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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:
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: