How the Unit of Measurement Known as the “Scalzi” Was Ascertained
Posted on February 14, 2011 Posted by John Scalzi 39 Comments
This is a finely-calibrated, precision-oriented method, I will have you know.
Shortly thereafter the scales were occupied by a duck and by a woman with a carrot tied to her nose. I have no idea what that was about.
Photo: Fred Teifeld
Burn her! Or him! Somebody!
Just don’t burn the Coke Zero!
Coke Zero won’t burn. Zero calories means zero fuel.
Unless it’s fissile.
I must have been sitting about 3 feet to the right of the person who took this picture!
That person on the right totally has their foot on the scale. RECOUNT!
(Also, if you wanted fine precision, you really shoulda been nekkid.)
But will it float?
He turned me into a newt!!
(I got better.)
I notice that you included the mass of the cardboard and aluminum as part of calculating the number of ounces in a Scalzi.
Granted, my experiences are somewhat limited–in other words, I’ve only really been to conferences aimed at crime writers, genetic technologists and various marketeers, etc., for the clinical laboratory industry–but it looks to me like you SF/F folks have a hell of a lot more fun at your conferences. Granted, most of the attendees at the clinical lab conference were MDs, PhDs and CEO et al for big companies and it was February in Tampa, so golf clubs were often involved (alas, I am none of those), so maybe it’s just a different definition of fun.
I can hear the crowd chanting now … A SCALZI! BURN HIM!
It’s a fair cop.
For accuracy, there should have been identical containers (trash cans, perhaps) on each side. One of those containers would contain our Fearless Leader and the other would be filled with the contents of cans and/or 2L bottles (which would then be returned for the deposit, of course) until the sides balanced.
But how many scalzis of sheeps bladder must one employ to prevent earthquakes?
Where can I get one for my bathroom? It says you are 153 pounds with all your clothes and shoes. Obviously it is the most accurate scale invented by man!
It looks like one of our thermal pods. But its a very bad design.
While you’re in Boston next year, we could try rolling you end over end on the Harvard Bridge. Then you could be a unit of length, too. (Note that there might be slippage due to ice and snow.)
I want to see pics of the woman with the carrot and the duck.
John: The woman with the carrot and the duck is a reference to Monty Python and the Holy Grail, in which they conclude that since all wood burns, all that burns must be wood, and since ducks float, if a woman with a long nose (hence the carrot) weighs the same as a duck, she must be made of wood, and therefore a witch.
It’s really funny in context.
Also, this reminds me that various SCA Kings of the East declared the official unit of measurement to be “the ko.” Ko was a very thin and small gentleman with a Japanese persona (even though he was a blond white guy). (Actually he’s still small and white and blond, but not quite as thin as he once was…though still plenty thin.) Ko, you see, weighed one ko; all other weights were to be derived by comparison with Ko’s weight.
Well, it makes as much sense as comparing to a worn-out chunk of platinum in France! (Well…not quite as much. Dramatically less, in fact. But still.)
I am in reality well aware of the duck and the carrot nose woman. I was being arch. I SWEAR.
Now I understand why you were trying to light everyone on fire all weekend.
i find it impressive that your weight divides so evenly into 12-packs
Zopher – well, I for one didn’t know about the carrot / duck thing, so thanks for clueing me in.
It should have been six-packs, not twelve-packs, so he could really have “six-pack abs.” “Twelve-pack abs” sounds like a prawn, or perhaps a horrible mutation of The Situation (if The Situation isn’t enough of a horrible mutation already, being from the Garbage State and all).
But what inquiring minds want to know is this:
How will we determine if this new fundamental unit of mass has changed over time? Will there be a balance at every convention, along with certified (or at least certifiable) lab techs in long white coats to recalibrate the Scalzi? Will a platinum-iridium ingot of the Scalzi be deposited in a vacuum chamber in the middle of Paris, to which all fen of the world can turn as the official reference? And is it heavier than wood?
Is that an Escape Pod in the background? I expect Misters Lafferty or Eley at any moment.
If you want an accurate standard Scalzi, just buy 8 whole and 1 half case of Coke Zero, where there are 24 cans per case and 12 ounces of Coke Zero per can. The total mass is, by definition, one Scalzi.
Seems to me one should pour the contents of all that Coke Zero in a trash can. Then unzip the Scalzi and pour his contents into another trash can. And balance.
Trust me, John, this is for Science!
Is that an Escape Pod in the background?
As I pointed out before, it looks like one of our thermal pods. But it’s a very bad design. It flies like a truck.
Good. What is a truck?
It just occurred to me that that skinny, scrawny crossbar on top of the scale is at least fourteen feet long, supporting roughly four hundred pounds, and exhibits almost zero deviation from a straight line, and all I can think of is, damn, did you pilfer some Unobtanium from Pandora?
Scalzissimo 19: Oops, sorry. I was a little croggled that you’d somehow missed it, but took you at your word. I guess I’m a little on the groggy side.
Chris Jerrib 22: Happy to oblige.
Jaws 23: You do know that those stupid venal scumbags are New Yorkers, right? The nice people Down The Shore wish they’d go back to Brooklyn where they came from!
Remove the supports!
You’re smiling in a picture again. Way to blow your image. ;-)
“It’s a fair cop.”
Aren’t you glad you went on a diet now?
I’m going with the assumption that John’s clothes cancel out the soda’s clothes, and that this is a perfect measurement.
Greg: Stop trying to start a race war in New Jersey. Besides, I’ve run out of copies of Declaration of War (Short Form), and Our Gracious Host is notorious for owning a printer only under protest of his
conditions of confinementSFWA office, so I can’t just print off more of them.
Xopher: Exactly. The Garbage State (both NY and NJ are so arrogant about being the center of the universe that it’s both of them).
The scales remind me of a trebuchet my sister helped build for RenFaire one year. I hope they don’t try to toss you from one next year, because that’s the only direction I can see all this going.
That, or they’ll try to find out how many scalzis a trebuchet weighs.
A girl named John????
Do kids today like Monty Python Holy Grail? That was my All Time Favorite for several years of my life. The awkward years, it is fair to say.
Since I know you all desperately care, Holy Grail displaced Tron (which displaced Empire Strikes Back), and was later displaced by Princess Bride which lasted all the way to Matrix, which managed to hold on to this very day despite repeated attacks from Peter Jackson.
Jaws: what stupid, trashy, ignorant state are YOU from?