Bigger than a breadbox, smaller than the universe!

Rhode Island's total area is only 1545 square miles and 500 of that is water. It's ironic then, that Rhode Island's status as the smallest of the states has led to its being used as a standard unit of measure for things that are really big. Following are some items that have been measured in units of Rhode Island.

A note about dates: for those quotes lacking a publication date, parenthetical dates refer to when the quotes were spotted.

Anatomy

But there's nothing I can do unless I want to cancel the ad deal and go back to writing this blog out of the goodness of my heart and unfortunately the goodness of my heart is not a very large place. Think of Rhode Island, then think 99% smaller, and you've got an idea of the size of the geographical land mass we're metaphorically talking about here.

Fake Steve Jobs, "Look, I hate these friggin Ken Fisher ads as much as you do," February 2, 2008.

People today generally know Marlon Brando for three things: playing the Godfather, playing Superman's dad, and being a whacked-out mass of adipose tissue the size of Rhode Island.

phenry.org, review of On the Waterfront by Paul Henry (July 2006). Submitted by vi.

A sweet, brave, and funny novel—with a heart as big as the entire state of Rhode Island.

Claire Cook's blurb on the trade paperback edition of Every Sunday by Peter Pezzelli (June 2005).

Someday, and hopefully someday soon, I'd like to sit down to watch a postseason baseball game and not get up five hours later with a headache the size of Rhode Island and a nasty case of bedsores.

Sports Illustrated, "Dawn of the dead? Sox awaken hopes of being first to come back from 3-0 down," by John Donovon, October 18, 2004.

I don't know who hired him, but he certainly didn't live up to his own exacting standards. He was a blubbery, middle-aged, gone-to-fat ex-jock with a waist the size of Rhode Island and an even more bulbous ego. It had probably been 20 years since he'd seen his feet without looking in the mirror.

The News-Messenger.com, "Wrinkled but worthy bosoms deserve equal treatment," by Elizabeth Schuett, August 23, 2004

It's my goal to dump 20 pounds over the next 8 weeks... How will I do it? No special diet. No special pills. It's going to take self-discipline. Basically, eat less and exercise more. And it will take a little divine intervention as well, because I've got a sweet tooth as big as Rhode Island.

The Mayor Speaks..., by Joel Comm, May 12, 2003.

Shoot somebody in the chest with a soft-nose .44 Magnum and you blow a hole in them the size of Rhode Island.

Persuader by Lee Child, 2003.

"They look like Subarus of the slopes," said one ski bunny with moguls the size of Rhode Island. "Those boots ain't sexy, but they look like they can get the job done."

Maxim, "Das Boots: Which of the new generation of high-performance ski boots are soft on your feet? And which are just plain soft?," by Paul Hochman, January 2002.

In "Brainwashed," Oscar [Goldman]'s secretary, Callahan is dating Washington D.C.'s only straight hairdresser/evil international spy and they think she's revealing OSI secrets to him, because who of us doesn't tell our hairdresser EVERYTHING about our daily lives? So Jamie [Summers] decides to go undercover by getting her hair done. While she's being shampooed, the... spy brainwashes her like he's been brainwashing Callahan and she reveals her bionics. Interestingly, Jamie's new hair is the size of Rhode Island, yet Callahan's "do" is exactly the same as before her brainwashing.

jumptheshark.com, "The Bionic Woman," (June 2001).

He would no doubt tell you otherwise, but Robert Craig [Evel] Knievel was a mediocre, semi-pro flat-tracker who came out of Butte, Montana, with little [more] than a criminal record and huevos the size of Rhode Island.

Evil1.com, "Like it or not Evel Knievel ain't going away," by Davey Coombs, (August 2000).

I'm kinda sick of roller derby by the last day of practice. There's a large, painful, bloody blister the size of Rhode Island on my foot. Each crossover feels like a large nail being driven into the side of my foot.

Metropolitan, "Metropolitan's Harmon Leon takes on the Bay City Bombers," by Harmon Leon, October 11, 1999.

Do you really think that your brain innervates your muscle fibers via your autonomic nervous system by sending a message like "ATTENTION ALL MUSCLE FIBERS! YOU GUYS ARE CONTRACTING AGAINST FREE WEIGHTS SO YA BETTER MODIFY YOUR ADAPTIVE RESPONSES, MYOLOGICAL TENDENCIES AND BIOMECHANICAL REACTIONS TO GET BIGGER THAN RHODE ISLAND!"

CyberPump.com, "More Fitness Facts and Fables," by Matt Brzycki, November 26, 1998.

WEBN seems to have outraged plenty of Cincinnatians with its all-but-over billboard campaign that featured female cleavage the size of Rhode Island.

The Cincinnati Post, "WLW Says Dove Blast Is No Joke," November 12, 1998.

"Dead," I said. "Definitely dead."
"You better believe it. Wasn't shot with no BB gun, either. Got a hole in his head about the size of Rhode Island."

Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich, 1997.

He gets a lump in his throat "the size of Rhode Island" when he thinks of his darling children.

Lexington Herald-Leader, "Romantic heroes of '90s cook, love kids," by Donna Abu-Nasr, 1996.

Astral bodies

An asteroid the size of Rhode Island will briefly blot out one of the brightest stars in the sky overnight tonight (March 19-20), and you can watch the rare celestial event live online, weather permitting.

FoxNews.com, "Watch a 45-mile-wide asteroid blot out a star tonight," by Mike Wall, March 19, 2014.

...what are the chances that the Enterprise crew drops Kirk just a CGI filled foot race away from the cave that Spock's in? Hell, even if the entire planet is the size of Rhode Island, the chances against that happening are vanishingly small.

Five Gaping Plot Holes Hollywood Knows You Won't Notice, by Mark Hill, December 21, 2009. Submitted by vi.

As you know, impact with an extraterrestrial object a fraction of the moon's mass—one the size of Rhode Island, for example—would constitute an extinction-level event for most of the planet.

"Giving Me The Moon And Stars Would Have Disastrous Effects On Our Galaxy," by Sally Toeffer, in The Onion, February 9, 2005.

Now the asteroid [NT7] is only 1.5 miles wide, not even big enough for some kind of Rhode Island size comparison, so just how bad could the damage really be [if it struck Earth]?

Jon Stewart on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, July 29, 2002.

Space-derived materials that survive entry into the Earth's atmosphere are called bolides. The largest known bolide impact occurred 32.5 million years ago at the present-day Chesapeake Bay. It made a crater twice the size of Rhode Island and deep as the Grand Canyon.

Virginia Museum of Natural History, "Virginia trivia: Have any large comets ever hit Virginia?," May 18, 2000.

The first few million years of the Moon's existence were so violent that few traces of this period remain. As a molten outer layer gradually cooled and solidified into different kinds of rock, the Moon was bombarded by huge asteroids and smaller objects. Some of the asteroids were as large as Rhode Island or Delaware, and their collisions with the Moon created basins hundreds of kilometers across.

NASA, "Facts about the moon," 1989.

Cities

The 1.8 million people packed in this city [Houston, Texas] half the size of Rhode Island love their cars, but transit officials say a small light rail line could help get them off roads and freeways clogged with pollution-pumping vehicles.

Associated Press, "Light rail at crossroads this week in Houston," by Kristen Hays, March 11, 2001.

The city of Dallas [Texas] is the size of Rhode Island, [yet] they have [only] one district.

Rhode Island Community Foodbank, "Proceedings From the Rhode Island Children in Poverty Summit November 18 & 19, 1999."

[Hong Kong] is Earth's most crowded place, a territory one-third the size of Rhode Island, with seven times the population.

The Commercial Appeal, "Ruling Likely To Stuff More Humanity Into Hong Kong," May 2, 1999.

Clothing

Let's face it, it's too late for most of us. We're doomed to a life sentence of sensible shoes. But it's not too late to rise up and reject this mean-spirited attempt to rob youth of its God-given right to be ridiculous. Do it for pants the size of Rhode Island, surgically-attached baseball caps, and jewelry-studded appendages yearning to be free. Do it for THE KIDS!

world.std.com/~cathead/, Dress for success (or else!) (April 2003).

I see these people with big jackets, collars the size of Rhode Island, zippers oh-so-inconspicuously zipped down to that strange area between the nipple and the navel, and I am aware that they are hip.

ironminds.com, "Fashion Police," by Will Leitch, May 24, 2000.

Mitt: n. the great big lump of fucking leather in which the soft bastards catch the fucking ball. The mitt is the size of Rhode Island so that the useless bastards don't fucking drop it. Why they can't just use their bare hands like we do in cricket, I have no idea. Perhaps it's because they're a bunch of soft fuckers.

The Arthur Thacker Guide to Baseball, posted in alt.sports.soccer.manchester.united.scum-haters, June 24, 2003.

Computer hardware

The fact that Windows runs on both $200 swap-meet desktops and Web servers the size of Rhode Island is another feather in its cap.

Software.CNET.Com, "OS Death Match: Windows 2000 vs. OS X, Round 4: Hardware compatibility," by John Rizzo and Matt Lake, (June 2001).

Counties

Mr. Telepan's veal supplier, Duane Merrill of Walton, N.Y., said there was no slaughterhouse in Delaware County, "and it's the size of Rhode Island."

Push to Eat Local Food Is Hampered by Shortage, by Katie Zezima, March 26, 2010.

Texas has more counties (254) than any other state. Forty-one counties in Texas are each larger than the state of Rhode Island.

Texans-R-Us.com, "Just How Big is Texas?," (March 2002).

The average size of...the 3,141 counties in the [United States]...is 1,126 miles, or about the size of Rhode Island.

www.ri.net, "Measuring up Rhode Island," by Chester E. Smolski, Spring 2001.

Three times the size of Rhode Island, which has 1 million people, Piscataquis County [Maine] has just 18,000 people....

The Boston Globe, (2000-2001). Submitted by Carol.

The [Montezuma] County [Colorado] Sheriff's Department patrols an area roughly twice the size of Rhode Island.

Mesa Verde Country, (August 2000).

Larger than some states, Pima County [Arizona] comprises an area the size of Connecticut, Delaware, and two Rhode Islands, or 9240 square miles, with a total population of about 800,000 people.

Pima County, Arizona, "Cultural & Historic Preservation Element of the Pima County Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan," by Linda Mayro & David Cushman, May 1999.

Not bad for a state the size of a typical county in Montana.

Yankee Magazine's NewEngland.com, "From Simple to Sumptuous: Watch Hill to Newport," by Tanya Tabachnikoff, 1998.

Countries

Self proclaimed "Rhode Island enthusiast" Dan Bertwell has created a website that allows the user to find out the number of Rhode Islands that might fit into any given country on the globe. This is sure to be a boon to writers, newscasters, and anyone who has ever wondered how Rhode Island stacks up against their own favorite benchmark. Check it out at howmanyrhodeislands.com.

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[Leonid] Tibilov, 60, is a former KGB officer who became South Ossetia's security minister in 1992, shortly after the mountainous province the size of Rhode Island broke away from Georgia in a war.

Associated Press, "Former KGB boss wins presidential election in Georgia's breakaway republic of South Ossetia," April 9, 2012. Submitted by Amelia, Providence.

America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction by Jon Stewart, Ben Karlin, and David Javerbaum (2004).

This series of [nine islands that make up Cape Verde], which together are about the size of Rhode Island, sits 300 miles off the African coast, but it's nothing like the rest of the continent: The literacy rate is 77 percent, nearly double that of the nearest African country, Senegal, and health standards are considered the highest in West Africa.

Dayton Daily News, "Trouble in paradise," by Russell Carollo and Christine Willmsen, November 1, 2003.

I'm very proud to be the first American in the field. To be in the top 10 in Boston is great at the age of 42. I was born in a small country. Belgium is the size of Rhode Island. This is a big country and I'm the one representing it. Where is everybody else? It's kind of disappointing that there are not more U.S. runners. The other Americans are not here today.

Albuquerque Tribune, "Albuquerque's Eddy Hellebuyck finishes 10th in 2:17:18 to carry U.S. torch in annual event," April 22, 2003.

"She is still missing and it's really worrying that we can't find someone in such a small country," Qarooni said. Bahrain consists of 33 islands with a total area one-sixth the size of Rhode Island.

Associated Press, "Bahrain Focusing on Missing Children," September 13, 2002.

European Countries Smaller Than Rhode Island... Andorra, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City and, the hard one... the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (located, like Vatican City, entirely within Rome's city limits).

Gorp.com, "Gorp Trivia," (March 2002).

Israel is a very small country. In terms of land area, this state is comparable to Rhode Island.

ySite e-zine, "Tel Aviv Stories: On Being Rude," by Yoav Rogovin, June 1, 2000.

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is the size of Rhode Island with roughly the population of Wyoming, the ambassador, Alphonse Berns, explained.

The State, "Republicans Holding Up Ambassadorial, Other Appointments," November 24, 1997.

Deserts

Sand stretches to the horizon, dunes rise more than 1,500 feet, and farmers flee their parched plots for work in the city. Welcome to northern China, where desertification—land degradation caused primarily by human activities—is wiping out close to a million acres of grassland a year (an area nearly as large as Rhode Island). Striving to feed twenty percent of the world's population, the Chinese have overgrazed, overfarmed, and created new deserts in the process.

National Geographic, "Unjust Deserts," by Jarrett Wrisley, May 2008. Submitted by vi.

The Kuwait desert is as flat as a patio and as big as Connecticut and Rhode Island combined.

Peace Kills: America's Fun New Imperialism by P.J. O'Rourke, 2004.

The world is turning to dust, with lands the size of Rhode Island becoming desert wasteland every year and the problem threatening to send millions of people fleeing to greener countries, the United Nations says.

Associated Press, "Environment: Desert threatens to eat up world," by Chris Hawley, June 16, 2004.

Districts

With 27,418 people, the [4th] district covers about 60 percent of the land mass of St. Louis County [Minnesota]—about 4,200 square miles—almost four times the size of Rhode Island.

Duluth News Tribune, "4th District has most candidates," by Jane Brissett, September 18, 2002. Submitted by Carol.

"Look at the Tahquamenon district [Upper Peninsula, Michigan]. It's the size of Rhode Island. How could they consolidate with somebody else? They'd have kids on buses four hours a day."

Associated Press, "Schools Face Money, Enrollment Woes," September 3, 2002.

Located in all this [Alaskan] beauty is the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, which serves over 10,000 students and covers 25,600 square miles (bigger than Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire combined).

Alaska's Kenai Peninsula Resource Network, "Kenai Peninsula Schools," (September 2000).

Fictional places

One million exhibitors. Sixty million attendees. Four trillion booths spread across an area the size of Rhode Island.

New York Times, "Same Old Electronics Show, With Some Intriguing New Ideas," by David Pogue, January 10, 2008

Like a lot of action films, the Bond franchise has always used comedy to blunt the violence and bring in big audiences. And, much like the franchise’s increasingly bloated action sequences, which always seem to involve thousands of uniformed extras scurrying around sets the size of Rhode Island, the humor eventually leached the series of its excitement, its sense of risk.

New York Times, "Renewing a License to Kill and a Huge Movie Franchise," November 17, 2006.

[Asheron's Call] ...is staged on the island continent of Dereth ...an island roughly 24 miles to each side. (Approximately half the size of Rhode Island.)

PlayTesters.com, review of Asherton's Call, by Jaded Critic, (August 2000).

ABOUT TWENTY MILES AWAY FROM THEIR LANDING SITE THEY DISCOVERED A CITY ROUGHLY THE SIZE OF RHODE ISLAND, NOW THE SOVERIEGN [sic] REPUBLIC OF RHODE ISLAND.

The Young Writer's Club, "Terran-Tissani-LL'AHD Alliance," by Holodeck, (August 2000).

He guessed that [Staronia] was about as big as Rhode Island, or Chicago—but on further search he found that it was of respectable size—he was unused to the vast stretch of the African Continent.

"Princess Lorraine—American" by George Edmund Holt, The Modern Priscilla, October 1915.

Fires

A vast wildfire, measuring half the size of the state of Rhode Island and described as the second worst fire in Arizona history, continues to surge across eastern Arizona. The Wallow Fire has destroyed approximately 337,000 acres and threatens main electrical lines that supply power as far away as west Texas.

boston.com, "The Big Picture: Arizona wildfire rages on", by Paula Nelson, June 9, 2011. Submitted by David G.

The Possum Kingdom fire is the fifth of at least 100,000 acres around Texas reported in the past two weeks. Most of the state is in extreme drought, and wildfires in the past week alone have burned more than 1,000 square miles of parched Texas ranchland—an area that combined would be the size of Rhode Island.

Associated Press, "Texas wildfire grows amid hot, windy weather," April 19, 2011. Submitted by Mike Z.

Up to 455,000 acres were laid waste between Friday and Monday alone—10 times the annual average for the past 50 years, according to the European Commission's European Forest Fire Information System. A total 665,000 acres—an area almost the size of Rhode Island—went up in smoke since the start of the year.

Associated Press, "Forests, wildlife wiped out by Greek fires," August 29, 2007. Submitted by Amelia, Providence.

State and federal officials were still surveying the damage from California's worst wildfires, which killed 20 people, leveled 3,500 homes and blackened 743,621 acres, nearly the size of Rhode Island.

New York Times, "California Says Fires Are Finally Contained," by John M. Broder, November 4, 2003.

More than 500,000 acres of brush, forest and homes—or about 800 square miles, roughly three-quarters the total area of Rhode Island—had burned in California.

Associated Press, "California Fires Kill 15, Threaten Valley," by Brian Skoloff, October 28, 2003.

The blazes had charred more than 330,000 acres, or 500 square miles—almost half the size of the state of Rhode Island—of dense, dry brush and trees.

Associated Press, "Deadly Calif. Fires Threaten 30,000 Homes," by Seth Hettena, October 27, 2003.

Dunham said the smoke was caused by a fire east of James Bay in northern Quebec that consumed more than 350 square miles of forest. That's about one-third the size of Rhode Island, Dunham said, utilizing the Rhode Island-sized unit of measure typically implemented in references to ranches and icebergs.

Providence Journal, "Smoke screens out the sun," by Peter B. Lord, July 8, 2002.

In what is by far the worst fire season on record in this arid state, some 1.6 million acres of northern Nevada burned this summer, an area twice the size of Rhode Island.

The Commercial Appeal, "Wildfires Devastate Nevada Ranchers," October 25, 1999.

Flags

What snapped me to attention was mention in the Seattle Times of the flag Admiral Ellison... is flying from the 250-foot luxury yacht that serves as his New Zealand headquarters... It sure looks like an American flag. Except where you're used to seeing the 50 stars, you'll see USA-76, the name of Ellison's America's Cup entry. And the stripes? They're there OK, representing the original 13 colonies, but emblazoned in white lettering on the last stripe is a 14th colony, or maybe a colonizer: ORACLE. The flag is immense—roughly the size of Rhode Island. OK, you figured that. Admiral Ellison understands that the meek might indeed inherit the earth, but in the meantime the arrogant have the best shot at conquering it.

The Mercury News, "This flag's just a symbol (of Ellison's arrogance)," by Mike Cassidy, October 11, 2002

It's hard to get excited by Flag Day when: A major corporation flies a flag bigger than Rhode Island in front of every one of its restaurants...

The American Reporter, "Brasch Words: Observations from the Storm Deck," by Walter M. Brasch, July 12, 2000.

Food

Before I leave, they load me up with a box roughly the size of Rhode Island full of baked goods.

cakespy.com, "The Night Kitchen: The Secret Lives of Early Morning Bakers," by Jessie Oleson, April 7, 2009. Submitted by Tina in Wakefield.

Disappointments were minor. Sometimes the cooks are too timid with salt, as they were with grilled whole calamari ($6.50) and the pork chop ($12.50), which was about the size of Rhode Island.

New York Times, "In a Cluster of Popular Spots, a Trattoria Takes a Stand," by Amanda Hesser, June 26, 2002. Submitted by Sarah Zurier.

In one year, Dunkin' Donuts serves enough freshly brewed coffee for every person in the state of Rhode Island to have 577 cups.

DunkinDonuts.com, (October 2000).

The Chocolate Krakatoa is bigger than Rhode Island. Well, almost.

TwinCities.CitySearch.com, restaurant review, "Chino Latino explores intercontinental gastronomic pleasures with gusto," by Jennifer Undis, May 5, 2000.

Glaciers

At the top of Alaska's panhandle, Malaspina Glacier spills from a funnel of rock in the St. Elias Mountains and spreads to form a huge pancake between the mountains and the sea. That pancake is as large as Rhode Island, but Malaspina is thinning fast.

Alaska Science Forum, "Malaspina melting, but still bigger than Rhode Island," by Ned Rozell, February 2, 2000.

Golf courses

There, on the left side of the green is a bunker the size of Rhode Island. If you can avoid this you'll start off well.

Journal and Courier, "Fairy tale's happy ending depends on shot selection," by Dave Schneider, August 23, 2004.

While technology has given us clubs with sweet spots the size of Rhode Island and golf balls that break the sound barrier, no one has been able to control the weather.

Tennessean, "Rain can't dampen difficulty level at Masters," by Joe Biddle, April 10, 2003.

I read somewhere that over 17,000 square miles of this country are devoted to golf courses alone, which is an area equal to that of two Rhode Islands and one Delaware.

The College Hill Independent, "Sand trap: Exposing Golf's Darker Side," by Steve Pyle, April 15, 1999.

Holes

Thirty five million years ago a space rock gouged a crater as big as Rhode Island and as deep as the Grand Canyon in what is now called the lower Chesapeake Bay.

Welcome to the 'Burg!, by Dr. Ellen K. Rudolph, (November 2004).

You either worship Steve Spurrier or you hope he is swallowed by a sinkhole the size of Rhode Island.

USA Today, "Spurrier zooms out of NFL gate," by Jon Saraseno, September 8, 2002.

...I was turning around (drove past a house I was looking for) and encountered the 'ol pot-hole-the-size-of-rhode-island-hiding-under-water.

Saab Network, (August 2000).

Icebergs

Not only does this category say something about the use of Rhode Island as a unit of measure, it also supplies ample fodder for the global warming/sky is falling crowd. Funny thing is, if the ice caps do melt, Rhode Island will shrink, perhaps disappearing altogether. What will we use to measure really big things then?

Curious about the iceberg situation today, he started researching and found himself looking at an Antarctic iceberg the size of Rhode Island, which was broken off when the Mertz Ice Tongue was bumped by another iceberg the size of Luxembourg.

Los Angeles Times, "Titanic today might dodge better but would encounter more icebergs," by Dean Kuipers, April 3, 2012. Submitted by Amelia, Providence ("Luxembourg [is] another popular unit of measurement I absolutely cannot imagine," she notes, "because, well, who can picture Luxembourg anyway? The readers of the LA Times, I guess).

The state of Alaska itself is like one big whale. Chunks of ice the size of Rhode Island exist like barnacles.

"Light Pollution" from How Did You Get This Number by Sloane Crosley, 2010. Submitted by Christina, Seattle, Washington ("A state," she notes, "that could fit about sixty-nine Rhode Islands).

By mid-March remarkable satellite images showed that some 1,300 square miles of Larson B, a slab bigger than the state of Rhode Island, had fragmented

The Unquiet Ice, by Robin E. Bell in Scientific American, February 2008.

Jack Hall: Our climate is fragile. The ice caps are disappearing at a dangerous rate.

Vice President Becker: Professor, um, Hall, our economy is every bit as fragile as the environment. Perhaps you should keep that in mind before making sensational claims.

Jack Hall: Well, the last chunk of ice that broke off was about the size of the state of Rhode Island. Some people might call that pretty sensational.

The Day After Tomorrow, 2004

Two years ago an iceberg broke off the Ross Shelf that was four miles wide and forty miles long. It was as big as Rhode Island.

State of Fear by Michael Crichton, 2004.

Despite the comparisons in size, the Cigar believes that we have to show the similarities and differences of the ice shelf and the Ocean State beyond just their size. Fact: Rhode Island is much taller than the ice shelf... Fact: The ice shelf has a lot more shoreline than Rhode Island... Fact: Rhode Island has a significantly larger population than the iceberg... Fact: Del's Lemonade is made of ice and Del's Lemonade was first made in Rhode Island.

The Good 5¢ Cigar, The Ocean State vs. the state in the ocean: Rammed by Rhode Island?, March 26, 2002.

[A] Rhode Island-size piece of the floating ice fringe along a fast-warming region of Antarctica" is the way Wednesday's New York Times described that rapidly disintegrating monster iceberg. Beyond America's borders, U.S. states aren't the most useful geographic points of reference. Britain's Times pegged the 1,250-square-mile ice shelf as the size of Cambridgeshire, while the Telegraph compared it to Somerset. For the Scotsman it was "larger than the Western Isles," and in New Zealand, the Christchurch Press put it at "five times the size of Lake Taupo." The Irish Times estimated that the sheet of ice was "bigger than counties Dublin and Meath." (How much bigger? The paper didn't say.) France's Libération said it was "equivalent to the area of Vaucluse, or of Yvelines and the Val-d'Oise combined." Spain's El Mundo cited "the province of Alava," and La Nación of Argentina put it at "17 times the size of the city of Buenos Aires.

Slate, "An Ice Cube the Size of Cambridgeshire," by June Thomas, March 22, 2002.

Cartoon by Peter Steiner, March 21, 2002. Copyright © 2002 News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times.

Jon Stewart: Can you give us some insight on this collapse of this enormous Larsen B shelf?

Mo Rocca: Oh absolutely, Jon. The shelf that collapsed is twelve hundred and fifty square miles in area. That's approximately the size of the state of Rhode Island. Now to put that in perspective, imagine the state of Rhode Island. It's that size.

JS: Uh, Mo, for those who aren't familiar with Rhode Island, could you break it down, maybe a little different?

MR: Of course, Jon. Let me put this in layman's terms. Imagine the American cities of Pawtucket, Providence, Newport, Cumberland, and Woonsocket. Now imagine a land mass that encompasses all these cities.

JS: That's, uh, that's Rhode Island.

MR: Exactly.

JS: Is there any way for you to broaden our understanding independent of, let's say, comparison to Rhode Island?

MR: I'm sorry, Jon, I wish I could, but Rhode Island is the industry standard. Now if the ice shelf were really, really big I could, of course, use Texas, but generally it has to be one of those two.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, March 20, 2002.

The piece of ice that broke off was designated Larsen B, and was 650 feet thick and with a surface area of 1,250 square miles, or about the size of Rhode Island.

Associated Press, "Antarctic ice shelf collapses," by Joseph B. Verrengia, March 19, 2002.

A new iceberg—one roughly twice the size of the state of Rhode Island—is adrift in the icy waters off Antarctica, the National Ice Center says.

CNN.com, "New giant iceberg adrift near Antarctica," March 19, 2002.

Phillipe and Jorge hear a wonderful story about a friend and well-known scientist who was formerly at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography. National Geographic's last issue had a feature on the Antarctic, including a huge iceberg that had actually blocked a shipping route at the South Pole. The author of the story was in the Antarctic giving a presentation and described the berg as being, in the typical cliched analogy, "as big as Rhode Island." Our friend, who was visiting the pole at the time, went ballistic, telling the reporter to never use that expression again or she'd kick him or something. At another presentation a few days later, also attended by P&J's friend, the Geographic writer began describing the iceberg again, and when he got to the line "as big as...," he pointedly turned toward her and uttered, "as Delaware," saying it with a smile. The article on Antarctica and the iceberg eventually saw print, and sure enough, included the phrase "as big as Delaware." Our friend, as Groucho would say, was defending our honor, which is more than we ever do.

The Providence Phoenix, "Phillipe and Jorge's Cool, Cool World," by Phillipe and Jorge, February 1, 2002. Submitted by Loring Holden.

Another significant iceberg calved around March 31 [2000]. Known as... B17, it is about 80 by 12 miles, or roughly the size of Rhode Island.

Lycos Zone, "Icebergs Ahoy: A monster berg is on the loose," by Holly Hartman, (August 2000).

A U.S. research ship and a British Royal Air Force C-130 photographed an iceberg about the size of Rhode Island that's drifted in the Drake Passage between South America and Antarctica in August 1999, prompting the U.S. National Ice Center to issue an alert to shipping.

USA Today, "Plane, ship photograph huge iceberg," May 10, 2000.

While few modern ships are likely to run into an iceberg the size of Rhode Island, like B-10A, they certainly could hit one of the thousands of smaller icebergs that break away from the main mass as it floats into warmer water.

About.com, "The National Ice Center," by Robert Longley, September 15, 1999.

To retwist the most overused size comparison in all of journalism, it would be a very unfortunate sea captain who managed to run into a floating Rhode Island... Now, a whole bunch of pieces, none of which is anywhere near the size of Rhode Island (and so cannot be compared to anything sizewise) are bobbing around, the bulk of their potentially dangerous bulk below the surface and, in some cases, mere hints peeking above the water.

ExploreZone.com, "Where two oceans meet, bergy bits and growlers lurk," by Robert Roy Britt, September 15, 1999.

The National Ice Center issued a warning Tuesday that an iceberg almost the size of Rhode Island threatens shipping in the ocean between South America and Antarctica.

Associated Press, "Giant Iceberg Threatens Shipping," August 17, 1999. Submitted by Carol.

The iceberg, twice the size of Rhode Island, broke off from the Ross Ice Shelf along the Bay of Whales.

Los Angeles Times, "Huge iceberg breaks free, alters the Antarctic map," by Lee Dye, November 6, 1997.

When icicles hang by the wall and blood is nipped and ways be foul, when the Great Lakes freeze into ice packs the size of Rhode Island and shipping is stilled, then folks in the Midwest are moved to fish through the ice, a curious, seasonal madness for which there is no known cure except spring.

Time, "In Ohio: Rescue from an Icy Island," by Chris Redman, February 16, 1981.

Islands

Measuring 100 miles by 35 miles, [Puerto Rico is] the size of three Rhode Islands, and with three-and-a-half million people, the population of three Hawaiis.

ScubaDiving.com, "Puerto Rico: An Uncommon Wealth," by Nick Lucey, (September 2000).

Reunion: slightly smaller than Rhode Island.

Geography.About.com, (September 2000).

Samoa: slightly smaller than Rhode Island.

Geography.About.com, (September 2000).

Jewelry

"I bet there will still be question marks next week," Andruzzi said, unzipping his valuables bag and taking out a ring the size of Rhode Island; the one the Patriots backed into when nobody was looking, and all the good teams were on sabbatical.

The Staten Island Advance, "Can't keep these guys under the radar," by Jay Price, September 16, 2002.

[The Zoot Suit] is topped off with a wide-brimmed hat, a key chain that hangs from the belt to below the knees, a wide satin tie, and cuff links the size of Rhode Island.

Great Moments in Sex by Cheryl Rilly, 1999.

Maps

He got a balloon and sailed up and up and up, in front of a map that was as big as Rhode Island. He went on up till he was out of sight, and by and by he came down and got something to eat and went up again.

"Extract from Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven," by Mark Twain, 1909. Submitted by vi.

Military

The U.S. military base Fort Bliss, covering an area larger than Rhode Island, has become one of America's largest military installations, and that's having a dramatic impact on an otherwise depressed economy.

CNNMoney.com, "How El Paso, Texas dodged the recession," by Nin-Hai Tseng, November 16, 2010.

Officials of Dugway [Proving Ground]—the bigger-than-Rhode Island base sprawling across much of Utah's western desert—aren't saying how much they would like it to expand or even why.

Deseret News, "Dugway seeks to obtain more land," by Joe Bauman, October 28, 2004.

Two helicopters will be used, one as a backup. One will trail 400 feet of cable and a hook to intercept the Genesis space capsule, which will float to Earth Sept. 8 at about 9 mph on a parasail over an Air Force bombing range the size of Rhode Island.

Daily Times, "Pilots to pluck space capsule from air," August 26, 2004

Maloney said the addition of a division is feasible because "Fort Bliss has enormous potential. The post alone is the size of Rhode Island, but put it together with White Sands Missile Range and Holloman (Air Force Base), and it's almost the size of Connecticut," he said.

El Paso Times, "Bliss hopes for portion of 70,000 troops," by Laura Cruz, August 17, 2004

Meanwhile, elements of the 3rd Infantry and the 1st Cavalry are slated for training this fall at the Army's sprawling National Training Center in California's Mojave Desert. The training site is roughly the size of Rhode Island, and its tawny mountains and wide, sandy stretches closely resemble the barren landscape of much of Iraq.

The Baltimore Sun, "Army units train hard with an eye toward Iraq," by Tom Bowman, September 25, 2002.

I became in the 1980s an antinuclear activist and participated in the spring demonstrations at the Nevada Test Site, a Department of Energy site the size of Rhode Island in southern Nevada where the United States has been detonating nuclear bombs—more than a thousand to date—since 1951.

Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit, 2000.

Now the great hunt would always begin with the armies spread out in a semicircle, I would say about the size of Rhode Island.

Frank McRae, in the 1984 film Red Dawn, explaining the military strategy of Gengis Khan.

My state is soooo small...

Whenever I travel around the country to make a presentation or give a seminar, I find that people have no concept of the size of Rhode Island. For instance, they can't believe that in the entire state there is only one NBC television station, while other states may have five to ten, depending on how many metropolitan areas their state has. So when describing Rhode Island, I say it's about the size of an Australian sheep farm. Of course, most people don't know how big a sheep farm is, so they still don't get it. All they can visualize is sheep manure stretched from here to the horizon.

FindRI.com, "Local color; size does matter," by Michael A. Sisti, April 12, 2004.

Despite all the controversy, [Julie] Pizzi said yesterday she thinks the show [Real World/Road Rules Challenge] would raise Rhode Island's profile across the country. When she went to get a California drivers license, she said, the woman at the counter would not accept her Rhode Island license. "The lady in California did not know Rhode Island was a state," Pizzi said.

Providence Journal, "MTV hopes to survive vote on island," by Jenny Holland, June 26, 2003.

For its size, Rhode Island provides tremendous entertainment value. Then again, so did Dudley Moore. That doesn't mean you'd want them at a dinner party.

holecity.com, "Five States With Room For Tourism Growth," by Emil Gam, August 12-18, 2002.

Isn't it about time Rhode Island was known for being something more than just a unit of measurement, as in a forest fire or an oil spill, "the size of Rhode Island?"

Newport This Week, "Heritage Harbor Museum—Very Much Alive," by Albert T. Klyberg, April 26, 2001.

Look at the way it cringes there, occupying a sliver of land so inconsequential that the names of its cities and towns have to be entered vertically on the map. It is foolish for something so microscopic to go around posing as a state. Anyone who has ever been there knows what I mean. You drive into Rhode Island, nod off for 10 or 20 minutes or embark on an interesting conversation and—zap—you're in Massachusetts. You're out of the place before you can settle into it. Flying over Little Rhody is absurdity itself; you can traverse it in the middle of a sentence.

Smithsonian Magazine, "Good-bye, Rhode Island," by Donald Dale Jackson, January 2000.

Oil fields

The oil, which could reach shore in as little as three days, is escaping from two leaks in a drilling pipe about 5,000 feet below the surface. The spill has grown to more than 1,800 square miles, or an area larger than Rhode Island.

Associated Press, "Crews Race to Contain Oil Spill After Rig Blast," April 27, 2010. Submitted by vi.

[Iraq's] southern fields are spread across an area about the size of New Jersey, while the northern fields are smaller, about the size of Rhode Island, Pentagon officials say.

Associated Press, "Reviving Iraq's oil empire a top U.S. goal for post-Saddam period," by H. Josef Hebert, January 31, 2003.

The [Arctic] territory the president wants to open, known as "1002 Area," measures 2,344 square miles, or about twice the size of Rhode Island.

The Christian Science Monitor, "Nation Split Sharply On Drilling In Arctic," by John Dillin, February 27, 2001.

Parks, sanctuaries, and wildlife management areas

And this wasn't even Yellowstone's most violent moment. An eruption 2.1 million years ago was more than twice as strong, leaving a hole in the ground the size of Rhode Island.

National Geographic, "When Yellowstone Explodes," by Joel Achenbach, August 2009. Submitted by vi.

The biggest V[olcanic] E[xplosivity] I[ndex] was the massive eruption of the so-called "supervolcano" beneath the Yellowstone basin 2 million years ago. It left a caldera or depression in the ground bigger than Rhode Island.

San Diego Union-Tribune, "Eureka! Daily discoveries for the scientifically bent," October 20, 2004.

The 1,255-square-mile [Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary]—bigger than Rhode Island—has 7,000 northern elephant seals, California and northern sea lions, rare northern fur seals, and harbor seals.

Akron Beacon Jounal, "Animals flock to offshore haven," by Bob Downing, September 12, 2004.

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve covers more ground than Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts combined.

National Geographic, "Alaska's Giant of Ice and Stone", March 2003

Imagine a pile of TNT about the size of Rhode Island and reaching eight miles into the sky, and you have some idea of what visitors to Yellowstone are shuffling around on top of.

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, 2003.

Its whereabouts were never firmly established until today, when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced the wreck was found in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, an area about the size of Rhode Island between Cape Ann and Cape Cod, at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay.

Associated Press, "Wreck of steamship Portland found in Stellwagen Bank waters," August 29, 2002.

The enormous Crater Mountain Wildlife Management Area (WMA) [Papua New Ginea] covers 2600 square kilometers, an area about the size of Rhode Island.

Biodiversity Conservation Network, "A Forest the Size of Rhode Island in PNG," (August 2000).

A vast tract of wilderness roughly the size of Rhode Island, California's Yosemite boasts a mind-bogglingly large number of multiday backcountry hikes to choose from.

OutsideMag.com, (August 2000).

My friend Jackie was living in Yosemite. Her husband was president of the company that ran all the concessions, so he was the Big Bear as far as the commercial side of Yosemite went. "You're the Queen of Rhode Island," I said to Jackie, once I learned Yosemite was the size of Rhode Island. She pooh-poohed the idea, said they lived a simple, quiet life in the woods, facing Half Dome and whatever stars of film or industry happened to be passing through that week.

Los Gatos Weekly-Times, "How a dress averted the collision of two queens," by Mary Ann Cook, February 5, 1997.

Ranches

Ford plans to announce the new TowBoss package, an option on the dual-rear-wheel F-350 pickup, today at the Texas State Fair, where it will also reveal a King Ranch luxury trim style for its Expedition large sport-utility vehicle, which licenses the name and logo of the Texas ranch that is bigger than Rhode Island and inspired the 1950s movie classic "Giant."

Detroit Free Press, "Big Ford pickups boost towing power," by Jamie Butters, September 23, 2004.

The King Ranch in Texas is bigger than the state of Rhode Island. It comprises 1.25 million acres and was the first ranch in the world to be completely fenced in. At one time, its borders were guarded by armed patrol.

LurpDogg.com, "LurpBits," (September 2002).

Random tracts of geography

So each February, hundreds of beekeepers from around the country converge on the almond farms with their hives in tow. Lasting about four weeks, it's the largest such pollination effort on Earth: 1.6 million hives buzzing with 48 billion bees across an area about the size of Rhode Island. Practically a bee Woodstock.

Omaha World Herald, "Industry relies on hives for hire," by Los Angeles Times, March 19, 2012. Submitted by Amelia, Providence. ("Godspeed, 48 billion bees," she says. "Please don't ever come east.")

Since the Carter administration, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, a landmass about half the size of Rhode Island has vanished [from coastal Louisiana].

money.cnn.com, "New Orleans' biggest problem isn't failing levees," by Charles C. Mann, August 9, 2006. Submitted by gamer.

Indigenous peoples living near the Foja range, which rises to 2,200 meters (7,218 feet), said they did not venture into the trackless area of 3,000 square kilometers (1,200 square miles)—roughly the size of Luxembourg or the U.S. state of Rhode Island.

Reuters, "'Lost world' found in jungle," February 8, 2006. Submitted by vi and Cynthia.

Detectives have scoured an area [near Peoria, Illinois] about three-quarters the size of Rhode Island—1,278 square miles.

Associated Press, "Police hunt for serial killers," November 20, 2004. Submitted by vi.

The network is 10 times larger than a proposed citywide Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity) network in Philadelphia—one that media reports last week inaccurately said would be the largest in the world. Covering parts of Walla Walla, Columbia, Franklin, Benton and Umatilla counties, Columbia Energy's 1,500-square-mile Wi-Fi hot spot is bigger than the state of Rhode Island.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, "Rolling wheat fields are also Wi-Fi country," by John Cook, September 7, 2004. Spotted by Z.

In the unprecedented operation, about 14,000 federal firefighters and other searchers have braved hazards such as poisonous snakes, scorpions, toad-strangling downpours and sucking mud as they tramped through piney woods and thickets mined with giant toxic nose-piercing thorns. They have traveled by means ranging from a modified U-2 spy plane to plain old shoe leather. In just 11 weeks, they have scoured, yard by yard, a swath of the Southwest almost the size of Rhode Island.

Washington Post, "Shuttle Search Legacy: Lessons Learned in Unprecedented Effort to Pick Up Pieces," by Kathy Sawyer, April 22, 2003.

Officials say Louisiana loses 20 to 35 square miles of its coastline annually, with the state having lost 1,000 square miles between 1956 and 1990. They anticipate another 1,000 square miles—nearly the size of Rhode Island—will be lost by 2050.

Houma Today, "New diversion project touted to fight Lafourche, Terrebonne erosion," by Katina A. Gaudet, September 22, 2002.

A long-deferred cleanup is now under way at 114 of the nation's nuclear facilities, which encompass an acreage equivalent to Rhode Island and Delaware combined.

National Geographic, "Half Life: The Lethal Legacy of America's Nuclear Waste," by Michael E. Long, July 2002.

Now, scientists exploring the wilds of Guatemala say they have found the mother lode—a mountainous region roughly the size of Rhode Island strewn with huge jade boulders, other rocky treasures and signs of ancient mining.

New York Times, "In Guatemala, a Rhode Island-Size Jade Lode," by William J. Broad, May 22, 2002.

Nuclear testing was conducted above and below ground from 1952 to 1992 at the Nevada Test Site, the federal reservation north of Las Vegas that, at 1,375 square miles, is larger than Rhode Island.

Associated Press, "Nevada, while fighting nuclear dump, accepts mushroom cloud license plates," by Ken Ritter, April 26, 2002.

While the strategy isn't new - Columbus has used its control of water and sewer lines to expand city boundaries since 1950 - a Plain Dealer analysis shows America's boom cities swallowed nearly 1,000 square miles of land in the 1990s. That's an area about the size of Rhode Island.

The Plain Dealer, "Cities eager to grow know no boundaries," by Dave Davis and Robert L. Smith, March 17, 2002.

The 12- by 6-mile chunk [of Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano] that moved extends five miles into the earth's crust, making its mass roughly equal to that of a quarter-mile thick, Rhode Island-sized object, the researchers said.

CNN.com, "Portion of volcano slips toward ocean," February 27, 2002.

According to the government's own statistics, the entire yearly demand for heroin in the United States can be met by less than 25 square miles of opium-poppy fields; 250 square miles, about one-fifth the size of Rhode Island, is enough to meet our yearly cocaine demand.

New York Times, "Our Demand for Drugs," letter to the Editor by Keith Sanders, May 29, 2001.

Rhode Island yesterday acquired an interest in a huge tract of land in Maine that is about as large as, well, the entire state of Rhode Island.

Providence Journal, "State invests in R.I.-size Maine parcel with oil-spill payoff," by Brian C. Jones, March 21, 2001.

She went quiet and concentrated on driving. The road reeled in. It was dropping down off a wide flat mesa that looked the size of Rhode Island.

Echo Burning by Lee Child, 2001.

Mars hasn't really been scanned very much—we've sent a few fairly stupid robots which have explored less territory than the state of Rhode Island.

slashdot.org discussion thread, "Re:A fictional author isn't a good center," by ethereal, December 1, 2000.

A new unit of length is needed... I humbly present: The RhodeIsland. Let's face it, newscasters already use this unit of measurement all the time. Other states are described in terms of how many RhodeIslands large they are. Martian craters are reported to be 43 times the size of Rhode Island. We have practically accepted it into our national speech already; it remains only to make it official. Then when large ocean movements occur and meteorites fly through space, we will no longer be constrained to the insignificant mile. We shall give a more vivid picture of measurement with our own states. Even tired old aphorisms will become revitalized: "Do not judge another man until you have walked a RhodeIsland in his shoes."

Providence Journal, "Under a king's foot," (letter to the Editor by Seth Brown, November 29, 2000.

And so by means of a false deed, and use of runners, the Penns acquired 1200 square miles of Lenape land in Pennsylvania, an area about the size of Rhode Island!

Delaware Tribe of Indians, "The Walking Purchase," (August 2000).

Last Friday evening federal Judge Lawrence L. Piersol issued an injunction preventing the immediate destruction of 750,000 acres of wetlands scattered throughout South Dakota. (In case you are wondering, 750,000 acres is an area just slightly smaller than Rhode Island.)

Earthlaw.org newsletter, "Wall Drug, Wildlife, and Wetlands," by Mark Hughes, November 8, 1999.

There's a very small country in the West Indies. I mean small. It's terribly small. Tiny little country. Rhode Island could beat the crap out of it in a war. That's how small it is. Eighty-five cents in a cab from one end of the country to the other. I'm talking small. They recently had the whole country carpeted. This is not a big place.

Dudley Moore, in the 1981 film Arthur, trying to pass off his hooker date (Anne De Salvo) as the princess of a small, unnamed country.

Real estate

After these heart-wrenching stories of poverty, it was on to the Sheindlins' newest addition, in Naples, Fla. A 10,000- square-foot penthouse that's larger than the city of Providence.

New York Post, "My Judicial Pals' Guilty Pleasures," by Cindy Adams, January 29, 2006.

Nina Banks (Diane Keaton): N-Now don't go nuts when I tell you this, but when Bryan's mom... called with her list, she suggested that they might just wanna... pitch in and help with the cost of the wedding.
George Banks (Steve Martin): You know, hey, we may not have a house the size of Rhode lsland, but we're not poverty-stricken! We can certainly afford to give our daughter a proper wedding!

Father Of The Bride, 1991. Submitted by Marc in Wakefield.

Regions and territories

The [Australian Capital Territory], although geographically small at 2800 km2 (a little smaller than Rhode Island, east coast of the USA), includes a diverse range of habitats, including native grasslands, rivers, lakes, montane forests as well as sub-alpine woodlands and bogs.

Australian Capital Territory Herpetological Association, (September 2000).

Taking all of it [the Golan], Israeli and Syrian, it is a little bigger than Rhode Island.

The Claremont Institute, "Defending Free Enterprise, Israeli Style," by Larry P. Arnn, 1998.

Now an American businessman wants to build a huge game park and resort complex in the 580,000-acre [Matatuine region of Mozambique]—almost the size of Rhode Island—complete with a five-star hotel, floating casinos and bush lodges with access to the tropical coast and wild interior.

The Cincinnati Post, "Big Game Resort Would Be A 1st; American Behind Mozambique Plan," December 11, 1997.

Eighteen Massachusetts can be put into Dakota [Territory], with ample room left to receive the little State of Rhode Island.

Marvels of the New West by William M. Thayer, 1887.

States and provinces

Note: All Texans know that if you were to melt Alaska, it would be smaller than Rhode Island!

Texans-R-Us.com, "Just How Big is Texas?," (March 2002).

The state of Rhode Island could fit into Alaska 425 times.

50states.com, (August 2000).

Our smallest province, Prince Edward Island, is roughly twice the size of Rhode Island, USA.

MUFON Canada, (August 2000).

Somewhere along the line, Rhode Island became the standard by which all big things are compared. For reference, Alaska is 120 times the size of Rhode Island.

EarthRoamer.com, "Road Trip -- Western Canada and Alaska, June-October 1999."

Everything in Alaska is bigger than Rhode Island.

Johnwall.com, "Alaska 1999," quoting kayaking guide Peggy Wilcox, September 10, 1999.

© 1982 Don Bousquet. Used with permission.

One hundred Rhode Islands can be set down upon [Alaska's] 104,500 square miles. One of its counties (Gunnison) is larger than Massachusetts and Rhode Island combined. [Colorado] has four magnificent parks, situated in the mountains, from seven thousand to nine thousand feet above the sea, the smaller of which is equal to two Rhode Islands; and the State of Massachusetts could be set within the larger. These four parks contain as many acres as Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island together... Kansas is almost ten times larger than Massachusetts, nearly seventeen times larger than Connecticut, sixty-five times larger than Rhode Island; and its area more than equals the combined area of all the New England States, with Maryland and Delaware added... Montana is almost as large as Dakota, and can spread seventeen Massachusetts and one Rhode Island over its ample surface.

Marvels of the New West by William M. Thayer, 1887.

The Tunguska event

The power of the blast felled trees outward in a radial pattern over an area of 2,150 square kilometers, more than half the size of Rhode Island.

University of Southern Maine, Southworth Planetarium website, "Tunguska: The Cosmic Mystery of the Century," by Planetarium Director, Roy A. Gallant, (June 2002).

In 1908 near Tunguska in Siberia a meteor probably consisting of loosely bound pieces about 60 meters (200 ft) in diameter completely disintegrated before hitting the ground, so no crater was formed; however, all the trees were flattened and wildlife killed in an area 50 km (30 mi) in diameter, more than half the size of Rhode Island.

Lycos Zone, "Notable Meteorites," (August 2000).

Vehicles

often, i had to drive out into the countryside and deliver to these $450,000 homes with 20 acres of land, and a Lexus, an SUV the size of Rhode Island, and a boat in the driveway.

bitterwaitress.com, War Stories: "On Customers - kids, creeps, freaks and the good diners" (February 2005).

Water

The massive Folsom Dam holds back nearly 1 million acre-feet of water, enough to submerge the entire state of Rhode Island under a foot of water.

Boston Globe, "Closing of road atop dam riles many in Calif. city," by Bobby Caina Calvan, February 7, 2005. Submitted by Carol.

Of course water conservation is out of the question - out west we insist on bluegrass lawns in the desert, casino fountains as big as Rhode Island, and wet streets for that early morning jog or drive to the office.

WildernessDefense.com, "Western Water Wars," (April 2002).

Great Salt Lake is one of the most wide-open and least understood spaces in the West. Roughly the size of Rhode Island, it's a terminal lake with no outflow, averaging around 13 feet deep.

National Geographic, "Salt Lake Valley's Leap of Faith," by Lisa Moore LaRoe, February 2002.

In the 1960s, north central Africa's Lake Chad was larger than the state of Vermont but is now smaller than Rhode Island.

NewsWise.com, "Africa's Lake Chad Shrinks By 20 Times Due To Irrigation Demands, Climate Change," by Lynn Chandler, February 26, 2001.

Twice the size of the state of Rhode Island, Lake Mead contains 1.5 million acres of land and water.

National Park Service, (August 2000).

Zones

So what you're saying is, I mean, [home umpire] Phil Cuzzi may have a strike zone the approximate size of Rhode Island tonight, but it looks like he's going both ways with it.

Dave O'Brien in a discussion on WB-11, New York. Mets at Yankees, June 24, 2005.

...a teammate once described the strike zone formed when 6-foot-10-inch baseball player Randy Johnson stepped to the plate as about the size of Rhode Island.

Slate, "How Big Is Rhode Island?," by Andy Bowers, November 5, 2003.

Seen a good use of Rhode Island as a unit of measure lately?

Send it along to us at stuffie@quahog.org and we'll insert it in our next update. Be sure to include the exact quote, publication name (and/or URL), article title, author and date.

This article last edited March 20, 2014

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