Earlier today one of my commenters caused me to realize that it would be entertaining to try to define a unit for the intensity of “aha!” experiences – moments of sudden insight.
In honor of said commenter (who, synchronistically enough, signs himself “Foo”) I define the “microzen” (μz) as follows: the amount of enlightement achieved when one realizes that “spinward” and “antispinward” are useful terms on planets as well as ringworlds. Because, well, global atmospheric circulation patterns – the context was a discussion of the incidence of cyclonic storms.
(I’d have preferred “microsatori”, but μs is taken.)
Of course, there’s a scaling problem here. Even if you have a good way to estimate relative magnitudes, you need two fixpoints to define a linear scale. (You in the back there just shut up about logarithmic already, I’m having to wave my hands hard enough as it is.) I therefore arbitrarily set 100 μz as the amount of aha required for somebody to write The Cathedral and the Bazaar.
Now, I hear you out there saying “You fool! That’s entirely too ill-defined!” But here’s my clever plan: if people have broadly similar intuitions about relative degrees of aha, we can crowdsource the problem! That is, we ask a bunchaton of people to consider some specific enlightenment experience – like, say, grokking how anonymous lambdas work in a functional-programming language – and rate that relative to our 1μz and 100μz scale pegs.
There you have it. Comments are open; let the crowdsourcing begin.