Some Unusual Units
Hurricanes are high powered tropical storms (also known as typhoons or cyclones) which occur at sea. In the northern hemisphere the winds blow anticlockwise. Hurricanes are measured in categories from 1-5 with 5 being the strongest.
EFFECT and DAMAGE
HEIGHT of WATER
Caravans and sheds get thrown around, trees damaged. Minor flooding on the coast, piers could be damaged.
Rooves damaged, windows broken. Trees could be ripped up. Coastal flooding, boats could be pulled from moorings.
Weaker buildings could have structural damage, cars thrown around. Masses of water breaking over coastal areas and flooding inland.
Like category 3 but worse with flying busses, and beach front hotels being drowned out or even washed away.
over 150 mph
Mass evacuation required. Unlimited damage, wind speeds much higher than 150 mph are almost impossible to measure. (Hurricanes Katrina and Rita that crossed the Gulf of Mexico in Sept 2005 peaked at over 180 mph.)
In the North Atlantic, any tropical storm with winds over 38 mph is given a name chosen from a list in alpabetical order. Some of these develop to become hurricanes. (Q,U,X,Y and Z are not used, so if your name is Quentin or Zoe then you'll never get to wreak havoc in the Carribean.) Here are some of the planned names for different years:
The cycle of names repeats every six years, although if a hurricane is particularily bad, the name is replaced.
Hurricanes also cause changes in ocean water temperature since they force warm water down and bring cold water to the surface. Ocean and freshwater salmon can be affected by rapid temperature changes and
heavy rains. When cooking fresh caught salmon be sure to check the internal
salmon temperature with a meat thermometer.
The HOTTEST Chilli Sauce in the World! May 2005
In 1912 a German scientist, Wilbur Scoville, was the first
person to measure the hotness of chillies. Originally he just did it
by taste (and how sore they made his mouth) but now it's done with
fancy food analysing machines.
Here's roughly how the scale works:
But beware! They have just discovered a chilli in Assam, northeast
India called NAGA JOLOKIA. It is so hot it can cause heart attacks so
only a mad person would try to eat it. Just to touch it you'd need
to be wearing thick gloves! As for the Scoville rating... it's
an awesome 855,500.
- Ordinary "peppers"
Scoville rating: 0
- Jalapeno peppers (if you get a pizza with little bits
of chopped chilli on it, these are usually Jalapeno - and for most
people they taste too hot!)
Scoville rating: about 5,000
- Scotch Bonnet (about the hottest thing you can buy in a very
Scoville rating: between 80,000 and 300,000. ARGHH!
- Savina Habanero (a rare Mexican chilli)
Earthquakes are measured on the Richter Scale which was invented by a Californian
called Charles E Richter in 1935. (They get quite a few earthquakes and tremours in California.)
The Richter Scale is logarithmic which means that if an earthquake is measured as 1 point bigger
on the scale, it's 10 times more powerful. If it's 2 points bigger on the scale
it's 100 times more powerful and so on.
The very middle of an earthquake (where the vibrations are biggest) is called the epicentre.
WHAT THE EARTHQUAKE FEELS LIKE
Less than 2
You wouldn't notice it, but sensitive
measuring machines (called seismometers) would pick it up.
2 - 3
You might feel a little shake as if a big
lorry was going past.
3 - 4
It would give you a bit of a wobble and
possibly bring down a few loose roof tiles.
4 - 5
This would wake you up and probably make some
chimney pots fall down.
5 - 6
Badly built buildings near the epicentre
could suffer a lot of damage.
6 - 7
Getting really nasty for anyone within
70 miles (100km) of the epicentre.
7 - 8
MAJOR EARTHQUAKE with massive damage to
buildings within 150 miles (200km) of epicentre.
GREAT EARTHQUAKE causing
devastation for hundreds of miles.
A Murderous Maths fan just calling him/herself Macpherson suggests that the unit for
measuring the holiness of a priest is a "Philigrahams". (It's a good joke for
Apoorva Aditya gave us the units for fame based on the artist Andy Warhol's quote
The smallest possible measurement of fame =
because it only lasts for...
...ooops you've missed it!
"In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes."
- 1 warhol = 15 minutes of fame.
- 1 kilowarhol = 15,000 minutes or 10.42 days of fame.
- 1 megawarhol = 15,000,000 minutes or 28.5 years of fame.
BEAUTY (and SHIP LAUNCHABILITY)
Many thanks to Max from New Zealand who told us about the "MILLIHELEN". It's based on the fact that thousands of years ago the Trojan wars started when Paris, the prince of Troy stole the beautiful Helen from the Greeks. This caused the Greeks to send over a massive navy to get her back and hence Helen is said to have had "the face that launched a thousand ships". Therefore it's obvious that:
This nicely leads to:
- 1 MILLIHELEN is a unit of beauty equal to the ability to launch one ship
- 1 CENTIHELEN would launch 10 ships
- 1 DECIHELEN would launch 100 ships.
Patrick Gaffey told us about the TORINO SCALE which rates how likely an asteroid is to hit us!
HOW MUCH TROUBLE WILL THE ASTEROID GIVE US?
It'll miss completely, or it's so tiny it'll burn up in the atmosphere.
It'll come close but don't panic. Put your umbrella up if it makes you feel better.
About 1% chance of minor damage
About 1% chance of bigger damage
Oooh, better keep an eye on this one
Now we're getting serious. Keep watching and checking and hoping...
Something very big could come very close. International attention required.
Definite collision, but where? Could destroy a town or create a tsunami. This might happen once in 1,000 years.
This one could destroy a whole island. We get these maybe once in 20,000 years.
This happens once every 100,000 years (or longer). But if you see it coming, start packing because we need to leave Earth.
You'll be glad to know that nothing has ever been rated above a 4, and at the moment there's nothing worse than a 1 up there.
Computer Mouse Movement
Sarah Moles tells us that:
One MICKEY = the smallest amount of movement that can be detected by a computer mouse.
It's a length of about 0.1mm or 1/250 th of an inch and it's named after Mickey Mouse.
By the way, the total distance moved by all the all the computer mice in Britain in one hour is about two trillion mickeys or 2,000,000,000,000mk. That's enough to go around the equator five times!
Tripple A tells us that:
One SHEPPEY = the distance at which sheep cease to look picturesque.
It is named after the Isle of Sheppey in the UK and is about 7/8 of a mile or 1.4km.
If you know of any more unusual units of measurement - real or just funny - please
let us know! We'll put them on the site along with your name.
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