On Measurements

A Pork Sandwich MeteorIn fantasy, describing quantities can be challenging — way beyond the metric/imperial wars uselessly raging for many decades (especially crazy when designing interstellar craft based on using both systems). A Yorkshire friend of mine once said that, in the original tongue, counting there was “one, two, three, four, five…many.”

I have a novel manuscript that featured counting due to a differently advanced culture. Fingers are good measures for humans (better than barleycorns, royal (?) strides, or other “standards”). The difficulty was in scaling. Sure, ten is two hands. And twenty is either “arms and legs” or four hands. Fifty? A hand of two hands? It didn’t scale without changing some kind of measurement standard.

It was odd to see the post from the Jerusalem Post (now devolved to be the UK’s Sun or New York’s Post intelligence level), measuring a meteor to the size of a premierly non-Kosher food item. In a media venue that slavishly caters to the American Evangelical, and Israeli right-wing and ultra-Orthodox factions, they choose this measure.

But really, how big is a “pork sandwich?” Are we talking white bread with crusts removed? A bagel (why not go all the way on culinary blasphemy)? A Subway not-quite-16″ sub? Is it measured by area? Length?

Weight would help, but I’m betting there’s no sandwich of any kind that would weigh what that meteor weighs, chondrite or otherwise.

Wolfram Alpha has a way to express whale weight in pineapples. It’d be fun to see force defined in terms of grand pianos falling from a number of floors. Or lift as a function of the number of chickens (trying to) take flight.
But pork-based measurements in this context goes beyond that absurdity and enters the realm of “are you kidding me?”

P.S. This blog took 47 knee twitches, a nosepick, and 2,460 keystrokes, less the backspace key.