back to article BBC dumps Gulf oil spill on Middlesbrough

In case you've ever wondered just how far a Mars rover might have wandered if it had set out from your front door, or indeed the exact area covered by the Chernobyl radiation cloud, if that ill-fated nuclear facility had been built at your mum's house, then look no further than BBC Dimensions. Auntie's "experimental prototype …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Neil Greatorex


    Makes you wonder what the damage radius would be if an Olympic sized swimming pool was dropped, on Croydon, from the height of the space station?

    1. My Alter Ego

      Re: Hmmm


      Assuming the swimming pool falls flat, ie water can't spill out, the weight of the walls is negligible, and it has a drag coefficient of 0.8 (that of a cube), its terminal velocity at sea level will be almost bang on 200m/s (447mph)

      So, the kintic energy in the falling pool is about 50GJ, which equates just just under 12 tons of TNT, which about the same energy in 48 SC500 bombs.

      Quite devastating really.

      Feel free to pick at the numbers, I did this will eating my Thursday pie & chips.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        The RAF found it easier to drop two Grand Slam bombs (total 8 tons of Torpex) rather than lift a spare* municipal swimming pool into low orbit.

        Which is why there are no pictures of very damp flattened German infrastructure with lots of pieces of broken tiles.

        *"What do you mean, it's for the war effort? I've got a class booked!"

        1. Arthur Dent

          Re "However"

          <quote>The RAF found it easier to drop two Grand Slam bombs (total 8 tons of Torpex) rather than lift a spare* municipal swimming pool into low orbit.</quote>

          8 tons of Torpex sounds more like either two Tallboys or a single Grand Slam than two Grand Slams (Grand Slam was the 22000 lb camouflet bomb; Tallboy was the 12000 lb version).

  2. Lottie


    Ideal for useless facts and possibly also for better visualisation of disaters. I know that sometimes it can be hard to imagine the scale of some things, so having a sort of web 2.0 ready reckoner (TM) ought to help bring home the magnitude of events.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    My $Diety

    That bomb would have done millions of pounds worth of civil improvements!

  4. A. Lewis


    I thought the Auntie's go-to unit of scale was 'An area the size of Wales'.

  5. adrianww


    That oil spill would probably have reached my house. Well, so long as there was enough of the stuff to make the spill a good few hundred feet deep - we have a lovely view over (and, more importantly, down) towards the Boro area in the far distance. In fact, it used to be quite striking in the evenings if the various chemical plants and refineries were burning stuff off from their assorted chimneys and flare stacks.

    For some reason, it usually made me think of the land of <Ian McKellen>Morrrr-dorrrrrr</Ian McKellen>.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I had an auntie the size of wales


  7. h4rm0ny

    War on terror...

    Never mind the Luftwaffe, anyone want to add in the blast radius of some of the modern US bombs that got dropped on Baghdad so we can see the "progress". Might be an eye opener for some people to see what these things would hit if dropped in London. Go on, they've got a War on Terror section. It would fit right in. ;)

  8. Steve Evans

    Me waits...

    ...for first member of the terror paranoia thought police to cry that this tool could be useful for a terrorist who plans on deploying a V2.

    Re Middlesbrough and Croydon, nobody notice, carry on.

  9. J P

    @ Neil Greatorex

    I guess that would depend on whether there was a pile of unused dollar coins in the way..?

  10. Daniel Evans

    Big Feet

    The flight range of a Bf109E, stretching from London to Rotterdam and back, has a label saying "this dimension's walkable".

    Now, last time I tried, I couldn't walk across water.

    1. Dave Bell

      And wet feet...

      I suspect the range they've used doesn't adequately account for the fuel burned in actual combat, or the effect of flying at the speed of the bomber formation. Checking, the distance looks about right for a Bf109E without drop tank. For practical combat operations, you could reckon on losing as much as half that radius.

      The Spitfire I had about the same range. And by the Battle of Britain the RAF was using constant-speed propellers (think of this as a gearbox for coupling the engine to the air).

  11. npupp 1



    Also, I'd for one like to know what area/country/city would be covered by the 1.1Billion $1 coins that are needed to reach the ISS. and equivalent amount in pounds, then the equivalent number of pounds required to do the same. Inquiring minds and all....

    Maybe after lunch break I'll acquire a calculator and work it out :D

  12. Stuart Moore
    Thumb Up

    Title, centred on this post

    I know it's traditional to rip the piss, but I actually rather like this as an idea.

  13. Anonymous Coward


    Does this mean that the BBC is at last moving away that other measurement, "an area the size of Wales"?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I sincerely hope "an area the size of Wales" remains the standard international unit for measuring area.

      And double-decker buses remain the standard unit for height and length.

  14. Zebulebu


    First El Reg chucks up a story about a brothel 200 yards from my house, the very next day I get a story showing me just how utterly annihilated my house would be if a bomb exploded almost next to it (that postcode is about 100 yards away from me)

    What gives?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      take the positives...

      Have some fun before you get blown up :D

    2. MinionZero

      Perhaps they are trying to tell you something...

      Sounds like you need to move! ;) ... I recommend Middlesbrough. :)

  15. Efros
    Thumb Up


    Given the amount of chemical industry around that area seems fair enough.

  16. The Cube

    Sod the Croydon Advertiser

    That blast radius would purge us of all the illegal immigrant, passports for blow jobs incompetent scumbags in the Wellesley Road Home Orofice!

    Talk about two birds with one stone...

  17. Paul Rogers


    If there had been a gulf sized oil slick on Boro', how would you know? apart from the air and the streets being slightly cleaner of course...

    1. Jonathan Richards 1

      Gulf-sized oil slick

      That's not a Gulf-sized oil slick, dammit, it's the "area affected by the spill". That was *much* smaller than the entire Gulf of Mexico, and even the area affected wasn't all covered with an oil slick edge to edge.

      For similar scale-boggling, if the Gulf of Mexico is scaled to become an Olympic-sized swimming pool, the volume of oil released from Deep Horizon scales to fill an eye dropper.

      I know this, because a nice man on Radio Four told me so.

    2. Nicholas Smith

      One out of two

      The air quality in Middlesbrough surprisingly isn't that bad. The streets you're right about mind.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Great idea

    Just drop WW2 bombs on all the 60's concrete eye-sore towns, Croydon, Harlow, Stevenage, et al.

    The country instantly moves up several European scales of class, with very little effort having been made!

    1. Steve Gill


      You forgot Bracknell - though a small nuke would be more useful.

  19. Thomas 4

    Calculator time!

    Size of an Olympic swimming pool = 50m x 25m

    (50m / 1000) * (25m / 1000) = 0.00125 km2

    20,779 km2 (the area of Wales, according to wikipedia) / 0.001250km2 = 16,623,200 Olympic swimming pools to cover Wales.

  20. Martin Howe

    Croydon, Harlow, Stevenage... isn't there a poem for that?

  21. Daedalus
    Thumb Down

    Bloody southerners

    Always ready to dump on the Boro. But remember this: when the blessed Betjeman wanted to curse a city, he chose Slough.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Most curious postcode checker

    Put in NR10 (rough postcode location of RAF Coltishall another Second World war fighter base) and got Biggin Hill superimposed on San Francisco a bit to the North East of 7th Street.

  23. Gilleain Torrance

    What about the largest bomb ever used?

    I did this 'by hand' using google maps, and estimate that if set off on Westminster, the fireball alone would reach zone 2...

    1. Phlip

      TfL Fare zones?

      Now I like *that* as a unit of measurement.

  24. Matt_W

    How would the BBC report on...

    A catastrophy that wipes out Wales....

    "a devasating earthquake has left the entire country of Wales under the sea"

    Yes, but what size was the area affected?

    (I'm badly paraphasing a Welsh comidian whose name I can't remember)

  25. bob, mon!
    Thumb Up

    Okay, I'm kinda impressed

    I supposed this was a UK-only thing at first --- I put in "edinboro" for a location, to see what it would do, and it *found* Edinboro, Pennsylvania (abut 400 miles from me). So then I put in my town of Bloomsburg, all 12,000 of us, and it found us too. Turns out the Mars Spirit rover could just about get out of town, but it went the wrong way to come to my house.

  26. Tigra 07

    What a mistake

    I've just sent an email to the BBC in displaying my disgust as a resident of Croyden

    Dear BBC

    I am disgusted to find that you did not actually blow up Croydon

    I will not be paying my license fee anymore until you rectify this mistake

    Yours sincerely

    Everyone near Croydon

  27. Anonymous Coward

    A human scale

    If the average penis is 7 inches and the average vagina is 9 inches deep, then there is about 5 miles of unused pussy in NY City. Think about that the next time you take a 5-mile walk. It puts things on a human scale.

    1. Tigra 07

      Where did that come from?

      If the average we were told at school was 6 inches are we expected to believe most people will grow at least 1 more inch in the 3 years after the age of 16?

      That doesn't sound right somehow

  28. Jimathy

    Blast radius'

    Nuke your neighborhood here;

  29. skellious

    considoring so many BBC staff seem to read the Reg (and they have a sense of humour)

    There's more than a passing chance that this might happen someday.

    In fact, lets cut out the middle man and let the Register take over as director general. It would probably do a good job of getting rid of all the crap and comissioning more of what we want (including, mayhaps, a sucessful translation of the BOFH to the TV medium? - although this might destroy it, and I wouldnt even suggest it if Simon would write more often!)

    in before "they already tried - Salmon Days." (hence "successful")

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like