Hella Cute

There is a facebook group (almost 25,000 strong) that is part of a petition to have the SI prefix of 10 to the 27th power (10^27) be the word “hella”. Yes, hella. Read this description of what an SI prefix is to understand the full impact of such a proposal.

The International System of Units (abbr. SI, Systeme Internacional) has established standard prefixes for powers of ten from 10^-24 to 10^24. For example, one could say that the mass of 1.0 moles of carbon-12 is precisely 12 grams, 0.012 kilograms, 12000000 micrograms, or 0.000000000000000000000012 yottagrams. A list of these prefixes appears below.

Factor Name

10^24 yotta
10^21 zetta
10^18 exa
10^15 peta
10^12 tera
10^9 giga
10^6 mega
10^3 kilo
10^2 hecto
10^1 deka

10^-1 deci
10^-2 centi
10^-3 milli
10^-6 micro
10^-9 nano
10^-12 pico
10^-15 femto
10^-18 atto
10^-21 zepto
10^-24 yocto

I remember a period of time there when Cartman from Southpark was into using the expression. His argument:

Eric Cartman: You guys are hella stupid.
Stan: Why do you keep saying ‘hella, Cartman?
Eric Cartman: ‘Cuz I’m hella cool, that’s why.

I do admit that the wording of the actual petition is a good deal more sophisticated but, when you get down to it, it is pretty much this same reason. From a newscientist blog:

Ian Mills of the University of Reading, UK, who heads the CCU, promised to raise the petition at the next meeting in September but said it was unlikely that the hella would win approval.

“I will mention this exchange at our next CCU meeting, and I am sure it will be received with smiles – but I doubt that it will go further!” the Telegraph reports him as saying.

One thought on “Hella Cute

  1. I think petitioning for ‘hella’ is far too unrefined. A more sophisticated sophist would consider using the prefix ‘palpa’ for 10^27.
    I’m almost being serious.
    According to the Jedi himself, the new Sith order is higher than that of even the highest Jedi. Therefore, Emperor Palpatine should rightly be ranked higher than Yoda.
    and because Yotta is 10^24…
    Just think- we could one day speak of mass in terms of imperial palpatons.

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