From donkeypower to the beard-second these are 25 humorous and unconventional units of measurement.
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Often used to measure really small distances such as those in integrated circuits, the beard-second is not surprisingly described as the length that an average beard grows in one second (about 10 nanometers).
Used to describe the speed and direction that a computer mouse is moved. Mouse sensitivity can be measured in mickeys per inch
A measure of distance equal to about 7⁄8 of a mile (1.4 km), defined as the closest distance at which sheep remain picturesque.
A unit of length, defined as the height of Oliver R. Smoot, the president of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It was created exclusively to measure the length of the Harvard Bridge.
Barn, Outhouse, and Shed
Used by nuclear physicists to measure extremely small distances, the “barn” derives its name from the expression “couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn” which is often used by these physicists to describe the difficulty of causing particle collisions. The outhouse and shed are even smaller.
One third of horsepower.
Refers to a span of time measuring 6 months into the future and was coined by columnist Thomas Friedman in reference to Iraq’s future.
A unit of time representing 72 days of marriage. It was coined in response to Kim Kardashian’s marriage to Kris Humpries
Supposedly mathematician John von Neumann used the term to denote the maximum length of a lecture. One microcentury is 52 minutes and 35.69 seconds.
A proposed system based on the Richter scale that measures the amount of media coverage of an event.
A unit for measuring information flow, physicist Paul Dirac was known among his colleagues for his precise yet taciturn nature. They defined a Dirac as one word per hour.
Helen of Troy was known as “the face that launched a thousand ships”, therefore one millihelen is the amount of beauty required to launch 1 ship.
Used to measure how bogus a person is, especially in the field of Quantum Bogodynamics. According to its proponents, however, it is seldom used as it is far too large for normal conversation. The microlenat is more useful.
A measure of an object’s coolness invented by Professor Farnsworth in the TV show Futurama. One “fonzie” is the amount of coolness inherent in the Happy Days character Fonzie.
The proposed SI unit of happiness, 1 puppy is the quantity of happiness that a one kilogram beagle puppy whose body temperature is 310 kelvins produces when held in skin contact for one second.
A measurement of obstruction, it is named after Commander Pouter, a British Naval Officer from WWII who had a very difficult disposition.
Derived from Andy Warhol’s famous statement “everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes” it represents fifteen minutes of fame.
The proposed SI unit to measure quackery. It ranks from 0-10 and measures the number of times quack words such as “energy” and “holistic” are used to promote dubious health claims.
Used to measure a number of Twitter followers relative to celebrity Wil Wheaton, it was coined when Wil reached half a million followers. Typically the milliwheaton is more useful (500 followers).
In the Zork series of games 1 bloit is the distance that the king’s favorite pet could run in 1 hour.
When American physicist Ted Maiman invented the laser he measured its strength by the number of Gillette razors it could burn through
When it comes to computers you know what a byte is. One nybble is half of that.
A unit of time defined by how long Windows tells you it will take to copy some files. This has nothing to do with how long it actually takes to copy the files.
One millieinstein is a thousandth of the brain power of Einstein. It was inspired by the millihelen.
It is famously said that a very large number of monkeys typing randomly at a keyboard for eternity, will produce the complete works of Shakespeare (or some other literary canon). It follows then, that for works of lesser magnitude a smaller number of monkeys (or shorter duration) will suffice. Thus 1 monkey minute is a measure of literary quality.