Monday, November 23, 2009

10 Modern Measurements

John Madden of GeekDad relates the story of how the 'smoot' became a measurement of distance:

Way back in 1958, the MIT chapter of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity used pledge Oliver R. Smoot to measure the Harvard Bridge in Massachusetts, coining the smoot as a unit of measurement in the process – one smoot equaling five feet, seven inches. Smoot (the man) lay down on the bridge, his position was marked, and he moved on (or was moved on – eventually he so tired from the movement that his frat brothers carried him), until the bridge was established as being 364.4 smoots, plus or minus an ear, in length. Appropriately, Smoot would later become chairman of the American National Standards Institute.

Madden then passes on ten more recent forms of measurement, including some of his own devising. These include the milliwheaton (number of Twitter followers), the Warhol (fame duration), the milihelen (beauty sufficient to launch one ship) and the Emmet (power). The latter comes from the movie Back to the Future:

1 Emmet = 1.21 Gigawatts, or the amount of power required to operated the flux capacitor in a modified DeLorean DMC-12. GeekDad note – when describing the Emmet, it’s pronounced ‘Jigga’ watt. There was briefly some debate as to whether this should be called a ‘lloyd’ or a docbrown’, But for simplicity (and to honour the character rather than the actor - though don’t get me wrong, Christopher Lloyd rocks) I’ve gone for ‘Emmet’.

What measurements would you suggest be added to our lexicon?


JD said...
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JD said...

First off, we don't have pledges. We have associates.

Second, my brothers come up with the strangest things.


The Thief said...

1 "in conclusion" = the amount of time it takes a preacher to "wrap it up" once s/he starts the conclusion. Usually = 10 minutes +/-5

John said...

How about a JD as a measurement of hair volume?

JD said...

Sure thing. A JD of hair volume is equal to the day of the week in which the measurement takes place.

Sat = 0, Fri = 7

With that, you should be able to extrapolate a volumetric equivelant of any item based on the comparison of what my hair length is on the given day it is measured.

Good luck with that one.