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MIT student blogger Chris M. '12

My New Hobby…. by Chris M. '12

It's Giga-cool.

The other day my roommate and I decided that there was a flaw in the English language. I’d point out flaws in other langauges, but my mastery of them leaves quite a bit to be desired. On a tangential note, I’ve been taking a crash course in conversational German in preparation for a trip I’m taking in two weeks to give a presentation at Mainz Universitat (that’s a whole other blog) and if this course is to be believed, the Germans spend a perhaps disturbing amount of time talking about what the women and children are eating.

Anyway, we noticed that it was difficult to indicate the intensity without relying on “really”**n, a problem only exacerbated by sleep deprivation. So we decided to take the ambiguity out of it. How?

S.I. prefixes.

So if you’re kinda excited about something, you can go ahead and say you’re kilo-excited. Exam tomorrow that you haven’t studied for? Femto-cool. You could even apply it to those tricky end-of-relationship conversations: “It’s not that I don’t care, it’s just that we care on different orders of magnitude. You’re like an exa, and I’m at a centi.”

What’s more, you can apply it to the magnitude of abstraction you take in a subject to indicate your level of understanding. For example, I’d say I have a pretty nano-understanding of mechanical engineering, meaning there’s little abstraction. Meanwhile, biology hovers around the Tera-level, because I’m totally satisfied to believe the human body runs on magic.

Try it out, it’s great fun with your geek friends! Speaking of geek friends, you’re bound to make many many more come CPW next week! Up your excitement a few powers of 10. : )

15 responses to “My New Hobby….”

  1. Nathan says:

    I live this!

    (reminds me of 1984 a bit, but this would EXPAND to the english language, not reduce it)

  2. Armin says:

    >the Germans spend a perhaps disturbing amount of time talking about what the women and children are eating.

    I don’t have enough beans to understand this!

    I hope you find tera ways of new hobbies for CPW and beyond.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Chris! You just made my day, like you always have done. XD

  4. Ammar says:

    Now that’s what I call a geek-friendly language.
    speaking of geek-language, here’s a phone conversation I had yesterday regarding my subscription for a newspaper:-
    Woman: Hello, did you receive your paper today?
    Me: No, it didn’t arrive, it didn’t yesterday either.
    Woman: Weird, it’s supposed to be there.
    Me: Well, it should, but experimental data does not support this theory. since you think all existing data lead to the conclusion that we just disproved I believe you’re missing some parameters. I suggest you look for the missing input data before trying that experiment again.
    Woman: Um, huh ?
    Me: Never mind, there’s no newspaper in the box.
    Woman (sounding tera-perplexed): Ok, Thanks. *hangs up*

  5. Yay! Du sprichst deutsch! Ich habe deutsch fuer zwei Jahre gelernt, deshalb habe ich eine Frage: sind die Deutscheklassen in MIT gut?

    Sorry. Couldn’t resist. Anyway, what’s your presentation going to be about? German is tera cool.

  6. Jochi Pochi says:

    Amazing!! I use interesting prefixes in sentences too, and me liking to investigate radical limits I found that mole should be one of them since the Avogadro’s number is one of the biggest numbers widely known:


    Hope some bloggers post some good stories from CPW I’m not going but I’m interested smile

  7. Anon says:

    But saying that it’s “femto-cool” implies that it’s still somewhat cool, which is inaccurate! How do you denote the negative?

  8. @Anon says:

    Nega-cool. Not to be confused with mega-cool.

  9. Emily L. '13 says:

    I feel like I get previews of your blog posts through Facebook statuses. :-D But this was pretty amusing. grin

  10. D '14 says:

    @ @Anon

    Nega-cool. Not to be confused with mega-cool. lol.

  11. Amethyst says:

    Lol! Amazing post, as always–I am totally going to go use this with my nerd buddies and see how many kudos it gets me…I’ve found that using random qualifiers that somehow relate to Star Trek/Wars and Doctor Who also go over extremely well :D Molto bene!

    @MolesPerLiter: I am astonished that despite only one year of life in Germany, I actually understood that entire sentence your wrote. ^_^ Guess English really IS a Germanic language. You wouldn’t happen to be my best friend who lives in Deutschland, would you? I know he posts here occasionally too, but no clue what username…

    PS Waitlisted for Harvard. May see you soon if the fates hold out! Though chances are extremely slim. Maybe my app was too indicative of an “all-round-er” and not specific enough?? Hmm.

  12. @Amethyst: Good job! smile Actually, 1 year of life in Germany? Lucky. I’ve spent two years in a classroom learning German, but I feel like I’ve learned (learnt?) a lot. Nope, sorry, no German people I know of on the blog.

  13. Aditi '12 says:

    @MolesPerLiter: die Deutschklassen in MIT sind wunderbar. smile

  14. Pato '14 says:

    Haha that’s awesome, I’m leaving to CPW tomorrow morning I’m teraexcited!

  15. Aishwarya says:

    @ Aditi ’12: Vielen dank smile