Sunday Humor – What’s a Smoot?

When we were visiting DH’s old haunts in Boston one of the things he wanted to show me had to do with those wild and crazy kids from MIT (of which he is one – explains a few things I’d say but don’t tell him I said that).  On the Harvard bridge you will see these marks of “measurement” which involve a fraternity pledging prank.

The prank involved the frat boys using one Oliver R. Smoot as the measuring stick to measure the bridge.  He layed on the bridge from Boston to Cambridge, Mass. with his frat brothers marking off his then height of 5’7″ to measure the length.  The Smoot is a “nonstandard unit of length” with the “plus or minus” intended to express uncertainty of measurement.  This prank took place in 1958  but the marks are repainted each semester by the incoming associate member class (similar to pledge class) of Lambda Chi Alpha – the fraternity.

Google also uses the smoot as an optional unit of measurement in their Google Earth software and Google Maps distance measurement tool.  Cool!

(To see my post about Father’s Day and caregiving please visit my other blog here  Happy Father’s Day to all of you Dads)


About imagesbytdashfield

Fine art photographer who loves to see and capture the amazing things in this world. Owner of Images by TDashfield photography.
This entry was posted in architecture, event, fun, History, life, photography, street photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Sunday Humor – What’s a Smoot?

  1. LaVagabonde says:

    Smoot. Uncertainty of measurement. Sounds like great fun. 🙂

  2. You know, for all of my association with Boston and Cambridge, I’ve never actually seen this. =)

  3. Nancy says:

    I have learned something new… A smoot… A non standard unit of Measurement! And Google recognizes it as well. Cool!

  4. Precise, but vague…just how I answer every question posed to me. Enjoy FD Mr. DH!

  5. Mark Myers says:

    Wonder if I could measure years and weight that way. I’m 18 smoots old and weigh 76 smoots.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.