Wednesday, May 19, 2010

As Goes Google, So Goes the Nation...

Hello everybody-

Well, the time has come for me to retract part of my last (May 6) post. Fortunately, I've never been happier to retract a post than I am today.

Ladies and gentlemen, the "hella" prefix has been officially integrated into the Google calculator! To see it for yourself, simply go to google, and type in a conversion, e.g. 4,249,234 kilograms to hellagrams, or 931 lightyears to hellameters.

I'm extremely grateful to my friend Greg and the engineers at Google, who are responsible for the latest addition to the Google calculator. Greg, a fellow UCD physics student, used his connections from previous employment at Google to reach a number of engineers, and then proposed the idea of integrating the hella prefix into the Google calculator. The team, consisting of my new best friend Eric "Iceman" and his coworkers, worked hard to see it through. A big thanks to all those who worked to see this happen... you're hella awesome!

It's been said that "as goes Google, so goes the nation." Hopefully, the google-ization of the hella prefix will give the prefix the sense of familiarity and legitimacy that it needs to become nationally (and internationally) accepted.

So, next time you're required to give some sort of measurement, our friends at Google can easily convert that to hella-units for you. And if your professor/boss tells you you've used made-up units, just remind him that if it's on Google, it's official.



  1. Nice. I wanted to buy a shirt to support the effort and like the black one the best, but I think it has sort of a typo. "1,000 yottabytes? That's hellabytes." Well, no. Actually, as I understand it, it should read: "1,000 yottabytes? That's a hellabyte." We wouldn't say "1,000 meters? That's kilometers." It would be "1,000 meters? That's a kilometer."

    I know the shirt may be aiming at the colloquial "hella" here, but I think it's equally funny and more accurately conveys the proposal to say "a hellabyte."

  2. I understand your concern. That was a point that I seriously debated before sending in the design to the screen printer. At first, the shirt said "5,000 yottabytes? That's hellabytes.", but I got a bunch of responses from people who said they thought it should read "1,000" instead, just to be clear. It does sort of bug me too, since 1 hellabyte isn't considered "hellabytes," but I think the 1,000 yotta to 1 hella connection is made easiest when the shirt reads as it does. Thanks for your input, it's much appreciated.

  3. I'm dismayed that your friends at Google forgot the hellasmoot, with the smoot being the east coast's great contribution to measurement. Such a unit has great potential to unify our divided nation...

  4. Thought I'd let you know you made it to WIRED magazine: In Jargon Watch: "Hella; comb. form - A proposed metric prefix for 10^27, useful for describing megameasurements like Earth's mass (6 hellagrams). The International Committee for Weights and Measures agreed to consider it after a Facebook petition garnered 30,000 signatures." June 2010

  5. I saw in the news article about this that yotta and zepto each have their corresponding ten-to-the-negative prefixes, but that you don't have a corresponding one for hella...The obvious candidate is hecka, right?