the unix utility 'units' one day, I stumbled across
the greatest unit of measurement in the
whole of the scientific
community - the barn megaparsec.
What is a barn
megaparsec? It's a unit of volume measurement
equal to almost exactly pi/2 teaspoons - about 1.597, to be exact.
interesting about that?
A barn is a unit
of cross-sectional area used by high-energy physicists
to describe the size of an atom when you're trying to hit it in a
particle collider. 1 barn is equal to 10^-28 square
meters. For most of us, that's terribly small, but for
particle physicists, that's pretty large (easy as hitting the broad
side of a barn). A parsec, on the other
hand, is a unit
of distance - length, if you will. It's
equal to 3.26 lightyears, or about 3.08*10^16 meters or 1.9*10^13
miles. A big honking long distance.
So what do we get
when we put them together? A unit of
volume, of course - area by length is volume. Imagine a long
strand the size of an atom across that would stretch from here to the
Andromeda galaxy. It's the perfect
blend of the world of the big and the world of the
small, tied together in the world of the the everyday.
Waiting for the
What is a strand
the size of an atom and the length between galaxies,
but an example of His Noodly Appendage? And what is pi/2
teaspoons, but a good start for adding oregano or garlic to your
single-serving of spaghetti? You'll need a few
barn-megaparsecs of olive oil.
barn-megaparsec. Proof that the Flying Spaghetti Monster
loves us and wants us to be happy. Twirl that noodle on your
fork and enjoy.