Monday, May 16

Making analogies and comparisons

With the recent flooding of the Mississippi River being in the news, I have come across some rather meaningless comparisons regarding the amount of water being released to ease the downstream pressure on the levees. The cities of Baton Rouge and New Orleans are going to be spared the worst effects of the flood by having the water diverted onto some upstream floodplains. Pictures of water gushing out onto the hapless upstream folks’ land have prompted news reporters to make comparisons to more mundane things that everyone will be able to relate to. In one report, the water was compared to the amount that would be discharged from “tens of millions of garden hoses.” Rather vague, if you ask me. How big are the hoses? At what pressure? Exactly how many tens of millions of hoses? A pretty weak comparison.

Another report stated that the amount would “fill the Empire State Building every fifteen seconds.” Ridiculous. Is that with all the windows and doors closed? Open? Toilets and sinks plugged so the water can’t run through them?

It’s time these guys narrowed their field of comparisons to things that are far more meaningful. For example, the amount of water being released every minute:

  • equals that which is expelled by the five million beer-guzzling attendees of the two-week-long annual Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.
  • matches the accumulated total soaked up then wrung out in the ShamWow commercials multiplied by the number of viewers over an eight-month period.
  • is enough to wash every teacup made in the northern hemisphere since March 14, 1887 (includes rinsing).
  • and finally is equal to half the sweat expressed by the workers in the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

I should be a reporter.

Photo credit: P.C. Piazza, Lafayette Daily Advertiser / May 15, 2011

3 comments:

Pete S. said...

Is there some way to work football fields into the description? Cubic football fields per millisecond, perhaps? The football field is the standard unit of measure among news people.

hann said...

You can buy a sink that is already integrated with a countertop, mostly in the same color or a complementary design. These types are easily scratched but are easily repaired as well. The bad side is if you’re tired of the sink, you’ll have to remove the whole countertop.

Tom Hurley said...

Pete S.: Football fields attract football fans, who consume the same liquids you'll find at Oktoberfest. I'll work on it, since I have a familiarity and affinity for same.

Hann: Very interesting link to a sink I think. Well written and something to consider when “sinking” a new house.