back to article When you think of a unit of length, do you think of Antony Gormley's rusty anatomy?

A local rag in Britain has gone wildly off-piste by measuring the size of an asteroid swinging by the Earth using units of measure derived from a rusting statue. The Newcastle Chronicle, a newspaper for inhabitants of the northeastern city in England, published an article in November about how "a giant 430ft [131m] asteroid is …

  1. 42656e4d203239
    Headmaster

    Angel of the North, Rusty? not really...

    Its made from COR-TEN Steel.

    which Wiki describes thusly: "Weathering steel, often referred to by the genericised trademark COR-TEN steel and sometimes written without the hyphen as corten steel, is a group of steel alloys which were developed to eliminate the need for painting, and form a stable rust-like appearance after several years' exposure to weather."

    Its still an invalid unit of length though!

    1. Goat Boy

      Re: Angel of the North, Rusty? not really...

      "Its still an invalid unit of length though!"

      Agreed but doubly so when using the height as the unit when its most prominet feature is the mahoosive wingspan*

      * Any chance we can use the Phelps for future wingspan measurements please? ta.

      1. Sixtiesplastictrektableware

        Re: Angel of the North, Rusty? not really...

        Upvoted for 'mahoosive'.

        Please accept apologies in advance for the flagrant theft and abusive overuse of the term by myself going forward.

    2. batfink Silver badge

      Re: Angel of the North, Rusty? not really...

      There are lots of other ferrous metals that form a "stable rust-like appearance" after a few years, without the added expense of developing special steels. My barbeque has been doing that for a while.

      1. Col_Panek

        Re: Angel of the North, Rusty? not really...

        The key being that Cor-Ten 's rust layer is also a barrier to further corrosion, unlike regular steel which flakes off and allows further corrosion until failure.

        1. dvd

          Re: Angel of the North, Rusty? not really...

          The corrosion resistance of weathering steel is massively over hyped.

          When I spent some time as a bridge inspector I had to measure the thickness of the steel used to construct the bridges as an ongoing process to make sure that there was still enough steel left to let the bridges remain standing.

          I sometimes had to chip up to an inch of corrosion away from this supposedly corrosion resistant crap before I got down to bare steel to take the measurements.

          I still despise the inventors, manufacturers and most particularly the civil engineers that specified the shite.

      2. 43300

        Re: Angel of the North, Rusty? not really...

        Cast and wrought iron, for starters - they'll only get surface rust and won't get eaten away over time as happens with mild steel.

  2. GlenP Silver badge

    Rust Anatomy

    If you really want to see Mr Gormley's rusty anatomy you need to visit Another Place on Crosby Beach. There are 100 life size copies there, referred to by a local friend as The Nekkid Men!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rust Anatomy

      Begs the obvious question... how big is his linguine?

      And, the bonus question, The Angel Of The North's linguine?

      1. Coastal cutie

        Re: Rust Anatomy

        Absent - though that didn't stop it being dubbed locally the Gateshead Flasher

      2. HildyJ Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Rust Anatomy

        From the beach photos, I'd say around 3/4 of a linguine.

  3. that one in the corner

    Wide, not high

    Using the Angel's height is daft - driving past it in the morning is definitely a side-to-side "it were *this* big" moment.

  4. AnotherName

    Wind speed

    "It has a wingspan greater than a Boeing 757 and is able to withstand winds of over 100mph in its exposed hilltop location,"

    It must have got pretty damn close to the limits last Friday night/Saturday morning!

    1. boblongii

      Re: Wind speed

      Sadly the rusty heap of hubris remains standing - an ugly, meaningless monument to one man's ego.

      1. idiot taxpayer here again Bronze badge

        Re: Wind speed

        @boblongii

        How I agree with you. The fucking thing is a pile of shite. I used to live in South Shields and the thing is a fucking embarrassment.

        May the shitpile rot in peace as soon as possible.

      2. ChrisC Silver badge

        Re: Wind speed

        Oh, how I well remember the furore in all the local rags around the time of its proposal and construction, and for a time after. I fear all this negative media attention may have indelibly biased some people's opinions of the angel, such that they're now incapable of seeing any merit in the thing, and it's quite possible that, had I remained in the NE and never found myself with reason to see the angel on a regular basis, my feelings for it may well have remained biased to some extent by all the unjustified hatred shown towards it.

        Having now lived outside of the NE for just over 20 decades however, the angel has become a regular and very much appreciated visual indication that I'm "back home" whenever we now drive up there to see my folks, and since the demolition of the Tinsley cooling towers, there isn't really any other striking visual clue provided along the way to say "you're in the north now".

        And despite (or perhaps because of it) seemingly having been born without whatever particular strand of DNA is responsible for giving people the abiltiy to "get" art, I really do like the angel in its own right as well - from afar it has a majestic appearance, particularly when silhouetted against the otherwise blank canvas of a clear sky, and up close it's particularly impressive not just as an example of how sometimes with art, size really does matter, but also from an engineering perspective - knowing how much effort went into making sure it would stay put despite providing two very large surfaces against which the wind is more than happy to push.

        1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

          Re: Wind speed

          Having now lived outside of the NE for just over 20 decades however, […] And despite (or perhaps because of it) seemingly having been born without whatever particular strand of DNA is responsible for giving people the ability to “get” art,

          In my opinion, your having been born with the particular strand of DNA that has given you such a long lifespan more than makes up for your lack of the strand that lets other people “get” art.

          1. ChrisC Silver badge

            Re: Wind speed

            *note to self* when trying to decide whether to describe a period of time as being just over 20 years or just over 2 decades, pick one OR the other before clicking Submit...

    2. Das Schaf

      Re: Wind speed

      It did better than my back fence, which is currently lying around in at least three other gardens, to be collected once the snow clears.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Wind speed

        In a fair and decent world several parts of your neighbours' back fences would now be lying in your garden, ready for you to quickly and easily assemble as your new back fence the very moment the last blob of Frosty drains away.

    3. Mattjimf

      Re: Wind speed

      It goes as deep into the ground as it does into the air.

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Wind speed

      "It must have got pretty damn close to the limits last Friday night/Saturday morning!"

      A little up the road into Northumberland, somewhere near Alnwick I think, was recorded and official wind speed of 98mph. So yeah, pretty close :-)

  5. BackToTheFuture

    Remeber the Wales

    Surely it should be compared to the size of Wales, the international standard for meaningless comparisons?

    What's the matter with these people?

    Very sad, btw, that Anthony Gormless ran out of paint before finishing the project.

    1. 43300

      Re: Remeber the Wales

      Or X number of football pitches?

  6. ThatOne Silver badge
    Happy

    Uses

    Those wings look quite operational. Just bolt an adequately sized propeller beanie to the statue and you should be able to use it as a plane...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Uses

      I would imagine you could get the propeller beanie to generate a fair amount of power

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Uses

      They should have put a generator in the pedestal allowing it to rotate along its vertical axis, and shaped those wings as cylinder slices, one open end forward, the other backward.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Uses

        The artist would be spinning in his grave :-)

        (if he was dead)

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Uses

      That was my first and most immediate impression when I first saw it in-situ on the local news. A rusty aircraft planed tail first in the ground.

  7. TeeCee Gold badge

    Yes, but.

    The Angel of the North does have one important thing in common with space objects of only trivial interest value.

    The closest anyone ever gets to it is getting a quick look at it out of the window while on the way to somewhere else.

  8. Col_Panek

    Do the conversion

    1 Angel of the North = 31.727 Smoots.

    OK, now it makes more sense.

  9. jollyboyspecial

    Trains

    Hold on a minute. Wasn't it this very virtual rag that described a asteroid as being "train sized" recently?

    https://www.theregister.com/2021/11/12/kamooalewa_moon_origins/

    Your description was completely misleading as the rock in question was somewhat bigger than any train since is has a diameter of 41m many times larger than the diameter of any train. But more importantly that puts you in no position to criticize anybody's chosen unit of measure.

    Train sized indeed. Ha!

  10. Eclectic Man Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Plural of Brontosaurus

    I was going to be pedantic and point out that the plural of "Brontosaurus" is "Brontosauri", but the Cambridge University English Dictionary (and that august seat of learning should know) states that it can also be "Brontosauruses".*

    So this pedant has been pedanted**, and I thought it only right and proper to admit my failing and mistake, and throw myself on the el Reg Soviet's mercy.

    * https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/brontosaurus

    ** In English, any word can be verbed

    1. Sixtiesplastictrektableware

      Re: Plural of Brontosaurus

      Good Lord, man... you're verbing right now.

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Plural of Brontosaurus

        Just pray he doesn't 'modulate' to adverbs

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Plural of Brontosaurus

      I seem to recall from Bill Bryson's book that dinosaurs are formed from Greek and Latin stems and, thus, can have any plural form. It's tempting for anyone with a smattering of a classical education to try and get these things "right", only for us to learn that, load words tend to get localised very quickly. And, a good thing to: stati is not the plural of status… and there are heaps more. Quod erat, er whatever! ;-)

      1. DJV Silver badge

        Re: dinosaurs are formed from Greek and Latin stems

        Ray Harryhausen formed his from latex, apparently.

      2. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Plural of Brontosaurus

        dinosaurs are formed from Greek and Latin stems

        And there was me thinking they were a clade of archeosaurs.

        Anyway, if their names can have any plural form, I submit that the plural of brontosaurus is brontopodes. Surely the '-us' is all that needs to be taken into account.

        Quod erat, er whatever!

        That would be 'quod erant...'

  11. the spectacularly refined chap Silver badge

    430ft = 936 linguine?

    I snigger at whomever defined that conversion. It's tiny. I havn't taken a ruler to it but I suspect mine is more like 12".

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: 430ft = 936 linguine?

      Yeah, but mens inches are way smaller than womens inches :-)

      1. the spectacularly refined chap Silver badge

        Re: 430ft = 936 linguine?

        I've never had any complaints about the size of my linguine. But because I'm eating out, I don't get the chance to give it to women on a first date...

        1. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

          Re: 430ft = 936 linguine?

          @the spectacularly refined chap: given that "linguine" means "little tongues" one can fly off any point of your post on a different tangent ("touch" is on topic, eh?)... Well done, Sir!

  12. Tom 7 Silver badge

    The Angel of the north is a variable measurement that increases with time.

    It is after all merely the one that got away.

  13. HildyJ Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Help! Soviet!

    I familiar with most of the list BUT how did the "Sheep in a Vacuum" come about?

    And who determined it was 30 kilometers per second?

    And why don't we have the airspeed of an unladen European Swallow?

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Couldn't find any

      They're all carrying coconuts.

  14. Sam_B.

    BS: not Bovine Excrement, but British Standards.

    If the Angel of the North is 66' high then the newspaper were using exactly the same measurements used to measure the whole country (and yes I know it wasn't Britain at the time) for the Domesday Book of 1086 and found on those nice old leather cased surveyors tape measures till at least the '70s.

    A Chain (22 yards or 66 feet) is a 10th of a Furlong (8 to a mile) and was the width of an Acre, which due to ploughing were measured not as squares, but as long strips a Chain wide and a Furrow long (furlong).

    Back in the 11th Century, the chain was a physical chain with 100 links, which made the links a very odd length.

    Obviously, these days referring to an asteroid's dimensions in Chains would confuse people as they wouldn't have a surveyor's tape handy to refer to so the newspaper just renamed one of the oldest British Standards for modern times.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: BS: not Bovine Excrement, but British Standards.

      Thanks for the trip down memory lane. As a child I was taught all of these measurements, but the only actual numbers I remembered were 8 furlongs to the mile and 1760 yards to the mile.

      P.S. I believe there was also one for fractions of an inch but can't remember it. I've a vague feeling it was 4 (somethings)

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: BS: not Bovine Excrement, but British Standards.

      > which made the links a very odd length

      Picture of a "chain": https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/31/Gunter%27s_chain_at_Campus_Martius_Museum.JPG/250px-Gunter%27s_chain_at_Campus_Martius_Museum.JPG

    3. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: BS: not Bovine Excrement, but British Standards.

      On the railways, distances are still measured in miles and chains. The nominal start point is a particular set of buffers at a terminus, and everything is measured from there. If you read (for example) RAIB reports, they talk of 'the set of points at 108m6ch' or whatever.

      M.

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

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