back to article Upstart Americans brandish alligators at the almighty Reg Standards Soviet

An American local council has dared to challenge the almighty Vulture Central Standards Soviet by proposing alligators as a standard unit of measure for social distancing during the coronavirus lockdown. Social media bods for Leon County, a parish somewhere in a place called Florida, many thousands of miles from important …

  1. Kevin Johnston

    Retrievers?

    Would that be length or width?

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Retrievers?

      Assume a spherical retriever, then it won't matter.

      1. RockBurner

        Re: Retrievers?

        Isn't spherical the natural state of retrievers? (AKA self-mobile permanently hungry stomachs)

        1. You aint sin me, roit
          Boffin

          Sphere packing problems

          Your two retrievers probably won't keep in perfect straight line nose to tail tip formation. At which point you are relying on the other person's dogs to provide a proper exclusion measurement.

          Unfortunately, dogs being dogs, the tail length becomes irrelevant as the distance contracts to mutual nose to butthole.

          1. druck Silver badge

            Re: Sphere packing problems

            Does that include the tongue?

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Sphere packing problems

            Yes, when two dogs get together, their straight line length is same as if you only had one dog present since both will have their nose up the others arse.

        2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Retrievers?

          My Mum's old golden retreiver had the amazing ability to look sad, pathetic, hungry and unloved at whatever time the fridge door was opened. In particular - he could hear the opening of the box the cheese was kept in from several rooms away.

          This ability was unaffected by how hungry he actually was. He could look up from licking his bowl clean - normally a happy state - but if you were holding cheese he could still look starved.

          1. gerdesj Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: Retrievers?

            "but if you were holding cheese he could still look starved"

            Ahh yes, Schrodinger's Lab. Not so well known as his cat but just as mysterious. A lab is capable of being hungry and full at the same time. If allowed unchecked, explosion and implosion are possible simultaneously.

  2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Please remember to keep at least 1 large alligator between you and everyone else at all times.

    But where can I get a large alligator, if the shops are closed?

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      If you can get a large alligator and are keeping it between you, I suppose it had shared pet status and you can take it walkies together (provided you stay either side of the alligator.

      Out of curiosity, how wide is an alligator?

      I assume they are restricting this rule to American alligators as the only other extant species is ... Chinese.

      1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

        Are you sure? I thought the species question was always African or European?

        1. Chris G Silver badge

          Those big snappy things in African rivers are crocodiles, no alligators in Africa.

          I think there may be numerous other snappy things in African rivers but none of them are naturally occurring alligators.

          1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

            In that case I shall Swallow my pride and apologise for throwing that Coconut of a joke too high for you!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          African or European

          You can tell by the size of the ears

      2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        One large alligator between you and everyone else

        That's a lot of alligators. Are there that many to spare?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: One large alligator between you and everyone else

          In Florida? Quite possibly, yes.

      3. HildyJ Silver badge
        Devil

        Obviously

        Just declare that you need an alligator as an emotional support animal and acquiring one becomes an essential service. It does have a practical advantage over the Osman in that it is self mobile in horizontal mode and can aggressively defend your social distance.

        However, as a unit of measurement, it is too variable and taking exact measurements of one involves a great deal of personal risk.

      4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "Out of curiosity, how wide is an alligator?"

        Approximately one ladies hand-bag (purse for yanks)

    2. Fred Dibnah Silver badge

      You'll struggle to get an Osman, too. I expect he/it is in high demand, being carried round by plods to measure inter-person spacing up and down the length* and breadth* of the country.

      * also measured in Osmans?

    3. chivo243 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      The article talks about Florida! You don't need any effin pet shop for an alligator in Florida!

    4. holmegm Bronze badge

      In your swimming pool, or your neighbor's. This is Florida, after all.

      Keeping an alligator between you and others would indeed help with the social distancing, come to think of it.

    5. Mark 85 Silver badge

      But where can I get a large alligator, if the shops are closed?

      Good point. An alligator would be an excellent way to ensure others keep their distance from you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        If not sure then carry a few packets of of ketchup mustard and tartar sauce to garnish the offending party that gets too close.

  3. macjules Silver badge

    Golden Retriever Measurement

    Destructive GRM, i.e. inclusive of tail at maximum wag length which can clear a table of all glassware in 2 seconds: the length is 52”

    Non-Destructive GRM with tail down: 43.5”

    1. RockBurner

      Re: Golden Retriever Measurement

      You mean 9.434 (7.8919) linguine.

      C'mon - we have standards for a reason, lets stick to them.

      Speaking of - why is the Reg Standards Soviet not working on an improvement to the mundane chronological standards still clinging on despite their irrelevancy to the modern world?

      We all know about the NewYorkSecond, or, more relevantly, the SupportCallNanoMoment (The time taken between a simple mistake inadvertently going live and the phone call about it from Head Office), but there must be more?

      1. PerlyKing Silver badge

        Re: Standard seconds

        Also the OhNoSecond - the length of time between hitting "Return" and realising what you've just done.

        1. Chris G Silver badge

          Re: Standard seconds

          Could there be a standard term to describe the indeterminate part of your life spent waiting while a musak recording is interspersed with ' please wait, your call will be answered as soon as an operator/human/chatbot is available'.

          Perhaps a 'Limbo' or a 'Purgatory'.

      2. Roger Kynaston Bronze badge
        Thumb Up

        time standards

        Northern Line minutes are almost infinitely variable if you are a denizen of the big smoke (London to non Brits). Of course no sane person will be putting this to the test at the moment.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: time standards

          "Of course no sane person will be putting this to the test at the moment."

          Staff at several major hospitals will use the Northern Line.

  4. Boothy
    Joke

    In other news...

    Florida reports a sudden increase in alligator attacks, with around 50% of everyone leaving the house for any reason, reportedly being bitten by one!

    1. AdamT

      Re: In other news...

      .. and the other 50% getting slapped by the tail?

  5. You aint sin me, roit
    Coat

    Remember...

    Always keep at least one Osman between you and the alligator.

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: Remember...

      Dude's gonna be exhausted. He'll have to start cloning himself just to keep up with demand. Hmm. Maybe that's a rabbit hole we don't want to head down...

    2. Patched Out

      Re: Remember...

      To be perfectly accurate shouldn't this measurement be a prone Osman? Unless this fellow is very wide ... or is it with his arms stretched out?

  6. jake Silver badge

    Well, I tried ...

    "Anyone know the length of two average family hounds?"

    Retrievers aren't hounds ... but I just happen to have some actual hounds here. So in the interests of Science, and cross-pond relations, I picked up a tape measure and set to work. The Greyhound curled up into a tighter ball and told me in no uncertain terms that he's sleeping, and go away. The Velcro Whippet decided that my movement at this hour (01:45 left-coast time) meant we were going on our late-night inspection tour of the barn, and he's already downstairs, waiting by the door.

    The only logical conclusion is that while you can see a hound, they aren't measurable. One wonders if one can measure them when you can't see them ... but the whippet is waiting, so I'll have to revisit this anon.

    1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      Re: Well, I tried ...

      There's an easy way to measure the length of any dog. Simply climb a ladder, hold up a piece of bacon, & get someone else to measure the pooch while it's stretched out trying to snag the yummy. Just make sure to let go of the treat before the dog decides to maul you for taunting it.

      *Wanders off to go find some bandages with which to staunch the blood from my mangled hands*

      =-)P

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well, I tried ...

      You are referring to the Canine Uncertainty Principle which states that if you know the momentum of a dog you do not know its length. As momentum tends to zero, dogs tend to curl up into extra dimensions.

      This is not to be confused with the Schroedinger's Dog Principle which states that the probability amplitude of where a dog wants to be is always highest on the other side of the door.

      1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Well, I tried ...

        [Applauds]

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Well, I tried ...

      Schroedinger's hounds.

  7. chivo243 Silver badge

    I heard ~9 meters is how far the virus can travel...

    Or 27 feet... That's a big alligator!!

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: I heard ~9 meters is how far the virus can travel...

      How far can a droplet of water travel? That's how far the virus can travel.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: I heard ~9 meters is how far the virus can travel...

        Given that it rains 1,000s of miles inland, a very long way indeed. :o)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I heard ~9 meters is how far the virus can travel...

      It further than that, it's come all the way from China.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: I heard ~9 meters is how far the virus can travel...

        Straight line or Great Circle?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I heard ~9 meters is how far the virus can travel...

          Yes

    3. jake Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: I heard ~9 meters is how far the virus can travel...

      Where'd you get 27 feet? 9 meters is about 29 feet 6 inches, or just over sixty four and a quarter Linguini. (This conversion brought to you by the cross-pond commentard translation service).

      On the other hand, perhaps Covid-19 is an hepticosapede?

      OIn the gripping hand, beer. It's 5 o'clock somewhere.

      1. Kevin Johnston

        Re: I heard ~9 meters is how far the virus can travel...

        Surely you would just call it a Beamon also known as 64 Linguini

  8. big_D Silver badge
    Coat

    Alligator...

    I don't have an alligator with me, but I definitely want to stand at the tail end, not the head end, when I'm queueing up!

    I don't think the Kangaroo would be much better, have you seen the damage they can cause with their feet if they are forced to stand in line?

    Mine's the one with an Osman piece of string in the pocket.

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: Alligator...

      I'd prefer the gator. I expect the queue shortens rapidly when you join it with your gator separation-enforcer.

      Not sure the roo would stick around long enough to be much help.

    2. TMMITW
      Trollface

      Re: Alligator...

      Adult American alligators are more consistent in size than kangaroos. Is that the red kangaroo in NT or the pademelon in TAS or the tree kangaroo in QLD?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Alligator...

        "tree kangaroo in QLD?"

        Tree kangaroo?!?!? Fuck me! And I though the only thing to worry about in trees were Drop Bears!

        1. Aussie Doc
          Pint

          Re: Alligator...

          Nope - the Hoop snake is renown for being more ferocious than a drop bear in a fight.

          Will steal one of those, too, if provoked --------->

          1. AdamT

            Re: Alligator...

            After a (probably ill-informed) conversation about the dangerous wildlife of Australia I once made a throw-away remark along the lines of "well, at least the plants seem OK". But a little voice in my head said (probably in an Australian accent) "you sure about that mate?". So I checked.

            OMFG:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dendrocnide_moroides

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dendrocnide_excelsa

            "stinging hairs which cover the whole plant and deliver a potent neurotoxin when touched"

            "extremely painful stinging sensation that could last from several hours to 1–2 days"

            " 'For two or three days the pain was almost unbearable; I couldn’t work or sleep, then it was pretty bad pain for another fortnight or so. The stinging persisted for two years' "

            "Dendrocnide stings have been known to kill dogs and horses that have brushed against them"

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course! Cricket!

    Apparently the maximum length of a cricket bat is 38". So simply imagine 2 cricket bats laid end-to-end, with a ball in between. It's so clear now.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Of course! Cricket!

      Please! A cricket bat is 6.894 linguine in length (0.481 Osmans). Enough of the fangled antiquated imperial measurements, they're just not, erm, cricket.

    2. You aint sin me, roit
      Pirate

      Re: Of course! Cricket!

      Simplifies "measurement"...

      If I can hit you with my bat then you're too close.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Of course! Cricket!

        Clicky Ba' !!!

        (One for us oldies to snigger over)

        1. Zimmer
          Happy

          Re: Of course! Cricket!

          Wolf of Kabul ? Victor (or Hotspur? ) old memories fading fast... have an upvote ..

          (dad always bought the Wizard for me... I didn't start reading it until it was too late and the comic folded - pun not intended).

        2. Aussie Doc
          Windows

          Re: Of course! Cricket!

          Damn, that was a flashback to my Hotspur days.

          Used to be delivered the same day as the Dandy and Beano at our place, without fail, when I were a delivery lad in Salop 100 years ago.

          Crickey, I'm old.

    3. jake Silver badge

      Re: Of course! Cricket!

      Two bats and a ball are somewhat alien to many of our commentards, who traditionally live in Mummy's basement where the only Sun they see is a rack full of pizza boxen. For these people, I recommend using that long-time unit of IT measurement, the Nanosecond.

      Two bats & a BS 5993:1994 standard cricket ball is approximately six and two thirds nanoseconds.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I err on the side of caution.

    I keep 1 TrumpEgo away from everyone else to limit the ability of anyone to infect me.

    *Saturday Night Live "Church Lady" amused smirk*

    1. Simon Ward

      Re: I err on the side of caution.

      "I keep 1 TrumpEgo away from everyone else to limit the ability of anyone to infect me."

      How many Beeblebroxes[1] is that?

      [1] - because, as any fule kno, Zaphod Beeblebrox's ego is the largest thing in the universe.

    2. KittenHuffer Silver badge

      Re: I err on the side of caution.

      Isn't 3 miles a bit excessive?!?

  11. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    The alligator is not a unit of measurement

    It is there as a mechanism for social distancing. A wolf, large bear or tiger are all perfectly legitimate substitutes. If more people followed this rule with a large wild carnivor deaths from corona virus will quickly become rare events.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The alligator is not a unit of measurement

      If I was one Osman from someone else, and there was an alligator between us, I would be increasing the number of Osmans at a very rapid pace. Although, as I suspect the alligator would be quicker than me so I wouldn't get many Osmans away before my time was up.

      1. GlenP Silver badge

        Re: The alligator is not a unit of measurement

        Although, as I suspect the alligator would be quicker than me

        Apparently they give up chasing on land very quickly so a few Osmans away is quite adequate.

        1. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: The alligator is not a unit of measurement

          My experience with alligators is that they're very chilled, especially when sunbathing.

          Probably best not to tickle one's nose but generally you're fine. As a crude rule of thumb alligators will eat your pet. It's crocodiles that'll eat you.

          1. Mage Silver badge
            Alert

            Re: It's crocodiles that'll eat you.

            Unless there is a nearby hippo.

            Hippos also dispose of small yappy dogs.

            Last thought of a Croc springing out at a shadow on the bank that's a hippo.

            "Oh no"

            The croc can't easily abort the spring out of the water. Hippos are bad tempered and really don't like crocs anyway.

            1. Cederic Silver badge

              Re: It's crocodiles that'll eat you.

              I thought Hippos were vegan. They won't eat you, they'll just bite you in half, stomp the remains into the ground then shit on you to make the point.

              1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

                Re: It's crocodiles that'll eat you.

                Sounds about right. From memory there are considerably more deaths in Africa due to hippos than any other large animal, other than fellow humans.

              2. Mage Silver badge
                Coffee/keyboard

                Re: It's crocodiles that'll eat you.

                Who mentioned hippos eating?

                Disposal <> Eating

      2. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: The alligator is not a unit of measurement

        Personally, if you have an Osman between you and an alligator, let him have the Osman.

        Plenty for him to chew on, while you are legging it.

        1. Nunyabiznes Silver badge

          Re: The alligator is not a unit of measurement

          Remember, you don't have to be faster than the alligator (bear, lion, tigers oh my), just faster than your buddy. Always keep a knife (or blowgun nowadays) handy to cripple your buddy so you don't have to sprint.

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: The alligator is not a unit of measurement

          1) What did that poor alligator ever do to you?

          2) Alligators are a protected species. The society of something or other probably wants to have a word.

          (Question: Is this Osman character not a common thicky and doing very well?)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The alligator is not a unit of measurement

            A colleague seconded to a Martin Marietta plant in Florida was astonished when he got to work one morning to find everyone waiting outside the building because there was an alligator in the ditch in front of it, and being a protected species nobody wanted to get reported to HR for going "shoo" at it. He said "It seems in Florida it's OK carrying guns and shooting people so long as you don't upset the alligators."

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: The alligator is not a unit of measurement

        "Although, as I suspect the alligator would be quicker than me so I wouldn't get many Osmans away before my time was up."

        You only need to be able to run faster than one Osman to win.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: The alligator is not a unit of measurement

      You don't actually need a large, wild carnivore. I have found that brood mares are a perfectly adequate substitute.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: The alligator is not a unit of measurement

      "If more people followed this rule with a large wild carnivor deaths from corona virus will quickly become rare events."

      It's called competition.

    4. NMI

      Re: The alligator is not a unit of measurement

      The proper name for an alligator-based measurement is the Fluffy.

      A few years back some friends moved to an apt. complex in Clearwater. The locals cautioned them not to let their pets run free, as Fluffy - a six foot 'gator, named after one of its favorite snacks - was known to hang out in the canal that ran through the middle of the complex.

  12. Mage Silver badge
    Coat

    Of course there is an XKCD

    https://xkcd.com/2290/

    "I'm going to change the sign so the pole is horizontal and the sign is mounted on the front like a plunger, so I can carry it around like a lance to gently push people back if they try to approach."

    1. Phil Endecott Silver badge

      Re: Of course there is an XKCD

      And this one:

      https://xkcd.com/2286/

  13. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
    Coat

    Obvious question for the Australian Embassy...

    Is that a red or grey adult kangaroo, and male or female... they are sexually dimorphic.

    icon - I'm leaving before anyone mentions swallows.

    1. Denarius Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Obvious question for the Australian Embassy...

      you mean eastern grey or red kangaroo? A big Red is about 2 meters tall and you need to be 2 meters away to avoid disembowling. Greys not as bad. About 1.5 meters tall and not as aggressive. At least the entagled one I let loose last month did not get excited while being freed from cord tangle. Perhaps NSW mountain wombats. Full grown the local ones hit a meter long, 0.5 meter wide and high. Usually not as wide, but local ones must go to pub more than others. There is one under part of my vege patch. And yes, they have been known to bite.

    2. Denarius Silver badge

      Re: Obvious question for the Australian Embassy...

      Roos: a high percentage are hermaphroditic. In Oz even the wildlife walks/hops on the wild side

    3. Frederic Bloggs

      Re: Obvious question for the Australian Embassy...

      What about Wallabies? Can we get away with one, or are two required (one in front and one behind)?

  14. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Coat

    Well, one thing's for sure

    If I see someone walking an alligator, I'm going to keep way more than one alligator's distance between me and the both of them !

    Coat because I'm getting the hell out of there.

  15. SVV Silver badge
    Pint

    a US state the size of 8,100 milliWales

    Or, more properly, 8.1 Wales (avoiding the unnecessary downscaling of units and upscaling of number). But I believe that an American Wales is confusingly only 17/23 of a British Wales, due to their own bloody minded need to be different to everybody else. Never mind, it's a warm sunny day here isolated indoors so everybody have 1000 milliPints on me.

  16. Whitter
    Headmaster

    How literal?

    Did they mean "keep as far away from somebody as (the length of) an alligator" or "keep as far away from somebody as you would an alligator", a.k.a. stay the hell far away!

  17. Woza
    Joke

    Get me an alligator

    And make it snappy!

  18. OssianScotland Silver badge
    Coat

    An alternative measure for social distancing

    Suggested by one of the sprogs:

    Just carry a 2-handed sword and, when someone (eeewwww, humans, as they are now saying) approaches, just hold it out in the appropriate direction. If the eeewww human impales themselves, they are

    a) definitely too close and

    b) unlikely to do it again.

    Seems fine to me....

    (Thank you, yes the one with the baldric attached....)

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: An alternative measure for social distancing

      Alternative to a sword, for places where such things are outlawed in public, would be a stick. My walking stick is made from white oak, and is 0.0994 Brontosauruses by 0.3356 Linguini.

      Optional: forge iron caps on each end so it doesn't wear out prematurely.

      1. Frederic Bloggs

        Re: An alternative measure for social distancing

        I suspect I have a similar walking stick, made in Iwama, I was toying with adding iron caps on the ends as well, but for a different reason. Perhaps now I could get away with it :-)

      2. DanceMan

        Re: An alternative measure for social distancing

        In Canada, a bit longer than one hockey stick. And since hockey, if anyone gets too close, hit them with it, So Canadian!

      3. OssianScotland Silver badge

        Re: An alternative measure for social distancing

        Yes, but would the stick also provide the self-education by impalement that the longsword offers?

        (enquiring minds etc.)

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: An alternative measure for social distancing

          Placing one's stick in just the right place and allowing the student to run into it provides the bruise of education. No need for poking holes.

  19. The humble print monkey

    I think it was a typo - but with variable data. Two golden retrievers is a unit of time, when used in conjunction with alligators.

    Variable, as they’re getting thinner, being forced to walk once a day; and variable, because it could be measured from time consumption started to time GR no longer visible, or to time of reappearance.

  20. Celeste Reinard

    Gnominium

    I am confused - as you know me - at keeping standards shared by others than me - I use the

    Spitting Distance – for the lady from the benifits (dole, chomage) - she has 3 k's in her name, and since you know I am Rwandeese, and she is an umuzungu kazi - that doesn't work. The

    0.50 half-brick throwing distance – when it comes to police (that's about a Standard Bus), and the

    0.50 helicopter mounted Catling machinegun – for my 120dB leaveblowing noise-canceling wearing head-gear neighbour wearing this gear in-house (take my word for that), while shopping (idem) and while cleaning for at least 4 hours the trottoir, parkingspace, &c, shoeed with sandals, wearing shorts, and has for the rest a horrible appearence (photographic and filmic evidence on request), and has an injunction watching movies depicting people under 25.

    – Those are the standards we use in the Gnominium, which, as you guessed correctly, is gnome-country, where we dance around bonfire with new-moon, half-moon (both), and full-moon, and everything in-between, and the bonfire is used to roast terrible people-onna-stake. ... How it comes I am not yet roasted and that people generally regard me as kind and loving, for knowing myself, - no. I woudn't befriend myself. Maybe they are terrified - rightly so.

    Anyway, I love the situation... (I live near Schiphol ... no more planes with b. tourists spooling the view on the flowerbulbfields that surround my place of habitation. (What should be enough information for all of you to Google Earth my neighbour to see I am right and I am not so bad after all.) And a 0.50 caliber helicopter mounted machinegun is quite the measure for social distancing. Also when it comes to asure the Nice & Quiet.

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