Can You Spare a Gou of Sugar, Neighbor?

Wired offers new ways to measure up to modern life with esoteric units
By Sophie Goldstein,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2007 7:11 PM CDT
Can You Spare a Gou of Sugar, Neighbor?
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Everyone knows about inches, minutes and grams, but what about smoots, gous and twips? Now hipsters can turn even more esoteric with these odd measurement units from Wired. The 5-foot, 7-inch "smoot" was born one night when MIT pranksters used a fairly short frat pledge to measure the Harvard Bridge. "Pack years" is how you could measure the smoking they did on just such a night.

A full “butt” (126 gallons of booze) is enough to host a frat party, and if food is served it could be measured out in “gous” (180 milliliters, or a single rice cup). But some units are too minute for most to measure: a “twip” is 1/20 of a typesetting point and a “shake” measures a mere 10 nanoseconds. Things are happening fast though - about as long as it takes to type a “nibble” or measure a “mickey.” (More measurement stories.)

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