Petition to make "Hella" the prefix for 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

Carl sez, "A petition to make Hella- the official SI prefix for 10^27, for measuring things bigger than Yotta- (the prefix for (US) billion trillion). For instance: 'the sun (mass of 2.2 hellatons) would release energy at 0.3 hellawatts.' It would also come in handy for eventually measuring Internet traffic and US national debt."

The Official Petition to Establish "Hella-" as the SI Prefix for 10^27

List of SI prefixes

(Thanks, Carl!)


  1. This was, quite literally, the best thing I’ve read all day. I nearly fell out of my seat laughing.

    1. how about hella- (10^27) and hecka- (10^-27)? Although hecka is pretty similar to deca which could be confusing.

    1. I remember “hella” being current slang among 18-year-olds at least 15 years ago. Those people would be in their mid-thirties now, though I haven’t seen any of them in a long time.

  2. Then what about the lower boundary? Yotta has the counterpart Yocto so will Hella counterpart be Hello?

    1. Ok friends… ‘hella’ may have been cool 15 years ago, but it is still quite mainstream in many circles (read: California), even if it is less of a trend. The fact that it originated a while time ago just means that it has become embedded in the vernacular of a larger span of ages. And, why not? After all, ‘hella’ DOES mean a lot.

  3. It’s a silly idea: there’s already xona, weka, vunda, uda, treda and so on (okay, the last three are just proposals). Not to mention it’s anglosphere-parochial.

    On the other hand, being a silly idea doesn’t mean it’s a bad one….

    1. heh, vunda, I like that, particular for the measurement of pressures. I suppose it wouldn’t be very practical though, it seems that under 1 vundabar most materials would collapse into singularity.

    1. Assuming an average song is 3.5 minutes long, and you’re encoding at 128 kbps constant-bit-rate:

      (3.5 min/song × 60 sec/min) × ((128 kbits/sec ÷ 8 bits/byte) × 1024 bytes/kbyte)
      = 210 sec/song × 16 kbytes/sec × 1024 bytes/kbyte
      = 3440640 bytes/song

      A one hellabyte hard drive (assuming base-10 size notation and 0% filesystem overhead) has 10^27 bytes:

      10^27 bytes/drive ÷ 3440640 bytes/song
      = (approx) 290643601190476190476.190 songs/drive
      = (approx) 290.644 exasongs/drive

      So, around 290 quintillion songs (290 million trillion songs) would fit on a hellabyte hard drive.

  4. I think it could be great. “Hellatons” and “hellawatts” actually sound very scientific and professional already. (I would have made their first example in the petition “hellaatoms” — that one just sounds dumb.

    They didn’t mention what 10^-27 would be in their petition. I have to agree with the commentor above that, to keep with standards, it would have to be “hello-” as in “hellowatts.” That’s a little unfortunate, but not too bad.


    @GuidoDavid: If you read the petition, you’ll see that “hella” is California surfer slang for “very” or “lots,” as in “that’s hella big” or (from the petition) “there are hella stars out tonight.

  5. Well, onto 10^30. I propose “salada-“.

    “Jupiter weighs about 2,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 grams.”
    “Wow, that’s saladagrams!”

    (Old tea commercial joke is old.)

  6. The following people are going to have a conniption!

    From wikipedia: In 1997, Kleberg County Commissioners unanimously voted to adopt “heaven-o” as the official greeting of the county instead of “hello”.[4] Kleberg County residents are now encouraged to use “heaven-o” to acknowledge one another. The reason cited for the change was the fact that hello contains the word hell, even though there is no etymological connection.

    A South Texas man who campaigned to replace ”hello” with ”heaveno” has had plenty of opportunities to use his new greeting.

    Kingsville resident Leonso Canales Jr. has been inundated with telephone calls since he successfully lobbied Kleberg County commissioners last month to designate ”heaveno” as the county’s official greeting.

  7. I’m trying to brainstorm a corresponding prefix for 10^-27.

    How about “shitfor-“, as in “We only measured 13 shitforwatts”?

  8. …I could see Gwen Stefani trying to sue over this, claiming this movement was infringing on one of her songs. Remember, this is the same bimbo who had her attorneys look into suing all those Harajuku girls who were dressing up like her because she didn’t have clue one what that whole cosplay scene was all about.

  9. not to be a downer or anything, but I think it would make hella- as in hella-cool less appealing… but I could be wrong.

  10. And now, having done the above math, I find myself wondering if you could fit every song that’s ever been recorded onto that hard drive.

    I have no frame of reference to even begin to guess at the number of songs recorded since the invention of audio recording technology.

    Anyone want to propose an estimate?

    1. It doesn’t matter how you calculate the number of songs ever recorded, since 1 hellabyte would be waaaaaaay bigger than what you would need.

      Think of it this way: the total number of people that have ever lived is on the order of 100 billion, or 10^11. Suppose every single person that had ever lived in all of history recorded 1000 songs. That’s 10^14. Suppose every one of those songs was 10 megabytes, or 10^7 bytes. Then the total bytes, if every person that had ever lived in the world recorded 1000 high-fidelity songs, would be 10^21 bytes. That’s still a million times less than the space on one hellabyte drive.

      1. That makes sense. I could’ve googled for “number of people who have ever lived” myself, but it didn’t occur to me at that moment.

        Grasping the sheer magnitude of “quintillion” is a bit difficult.

        So, when can I get a hellabyte iPod?!

        “Every song that will ever be recorded until the heat-death of the universe, in your pocket.”

  11. going hand in hand withthis, we could create a new word for “Many”: “Valota” This when you have 10^27 of something you’ve got a hella-valota that thing.

  12. This is great and the possibilities are endless you could for instance have a hella of HeLa cells . . .

  13. 10^42 to 10^100

    (1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000; 100014; short scale: one tredecillion; long scale: one septillion)

    This number already exists and has its name.

    Am I missing something?

  14. I suggest creating a new unit of measurement to be called the valat (pronounced vaLOTT). Thus 10 to the 27th valats would be a hellavalat.

  15. Hi.
    That’s a cute and spirited idea, but I wonder if that would cheapen the context of something like the national dept, or other negatives, and leave a less than impactful impression, giving people one more reason to get back to their lattes and SUV’s.

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