The size of Wales/So groß wie Österreich

The Independent reports today that enough fat is being removed from the sewers under Leicester Square to fill nine double-decker buses:

Enough fat to fill nine double-decker buses is being removed from sewers under London’s Leicester Square.

A team of “flushers” equipped with full breathing apparatus has been drafted in with shovels to dig out an estimated 1,000 tonnes of putrid fat.

I wonder what the temperature is like down there.

I reminded me of the recent article in the Guardian with the title Wales, Belgium and other units of measurement.

It started with the bit of iceberg ‘the size of Luxembourg’ that had broken off near Iceland (the same description was used in German).

A Guardian letter writer, commenting on the same story, endorsed the argument: “I would have had some difficulty even if the chunk had been described in terms of the size of Wales. Could you tell us how big it was in football pitches or Olympic swimming pools?”

As Nancy Banks-Smith has noted: “Any plague spot of indeterminate location is always compared to Wales. Wales is not quite sure how to take this.”

The article refers to double-decker buses as DDBs.

There’s more about Wales and Belgium at h2g2, including what the USA and Canada say instead.

Wikipedia also has an entry on unusual measurements. I didn ‘t realize that shake and jiffy are defined in astrophysics and computing, nor had I encountered the microfortnight:

One very convenient unit derived from the FFF system of units is the microfortnight, one millionth of the fundamental timeunit of FFF, which equals 1.2096 seconds. This is a fairly representative example of “hacker humor”, and is occasionally used in operating systems; for example, VMS’ TIMEPROMPTWAIT parameter is measured in microfortnights.

In German I have found Bayern, Österreich, and Luxemburg again.

4 thoughts on “The size of Wales/So groß wie Österreich

  1. I always say (to other Americans) that Germany is the size of Wisconsin with about 1/3 of the population of the US living there to described the population density . However, this is not an “official” US unusual measurement (that I know of).

    • Well, Dave Barry apparently said ‘It is a well-documented fact that guys will not ask for directions. This is a biological thing. This is why it takes several million sperm cells… to locate a female egg, despite the fact that the egg is, relative to them, the size of Wisconsin.’

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