back to article El Reg fires up online standards converter

Well, you asked for it, and now you've got it - we're delighted to announce the launch today of a Reg standards converter which can, at the click of a mouse button, tell you your height in linguine, your other half's weight in Jubs or indeed the speed at which you're currently travelling as a percentage of the theoretical …


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  1. Phantom Wibbler
    Thumb Up


    I think that this should rank as perhaps the most significant IT contribution of 2007.

    And tonight, I shall be mostly travelling home at an average speed of 0.0004% of the maximum velocity of a sheep in a vacuum.

    How did we live before this!

  2. Joe Blogs
    Paris Hilton


    If you put 1 Hilton, it calculates 30 degrees Celcuis, but -20.889 Farenheit, which seems a bit cool for the Hilton 1

  3. Adam Buckland

    Surely everyone knows...

    the standard volume measurement is the Am.

    Have none of you ever drunk at the Technique and Ferret?

  4. Andrew Heenan

    One Glaring Omission

    We all know that the amount of beauty required to launch one ship is the milliHelen, based on the metric unit the Helen, the face that launched a thousand ships.

    I've searched your conversion device from top to left and bottom to right, and find no trace.

    Please remedy this with all speed; launch date is set for Tuesday week.

    How many vultures will I need?

    And are they Gift Vultures or Rook Tokens?

  5. Chris Purcell


    Apparently, a Norris is only 0.1 kilonewtons - clearly false! Chuck could kill Newton a hundred times over.

    What's that? Yes, that's mine. Ta.

  6. JakeyC
    Paris Hilton

    I got stuck in Hilton's box

    Whilst attempting to calculate the office temperature in Hn (a disappointing 0.1) I found myself stuck in the text box, unable to escape and no amount of tabbing or clicking would let me escape.

    As it's Friday afternoon, I can't be arsed to give a critique of your JavaScript so I'll just go back to measuring my stationery and converting it to ln.

    Nice work.

  7. kurt
    Jobs Horns

    Too Clever By Half!!!

    your foot is 12.0009 inches

    Your 12 inches is 0.999 feet.

    Sack the software programmer!!!

  8. Patrick
    Paris Hilton

    Re: Temperature

    What's more, if you put in 30 degrees Celsius, it calculates 1 Hilton, which seems correct, but 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Consistency anyone?

  9. Charles Arthur

    But, but - the width of a human hair!

    I'm shocked, *shocked*, that you haven't included that well-known measurement unit, the width of a human hair (about 10nm, perhaps, or is it 100?), and the well-known standard "London bus" (not bendy).

    Obviously, one would be for length and the other for width. Not interchangeably. Oh no. That would be wrong.

    Did I miss the blue whale?

    Also you need the standard "data size": 1,000,000 books = 1Gb = 1 child benefit database (with or without personal detail).

  10. Simon Ball

    @Chris Purcell

    The Norris is defined as the MINIMUM force that Chuck is capable of exerting. If we used the MAXIMUM force it would be a completely useless measure, since any subdivision of infinity is still infinite.

  11. Peter Fielden-Weston

    Spead measurements

    What about Furlongs per Fortnight? Why have you decided to let these extremely useful Imperial measurements die out?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Thanks El Reg

    Love it. The VOASIAV is priceless

  13. Steve Anderson

    Metric volumes

    Where's millilitre and litre? Or are they too French to use?

  14. Sean Baggaley

    The problem with Metric and Imperial units...

    ... is that there aren't any for the ever-increasing number of things we need to measure.

    For example, I feel the lack of a standard measurement of bullshit is making political reporting increasingly difficult. Hacks have to rely on writing similes, irony and even, on occasion, sarcasm and downright wit. To improve the lot of the journo, I would therefore like to propose the following:

    The Metric unit should be the Eurocrat ("Eu."), where 1 Eu. = 1 "Straight Banana".

    For the Imperial unit, I would like to propose our very own bullshitter extraordinaire, The Rt. Hon. Rev. A. Blair ("Bl"), one of which is equivalent to one "OMG! Armageddon in just 45 minutes! Panic!". In keeping with other Imperial units, it's clearly far too unwieldy, so damned near every measurement will be smaller than 1.

    This leaves us with the Reg unit, for which I propose 1 Darling ("Dg") as the equivalent of one "Losing the personal records of around 25 million members of the British Public is not considered a major breach of personal data." This is still a nice, large baseline which makes it a good fit for modern levels of public and private sector purveyors of bovine fecal matter, while still being quite a bit less than an Imperial Blair.

  15. Richard

    Can I just check?

    I note that I can't sell the code to Iran.

    What if it's accidentally distributed on a CD via HMRC's internal post?

    Coat chosen to check if the CD's are in there.

  16. Guy

    2 Bulgarian funbags = 0 Olympic sized swimming pools??

    A tweak is needed methinks, although if you tweaked a bulgarian funbag would the volume increase?

  17. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Re: Error

    "Chuck could kill Newton a hundred times over."

    That's what it is according to the converter 1 Norris = 100 Newtons

  18. Dan
    Thumb Down

    The person who wrote 'coffee-table book' needs to be found and reprogrammed.

    "An Inmarsat BGan terminal is the size of a coffee-table book. It may well be that the Alphasat with its new processors will be able to reduce that further."

  19. Chris Cooper

    Wot! No mention of the light-femtofortnight?

    About 14.28 inches from memory

  20. A J Stiles

    Patch for units

    Couldn't you just have expanded on that patch I wrote for "units" ages ago?

  21. Hollerith

    When does this get added to El Reg's top-level nav bar?

    As it's going to be an essential tool, I really think we need an easy way to access it.

    I am keen on milliHelens as units of beauty/force.

  22. Steven Walker

    Is this just a diabolical plot

    To get me to enable JS?

  23. Anonymous Coward

    tweaks needed

    "the converter has been checked and rechecked by a crack team"

    ... or was it checked and rechecked by a team on crack?

  24. Maxime Rainville
    Thumb Up

    Integration with other web site.


    Does El Reg provide an API to integrate this new essential tool into other Web site?

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  26. Ron Giesbrecht
    Dead Vulture

    what of the venerable pint?

    It's rather important to me to know precisely how many Bulgarian Airbags of Newcastle I drank last night, but my barkeep will only tell me in pints.

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  29. Nick

    A Good Start.

    A good start to the project, but I'm hoping there is some kind of SOAP interface so that we can convert our internal standard measurement of fph's (fnar's per hour) into Paris Hilton's, so we can then stream the correct length of 'one night in' to our directors PC's.

  30. TheThing
    Thumb Up

    Do we need a unit of laziness...

    ...for those who find the effort of typing a couple of words in the 'Search' box a bit too much?

  31. Ralphe Neill


    ... that well-known and oft-used unit, the width of a gnat's dick? And what about the maximum speed of Vulture when heading to the pub?

  32. AndyB
    Thumb Up

    Can your code monkies...

    ... deploy this as a handy WebApp for my iPhone please?


  33. John Waterworth

    Some More Practical Units

    I love this! Units are so much easier when they mean something.

    The speed of sheep is funny, but too obscure. The traditional units are:

    -- tortoise (0.02 m/s for typical pet) - "the drunken C-lister moved only slightly faster than a pet tortoise"

    -- walk (1.5 m/s brisk) - "the lava came towards us about as fast as we could walk away from it"

    -- jet (299 m/s A380) - "to get into a low orbit, Branson need to travel 25 times faster than a passenger jet"

    You also need some better units of energy as a Norris Linguini composite unit is hard to grasp. The traditional newspaper story units are:

    -- match (1kJ) - "the new LA diet contained the daily energy equivalent of two matches"

    -- kettle (380 kJ is enough for a good pot of tea) - "recycling Chris Moyles saved the energy of 63 boiled kettles every day!"

    -- car (65 GJ) - "that's enough energy to run a car for a year!"

    -- hiroshima (63 TJ) - "Krakatoa exploded with the force of 12,000 hiroshima bombs"

    Force is a tricky one as we have little direct sensation of small forces a little sensation of large ones. But recent pub conversations have used:

    -- door (30N on average)

    -- golf (7kN force of driver on ball)

    -- jet engine (338kN Roll Royce Trent 900)

  34. GrahamT

    Time Gentlemen Please.

    Nice work, but where are the units of time? Microfortnight?

    Square and cubic furlongs and fathoms might be nice too.

    Speed of applying paint : how many square furlongs per fortnight make one sistine?

    How many fathoms per millifortnight = 1 titanic?

  35. Brian

    Fun with outdated units...

    I'm often asked what kind of mileage my 1967 Chrysler New Yorker gets.

    My answer: 17.77 Gunter chains per hogshead

    You can almost actually HEAR the blinking....followed by a dialtone as the questioner's frontal lobe reboots.

  36. J
    Dead Vulture

    Re: Re: Temperature

    Well, 30 C is actually 86 F indeed if my quick mental calculations are up-to-date... So no lack of consistency there, at least. Now, how much is one Hilton, I have no clue. Would she please come over so I can measure it sometime?

  37. Tim C

    Needs a larger volume measurement

    In Australia, everything's compared to the volume of water in Sydney Harbour at high tide. The NSW Maritime Authority recently re-guestimated this as about 224,542 Olympic swimming pools. And for a useful measurement of length, you could also add the perimeter of same, measured at about 2292 brontosauruses.

  38. Rod Shand
    Thumb Up

    As any fule kno...

    As any fule kno....

    With each converter, yu shud provide a link to the definishun of the standard...

    Hope this hleps. Hleps (?) sorrie ... dystypia kikin in agin.

    Grate stuf, tho

  39. Darren Sandford
    Thumb Up


    ...I second Microfortnight for inclusion somewhere. This vital measurement of time -must- be preserved and promoted!

  40. Steve VanSlyck
    Thumb Down


    Sheep in a vacuum. Big deal. What about the speed of a swallow carrying a coconut across the ocean? Now go away with your newfangled standards or I shall taunt you again.

  41. bob, mon!
    Paris Hilton

    What about the standard for width or thickness ???

    On this side of the Atlantic Pond, we measure such things in units of RCH --- the Red ... err, umm, Crotch... Hair.

    I will accept funding for research into the correct conversion factors.

  42. Tom

    Area standards

    While the units are definitely "english" in nature, some "american" units need to be added:

    Area: New Jersey's (the size of the state of New Jersey" (Rhode Island is used at times as well).

    Time: Microfortnights are mentioned, thse need to be included (not really a US/UK difference, but necessary as well).

    Force: Being from California, we need Arnolds, not Norris's.

    Oh, well. Units abound. A handy link to the conversion when mentioned would be helpful. Perhaps to explain each conversion (popup window)

  43. Alan Donaly
    Thumb Up

    Lovely just lovely

    Great work it doesn't matter if it's accurate that would be inaccurate as it must be compatible with "news" measurements(Olympic swimming pools, London buses, Football pitches).Well done.

  44. F Seiler

    nanosheep in vacuum?

    OK so the maximum speed of a sheep in vacuum is 10% of the speed of light in vacuum. While this sounds quite resonable, it is not a practical unit for everyday use (How often did you express velocities in fractions of C recently?).

    The nanosheep looks more resonable, as its around the order of ~= 0.3m/s, 1km/h, (but i really hope it doesn't match m/s or km/h with a too simple factor..). The "nano" of course is quite low on the list of ISO multiplicator prefixes, but may that a good thing, as you then could express slower things in pico- and femto- which is definitely cuter than the usual milli- and micro-.

  45. wim

    time measurements

    Can we use the "time to form a Belgian government" as a time measurement ?

    and maybe we need also an amount of panic measurement ?

    something like the "1 suicide bomber plot discovered"

    well done so far and I hope that it get extended a lot

  46. paul
    Thumb Up



    any chance we can have a quality metric?

  47. Danny


    Isn't Brontosaurus a deprecated designation for what is now officially Apatosaurus? Aww, hell. you're right, who cares.

    One of my favourite units is the attoparsec. Very nearly 1 inch. Though it does seem pointless to introduce another unit for the much the same thing.

  48. Tim Hogard

    Where are the rest of the standard units?

    You seemed to have forgotten the standard bribery unit which of course is the Pint of beer.

  49. David Moore

    F*ckloads anyone?

    It's the standard unit of measurement in the live sound industry, often used to measure flight case weights.

    1 Metric F*ckload = 50kg

  50. Anonymous Coward

    Practical units?

    Someone suggested Branson as a unit of velocity. Well I would agree that this is a good idea but the value would keep changing. It would also change direction from time to time. So that ruins the idea.

    Last week just before I got my coat I had the temerity to suggest that a cubic Smoot might be a Smootic. Clearly I was mad, the word should be Smubit.

    The Smubit is a very useful dimension as it is about the volume of a Transit van, just about what a student needs when moving house. Alternatively a room of 4-5 Smubits should be comfortable for most students. If you can only get 1 Smubit you are in the cupboard under the stairs.

  51. Paul Cooper

    @Tim C

    But the length of a coastline is infinite; Mandelbrot's book uses the fractal nature of coastlines as its starting point! By stating that Sidney Harbour has a circumference of 2292 brontosaurs, you are therefore implying an infinite Brontosaur. Is this a new discovery in the field of relativity? Can we apply this to get to the stars in zero time?

  52. Timbo

    and yet more...

    We need some other "standards" conversion tables please....

    currency (whether real or fictional)

    doctors (whether real or fictional)

    cars (whether from Rover, British Leyland or elsewhere)

    and of course the classic

    champagne bottles...

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Your using the Starved Norris..

    or even the starved and carved norris, there is deffinatly something missing.

    Could your programmer come up with a user submissions database?? this will fix all of the issues.. Not found your unit just add it, with a ratio of another known unit.

    there really are too many errors for me to list... I think they are covered above..

  54. Dan Clark

    Cups of tea equivalent

    I usually work out volumes as multiples of cups of tea. Any chance of adding that to your otherwise excelent translator?

  55. Dan Paul
    Paris Hilton

    What about the "RCH"??????

    Forgive the crudity but I AM American after all.

    You have forgotten one of the most important standard units of distance or thickness, the C.H. followed by the R.C.H. (otherwise known as Lohans)

    Who hasn't said "It's just short by a "C*nt Hair" or used the "finer" unit the Red C.H.

    It's a unit of measure almost all males are familiar with and is so flexibly utilized. It can even be referred to as an "RCH on edge" to delineate an even finer division.

    Cautionary Note: Not to be to confused with the units BCH or PCH which are so small they are considered to be invisible (Brittany or Paris). Well at least they are after their last Brazilian.

  56. Vidar Ramdal
    IT Angle


    You know you can do the exact same thing on Google, right?

    Just go to and type in "5 inches in cm" (

  57. Kevin Whitefoot

    Half the physical world is missing!

    What about units of energy, charge, magnetism? In my business I need units of attraction (both magnetic and electrostatic), energy (potential and kinetic (Qinetiq?)), power (electrical and mechanical).

    I'll leave it to those of a wittier disposition/with more time on there hands to make some suggestions.

  58. Kevin Whitefoot
    Thumb Down

    @Vidar Ramdal

    But "5 inches in linguni" doesn't work!

  59. Anonymous Coward

    What about the milliHelen?

    Brilliant! But you forgot to mention the standard measure of beauty, the milliHelen. In case you didn't know, a milliHelen is defined to be a level of beauty sufficient to launch a single ship... which is still quite a lot.

    Alex Z

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