Millihelen – The Measure For Beauty

Millihelen - The Measure For Beauty

Helen of Troy

There are many humorous and funny units of measurement that are invented for a variety of purposes. They don’t serve much for a practical use beyond one or two instances. One of the more exceptional of these is the millihelen- referring to Helen of Troy. This measuring system was invented by a mathematician W.A.H. Rushton from Cambridge. The millihelen is jokingly used as the measuring unit how much beauty is required to launch a ship.

Helen of Troy is known as “the face that launched a thousand ships”. Knowing that using her namesake is pretty appropriate. During the Trojan War, 1,186 ships came to fight for Helen of Troy. Therefore, Helen of Troy has a beauty rating of 1.186 helens.

Also, there’s a negative helen. These are measured by the number of ships sunk. An alternative interpretation of one negative helen is the amount of negative beauty ( ugliness) that can launch one thousand ships the other way.

The millihelen was refined by a man named Thomas Fink, claiming one helen is the beauty of 50 million women, the number of women alive in 12th century BC. For a woman’s beauty to be scored, she must be more beautiful than other women. For a woman to have a score of 2 helens, she must be the most beautiful of twice as many women. Ten helena (Ha) is the beauty sufficient for one oarsman (of which 50 are on a ship) to risk his life, or be the most beautiful of a thousand women. Beauty is logarithmic on a base of 2. For beauty to increase by 1 Ha, a woman must be the most beautiful of twice as many women. One helen is 25.6 Ha. The most beautiful woman who ever lived would score 34.2 Ha, and 1.34 H, the pick of a dozen women would be 3.6 Ha, and 0.14 H.

This measurement is pretty complicated and interesting. More about this and the other humorous unites you can read at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_humorous_units_of_measurement

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