Stupid Comparisons

The following picture was tweeted by BBC Radio 4 this morning as an explanation for the scale of the new Gotthard Base Tunnel. I have a few things to say but initially I would like to let you know that the genius of man never fails to surprise me. We have been so successful in being brilliant. The things we can do to overcome problems are stunning. An irritating by-product of this is that our ingenuity has also been used to create ever more bizarre ways of killing our own species.


I have a few things to say:

  • I am not even aware of Nicaragua’s GDP and I care not a lot. How about comparing it to teachers employed, or even the cost of other tunnels. 12.5 billion seems reasonable to me in terms of EU budgets.
  • I have never understood the football field comparison. Surely people understand that football fields are roughly 100m long anyway. It’s not necessary.
  • This is the one that really bugged me. 4,000,000 cubic metres does NOT compare to a height. One is a volume and the other is NOT. Apart from reservoir engineers who can picture or comprehend this volume anyway.
  • Because I know exactly how much a freight container holds???
  • Why do I need a diagram showing me the distance between London and New York. They haven’t even used the Great Circle. I get it 3200km is a long way.

At least they didn’t mention double decker buses.

The ONLY comparison that should be made is country area and Wales because it leads to countries being described in KiloWales [thanks to More Or Less for that].