About The Measure of Things
Wondering how big, small, tall, long, fast, heavy, or old something is? The Measure of Things is a tool to help you understand physical quantites in terms of things you (or your audience, or your readers) are already familiar with. Need a metaphor to emphasize a written measurement? Try including a comparison to the size of a whale, or the height of the Empire State Building, or the area of a tennis court. Need to understand how big a metric or English unit really is? Try comparing it to real, tangible objects.
Here are a few examples:
- Through adopting these measures, we can reduce our total on-hand inventory by 230 units and save approximately 12,000 cubic feet of space in the warehouse, which will free up about 200 linear feet of shelf space.
- A colony of brown bats can eat more than 3,360 fl oz of insects in a single evening.
- The winning horse ran at 52 kilometers per hour.
These phrases are all ok, but they're a little hard to understand — especially when they contain less intuitive measurements like cubic feet. Try this instead:
- Through adopting these measures, we can reduce our total on-hand inventory by 230 units and save approximately 12,000 cubic feet of space in the warehouse — enough to empty 31 concrete trucks — which will free up about 200 linear feet of shelf space — that's enough space to fit the wings of a Boeing 747.
- In a single night, a colony of brown bats can eat enough insects to fill up a bath tub three-fifths of the way.
- In the final straightaway, the winning horse galloped along at speeds one-third as fast as an MLB fastball pitch.
About The Count of Things
The goal of The Measure of Things is to help people understand physical quantities of measurement by seeing how they compared to well-known people, places, and things. With The Count of Things, our goal is a little different. Almost everyone understands what one, ten, and one-thousand and mean, but sometimes numbers are more interesting with added context. Thus, The Count of Things offers more obscure comparisons — like the number of spacewalks in human history or the number of teeth in a Great White Shark's mouth.
Here are a few examples of how you might use our comparisons:
- The students at Spring Creek Middle School read 80,000 pages during the Summer Reading Program.
- This company has 11 people with level-three access.
- My blog entry has 300 words.
These phrases are all ok, but they're a little flat. Try these instead:
- If we took all the pages that the students read during our Summer Reading Program, we'd have enough to fill up every seat at Lambeau Field! Great job Spring Creek Middle School!
- There are only 11 people with level-three access at this company. The world has more kings and queens than people with level-three access here.
- WIth only 300 words, my blog entry might seem short, but that doesn't mean it's not important; the Gettysburg address had only 272 words...