This BBC News item (quelle surprise) mentions the smallest mass detected by scales, and it is really rather impressive. Not however as impressive at finding out that a billionth of a trillionth of a gram is called a ZEPTOGRAM.

Scientific prefixes can be great. Witness the joy that Nano has had of late with its own little technologies and robots. Pica is another favourite, especially of Pokemon fans. The Zeptogram however brings to mind the Marx brothers, which then brought to mind the measurement of humour.

Let us say the S.I. measurement of funny should be a Marx. One Marx is equivalent to the standard response to the joke “What’s brown and sticky?”: and this would clearly be measured on a Grouchometer. Is anyone so unfunny that they could earn themselves a Zeptomarx worth of humour? Hmmm