Potrzebie System of Weights and Measures

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Mike Trout

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Jun 29, 1987, 4:03:36 PM6/29/87
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Well, the response was not overwhelming (I suspect most net.readers are too
young to remember this), but enough folks requested the PSWM that I'll go ahead
and post it. This is repeated exactly (including a number of irritating
typos--marked [sic]) from _Like,_MAD_, Copyright 1956, 1957, 1960 by E.C.
Publications, Inc. MAD books from that era were compliations of material that
appeared in the magazine; I don't know what issue the PSWM originally appeared
in. Note that since this is a partial table, some units of measure (cosmos,
bumbles, blobs, electron-echs [?]) are mentioned but not explained. In
return, I hope somebody posts the rules for 43-Man Squamish, as I have lost
mine.

We had a lot of fun with the PSWM in junior high. It became part of our lingo
for a while ("Where've you been, man, we've been waiting out here a couple of
woods...aw, shit, man, I wuz just down the street a kilopotrzebie...") We also
drew up calendars substituting clarkes/mingoes/cowznofskis for
days/months/years.


================================================================

THE POTRZEBIE SYSTEM OF WEIGHTS AND MEASURES

When Milwaukee's Donald Knuth first presented his revolutionary system of
weights and measures to the members of the
_Wisconsin_Academy_of_Science,_Arts,_and_Letters,_ they were
astounded...mainly because Donald also has two heads. All kidding aside,
Donald's system won first prize as the "most original presentation". So far,
the system has been adopted in Tierra del Fuego, Afghanistan, and Southern
Rhodesia. The U.N. is considering it for world adoption.

This new system of measuring, which is destined to become the measuring system
of the future, has decided improvements over the other systems now in use. It
is based upon measurements taken 6-9-12 [sic] at the Physics Lab. of Milwaukee
Lutheran High School, in Milwaukee, Wis., when the thickness of MAD Magazine
#26 was determined to be 2.263348517438173216473 mm. This length is the basis
for the entire system, and is called one potrzebie of length.

The Potrzebie has also been standardized at 3515.3502 wave lengths of the red
line in the spectrum of cadmium. A partial table of the Potrzebie System, the
measuring system of the future, is given.

LENGTH

1 potrzebie = thickness of MAD #26
.00000 p = 1 farshimmelt potrzebie (fp)
1000 fp = 1 millipotrzebie (mp)
10 mp = 1 centipotrzebie (cp)
10 cp = 1 decipotrzebie (dp)
10 dp = 1 potrzebie (p)
10 p = 1 dekapotrzebie (Dp)
10 Dp = 1 hectopotrzebie (Hp)
10 Hp = 1 kilopotrzebie (Kp)
1000 Kp = 1 furshlugginer potrzebie (Fp)

VOLUME

1 cubic dekapotrzebie = 1 ngogn (n)
.000001 n = 1 farshimmelt ngogn (fn)
1000 fn = 1 millingogn (mn)
10 mn = 1 centingogn (cn)
10 cn = 1 decingogn (dn)
10 dn = 1 ngogn (n)
10 n = 1 dekangogn (Dn)
10 Dn = 1 hectongogn (Hn)
10 Hn = 1 kilongogn (Kn)
1000 Kn = 1 furshlugginer ngogn (Fn)

MASS

1 ngogn of halavah* = 1 blintz (b)
.000001 b = 1 farshimmelt blintz (b) [sic]
1000 fb = 1 milliblintz (mb)
10 mb = 1 centiblintz (cb)
10 cb = 1 deciblintz (db)
10 db = 1 blintz (b)
10 b = 1 dekablintz (Db)
10 Db = 1 hectoblintz (Hb)
10 Hb = 1 kiloblintz (Kb)
1000 Kb = 1 furshlugginer blintz (Fb)

*Halavah is a form of pie, and it has a specific gravity of 3.1416 and a
specific heat of .31416.

TIME

1 average rotation of the earth = 1 clarke (cl)
.00001 cl = 1 wolverton (wl)
1000 wl = 1 kovac (kv)
100 kov [sic] = 1 martin (mn)
100 mn = 1 wood (wd)
10 wd = 1 clarke (cl)
10 cl = 1 mingo (mi)
10 mi = 1 cowznofski (cow)

DATE

October 1, 1952 is the day MAD was first published according to the old
calendar. On new calendar [sic], this is price 1 [sic] of cowznofski 1.
Cowznofskis before this date are referred to as "Before MAD (B.M.)" and
cowznofskis following this date are referred to as "Cowznofsko Madi (C.M.)"
The calendar for each cowznofski contains 10 mingoes named as follows: 1.
Tales (Tal.) 2. Calculated (Cal.) 3. To (To) 4. Drive (Dri.) 5. You (You)
6. Humor (Hum.) 7. In (In) 8. A (A) 9. Jugular (Jug.) 10. Vein (Vei.)

FORCE (absolute)

a force which, when acting upon 1 blintz of mass for 1 kovac, causes it to
attain a velocity of 1 potrzebie per kovac = 1 blintzal (b-al).
1000000 b-al = 1 furshlugginer blintzal (Fb-al)

ENERGY AND WORK

1 blintzal-potrzebie = 1 hoo (h)
1000000 h = 1 hah (hh)

POWER

1 hah per kovac = 1 whatmeworry (WMW)
1000 WMW = 1 kilowhatmeworry (KWMW)
100 KWMW = 1 aeolipower (A.P)

RADIOACTIVITY

The quantity of radon which is in equilibrium with one blintz of radium = 1
hyme (how's your mom, ed)

HEAT ENERGY

The amount of heat necessary to raise one blintz of halavah 1 degree S = 1
vreeble (v.)
1000 v = 1 large vreeble (V)

TEMPERATURE

100 degrees Smurdley (S) = optimum temperature for eating halavah (27 degrees
C)

COUNTING

48 things = 1 MAD
49 things = 1 baker's MAD

ANGULAR MEASURE

100 quircits ('''') = 1 zorch (''')
100 zorch (''') = 1 zygo (mark used in printing to designate "section")
100 zygo = 1 circle or circumference

BASIC CONVERSION

1 inch = 11.222 potrzebie
1 mile = .71105 Fur-potrzebie
1 blintz = 36.42538631 grams
1 kiloblintz = 80.3048 pounds
1 Fur-blintz = 36.425 metric tons
1 ngogn = 11.59455 cc = .0125 qts. = 2.3523 teaspoons

MISCELLANEOUS MEASUREMENTS

1 light Cowz. = 1.14 x 10^12 Fp.
1 vreeble = 574.8 hah
1 cosmo per sq. potrzebie = 3.1416 bumbles.
1 faraday = 122300 blobs/blintz equivalent weight
1 electron-ech = 5.5794 x 10^16 hoo
1 blintz molecular wt. of a gas = 77.4 Cn
Density of H2O = .31823 blintzes per ngogn (distilled water).
1 atmospheric pressure =1.4532 b^2/p 335.79 p of Hg.
1 b = 3234.4 b-al
gravity = 3234.4 p per kov. per kov.
speed of light = 114440 Fp/Kov.

FACTORS (ABBREVIATED TABLE)

1 potrzebie = 2.2633 millimeters = .089106 inches
1 Furshlugginer potrzebie = 2.2633 Klm. [sic] = 1.4064 miles
1 centimeter = 4.4182 potrzebie
1 kilometer = .44182 Fur-potrzebie
1 wood = 144 minutes
1 kovac = .864 seconds
1 year = 3.6524 Cowznofskis
1 watt = 3.499651 Whatmeworries
1 Horse Power = 2.57 Kilowhatmeworry
1 Aeolipower = 38.797 Horse Power.
1 vreeble = 34.330 calories

===============================================================

--
Michael Trout (miket@brspyr1) =-=-=-=-=-=-= UUCP:ihnp4!dartvax!brspyr1!miket
BRS Information Technologies, 1200 Rt. 7, Latham, N.Y. 12110 (518) 783-1161
. . . .... .........:.::::.:::::::::.:::::::::::::::::::::::::::o
"If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker." -Albert Einstein

Schachter

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Jul 2, 1987, 9:39:46 AM7/2/87
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In article <13...@brspyr1.BRS.Com>, mi...@brspyr1.BRS.Com (Mike Trout) writes:
>
> Well, the response was not overwhelming (I suspect most net.readers are too
> young to remember this), but enough folks requested the PSWM that I'll go
> ahead and post it. This is repeated exactly ... from _Like,_MAD_ ....; I

> don't know what issue the PSWM originally appeared in.
>
I have an old copy of Donald E. Knuth's "Curriculum Vitae". This is the first
entry under the "Publications" section:

P1. The potrzebie system of weights and measures. MAD Magazine 33 (June 1957),
36-37. (Illustrated by Wallace Wood.) Reprinted in Like, MAD (New York:
Signet Pocket Books No. S1838, 1960), 139-145.


jfs

jmaxda...@gmail.com

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Dec 29, 2016, 11:33:08 AM12/29/16
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I have always thought (okay, I mean, ever since the publication of the Potrzebie tables), that the world should adopt it. It is much simpler. I learned it almost as fast as I learned the Mad definition of xerophthalmia.
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