back to article Fired-up eco-boffin gives it '180 per cent'

Old school football managers are often heard to confess they're "as sick as a parrot" because despite the lads "giving it 110 percent", their team has just taken a severe pasting. The problem is, 110 per cent just isn't enough of an overcrank for the modern world we live in. The proof comes in the form of environmental …


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  1. Chris Church


    So this entire story was nothing?!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: What?!

      It was zero percent of a story.

      No, scratch that! It was -180 percent of a story.

  2. HP Cynic

    One hundred and eiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiighty!

    I recently got into an argument with some "online folk" who genuinely believed that "giving 110%" was a valid statement and worthy goal.

    They were soon smashed down with something called "reality" and maths but not before one of them pointed out that he won't recruit someone "who only gives 90-100%" because that means "they are cruising". I weep for humanity.

    1. philbo

      It all comes down to expectation management

      It depends what the 100% baseline is: if your employer expects an 8-hour day, are you giving him (/her) 110% if you work an extra 48 minutes?

      Even better, if you can start working expected to do sod all, then "giving 1000%" becomes not only possible, but really rather easy.

      Next time someone says they want someone to "give 110%", ask them "of what?"

    2. Luther Blissett

      I guess we now know what she does in her spare time

      She plays darts.

      Unless she's eco-boffing in the Amazinonian rain forest, then it's blow-darts.

      1. asiaseen

        If it's eco-boffing

        then it's not darts she's blowing

  3. fridaynightsmoke

    I'm giving this comment 360%

    Unfortunately that seems to not be enough. Maybe on a future comment I can give it 530%.

  4. Anonymous Coward


    "in which case it's reasonable to suggest the scale is divided by 50 per cent and capped at a peak of 100 per cent."

    X / (50% of X) = X / (X / 2) = 2

    Or did you mean divide the scale by two and cap at 100%?

    In which case footballers are down to 55% and I'm coasting along at only 15% (Monday to Friday, less at weekends).

  5. jake Silver badge

    Makes perfect sense.

    Personally, I pay about as much attention to the blathering of so-called "environmental scientists" as I do to the bleating of over-payed sports figures and the teen-singer o't'day.

    All have the same agenda ... Rah-rah up the proles for their handler's profit.

  6. Pirate Dave Silver badge

    pathetic 30 percent

    Hey, the 30 percent mark isn't just for Monday. It's a lofty goal for the three following days as well, with Friday hoping for a max of 15 percent.

    1. tommy060289

      but if you give that

      over the week you have given them 135%!

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Double digits

      double digit's effort on a Friday??? you brown-noser...

      Looking forward to my "WFH" day tomorrow, personally.

      1. Pirate Dave Silver badge

        double digits

        in my defense, I did say "hoping" for 15 percent...

  7. Anonymous Coward

    At the end of the day...

    At the end of the day, El Reg has to compile all the values into one list, give each a corresponding name based on the source, and add it to the recognised Weights and Measures list.

    Mine's the one made of 169% proof PVC.

    (yes, I do know there's no such thing as % proof, that's the whole point)

  8. Ian Stephenson

    More likely 180 proof

    Is it pub oclock yet?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More likely 180 proof

      "Is it pub oclock yet?"

      Yes, it's already pushing minus 8am on Friday, UK time.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I once had a manager who refused to grade anyone at appraisal time as 'exceeds expectations' or 'greatly exceeds expectations' (which would have resulted in bigger annual pay increase) on the grounds that his expectation was that all his staff would give 100% and they couldn't exceed that! Bastard!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Ditto, but better..

      I had a manager who rated me as a "not met expectations", as I had merely "met expectations" (as written down) and he expected me to exceed that.... My brain imploded as I tried to work out the logic and refrain from decking him.

  10. PerlyKing

    Rocketdyne knows how

    Listen to any recent shuttle launch - they run the main engines at 104% except around MAX-Q (

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Military power

      It's the same for jet engines. Run 'em up to 100%, then beyond to "military power".

      1. AdamT

        maximum power?

        Could argue that it's a fairly general engineering concept that 100% is design output or "can run continuously at this output without damage/overheating/whatever" so anything above 100% is a bonus or that you are acknowledging some future degredation of the system.

    2. lglethal Silver badge

      Technical Explanation

      100% in the design of rocket engines, is the engine level that allows the engine to be run with zero degradation. Meaning the engine can be receovered and used again with minimal part replacement or maintenance.

      However, it is common practice to run the engines at slightly more then this during certain periods of the launch to achieve an increase in thrust. This does entail that you need to spend more on maintenance and replacement parts for the recovered engines, but it tends to work out as being more economical, as the extra thrust allows you to launch extra mass.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Proper technical explanation

      Close, but not quite. 100% engine rating on the Space Shuttle Main Engine refers to the original designed output power. As it turned out, over many real world tests, the maximum thrust without degradation on an SSME was around 104%. However it doesn't make sense to redefine what 100% meant, as this renders all previous data incorrect, or requires it to be recalculated.

      For a known entity, it never makes sense to redefine the 100% baseline.

  11. Pen-y-gors

    Pregnant sheep

    Program on telly t'other day had some bod scanning a flock of sheep and reported the pregnancy rate as 181.3% - it actual made sense, as it was an average over the flock, and 1 lamb meant that the ewe was 100% pregnant (you can't be 'a little bit pregnant'), twins was counted as 200%, triplets 300% and so on.

    Still an interesting concept though!

    1. jubtastic1

      Makes sense my arse.

      If there are 100 sheep with a pregnancy rate of 181.3% how many sheep are pregnant?

      1. Ed Deckard

        It means

        each sheep became pregnant an average of 1.813 times.

        1. Thomas 4

          A question

          Are these vaccuum traversing sheep at a velocity of "x"?

      2. Anonymous Coward

        The rate is a simple number 1.183 Lambs Average. It is NOT a percentage of anything.

        a Percentage should only be used as a number of something per flock as a decimal fraction. say number of ewes per flock or number of hoggs/gimmers per flock.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          El Reg units

          percentages, decimals, fractions...pah.

          I want to know how many pregnant sheep there were, compared to olympic swimming pools.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Management

    So you worked at EDS as well 8-(

  13. Anonymous Coward

    70% increase

    I'm probably not the first to mention it, but going from 110% to 180% is only about a 38, 39% increase.

    So when you've giving 180%, each of your %s is worth less than someone going from, say, a monday-morning 30% to a "barely-acceptable by modern management standards" 100%; they're giving >142% more work for their 70% increase in 'how much they're giving'.

    And this trend continues as time goes on- going from 100% to 200% is a 100% improvement, but going from 200% to 300% is only an extra 50% better. That's a pretty staggaring drop in quality from the person who says they're 'giving more'.

  14. Chris Harrison
    Thumb Up

    Judgemental moi?

    The great thing about the '110%' concept is that as soon as someone uses it you can simply disregard anything they ever say.

  15. Alistair Wall

    O level arithmetic (1973)

    180% is 70 percentage points more than 110%, but only 64% more.

    1. Annihilator

      re: O Level

      I was taught (for that very reason of confusion) that you should never ever calculate a percentage of a percentage. You only ever add or subtract the numbers - so if I have a figure of 30% and increase it by 50%, I get 80%, not 45%.

  16. Jolyon


    Lester clearly underestimates footballers and / or humankind as Patrice Evra for one is capable of exceeding the articles stated maximum by half.

  17. George Nacht

    110% is sometimes valid

    I am still expecting from my boss raise to 110% of what I am making annually now.

    God knows what he is expecting from me...

  18. Arbee

    Math fail.


    '"I am somebody who if I believe in something, I give it 180 per cent."

    That's an impressive 70 per cent improvement on the best efforts of professional footballers'

    No - it's a 70 percentage <b>point</b> increase on the effort of a footaballer. It's clearly a ~64% increase.

    I trust that the Reg put this in purely to generate vitriolic comments, because otherwise I WEEP FOR HUMANITY.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm pretty certain I've heard the bar raised to "one thousand percent" on the Apprentice - probably involved "stepping up to the plate" at the same time

    1. Anonymous Coward


      ...given it's the Apprentice, raising it 1000% would mean they act like normal human beings and maybe...oh, I dunno....SHUTTING THE F* UP AND DO SOME REAL F*ING WORK YOU DISFUNCTIONAL F*WITS!

    2. Kubla Cant

      Stepping up to the plate?

      Presumably that means feet on the table.

  20. Mr Young
    Thumb Up

    30% effort on Monday?

    That must be a maths fail - please stop exaggerating!

  21. petur


    Stop mentioning %s, it confuses me

  22. The BigYin

    Justifiable homicide?

    "It is in our company's DNA to give 110%"

    1) Your company is not organic, it has no DNA

    2) Over-unity is not possible.

    Both should be hanging offences.

    1. Jolyon

      Pedantry over poetry

      Joyless but accurate.

      No thanks.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Explanation #37 child slavery.

    She drags her unwilling offspring along and forces them to do her will..

    She Will provide 100% Plus 80% (the kids not that keen) giving her a quota of 180%.


  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    School SAT targets

    I was a parent govenor at my sons primary school a few years back. It was a pretty highly achieving school accoriding to SATs results (well, given the background of the intake that wasn't exactly surprising) so the level SATs results were in the high 90%'s and Science had achieved 100% for a couple of years ... so we were very amused when one year the targets for the school arrived from the LEA tell the school that its target was that 102% of pupils achieved level 4 in Science that year! Turned out all the targets were simply autogenerated by multiplying the previous years results by the percentage improvement the LEA was aiming for overall!

    1. Kubla Cant

      @School SAT targets

      "given the background of the intake that wasn't exactly surprising"

      "my sons primary school"

      "the high 90%'s"

      You mean the other parents know how to use apostrophes?

      1. Chimp

        Well spouted,but...

        They are also possibly au fait with auxiliary verbs.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh yeah?!

    Well, I give NaN percent!

  26. Big_Boomer Silver badge


    Only bullshit merchants use this kind of twaddle.

    If somebody does absolutely nothing and then one day he twitches his little finger then that is a INFINATE % increase in activity. Something divided by zero is Infinity.

    Just don't tell the BS Merchants as they will shortly be exclaiming how they managed to improve the deal by 100 Infinate %. ;)

    % = statistics = BS!

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Something divided by zero is Infinity

      Yeah, I hear that a lot. It depends on the something.

      In practice, division by zero usually arises when people start with a model, like "A/B" and extrapolate. If A is definitely non-zero and non-infinite, but B tends to zero, limit(A/B) is certainly infinite. However, if both A and B tend to infinity or zero, their ratio may be defiantly finite. It might be 0, or it might be 110%, and if you know a little bit more about A and B you might be able to figure out the right answer. (Google for L'Hopital's Rule if you care.)

      Consequently, if you simply pose a problem like "0/0" or "∞/∞" then you haven't provided enough information. It's a bit like walking up to someone in the street and saying "What's the answer, then?".

  27. Remy Redert

    re: Pregnant sheep

    If you established that a pregnant sheep is a sheep which bears 1 lamb, then yes, this makes sense.

    Of course that would be silly with animals that have a high chance of giving birth to twins or triplets and you would instead say that a pregnant sheep is any sheep which bears any number of lambs. Now your pregnancy rate is down to normal again.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    now the carbon credits and manmade climate disaster claims make sense

    if their basic concept of math is this bad, how can we possibly expect them to create or interpret intricate models of a system no one yet has all the proper inputs for?

    explains the economic theories that American political leadership uses too.

  29. tommy060289

    clearly what is needed is...

    for El Reg to classify a standard Unit of measurement for effort, I suspect I may already have a formula. Since power is the RATE at which WORK IS DONE, we can simply measure it in Watts.

    However, as it appears that certain industries require their people to give more than others, what is clearly needed is a compliance factor which will be inversely proportional so that our measurement of effort works across all borders. So for example, if a footballer was expected to put in twice as much work per hour as a trolley dolly down the local supermarket, then footballers compliance factor would be '1' and the Trolley Dolly's would be '2'.

    Therefore, our formula of:

    Effort = compliance factor * Power

    then the work done by the Trolley Dolly in an hour should be half that of the football to achieve the same 'effort' rating, as this is what is expected of them.

    Now all we we need a unit for our measurement, may I suggest the BS

    1. Poor Coco

      Name of the unit...

      ...should clearly be the, "what?"

      1. mmiied


        no the unit of effort should be the F**K

        as in not giving a F**K

  30. Anonymous Coward


    I give infinity % +1....

    Top that!!!!

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Probably not the first to reply...


      I give infinity % +1....

      Top that!!!!


      Is that all?

      I give infinity % +2

      Please consider yourself topped!

      That was easy. Now I'm off to leverage my stakeholders, synergistically mind, in order to produce optimum outcomes in the near-field but with a laser-like long-term focus on the game-changers upcoming in the market event horizon.

  31. Goes to 11
    Thumb Up

    Nigel: 110%

    ........Well these go to eleven

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    My son went to the University of Pennsylvania. At a "parent orientation", we were greeted by a faculty member who told us that, even though the new students were among the brightest in the nation, he expected fully half of those who graduated would be in the bottom 50% of the class.

    Knowing more than a little math, I just smiled, but some of the other parents had really scared looks for the longest time. I think they expected everybody to graduate in the top 2%.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      yeah, well...

      ...I used to work in a copy shop. You should have seen the disappointed looks from people when I told them their copies had come out upside down.

      Amazingly, I was not fired - nor was the guy who changed the POS keyboard numpad from 123, 456, 789 to phone-style 789, 456, 123. Most cashiers weren't touch typists... So people would get charged $2.33 instead of $8.99, or $75.43 instead of $15.49.

      Good times. I was in the money, too - they screwed up payroll and were paying at time-and-a-half... All the time. Being a generally honest guy, I notified them... Twice. After the second time I decided that my responsibility to fix their accounting only went so far...

  33. Dave 15


    I always give a billion% on a Monday morning, nearly 5billion% by Tuesday... of course % of what would be an interesting question.

    The idiots that come up with this should just be asked that question - % of what? I don't care if they are talking 1%, 100%, 180%... % of what should be the automatic response, followed by arsehole

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