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," via 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.
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!
—www.delawaretribeofindians.nsn.us, "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.
Well, I'd like to know why this policewoman would suddenly drive her car into a field the size of Rhode Island and, for no rhyme or reason, dig up the bones of a man who's been missing for fifty years.
—David Duchovney as Fox Mulder, in the 1995 The X-Files episode "Aubrey."
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 as Arthur Bach, in the 1981 film Arthur, trying to pass off his hooker date (Anne De Salvo) as the princess of a small, unnamed country.