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The UK’s plan to measure the bendiness of a banana utilizing furlongs


Feedback is our weekly column of weird tales, implausible promoting claims, complicated directions and extra


22 September 2021

Josie Ford

Imperial march

For these intent on taking again management and liberating themselves from the straitjacket of all the time forwards-moving clocks, excellent news arrives with the UK’s intention to permit retailers and market stalls to promote items utilizing solely imperial measurements once more following its exit from the European Union.

From a purely nostalgic perspective, Feedback welcomes the prospect of as soon as extra with the ability to purchase a fluid scruple of cough medication or a furlong of elegantly curved banana. But why cease there? Many extra recherché measurement items ought to now make a comeback. The British thermal unit, for instance, a measure of warmth that sows confusion within the uncommon contexts the place it’s nonetheless utilized by having at least six slightly different competing definitions, is overdue a return.

Or would possibly or not it’s time to deliver again the UK’s predecimal forex? As one Twitter sage remarked, this could be a fine addition for the STEM sector, “mainly for the huge amount of money you could earn configuring IT to cope with a system no-one else… would touch”.

Feedback suggests give and take is so as. For actually good measure, and to indicate a versatile, world, forward-thinking Britain, the UK authorities ought to seize the initiative in abandoning nonsensical internationally imposed regulatory norms and decimalise time. That would actually fast-forward us to the longer term as we flip again the clocks.

Safe harbour

Also taking a worldwide perspective on measurement is Mike Clarke from Essex, UK. He takes problem with the Australian use of Sydney Harbour as a unit of quantity (4 September), having been there as soon as. “As far as I could see it has no hard bounded limits,” he complains, as an alternative consisting of a river advanced and really many bay inlets. “It’s almost impossible to appreciate or gauge its size let alone its depth as you can’t see it all from a single viewpoint.”

Because it has strong, well-defined edges and its whole physique of water is seen from the quayside, “surely a better harbour to use as a volumetric unit would be somewhere like Bridlington on the east coast of England”, Mike provides.

Be cautious what you want for, Mike. The UK authorities might be issuing a statutory instrument advocating the Bridharb earlier than you recognize it, and suggesting Australia undertake it as a part of the nations’ new commerce and defence deals.

Toilet hippos

Meanwhile, Australia’s growth of idiosyncratic measurement norms continues apace. Very a lot of you write in linking to ABC’s news report on new “flushability” standards intended to prevent fatbergs of congealed oils and wet wipes accumulating in sewage pipes. “Every year 120 tonnes of wipes, the equivalent in weight of 34 hippopotami, is removed from the network” in south-east Queensland, it states.

This statistic speaks of weary expertise – it could actually’t be simple to crowbar a hippopotamus from a drain. With Feedback’s sources quoting the typical weight of a hippo at round 1.5 tonnes, the specimens within the Queensland sewers are clearly large ‘uns, too. We suppose they fall in when small and just grow fat on the overabundant nutrients. And possibly pizza. If they have learned the ancient art of ninjitsu from a mutant rat, we shouldn’t be in any respect stunned.

The ones that received away

Many actions have been curtailed or needed to be deserted amid the pandemic restrictions launched in early 2020. But not in a single sphere, Feedback learns from a research by Stephen Midway at Louisiana State University and his colleagues, “COVID-19 influences on US recreational angler behavior”. Its survey of virtually 250,000 anglers in 10 US states reported a slight uptick in fishing journeys in contrast with regular years.

A phrase has, naturally, been coined for this protected, solo, outside exercise far-off from the stresses of pandemic life. Let’s hear it for social fishtancing.

Keep it to your self

A much less rosy image is painted for followers of leisure three-plus-somes by a paper in Feedback’s bedtime go-to, The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality. The research by Anabelle Bernard Fournier on the University of Victoria, Canada, and her colleagues is titled “Group sex in the time of COVID: Intimacy, learning, and community-building in sexual communities during a pandemic”.

We will depart it as an train for the reader to learn the way, however their findings comply with the invention by researchers on the University Medical Center Göttingen in Germany that masks sporting boosts self-perceived dry mouth and halitosis. Getting up shut and private once more within the after occasions ain’t gonna be simple.

These corvid occasions

Such squeamishness goes some, however not all, of the best way to explaining the signal seen by Katherine Little on the National Trust property of Cotehele in Cornwall, UK, which she sends in response to us unwisely reducing the ribbon just lately on a thread on bathroom signage (31 July and 28 August).

“Please be kind as we all find our way back to normality,” it states. “These toilets are enclosed and can get busy. Face coverings are recommended in crowed areas.” They are notoriously clever birds, in fact. Who is aware of what they’ve been plotting whereas now we have been away.

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