I remember how, when I was in grade school, every so often one of my math or science teachers would sing the praises of the Metric system of measurement over the more familiar (to Americans) English system. And, sure, maybe it would be easier to just have all the units relate to all the other units by a simple factor of ten, but then you couldn't have nifty units of measurement like the Smoot.
What's a smoot, you ask? Why, it's the height of one Oliver R. Smoot. How did Mr. Smoot's height become a unit of measurement? For that answer, go check out the various links provided in this MeFi post by Steven Den Beste, who gets credit for the best MeFi post I've ever seen in the three or four years I've been following that site.
The funniest part of the tale, for me, is how the pledges measuring the bridge were set to use a string measured to Smoot's height until an upper classman happened to come by and make them do the task using Smoot himself as the measuring stick.
(BTW, it turns out that I am 1.03886799 Smoots tall.)