Currently the largest number with a designated prefix is the "yotta," or ten to the 24th (one followed by 24 zeroes). As in, "Google probably processes yottabytes of data every day."
Sendak suggest that ten to the 27th, currently unnamed under the International System of Units, be given the prefix "hella" in honor of Northern California's contributions to science.
Under this designation, the complexity of high-magnitude nomenclature would be greatly reduced. For example, the number of atoms in 120 kg of carbon-12 would be simplified from 6,000 yottaatoms to 6 hellaatoms. Similarly, the sun (mass of 2.2 hellatons) would release energy at 0.3 hellawatts, rather than 300 yottawatts.
"Hella" as a slang term for "a lot" or "very" is widely attributed to the Yay Area, with an Urban Dictionary user pinpointing at Hunters Point in San Francisco. (Don't tell your friends in their Hella Love Oakland tees.)
And of course the petition made news on Boing Boing, meaning hella nerds are on board.
So get with it, International Bureau of Weights and Measures. Gives us our due for providing slang for your mouths. And science, of course.
Photo by Flickr user Ingorrr.
Jackson West has been saying hella since he was a kid.