Ed Symkus has posted, on the Boston Sci-Fi Marathon board, a great two part interview he had with Oliver Smoot several years ago. For the outtatownas in the audience, Oliver Smoot was the MIT freshman pledge whose body was used by his fraternity brothers, in 1958, as a unit of measurement for the Massachusetts Avenue bridge across the Charles River in Boston. The official measurement of the bridge, now commonly referred to as "The Smoot Bridge", is 364.4 Smoots (plus one ear.)
Interview Part 1 | Interview Part 2
Appropriately enough, Mr. Smoot, now retired, went on to serve as chairman of the American National Standards Institute, though it is not known if he ever proposed to bring the Smoot (approximately 5.667 feet) into accepted and official usage. A distant relative of his, also an MIT alum, just won the 2006 Nobel Prize in physics.