Media SI Units

As part of research into the development of forests post-river restoration I have been using an American forest growth model (we don’t have a UK one). This has led to hours of frustration trying to convert pounds/square foot and feet/year into sensible units and general raging about the Imperial measurement system. However this is not the craziest measurement system in use by any means, that honour belongs to the Media system of measurement. I have tried to collate all examples below, but please add any I’ve missed in the comments and I’ll update the post.

Area – measured in “football pitches” if fairly small and “Area the size of Wales” is quite large. Football pitch is one of the most widely used Media SI units despite the area of a football pitch under Association Football rules being anything between 4050 m2 and 10800 m2.

Volume  – Olympic sized swimming pools. Presumably the prefix “Olympic” was added to give more rigour to the system, corresponding to ~2500 m3. In the UK “Albert Halls” are also used for large volumes. In Australia I’m lead to believe “Sydney Harbours” are the equivalent when referring to water volume.

Mass – measured in “elephants”, also occasionally Boeing 747, despite no sane person knowing the difference between any sort of plane.

Length – measured in “London Buses”, traditionally in graphical form the old route master double decker is depicted despite not being used since 2005. Much controversy arises from the erroneous use of “football pitch” as a measure of length and “London Bus” as a measure of height. Occasionally “Jumbo Jet’s” are also used.

Height – opinion is divided between the European method of “Eiffel Towers” and the UK method of “Nelsons Columns”. Similarly when talking about very large heights “Everest” is often supplanted by “Ben Nevis’s” in the UK

Energy – Tons of TNT

Any others?

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One comment

  1. What about when they get it slightly wrong, like measuring heights using football players or areas using London buses? Re: Something I Could Have Read in The Metro; ‘The new Shard skyscraper is a whopping 308 meters high, or around 83 Asian elephants, for all you gamekeepers out there!’

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