The site is simple in concept, but it’s one heck of a useful “must bookmark” resource for writers and anyone else who needs to communicate quantities and measurements in an easy-to-remember, relatable way.
The Measure of Things search engine lets you find other objects and things that are comparatively similar to a physical quantity you provide—length, weight, height, size, speed, time, etc.
For example, instead of just saying your character weighs 190 lbs., you could add, “which is about the weight of a kangaroo.” If the character’s 5′9″ tall, your readers may better visualize, “about the height of a refrigerator.” And if the character’s 34 years old, you could try adding, “about four times as long as King Tut’s reign.”
OK, that last example is of no help at all. The Measure of Things doesn’t always come up with something useful, using fractions and multiples as needed, and you’ll have to browse through the various factoids it generates to find something you could use, if any. It’s a lot of fun, though, maybe even a time sink as you play and plug in different quantities to see what it comes up with. But I bet you’ll learn some interesting things when you visit the site!