# Top 10 Strangest Units of Measurement

You all know about feet and meters, kilometers and miles, and all the other very common units of measurement, usually from the metric or imperial measurement systems. They're widely used, but, lots of people have developed interesting, and sometimes strange, variations of normal units of measurement, and I'm going to list them here. Items on this list can't be random things you can come up with on the spot, they have to be units of measurement that were developed and have gained at least some fame. Anyways, here are the Top 10 Strangest Units of Measurement! Enjoy!
The Top Ten
1 The Beard-Second

One of the absolute strangest and most imaginative units of measurement is the Beard-Second. The Beard-Second is inspired by a common unit of measurement called a Light-Year, but it's much better for extremely short distances (like, really tiny ones), whereas the Light-Year is for enormous distances.

You're probably wondering what a Beard-Second is. I'll tell you. It's exactly what it sounds like: the average length that a beard grows in a second. Most people and scientists describe 1 Beard-Second as 10 nanometers, which is equal to one billionth of a meter (extremely tiny), though others think it's more around 5 nanometers. This unit of measurement is pretty strange and kind of hilarious, though it's actually pretty inventive.

2 The Millihelen

Are any of you familiar with the story of the Trojan War? This unit of measurement is all about the woman who started it, Helen of Troy, whose beauty caused many problems. Basically, she fell in love with a Trojan named Paris, but she was already married to Menelaus from Sparta. When she ran off to Troy, the Spartans sent a thousand ships to bring her back, thus starting the Trojan War. At least that's how the legend tells it.

Anyways, a Millihelen is the amount of beauty required to launch one ship. A thousand Millihelens would launch a thousand ships, equivalent to one Helen, as her beauty caused a thousand ships to go after her. It's a measure of beauty, and every Millihelen of beauty you possess is a ship that would launch after you.

I'm probably a few thousand Millihelens, maybe even a million, but the average person might be just a dozen or so. This is a really weird and surprisingly well-known way of measuring things, and it's so strange that it had to be on this list.

3 The Smoot

The Smoot is one of the most famous units on here, so I'll cut straight to the facts. A Smoot is the length of a person named Oliver R. Smoot, who later became the chairman of the American National Standards Institute and then the president of the International Organization for Standardization.

This was invented in 1958 when Smoot was 5 feet 7 inches (or 170 cm) tall. The unit of measurement is famous for being used to measure the Harvard Bridge (using Oliver Smoot as a ruler, they calculated it to be around 364.5 Smoots long). It's still used quite a bit. Google Earth and Google Calculator include it as a unit of measurement, and police even used Smoots to measure things at crime scenes on that bridge.

Still, it remains one of the strangest units of measurement as it's literally just a random person. Using this guy to measure things makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

4 The Sheppey

This is one of my favorites because of how random and weird it is and how it caught on pretty well. A Sheppey is a measure of distance that's about 7/8 of a mile. We know that because, well, a Sheppey is the closest distance at which sheep remain picturesque, meaning vivid and unusual, so it has to be fairly far away.

It's named after the Isle of Sheppey, which is in the UK, and was created by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd. This is really strange and ridiculous because, I mean... why? Why would you measure after sheep specifically? Why not another random animal like, oh, I don't know, sloths? It's actually been referenced in quite a few books on physics and is pretty well known, which is surprising considering the unusual way to calculate a Sheppey.

5 The Mickey

Another very strange unit of measurement used for distance is the Mickey. This is pretty straightforward. It's the smallest resolvable unit of distance possible by a computer mouse. Many computers actually include how many Mickeys per inch there are, and the more Mickeys per inch, the higher the quality of the mouse.

Usually, there are about 500 Mickeys per inch, which means it's a pretty small distance, but other computers can go up to over 16,000 Mickeys per inch. This is insane but a good quality for a computer to have. The name Mickey comes from the famous cartoon character Mickey Mouse. After all, Mickey is a mouse, and this unit of measurement is all about computer mice. Still, it's quite a strange way of measuring things.

6 The Smidgen

That's right, a Smidgen, which is a word you've probably heard before in your life, is a real thing. You know tablespoons and teaspoons and all those measurements for cooking, right? And I'm sure you've heard of a dash in cooking instructions, like "just a dash of salt," for example. Well, a dash is usually 1/8 of a teaspoon, which is the smallest of the spoons.

After a dash, there's a pinch, like "just a pinch of salt." That's half of a dash or 1/16 of a teaspoon. Finally, there's a smidgen. It's half of a pinch, or a quarter of a dash, or 1/32 of a teaspoon. Extremely tiny. So tiny that it's almost impossible to correctly put in "a smidgen of salt," and it's so small that it really won't affect the thing you're baking very much, which makes it pretty strange and unnecessary. I couldn't not include it in the list.

7 The Mother Cow Index

Another extremely weird item on this list, the Mother Cow Index, is pretty strange. It's the number of pregnant cows an acre of land could support. It was actually used quite a bit and was frequently used in real estate transactions throughout the American Southwest. It was a measure of the agricultural quality, arability, and natural resource availability of the area.

Honestly, it's not a stupid measurement. However, the name and the use of pregnant cows to measure it is pretty strange, and this definitely had to take its place on the list.

8 The Banana Equivalent Dose

Another pretty weird unit of measurement involves bananas. The Banana Equivalent Dose is a measure used to compare the amount of radiation someone is exposed to from one thing to the amount of radiation you're exposed to by eating an average banana. It's pretty easy to understand, though the amount of radiation in a banana and how to calculate it is more complicated.

Yes, this may be a practical measurement for radiation, but it's still pretty strange to use a banana as a measurement, and it still deserves its place on this list.

9 The Donkey-Power

I'm sure most people here have heard of Horsepower before, which is 745.7 watts of power, but has anyone heard of Donkey-Power before? Well, apparently, mathematicians and other people weren't satisfied with just horsepower, so they added another unit called Donkey-Power.

Comically, this engineering unit is much smaller than 1 horsepower. It's around 250 watts, or about a third of a horsepower, which reflects how donkeys are generally known to be less powerful and useful than horses. But they should have probably just stuck with horsepower because this is pretty weird.

10 The Scaramucci

Are any of you familiar with Anthony Scaramucci? He's an American financier who was the White House Communications Director, and this unit of measurement, used to measure time, is named after him for his tenure under Donald Trump, which is a whole other political fiasco. His tenure was very short, the shortest in history, actually, and it lasted 11 days, which is the length of that measure of time. Sometimes a Scaramucci can be 10 days as well.

The Contenders
11 The Shot
12 Hoppus Foot
13 The Waffle House Index

Green means it's operating normally. Yellow means it's open but has lost some power. Red means it's closed. It's an actual unit of measurement.

14 The Barleycorn

It's how shoe sizes are measured.

15 The Nautical Mile
16 The Planck Length