Thursday, May 25, 2006

The ‘Sanford’ becomes metric unit for unemployment

New term already ‘universally associated with joblessness,’ say experts

B & P News – Paris, Columbia

Joining such distinguished figures as Isaac Newton, Blaise Pascal, and Anders Celsius, South Carolina’s governor was recognized this week with his own namesake metric unit – the “Sanford.”

According to the General Conference of Weights and Measures, which convened this week in France, the Sanford is a derived unit of joblessness equal to the difference between South Carolina’s unemployment rate and the national average.

“The traditional measure of unemployment, the percent, was too arbitrary and small for most economists,” said conference chairman Jacques Strappe. “The Sanford is twice as large, and the term is already pretty much universally associated with joblessness.”

But critics of the new measure argue that the Sanford is not stable enough to be a viable metric unit, increasing by over a hundred millisanfords over the last three years as the Palmetto State achieved the fourth-highest jobless rate in the U.S.

“I think whatever metric we use should be constant, like the meter or the kilogram,” said USC economics professor Kerry O’Keebar. “Of course, it should still be called the Sanford - that’s been economist lingo for unemployment for a couple years now.”

Sanford has mixed feelings about having a metric unit named after him, but has already introduced the new term into his vocabulary.

“People keep focusing on the bad news, like our 48th-ranked joblessness,” said Sanford. “The fact is, South Carolina is only one Sanford above the national average, which is a sign of a bustling, smoking, surging economy. It’s positively smoburkling.”

The conference voted against other proposed metric units named for Palmetto State politicos. The Folks, the proposed unit of force required to kick open a front door, and the John-Gram, a measure of foot-to-mouth ratio, were dismissed as superfluous.

But for some Sandlappers, one metric unit with South Carolina roots is enough.

“Before the Sanford, my favorite namesake metric unit was the Joule,” said Halle N. Dett, a third-year mechanical engineering student at USC. “After the Sanford, my favorite namesake metric unit is still the Joule.”