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155346.  Fri Mar 09, 2007 11:14 am Reply with quote

Which is harder - rocket science or brain surgery?

and do rocket scientists say to each other: "Oh come on, it isn't brain surgery" and vice versa?

155358.  Fri Mar 09, 2007 11:39 am Reply with quote

Some TV program I saw within the last 5 years had a little competition running the background to answer this very question. They'd brought in two teams, one of rocket scientists and one of brain surgeons, and two state-of-the-art photopiers.

They gave each team a set of pages and the first person to copy and collate them into a finished document - skrinking, rotating, scaling, double-sided, numbering, etc - would win a prize.

Can't find a reference for it.

Brain surgeons are far more interesting, I'd bet.

155477.  Sat Mar 10, 2007 7:53 am Reply with quote

When did we start saying “rocket science” instead of “brain surgery” (which was the official Unit of Difficult Cleverness in my youth)? Is it an American phrase? If so, what does it say about our two cultures that we used something that (apparently) really is difficult to measure difficulty, and they use something that (apparently) isn’t?

155482.  Sat Mar 10, 2007 8:19 am Reply with quote

Here’s another unit of measurement I rather like: tea cups. As 400ft of pure solar panel, the Co-operative Insurance tower in Manchester has, since it started generating in November 2005, “produced enough electricity to make 9,000,000 cups of tea.” (Good for Everyone magazine, Spring 2007).

So, electricity is measured in cups of tea ... any more? For instance, what is measured in suitcases?

155511.  Sat Mar 10, 2007 1:09 pm Reply with quote

Emotions, apparently:

All those who seek contact with natural surroundings will take a suitcaseful of emotions and experiences home with them.

"Suitcaseful" gives 554 hits on google.

155536.  Sat Mar 10, 2007 4:36 pm Reply with quote

I've heard the phrase 'Harder than Chinese Math' quite often. It gets 704 Google hits.

"Google hits" gets 337,000 Google hits, so I reckon that would be the clincher for popularity.

155539.  Sat Mar 10, 2007 4:49 pm Reply with quote

I encountered this nice turn of phrase yesterday:

I'm gonna beat him like a red-headed step-child.

Is that in common use?

155540.  Sat Mar 10, 2007 5:16 pm Reply with quote

Not in my neck of the woods, although I've heard a lot similar. What did you find nice about the phrase out of interest?

155541.  Sat Mar 10, 2007 5:21 pm Reply with quote

That it scoops up two unrelated prejudices, conflates them, and (because it doesn't attempt to explain them) contains an underlying assumption that everyone else would naturally do likewise.

155542.  Sat Mar 10, 2007 5:29 pm Reply with quote


To me it's tried, tested and a bit safe if you're going for this brand of humour.

It's not that I think the joke is shit, I just think it's old hat - I'm not surprised by it.

But then again, I'm not in the position to have a step-child...

163812.  Sat Apr 07, 2007 4:43 am Reply with quote

Here’s another unit of measurement:

“These experiments, each about the size of a mansion, will capture and measure new particles produced in the beam collisions.”


166842.  Tue Apr 17, 2007 6:45 am Reply with quote

Friends of the Earth says: “Using a patio heater for one hour can waste enough energy to make 400 cups of tea.”
S: Western Daily Press, 5 Apr 07

167065.  Tue Apr 17, 2007 4:33 pm Reply with quote

Drinking a cup of tea a day for a year may seem trivial, but it consumes enough energy to heat an entire patio for nearly an hour.

167157.  Wed Apr 18, 2007 4:35 am Reply with quote

That's more like it!


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