[M.M.X.I.V. 103] Obscure units

This post actually tangentially addresses the Daily Post’s prompt, at least by title: “Can’t get it out of my head!

There are a few things of obscure-ish units.  One is a misnomer in a way, one is an inside joke, and then the last one relates to “Can’t get it out of my head.”

Consider the light year, for example.  This is a unit of distance, not of time.  In fact, light year, in some sense, is really an abbreviation.  That is, (The speed of) light (times one) year.  Because the dimensions of velocity times the dimensions of time leave us with a distance, a light year is therefore a distance.  Just because it has time in the name does not mean that the “time” is a misnomer!

Another distance, which was more of a whimsical unit used, was the Marching Band Step.  During my junior year of high school, many of the Lincoln high schools competed in the TriMATHlon at Doane College.  One of the challenges involved a torus on the football field.  Later in the day, the students on the Southwest math team got an honorable mention during the awards ceremony for “Most creative unit” in defining the “Marching Band Step” as a unit of distance.  I don’t remember too many details about why, or what the challenge involving the torus was, however.

And then we get to what has been stuck in my head on-and-off for the last several weeks: King’s Lead Hat.

One of the lines in the song: “The passage of my life is measured out in shirts.”  Therefore, clothing is now a time unit, and in some sense, I agree with it!  I tend to do my laundry approximately once every two weeks, and therefore one possible measurement of time could be how full my laundry baskets are.  It is definitely imprecise, since there will be some days that I use multiple shirts (or pants!)

For example, today I wore a T-shirt and shorts en route to League.  The temperature was 65 degrees Fahrenheit when I left at 09:30.  But at 13:30, when I prepared to return to Evanston, the temperature had dropped to 45 degrees Fahrenheit, and a chilly rain fell.  Therefore, my clothes were wet and I was uncomfortable.  Prior to going to bridge, I will change, so that the shirt lasted less than a day.

So, with shirts, marching band steps, and light years, I have shown three “interesting units.”  What other ideas of strange units can you think of, readers?


Today is the one hundred and third day of M.M.X.I.V.  That makes fourteen weeks and five days.

3 thoughts on “[M.M.X.I.V. 103] Obscure units

    • Oh, I completely forgot about Smoots, but I know about them well, as my Dad graduated from MIT several moons ago. (Hey, and I suppose that “moon” is also an arbitrary unit of time!)

      We went by the “Smoot Bridge” the last time I was in Boston, too.

      Thanks for reading!


Let's have a conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s