Wednesday, March 3, 2010

BEST Story of the Year So Far: The Universe is 1.4 Hellameters across

From here

A California physics student has petitioned the International System of Units to declare 10 to the 27th power (a trillion trillions) to be a "hella." As in meters, kilometers, hellameters. If he prevails, the universe officially becomes hella big.
Austin Sendek is studying physics at UC Davis, and felt it was time that extremely large units of measurement got their own designation. What better word than hella? I'm already looking forward to Google explaining how many hellabytes of storage space it has.

Sendek told a local news station in Davis:
The diameter of the universe is 1.4 hellameters. You know if someone says that's 'hella meters' you know exactly what they're talking about.
His quest may not be entirely in vain. The International System of Units did add a new unit of measurement back in 1991, when they designated "yotta" to describe 10 to the 24th power. Isn't that the word that Hiro is always yelling on Heroes? Hey, if Hiro gets to have his own unit of measurement, why can't we have the hella?
via CBS Local

Send an email to Annalee Newitz, the author of this post, at annalee@io9.com.

2 comments:

Jérôme CHAUVET said...

Why not the colyermeter unit?

Light travels through void with speed 195.1000012 colyermeters/second (colm/s)

Nice, isn't it?

Steven Colyer said...

Sounds good to me! :-)

The chauvetmeter may have to be cham, but I'd prefer chaum. That'll screw up grad school students with even more similar (therefore bad) notation, because chaum and charm (the quark), are only one letter off. Here's hoping they read by context.

However, Americans hate long words and letters so cham it will be.

The problem with a void is there's no such thing. No such thing as rest mass either, or zero entropy.

Finally, which number? 10^30 would be nice. 1000 hella = 1 colm. Awesome ... literally.