La Esencia de la Red en Estado Puro

Extrañas y divertidas unidades de medida

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A los humanos nos encanta medir cosas -distancias, pesos, tiempos, etc.- Durante este proceso, a la gente se le ha ocurrido gran infinidad de unidades de medida interesantes e inusuales.

Apgar Score – El Apgar Score fue inventado en 1952 por la Dra. Virginia Apgar para evaluar la salud de los recién nacidos, basándose en la Apariencia, Pulso, Muecas –Grimace en Inglés-, Actividad y Respiración. En un rango del 0 al 10. (Fuente)

Atomus – En la época medieval, el término Latin “Atomus” significaba “un abrir y cerrar de ojos”, la cantidad más pequeña de lo inimaginable. Hoy en día, está definido como 1/376 minutos, o bien, 150 milisegundos.

El número de Avogadro – Como se suele decir, un par son 2, una docena son 12, una gruesa son 144, etc. Pues bueno, los quimicos nos la han colado por la escuadra, ellos usan el número de Abogadro para referirse al 6.0221417930 x 1023,que es el número de átomos o moléculas que hay en una mole. Por cierto, e Sr. Abogadro  que está a vuetra derecha, parece un Hobbit.

La Docena de Baker – Si compramos una docena de baguettes,  los panaderos normalmente te ponen una de más gratis, así, “La docena de Baker” -panadero en inglés- son 13. Esto no lo hacen por su gran corazón, sino que ya desde el Siglo XIII, fue promulgada una ley medieval Inglesa,  que les obligaba a hacerlo bajo pena de perder la mano de un hachazo, si eran cazados timando a un cliente. Así que poner una barra de más a los clientes era una forma prudente de conservar las manos. when a medieval English law made it so a baker could be punished by chopping his hand off with an axe if he was found to be shortchanging a customer. (Fuente)

barn – Those nuclear physicists are a funny bunch. They define a “barn” (yes, from the saying “as big as a barn”) as a cross section of an atomic nucleus. It is 10-28 m2. This unit of measurement is used when these physicists/comedians need to quantify the scattering cross-section of particles. An outhouse is defined as 10-6 barn and a shed is 10-24 barns.

baud (Bd) – With broadband Internet and all, we thankfully don’t use this anymore, but anyone who’s old enough to remember modems should know that baud (later supplanted by bit/second) is the measure of the rate of data transmission over telephone lines. The baud rate is the number of distinct symbols that can be transmitted per second. It is named after Emile Baudot, the inventor of the Baudot code used in telegraphy.

BB – Ever owned a BB gun? Well, BB doesn’t stand for ball bearing or bullet ball, it actually referred to the size of the pellet. A BB pellet (0.180 inch or 4.57 mm) is between B and BBB size.

Big Mac Index – a measure of exchange rates (actually purchasing power parity) between two currencies. It was defined by Economist’s editor Pam Woodall to measure whether a currency is under- or overvalued. She used a Big Mac because the burger is produced in about 120 countries. (Source)

The easiest way to explain this is by an example: say you want to know whether the exchange rate between the dollar and the British pound, say $2 = £1, is fair. You take the price of a Big Mac in the US ($3.57) and in Britain (£2.29). The idea is the price of a Big Mac should be equal in both countries, relative to their currencies – the implied purchasing power parity is 3.57/2.29 = 1.56. But the exchange rate is 2/1 – so this means that the pound is overvalued against the dollar by 28% (2 divided by 1.56).

blink – Oh, every few decades somebody proposed that instead of using 24 pesky hours, why not divide the day into units of 10. Basically 1 day is divided into 10 hours, each hour into 100 minutes, and each minute into 100 metric seconds or blinks. A blink works out to be 0.864 second, which ironically is twice the time it takes for you to blink your eye.

carat – A measure of how big a diamond is. The unit carat came from the Greek word keration meaning a carob bean, which was used as a standard weight in ancient Greece. It’s now defined as 200 milligram.

cubit – A biblical unit of distance. It is the distance between a man’s middle finger and his elbow. It is about 18 inches or 45 centimeters. A cubit is divided into 6 palms or 24 digits.

In Ezekiel 48: 34 it was written that the size of the New Jerusalem or heaven is 4500 cubits on each side. That translates to about 1,046 acres or 1.63 square mile – about 3/100th the size of San Francisco.

Needs more donkey power

donkey power – A third of a horsepower, about 250 watts.

farthing – An old English word for quarter. A farthing means 1/4 of a penny.

flock – Ever wonder how many birds are in a flock of seagulls? A flock means 2 score or 40.

fortnight – A fortnight is two weeks or 14 days. The 12th century word comes from “fourteen nights.” Geeks have adopted this in a humorous way: instead of saying seconds, they say microfortnight (which comes out to be about 1.21 seconds).

Gillette – American physicists Ted Maiman, who made the first working laser, used to compare laser output power by how many Gillette razor blades it can burn a hole through. A 2 Gillette laser can only through 2 stacked razor blades.

googol – The googol was invented in 1938 by mathematician Edward Kasner, who asked his then 8-year-old nephew Milton Sirotta what he would name a really, really, really large number. A googol is a large number indeed: it is 1 followed by 100 zeroes or 10100.

A year later, Kasner defined another number: the googolplex or 10googol(1010^100). How big is a googolplex? Carl Sagan estimated that it would be impossible to write out all the zeroes of the number, because it would take more space than the known universe.


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07/02/2009 a 9:18


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