When in Rome, take your units of measures. It is already difficult to convert from feet to meters or from pounds to kilograms, which is essential to move in European countries. Things get even more hard if we think that there are some original units of measurement, unknown to most people. For example, have you ever heard about the Porunkusema, the Waffle House or the Mickey?
When in Rome, take your units of measures. It is already difficult to convert from feet to meters or from pounds to kilograms, which is essential to move in European countries. Things get even more hard if we think that there are some original units of measurement, unknown to most people.
Let’s discover some of them together.
Strange Units of Measures: Porunkusema
The most bizarre unit of measurement comes from Finland and is poronkusema. It indicates a distance of about 4.5 miles, which corresponds to “how far a reindeer can migrate before it needs to stop to…
urinate”. Actually, it has a logic of its own. It originates from the Sami explorers, a population living in some areas of Finland, Norway, Sweden and Russia.
In the past, faced with the need to quantify distances, and in the absence of GPS and other technological systems, explorers decided to rely on the reindeer’s urinary autonomy. They estimated that the distance beyond which reindeer need to stop to pee is around 4.5 miles. Since then they have used poronkusema (or multiples thereof) to indicate a distance.
Waffle House is used by the American Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It serves to determine the damage caused by a natural disaster. In particular, the name comes from the reputation that the restaurants of the Waffle House chain have earned. In fact, they are the only restaurants to remain open even during heavy storms and tornadoes. Depending on how the restaurants in the chain react to a storm or a tornado, FEMA provides an indicator of the severity of the situation.
The index has three levels:
- green level, if a restaurant has energy and food, with limited or no damage;
- yellow level, if a restaurant has energy but limited food;
- red level if the restaurant has to close.
Only in 2018, during Hurricane Michael in Florida, did the Waffle House index reach the red level. In fact, 30 restaurants had to close before the incoming storm.
“Famous” Units of Measures: The Mickey
A mickey, you guessed it, is named after Mickey Mouse. It is the length of the smallest detectable movement of a computer mouse. Its exact size depends on the mouse used. In fact, the value is obtained by dividing the distance (in pixels) that the cursor covers on the screen by the distance (in centimeters) that the mouse travels on the surface on which it moves. The value changes depending on whether the mouse moves horizontally or vertically. This is why there is a mickey for each of the two.