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El Reg's 'Chuck Norris' faces down charging elephant

Provocative pachyderm becomes unit of rocket thrust

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Reader Miguel Barreiro has proposed that the El Reg Standards Soviet adopt the charging adult elephant as an official unit of force following its deployment as a measurement of thrust of Copenhagen Suborbitals' HEAT-1XP rocket motor.

The engine in question is the "most powerful amateur rocket ever flown", and according to a photo caption here, develops around 7 tonnes of thrust, which is handily explained as being "like the power of a charging adult elephant".

Miguel notes our online standards converter makes that 68,647 newtons, or 686 Norrises. When we honoured the roundhouse-kicking hardman by naming our standard after him back in 2007, we showed that we too could cook up charging-elephant-style real-world examples, and explained: "Doctors later said Campbell's PDA had hit the maid with a force equivalent to three Norrises."

So, it appears the charging adult elephant might have legitimacy, although we're concerned about possible confusion with the elephant per second. Regular readers will recall that this entertaining idea was the brainchild of South African engineer Danie van der Spuy, who used it to clarify the amount of water passing through the sluice gates of the Bloemhof dam.

Van der Spuy's standard African elephant weighs 4.6 tonnes, meaning the dam's discharge of 2,800m³ a second added up to a breathtaking 609 Dumbos thundering through the sluices in the same period.

Well, while we consider the charging adult elephant, we leave readers to mull whether discarded small electrical appliances might be weighed in adult blue whales. Douglas de Lacey recently alerted us that Cambridge City Council has calculated that its citizens throw away 200 tonnes of said appliances every year, which tip the scales at more than a substantial cetacean.

Sadly, only 2 per cent of this old kit is recycled, subtracting just "the weight of an elephant seal" from the electrical whale mountain. ®

Bootnote

For those of you not familiar with the Norris and other Reg units, the lovely Lucy Sherriff reveals all...

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