Rhode Island as a Unit of Measure

Rhode Island as a Unit of Measure

Bigger than a breadbox, smaller than the universe!

Don't mess with Rhode Island either t-shirt graphic
Texas = 173 Rhode Islands. (www.frogandtoadstore.com).

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 the time the quotes were spotted.

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.

Last Edited
2020-04-16

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.
—fakesteve.blogspot.com, "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.
—www.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.
—www.thenews-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.
—www.joelcomm.com, "Monday Morning," 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."
—www.maximonline.com, "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.
—www.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.
—www.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.
—www.metroactive.com, "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!"
—www.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.
—www.cincypost.com, "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.

Last Edited
2020-03-15

Astral Bodies

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has confirmed the largest icy comet nucleus ever seen by scientists. The C/2014 UN271 (Bernardinelli-Bernstein) nucleus is about 80 miles in diameter, which is larger than the state of Rhode Island, NASA says.
NPR, "The Hubble telescope confirms the largest comet nucleus ever seen by astronomers," by Deepa Shivaram, April 13, 2022.

Photo comparing Rhode Island to the Ptolemaeus Crater on the moon, 2020.
—Museum of Natural History and Planetarium (Providence, RI), Facebook, August 6, 2020.

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.

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]?
—John Stewart on The Daily Show with John 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.

Last Edited
2022-04-13

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 and 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.

Last Edited
2020-04-16

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.

Last Edited
2020-05-06

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

Last Edited
2020-05-21

Counties

Map showing counties bigger than Rhode Island
U.S. counties bigger than Rhode Island. (twelvemilecircle.com, May 27, 2012).

There are an astounding 504 counties in the U.S. that are larger than Rhode Island.
twelvemilecircle.com, "Alternate Rhode Islands," May 27, 2012.

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."
New York Times, "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).

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 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.

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

Not bad for a state the size of a typical county in Montana.
—NewEngland.com, "From Simple to Sumptuous: Watch Hill to Newport," by Tanya Tabachnikoff, 1998.

Last Edited
2020-05-31

Countries

[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.

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.

Last Edited
2020-06-17

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.

Last Edited
2020-06-29

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).

Last Edited
2020-07-10

Fictional Places

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," by Manohla Dargis, 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.

Last Edited
2020-07-18

Fires

The monstrous [Bootleg] wildfire burning in Oregon has grown to one-third the size of Rhode Island and spreads miles each day, but evacuations and property losses have been minimal compared to much smaller blazes in densely populated areas of California.
—Associated Press, "Size of Oregon Wildfire Underscores Vastness of the US West," by Gillian Flaccus, July 19, 2021. Submitted by Anne D.

Satellite photo of Oregon's Bootleg Fire, 2021.
Satellite image showing the massive Bootleg Fire. More than four Rhode Islands could be completely obscured by that smoke plume. (NASA GOES 17, July 18, 2021).

A series of wildfires burning an area larger than the state of Rhode Island have depleted California's firefighting resources and triggered requests for help from across the West, the East Coast, and even as far as Australia.
L.A. Times, "Bay Area fires rank in the top 5 in California history," By Joseph Serna, Susanne Rust, Anita Chabria, Rong-Gong Lin II, August 21, 2020.

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.

Last Edited
2021-07-21

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.

Last Edited
2020-08-03

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.

Last Edited
2020-08-12

Glaciers and Ice Fields

U.S. Department of the Interior Facebook post, 2016.
—U.S. Department of the Interior, Facebook, January 26, 2016.

Between 2003 and 2008 [Antactica gained] 82 billion tons of ice per year. It's difficult to imagine that much ice, but it would be enough to cover the state of Rhode Island about 85 feet deep every year in pure form.
Tech Insider, "Antarctica gains enough ice each year to bury Rhode Island 85 feet deep," by Rebecca Harrington, November 2, 2015.

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.

Last Edited
2020-11-04

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.
Lafayette 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.

Last Edited
2021-02-03

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.
—www.drellenrudolph.com, "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.
—www.saabnet.com, Saab Network, (August 2000).

Last Edited
2021-03-09

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'll 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).

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.

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, 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.
strong>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.
—kids.infoplease.lycos.com, "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 Cohen.

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..

Last Edited
2022-02-07

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.
Samoa: slightly smaller than Rhode Island.
—Geography.About.com, (September 2000).

Last Edited
2021-06-10

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.

Last Edited
2021-09-12

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.

Last Edited
2022-04-28