The International System of Units (SI) needs a new prefix to denote 10^27 (right now it only goes up to yotta, for 10^24). A physics student at Davis has proposed a term that I am totally in favor of.
Austin Sendek, a physics student at UC Davis, wants the number of 10 to the 27th power -- a trillion trillions -- to officially become "hella" big.
So how much of something do you need to become hella? Well, suppose that Jack Cust continues to rack up STRICKOUTS at his 2010 pace of 185 per year. But now, instead of 185 STRICKOUTS per year, let's make it 185 per second. At that phenomenal rate, it would still take Cust 12.5 million times the current age of the universe to accumulate a hellawhiff. On the other hand, Jack will probably reach a kilowhiff sometime early in the 2012 season.
But this DLD isn't just about big numbers and the metric system. Let's move on to the Northern California roots of the word. From the Urban Dictionary, which is probably not iglew approved, we have the following definition.
Hella. Originated from the streets of San Francisco in the Hunters Point neighborhood. It is commonly used in place of "really" or "very" when describing something.
The Fillmore is hella better than the Mission.
Thank God LA is hella far away.
I can definitely sympathize with that last sentence.
I've also got some music for you all. Not that No Doubt song, it's Sacramento's finest hyperkinetic spazz rock duo, appropriately known as Hella. This video (sorry about the weird sepia camera effect) is of their song "Republic of Rough and Ready", performed live at Bottom of the Hill back in 2003. You can find audio of the whole set on the Internet Archive.
And finally, while my current RAF status isn't going to last for very long, there will always be a little part of me back in the Coliseum because...
"The diameter of the universe is 1.4 hellameters," Sendek said. "You know if someone says that's 'hella meters' you know exactly what they're talking about."