Alarming data -- for you, though, missing the mark

This prompted by a post on another current MPSIMS thread, in which the poster expresses surprise at the amount of stored wrapping-paper which they found was in their possession.

A UK conservation group has estimated – and publishes the estimate – that the amount of wrapping-paper and equivalent materials used annually in the UK, would be sufficient to gift-wrap the entire island of Guernsey (10 x 7 x 7 miles). On one level, reading this arouses in me the proper horror about wastefulness and environmental damage. On another level, which on the whole tends to predominate for me, over that which is the correct one: the idea of gift-wrapping Guernsey strikes me as rather daftly charming. The fantasy shapes itself unbidden, of some monarch centuries ago, giving Guernsey as a fiefdom to some nobleman whom they favoured; and having the island gift-wrapped accordingly (no doubt by dint of much forced labour for the serfs – not so charming).

Am I uniquely odd; or has anyone else had a similar experience concerning publicised facts about something appalling – which despite oneself and despite one’s taking the desired message on board, has been overshadowed for one, by inability to avoid seeing it in an unintended silly and whimsical light?

Conclusion which has to be drawn: I am indeed uniquely odd…

There is an odd tendency to try to relate weights of things, like annual waste produced by a household, as a comparison to animal weight. I dunno about you, but it does make me want to save all my rubbish up for a year and stick it out all in one go, modelled into an elephant.

It always seemed odd anyway, the weight of, say, a grizzly bear or a blue whale is hardly something most people are familiar with, but I’ve seen both used as comparisons. Likewise, how many people have actually been to Guernsey?

I’m sure I’ve had moments like that, but it’s hard to remember them just now. There was one thing that occurred to me during the debates over the Affordable Care Act and the related math, but it wasn’t something so fanciful as wrapping an island.

And islands are almost always some random shape, those are always the hardest to wrap. You can’t really avoid wasting some paper to get the whole thing covered. Much easier to wrap a few hundred football pitches. I wonder if the conservation group took that into account for their estimate.

OMG! so much Scotch tape!

When I see measurements on a roll of paper in square feet I automatically figure how much of my dining floor it would cover. Not sure why I compute it to that particular floor. Maybe cause it’s a square room?

That does indeed seem counter-intuitive and a bit strange, as a go-to measure of the weight of things in the aggregate – weights of various animals, not something the average bod has any precise awareness of. And as you say: tends to promote whimsical thoughts, rather than serious concern; including, I’d imagine, that perennial Internet favourite – in a fight between formidable creature A and ditto B, which would win?

If I have thing rightly, you are, like myself, a Brit – I’d say, plenty of UK inhabitants. I have the impression that Guernsey and its neighbour Jersey are well-favoured holiday destinations for Britons who don’t insist on holidays in places with Mediterranean-or-greater-level heat (and I believe that it was in the UK media that the gift-wrapping-Guernsey statistic appeared).

yeah, not so renewable resource
All that paper is a renewable source and degrades a zillion times more faster than plastic. Not sure what else there is to wrap presents in. Maybe we should give presents that dont need wrapping?