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MusicMan

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When I was a research student, a group of us were chatting over tea and asked a fellow student, who was from India, studying electron microscopy, working in Angstroms (there's another one) every day: "How deep is the Ganges at your city?". Without a microsecond pause he said "Not so deep, about two elephants". Very practical in certain situations.

A few years later I went to the store in a big national lab to get 20 metres of coaxial cable. After a pause for head-scrunching conversion, the storekeeper said, "Ah. You want about 60 nanoseconds then?". His basic unit was that light travels about a foot a nanosecond, and he usually supplied them for high-frequency delay lines.

The sniff, smidgeon and gnat are well known in experimental science, but not so well known as the smallest useful measure, the "square root of a gnat's c*ck".
 

thick_mike

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In paint colour matching there is a nice unit called the “flick”. High priests of colour that match each batch to a standard panel will feed back to the factory the required tint, e.g. “it needs a flick of blue”.

The definition of the flick is the amount of pigment needed to make a batch of colour match the standard panel, so the tint is perfect every time (even if it takes twenty tints :) )
 

Jonzjob

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I'll let you try if you like and I'll stand by and tell you what happens :mrgreen:

In Corsica of course :twisted: :twisted:

Just be aware though that food in French hospitals is not gourmet standard :shock: I know from personal experience!!
 

SammyQ

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Musicman, to take.your elephant story to its logical conclusion, my Limnology lecturer converted the annual productivity of Lough Neagh into "elephant equivalents". That is he took the meaningless "energy fixed" figure and estimated how many pachyderms this could represent. That way, the cold stat became an appreciable figure and us undergrads understood the order of magnitude it represented.
Sam.
 

SammyQ

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Take the photosynthetic nett production of Lough Neagh(the amount of algae) and divide it by the estimated energy needed to grow an adult elephant. Thus, if that lake was growing elephants (!) you would have a rough idea of how many were created per year? A quirky way of getting a big, unfriendly number into something we could (just about) contemplate in physical terms.
Sam
 
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