road in a "metric" country and placing overlays on their road signs giving measures in their historic values. Imagine the French seeing short distances in toises and long distance in French leagues on the signs of their autoroutes.

  48. zedee

    No title needed

    [pedant]

    Come on, be consistent, surely nanoWales isn't the base unit since nanoWales is a billionth of a Wales indicating a Wales is the base unit?

    [/pedant]

    This is the most brilliant piece on el reg I have ever read, Friday or not.

  49. RW

    Correction to Correction

    Morely Dotes: According to dictionary.com (and my Science instructors, back in the day), speed can be in any direction*, whereas velocity is "A vector quantity whose magnitude is a body's speed and whose direction is the body's direction of motion.

    No no no no no no. You have either misunderstood or been mistaught. And if dictionary.com says this, it only goes to show the risk inherent in depending on online references.

    Speed has ~no~ direction. But a velocity can be in any direction.The point is that velocity combines in one quantity both speed *and* direction. There will be a pop qviz next week on this point. Review "scalar" vs "vector". Extra credit for quaternions.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "This is what happens when you hit a bird in a Porsche at 250kph."

    http://www.collegehumor.com/picture:1599175

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great article, but it's already been thought of...

    ..by New Scientist magazine's Department of Unusual Units, who coined the milliWales (and other improbable units) some years back!

    Steve

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    lamp post?

    What do you call a sheep chained to a lamp post in wales?

    a leasure centre........

  53. Martin Budden Bronze badge

    What happened to the interstellar small?

    You mention plenty of mediums and larges, but... you seem to have dropped your smalls. Ahem.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh the shame....

    The shame, that a story on the velocity of sheep was not produced by a New Zealander. Ah well, I guess I should be thankful of the Welsh background, at least it wasn't by an Ozlander :P

  55. Sacha TF Padovani

    Flawed Linguine

    Sorry chaps, but being an avid pasta-eater, and living just south of Florence, I must correct your fundamental distance unit.

    Linguine are most commonly found in Liguria with pesto, while are not that native to Tuscany. Over here we have Fettuccine or Pappardelle, preferrably with wild boar sauce. They differ in being much much wider than Linguine ("little tongues") AND, crucially, they are marginally longer, and weigh more, too!

    PLUS, we havent' had practically any rain in the summer, so our grapes are slightly smaller than the EU standard, but they do pack more alcoholic punch. We should be getting some pretty fine Brunelli, in 5 years' time.

    So, the result is, we'll keep on partying with our Pappardelle and Brunello, obliviousl to the rest of the world, since we don't expect any Welsh to know how to properly cook the pasta/do the sauce/savour the wine.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Drag in a vaccuum?

    "The theoretical maximum velocity of a sheep in a vacuum is expressed in sheepsecs (Ssx), calculated as follows:

    Speed of light (c) divided by wooldrag (Wd) + Welshmen (Wm), where wooldrag is a species-defined drag coefficient determined by the length and pliability of the fleece and Welshmen is the number of locals who have turned up in their wellies, and are hanging on for dear life."

    But how can there be drag if the speed is messured in a vacuum?

    Or is the sheep (or the welshmen) in drag?

    /Rob

    (I'll go get me wool coat).

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pedantry time.

    I have found the deliberate mistake. Using the El Reg search engine (someone has to) I have referred to the original "Bulgarian airbag" story and determined that these are, in fact, 40DD in size. You need to rework the volumetric units to account for this glaring error in your research.

    How the hell you could ever reckon the Posh Spice size to even qualify for the "airbag" moniker is beyond me. It's not only inaccurate, it's positively dangerous as airbags that size would offer little or no protection in a frontal collision. For God's sake, what if someone took you seriously? What if that someone worked in automotive design? Think of the children etc. etc......

    TeeCee

  58. Thorin

    Re: How antiquated!

    @RichardB

    '"Wales is 20,780 square km x 1 metre depth = 20,780,000,000 cubic metres = 103,300,000 cubic furlongs"

    Whatever happened to the gf units?'

    Let p = pi = 3.14159265

    IIRC 4/3pr^3= Volume of a Sphere

    Given that the article stated a gf had radius 5cm.

    4/3 * 3.14159265 * 5^3 = 523.598775cm^3 or ~5.236m^3

    So 20,780,000,000 / 5.236 = 3.96867838 × 10^9gf

    (I did this really quick, please let me know if there are any errors)

  59. Peter Mellor

    What about the size of a sheep (as used for holes in roofs)?

    Every now and then there is a spate of stories in the press about houses under the approach to London Heathrow being damaged by large lumps of falling green ice. The obvious theory is that a leaking septic tank on an airliner allowed a lump of ice to form during cruise and then drop off as it warmed up on approach to landing.

    In several independent press accounts of different "frozen pee" incidents I read that the resulting hole in the roof was "the size of a sheep".

    Why this particular unit is so often found to be convenient when measuring roof holes remains a mystery.

  60. Peter Mellor

    Rod, Hundredweight and Fortnight system

    I prefer the "ton-furlong-fortnight" system of units. (At least the name trips better off the tongue.)

    I once tried to stir up interest in a "Society for the Promotion of Ergonomically Realistic Measurement", but the acronym got rejected by too many mailers.

    There is actually a serious point behind this foolery. We can most easily understand measurements expressed as a number in the range 1 - 10 (or 20, at a pinch). So, it is easier to understand a person's weight given in stone (8 = skeletal, 10 = weakling, if male, 15 = on the heavy side unless it's all muscle on a large frame, 20 = gross) than in pounds (112, 140, 210, 280), or kilogrammes. Height is more understandable in feet and inches than in metres or centimetres.

    Also understanding is eased by being able to relate a measurement to the human body. So traditional units such as the inch (length of the top joint of the thumb), foot (obvious), hand (width of hand, as when placing it against the flank of a horse), cubit (extended middle finger to outside of elbow joint, yard (between nose and tip of middle finger on extended arm) are readily grasped for purposes of mental estimation, whereas artificial (supposedly "logical") units such as metres, centimetres and millimetres are less graspable.

    For close work, we use inches, and once we need to talk about more than twelve inches, we use feet and inches. I see notices on London double-decker buses to advise the driver of the height of the vehicle expressed in both feet and in millimetres. Which would you expect to be more useful to the driver when a snap decision has to be made as to whether to attempt to drive under a low bridge?

  61. Chris Sharp

    sheepsecs...

    ...genius :)

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bad Brontosaurus Measurement!!!!!!

    Geez, you could at least try for accuracy. Going by your figures a Brontosaurus is 138 metres long (15 double-decker buses (ddb)).

    GAaaaaaaah!!!! Brontosaurus average length was only 23 metres, or about 2.5 ddb.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a bijoux quibble

    with the volume of Wales calculation. Your area seems to be just 2 dimensional and, as such, suffers from wooly thinking. Everyone knows the Welsh invented hills and valleys and the last time I looked it was pretty heavily populated with both. Now correct me if I'm wrong, and I'm sure you will, but if these are taken into account the volume will increase considerably. Moreover, this "depth of 1 metre" business. If we accept, as I think we must, that Wales is a little bumpy, then from where do we draw the line when measuring depth. The answer, I believe, must be the mean low water mark in Cardiff Bay. This would significantly increase the volume of Wales because it would include the vast bulk of all the hills. The fact that it would also leave us with all the coal you arrogant English twats is by the by.

    love Taff.

  64. Gordon Mackie

    And for Speed...

    ...how about angstroms/century? Just so we can have an easily-graspable, everyday point of reference.

  65. Ben Parr-Ferris

    What no ...

    ... Nelson's Columns?

  66. Damian Gabriel Moran

    how about working out a new method...

    for my employer to calculate salaries?

  67. Thorin

    Re: a bijoux quibble

    @Taff

    "Moreover, this "depth of 1 metre" business. If we accept, as I think we must, that Wales is a little bumpy, then from where do we draw the line when measuring depth. "

    The hills are irrelevant. Draw a wavy line on a piece of paper now draw another wavy line exactly parallel 1cm (or 1m) below that. OMG!!!!

    As for the volume calculation, note the article states the following:

    "Wales is 20,780 square km" > Square Km ... as in 2 dimensions.

    "x 1 metre depth" > Hey look everyone it's a 3rd dimension!

  68. Nick Rutland

    Multidimensional Audis

    Did anyone spot the advert for the new Audi a few months ago?

    Boot space was something like 11 cubic litres. As opposed to the usual sort of litre.

    I'd be worried about opening it up and finding a load of Daleks.

    Or Cardiff.

  69. A J Stiles

    At least

    it's still more consistent than American measurements.

    The absolute stupidest measuring unit ever invented has got to be the British Thermal Unit. That's enough heat to make 0.454kg. of water 5/9 of a degree C hotter, or about 0.000293kWh., and clearly was invented for purely political rather than utilitarian reasons.

    Now, before anybody asks, here's a patch for the popular "units" program. I've also added in the under-used prefix "sesqui" meaning 1.5x.

    --- units.dat.orig 2007-08-28 13:53:06.693388720 +0100

    +++ units.dat 2007-08-28 14:09:31.963604880 +0100

    @@ -161,6 +161,7 @@

    hecto- 1e2 # Greek hekaton, "hundred"

    deca- 1e1 # Greek deka, "ten"

    deka- deca

    +sesqui- 1.5

    deci- 1e-1 # Latin decimus, "tenth"

    centi- 1e-2 # Latin centum, "hundred"

    milli- 1e-3 # Latin mille, "thousand"

    @@ -4546,6 +4547,34 @@

    ° degree

    #

    +# Units from The Register

    +#

    +

    +gf grapefruit

    +grapefruit 523.6 cm^3

    +walnut .16 gf

    +chickensegg .35 gf

    +bulgarianairbag 1.1 gf

    +bulgarianfunbag 3.27 gf

    +football 11.07 gf

    +olympicpool 4780114 gf

    +

    +lg linguine

    +linguine 14 cm

    +ddb doubledeckerbus

    +doubledeckerbus 65.85 lg

    +brontosaurus 15 ddb

    +campbell 231 lg

    +

    +wa wales

    +wales 20700 km^2

    +footballpitch 194.89 nanowales

    +belgium 1.47 wales

    +

    +ssx sheepsec

    +sheepsec 5995 km|sec

    +

    +#

    # Localisation

    #

  70. amanfromMars Silver badge

    A Serious Question by Registered Post

    WOW ....... Eat your heart out Vista, the Register knows your Game........ and are light years ahead in the CyberSpace Race which Matters in terms of Relativity..... as is evidenced by sub-prime performance figures being Virtualised across on your side of the pond.

    Go, Reg, Go ....... Boldly.:-) And how heartening to have so many who understand, respond and come up to, nay surpass, vulture_central_standards .............

    New NeuReal World Order material?

  71. Elly

    max speed of sheep in space

    Tut! What if the sheep farts whilst travelling in space??? eh??? Calculate again, tut tut.

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    more bijoux quibble

    this time @ Thorin.

    Take a photograph of Paris Hilton's duvet after a night of rumpy pumpy by mounting (ha) a camera (or sheep if you're welsh) directly above the duvet with said camera fitted with an extremely expensive lens which does not distort the image. Calculate the area of the 2 dimensional image of said duvet. Next, ever so carefully spread out the duvet so there are no bumps and creases recognising that this will be almost impossible to accomplish absolutely. Take another photograph. OMG!!! the area has suddenly increased. How the f*ck did that happen.

    But there's more. Now multiply the area calculated from photograph #1 by some arbitary measure of depth. Let's say 1 meter or 0.5 the height of a smallish sheep. Do the same with photograp #2 using the same sheep. OMG again!!! the volume has increased.

    So, as my first post so imperfectly tried to point out, it all kinda depends on how you measure the area of Wales. And since you may ask if you knew anything about map construction, precisely which method you used in the first place to construct the map.

    Cartography 101.

    regards

    Taff

  73. Thorin

    Re: more bijoux quibble

    Hmmm I guess the question is really to the author.

    When he said "Wales is 20,780 square km" did he mean area (ie: from an overhead perspective such as a map)

    or

    Did he mean surface area (ie: as you've described with all the hills and valleys normalized/stretched out).

    I did find other significant (I guess perhaps arguably) references to the same measurement:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_size_of_Wales (20,779 square km)

    http://www.simonkelk.co.uk/sizeofwales.html (20,779 square km)

  74. Ben Parr-Ferris

    AJ Stiles

    "The absolute stupidest measuring unit ever invented has got to be the British Thermal Unit. That's enough heat to make 0.454kg. of water 5/9 of a degree C hotter, or about 0.000293kWh., and clearly was invented for purely political rather than utilitarian reasons."

    That would be 1 pound of water and 1 degree fahrenheit then.

    Sounds pretty straightforward to me.

  75. A J Stiles

    @Ben Parr-Ferris

    Yes, but it's not a *meaningful* amount.

    There was *already* a perfectly good unit for measuring heat ..... the Joule (aka watt-second): one watt of power integrated over one second. Plus the usual variants and multiples (kWh, MWday and so forth).

    If they were perfectly happy to borrow Amperes, Volts and Watts for electricity rather than making up their own units, then why invent a different unit just for gas heating (and thereby incidentally prevent easy, like-for-like comparison between fuels)?

  76. Fluffykins Silver badge

    They're at it again

    Chenk out

    http://space.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn12558&feedId=online-news_rss20

    This time it's rain falling in space supersonically.

    Plus:

    WHERE IS THE PARIS HILTON ANGLE AN ALL THIS?

  77. JimC

    @Taff re measuring area...

    > So, as my first post so imperfectly tried to point out, it all kinda depends

    > on how you measure the area of Wales.

    Ah, but you must measure by the "from space" view. If you measure 1m parallel to the local surface then wherever the surface is concave you get parts of Wales that are not measured, and thus belong to England, which is obviously unacceptable, and where the surface is convex you can get areas under the ground that are owned by two different Welshmen, and if one should be Church and the other Chapel then there is potential for great friction...

  78. Art

    @JimC re @Taff re measuring the area of Wales

    unfortunately as you're allowing 3D to a depth of 1M the measurement is still in the end a fractal surface (up the Planck length) - though at this scale Wales becomes somewhat immaterial

  79. MarkMac

    @ A J Stiles

    I assume you're being ironic - but in case you're not, a joule would be a ludicrous unit to use if you were measuring your water in pounds and your temperature in F.

    By the way, its even harder to measure gas today - cubic metres is useless since its energy content varies with season and quality... at least BThus related to a real-world property!

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