The Zombies Ate My Brains

Rescuing what might remain of the grey matter.



When we are not out in the woods collecting rocks and minerals, Reiner and I work on the mineral collection and also volunteer our efforts to an online database.  If you are interested in minerals in any way, and you haven’t learned about Mindat yet, I urge you to pay the site a visit.

Reiner is currently organizing Ontario mineral localities in the database. Google Earth is one of the reference tools we use and it comes in mighty handy.

Last night, he asked, “What are smoots?”

By now I’m used to hearing funny names when it comes to minerals and related terminology.  “OK, I’ll bite.  What are smoots?”

“I dunno, thought you might.”

A quick Google check later and here’s what I found. Did you know? A “smoot” is a unit of length and it is built into the Google calculator and maps.

Harvard Bridge spans the Charles River linking Boston and Cambridge.  In 1958 Lambda Chi Alpha took 5′ 7″ MIT freshman pledge Oliver R. Smoot, Jr. and rolled him head over heels the entire length of the bridge. Every ten smoots they calibrated the bridge, painting marks. The bridge was found to be exactly 364.4 smoots plus an ear.

You can read more about the origin of the term, here.

Google’s sense of humour is right up my alley. I like how you just stumble upon these little buried treasures. It makes me smile from ear to ear, and I’m sure you are dying to know that it measures exactly 0.149253731 smoots.


Categories: Mineral Collecting

Tags: , , , , , , ,

4 replies

  1. Loved this. I spent a full minute trying to imagine how they rolled Oliver Smoot, Jr. It said head over heels, but I sincerely doubt that was literally what they did. If it is accurate, how did they manage it…giant hamster wheel?



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