Wednesday, April 24, 2013

UNITS of Silliness/April A-Z

A unit of measurement is defined as the magnitude of a physical quantity, defined and adopted by convention or by law. We are all familiar with meters, miles, gallons, pounds and sagans.

What is a sagan you ask?  As a humorous tribute to Carl Sagan and his association with the catchphrase "billions and billions", a sagan has been defined as a large quantity of anything. There is also the warhol which measures fame or hype as in 1 kilowarhol=15,000 minutes of fame, based on Andy Warhol's famous quote about everyone having 15 minutes of fame. Many of our now common measurements has come about due to our need to measure new technology:

wheaton=the number of Twitter followers relative to the celebrity of Star Trek's Wil Wheaton, as in milliwheaton or microwheatons

mickey=Named after Mickey Mouse, a mickey=is the length of the "smallest detectable movement" of the computer mouse. It's about 1/200 to 1/300 inch or about 0.1 mm.

Oliver Smoot being used as a yardstick for the Harvard Bridge - source: Smoot 50th
Measurements named after people are how we came to have Smoots for distance, as well as Helens for beauty , and Garns for space sickness. These are all genuine measurements, crafted to take care of humankinds need to measure or compare things to one another.
Jake Garn

Other less genuine but more fun units of measures would be:
1. Ratio of an igloo’s circumference to its diameter = Eskimo Pi
2. 2000 pounds of Chinese soup = Won ton
3. Time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement = 1
4. Half of a large intestine = 1 semicolon
5. 1,000,000 aches = 1 megahurtz
6. 1 million-million microphones = 1 megaphone
7. 52 cards = 1 decacards
8. 4 nickels = 2 paradigms
9. 1 kilogram of falling figs = 1 FigNewton
10. Basic unit of laryngitis = 1 hoarsepower

Researched Here and Here  and at Wikipedia of course.


  1. '5. 1,000,000 aches = 1 megahurtz'

    Yep, I know that one ... LOL. Hubs and I are still giggling.

  2. hahaha! love a good laugh in the morning!