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.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Movement Update, May 6

Hey everyone,

My apologies for the long delay since the last update. Here's what's new:

The next meeting of the Consultative Committee for Units (CCU) is in September. It is at this meeting that Dr. I. M. Mills, Chairman, has promised to propose the "hella-" prefix to the committee. The CCU is the first stop on the long road to approval for the prefix, so it's critical to the movement that the CCU approve the idea. If they give "hella-" the nod, it will move on to another committee for debate. It's time to start building the momentum we need to push "hella-" through the CCU now!

Though I have not discussed the idea with Professor Mills yet, I'm looking forward to speaking with him about the possibility of speaking at this meeting and personally addressing the committee with my best arguments. I'll keep you in the loop for when I speak to the professor and get his reaction on this idea.

In other news, IDG News reporter Joab Jackson just put together this great article on the prefix for It's the first bit of new press in awhile, so that's always good.

And now for some bad news: I recently spoke with an engineer from Google, who said his colleagues were so entertained by the "hella" proposal that they decided to integrate it into the Google unit conversion calculator. After writing the code to do this, they ran it by management, only to have the idea shut down. Unfortunately, this means that hella units won't be appearing on the Google calculator any time soon - unless you join me in writing to Google and telling them to include the prefix (they're based in the Bay Area; they, of all people, should appreciate it!). You can contact Google here.

On a more personal note, one of my former physics professors has taken to simply calling me "Hella" for short. An unorthodox nickname to be sure, but I'm just happy he knows who I am.

-Austin "Hella" Sendek