One more from the archives: one of the Net’s best sites

I’m not always nasty about sites…

“There is a lot of blood in a human,” writes Rob Cockerham. “But not a huge, gruesome lake of blood. Just a small red pool.”

Rob Cockerham of is interested in the big questions. Questions such as, how much fizz is inside a bottle of Coca-Cola? How much foam is inside a can of shaving cream? How much is inside… things? Since 1998, he has devoted far too much of his time to finding out.

“How much is inside one of those 40′ shipping containers?” Cockerham muses. “No-one knows, because they are always sealed shut.” Armed with a tape measure and some equally demented friends, Cockerham discovers that one shipping container can hold 2261 cubic litres. “Thinking of importing some exotic Marlboro cigarettes? One 40′ container can hold 55,511 cartons of filtered cigarettes!” he exclaims. “That is eleven million cigarettes, enough to give a post-coital smoke to every adult in the Netherlands… hooray for shipping containers!”

Most of Cockerham’s experiments are cheap to carry out, but occasionally he decides to explore more expensive avenues. “A typical episode of How Much is Inside costs less than US$10, but testing a black print cartridge was going to cost $32,” he recalls. “So I appealed to fans to contribute to the cause. Within two weeks, I had $3.”

Luckily for science, a fan of the site stepped in with the remaining 29 dollars and Cockerham was able to discover how much stuff is inside a black printer cartridge. “I was already busy collecting the images I wanted to print,” he says. “A wide variety of porn!” Suitably equipped with dodgy downloads, Cockerham began printing – although he did pause to ponder what the Nobel Prize committee might make of his experimental approach. After a brush with disaster that meant the entire experiment had to be restarted and the pornographic pictures reprinted, Cockerham finally had an answer. “A black printer cartridge contains ì146 printouts at 8×10 inches – or the equivalent of a two-year subscription to ASSES.”

In addition to his How much is Inside? investigations, Cockerham also attempts to expand human knowledge in other ways – for example by attempting to create fire without matches, building coffins for cats or creating “ordinary junk any moron could slap together”. He’s wasted an incredible amount of time on these completely pointless pursuits, and by putting them on the Internet he’s ensured that we can waste an incredible amount of our employers’ time on them too.