After thinking about my post about Bhut Jolokia peppers and the Scoville scale for measuring the hotness of things, it got me to thinking about other kinds of measurements. Initially I wondered if there was a general scale for unpleasantness and how the pepper might fair. That would be a far more useful comparison really, than comparing it to the spiciness of other peppers. Although Bhut Jolokia is more than 400x the hotness of Tabasco sauce, I'm not sure I have any real concept of what that means. However, if you were to tell me Tabasco scores a comparable score on the general unpleasantness scale to, say, biting your tongue, and the the Bhut Jolokia was like biting your tongue while fire ants crawl all over your face, I might have a better sense of the disparity between the two peppers.
In my brief search for this universal unit of unpleasantness, I did find two fantastic Wikipedia pages: Humorous Measurements and a List of unusual units of measurement.
Some of my favorites:
- A Warhol is a unit of fame. One Warhol represents, as you would guess, 15 minutes.
- The Beard-second is the length your beard hair grows in a single second. During Whiskerino a total of 10.4 million beard seconds elapsed which supposedly translates to 5.18 centimeters. Don't believe me? Ask Google.
- A Sheppey is defined as the closest distance at which sheep remain picturesque (Thank you Douglas Adams).
- The Rictus Scale is an alternative means of measuring earthquakes based on media coverage. In Portland, we should probably devise a similar scale for snow.
- Coolness can be measured in Fonzies.
- Utility is the measure of relative satisfaction (Sort of the opposite of what I was looking for)
- I no longer use the imperial OR metric system. Now I just measure things in shakes, jiffies, bags of cement, elephants, cricket pitches and fully loaded 747s.