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[P]
Down with the metre and litre! Long live pints and pounds!

By IHCOYC in Op-Ed
Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 07:38:48 PM EST
Tags: news, weights, measures, metric system, imperial units, United Kingdom, Europe (all tags)
News

Common sense, æsthetics, and national character have prevailed; the forces of high modernism and weenie rationalism have received a setback. The European Union has chosen to no longer pressure people in the British Isles to convert exclusively to the metric system.


Do metric advocates really even have a clue how broken and ugly their scheme is? The fact that litre doesn't rhyme with "lighter" only shows that it's a word that has no business in the English language. By contrast, according to the OED, units such as "pound" and "inch" have been part of the language since 900-1000 AD.

The number 12 is a colossally abundant number, while the number ten is a deficient number. In plain English, it's easier to split things into a larger variety of fractions and have it come out even with a system based around 12 and 16 than around the number 10 and only 10. Specifically, the lack of a provision for thirds breaks any system based on monomaniacal decimalism. Metric units also break down when trying to divide by fourths; a system based on 12 and 16 handles it easily. We divide things into thirds and fourths much more often than we divide things into tenths.

The good system contains units like feet and fathoms, based on human body parts. This human scale allows it to contain units that serve as "rules of thumb". The metric system is based on a miscalculation of the distance between the north pole and the Equator at the longitude of Paris. It was designed by scientists and bureaucrats remote from the lives of ordinary people, and their work shows this disconnect. The litre and metre are relatively reasonable sizes, or would be if they divided into thirds and twelfths rather than ten and only ten. But the gram is entirely useless for daily use, unless you're a cocaine dealer, being too small. For daily use, metric users resort to the unwieldy multiple of one thousand basic units. On the other hand, a degree celsius is too large and imprecise. By contrast, the Fahrenheit scale was custom made to measure weather phenomena: it has human scale.

The metric system is an alien, bureaucratic imposture. We do well to reject it utterly. Now, to move forward towards its abolition everywhere, and to revert to traditional measures that change with languages and national boundaries.

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Poll
I prefer
o Pounds, feet, pints 20%
o Metres, litres 51%
o Cubits, talents 5%
o Poids, arpents, aunes 0%
o Glotneys, megaglotneys 0%
o People who remember there are 28.35 grams in an ounce 22%

Votes: 58
Results | Other Polls

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o convert exclusively to the metric system
o colossally abundant number
o deficient number
o scientists and bureaucrats
o custom made to measure weather phenomena
o Also by IHCOYC


Display: Sort:
Down with the metre and litre! Long live pints and pounds! | 178 comments (156 topical, 22 editorial, 0 hidden)
Hear, hear! (none / 0) (#4)
by uid 71137 on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 11:11:22 AM EST

You can't drink beer by the meter.

yes you can! n (none / 1) (#24)
by livus on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 09:36:56 PM EST



---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
maybe if you're a pussy (none / 0) (#35)
by chlorus on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:38:33 AM EST


Peahippo: Coked-up internet tough guy or creepy pedophile?
[ Parent ]

Why would a pussy drink beer by the meter? (none / 1) (#37)
by uid 71137 on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:46:10 AM EST

Even those fancy tall homo glasses from Erdinger and whatnot serve beer in volume.

[ Parent ]
re-read your own post (none / 0) (#38)
by chlorus on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 09:01:14 AM EST


Peahippo: Coked-up internet tough guy or creepy pedophile?
[ Parent ]

No (3.00 / 2) (#48)
by uid 71137 on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 10:04:47 AM EST

It's a stupid post. I'm not going to read it.

[ Parent ]
Although I live in a metric country (none / 0) (#176)
by Tatarigami on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 06:22:18 PM EST

...I can buy beer by the yard.  Weird, innit?

[ Parent ]
-1. Hail abstraction! (3.00 / 2) (#5)
by rpresser on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 11:19:13 AM EST

In fact, dump the metric system in favor of Knuth's Potrzebie System of Weights and Measures.
------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
I for one, enjoy breaking things into 6s (3.00 / 6) (#7)
by GhostOfTiber on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 11:40:35 AM EST

Six packs and revolvers, bitches!

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne

Also, human-scale measures (2.00 / 4) (#10)
by claes on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 12:55:28 PM EST

are more likely to not require scientific notation, which means the numbers are easier to understand.

Kick the British out of the Union (3.00 / 2) (#12)
by alba on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 01:44:03 PM EST

These troublemakers never fit in, anyway.

Each non-Brit European has ten fingers (2.75 / 4) (#14)
by United Fools on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 03:17:02 PM EST

A British man has twelve.

Wait... is that right?

We are united, we are fools, and we are America!

This topic is a waste of space and time. (none / 0) (#17)
by jd on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 03:41:36 PM EST

The metric system is perfectly good, especially for things that cannot be measured directly, which are not on a conventional human scale, or where mathematical treatment is required.

The imperial system (which the US should be forced to comply with, IMHO) is better when absolutely none of the above conditions holds - which, outside of food, is really not that common.

Humans have used base 10 for longer than they have used the term "dozen", but if someone is so naive enough to believe "dozen" is de-facto superior, then simply move the number system to base 12 and have done with it.

Of course, those same people would reject that as well. Why? Because it's untraditional? No, because they want something to whine about and haven't the wits to find anything real.

but those are the cases we're mainly talking about (3.00 / 2) (#27)
by Delirium on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 02:08:00 AM EST

Nobody objects to using metric in scientific experiments. The big argument is over whether people should be forced to use the metric system in daily-life things like food purchases, road signage, etc.

[ Parent ]
I do it all the time. (none / 0) (#87)
by spooked on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 12:08:41 AM EST

But being Canadian, I also have to understand the pound, ounce, mile, &c. And be able to convert back and forth in my head all the time. The same can't be said of the American tourist.

Seriously.
[ Parent ]
The average american (none / 0) (#91)
by godix on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 07:30:34 AM EST

couldn't find Canada if given a map of North America which has a big neon colored arrow pointing to Canada saying 'IT'S RIGHT HERE, DUMBASS'. So does it really matter if an american can or can't convert units mentally?


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]
No, it's just tiresome. (none / 0) (#113)
by spooked on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 06:25:39 PM EST

When I say things like: it's 1.89CND/100g and get stared at like I'm speaking Tocharian B.

Seriously.
[ Parent ]
I sometimes joke (none / 0) (#182)
by jd on Mon Oct 29, 2007 at 02:14:57 PM EST

...that I'm bilingual - I speak English and American. The rest of the time, I say that seriously.

[ Parent ]
HAHAHA! (3.00 / 5) (#18)
by codejack on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 04:37:00 PM EST

Common sense, æsthetics, and national character have prevailed; the forces of high modernism and weenie rationalism have received a setback.
Leaving aside common sense, national character (whose, by the way?) and modernism, doesn't aesthetics vs rationalism sound a lot like form vs function? I know which side I'm on.
The fact that litre doesn't rhyme with "lighter" only shows that it's a word that has no business in the English language.
Wow, this is confusing; this statement belies any familiarity with the jumbled mess that is the English language, yet you wrote this in English. Did you have someone translate for you?
The litre and metre are relatively reasonable sizes, or would be if they divided into thirds and twelfths rather than ten and only ten. But the gram is entirely useless for daily use,
I can accept the fact that I only use the gram on a daily basis because I spend so much time in a lab, but the kilogram is just over 2 pounds, so what's the problem? Also, those of us familiar with the drug trade know that 1 ounce = 28 grams, or near enough. And the whole point of the base ten system is that you can just keep adding zeros and divide by whatever you want to whatever degree of precision you want.
a degree celsius is too large and imprecise
Ah, spoken by someone who has never taken chemistry; of course, if you actually believe everything you've written here, you've never had physics, biology, or much history. For that matter, screw the degree celsius, give me kelvin any day of the week.

Despite all of this, I approve of keeping as many outmoded systems of measurement as possible; that's why I give acceleration figures in furlongs per fortnight squared.


Please read before posting.

Handiness of the metric system (3.00 / 3) (#47)
by IHCOYC on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 10:00:53 AM EST

Over time, the metric system has been changed to make it handier and easier for ordinary people to relate to. For example, a metre was first defined as one ten millionth part of the length of the quadrant defined by the Earth's circumference at the Paris meridian from the Equator to the North Pole: only the French Revolutionaries got the math off by a bit. And, of course, this definition is prejudicial to the human rights of people in the Southern Hemisphere. Then, for much of my lifetime, a metre was 1,650,763.73 wavelengths in vacuum of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the 2p10 and 5d5 quantum levels of the krypton-86 atom. This too is fairly handy; most of us can find a krypton-86 atom in the kitchen or the toolshed, and measure this wavelength in a vacuum. There's got to be one around here somewhere. Now it's he distance travelled by light in absolute vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second. This is where those fast reflexes developed in video gaming finally pay off.
--
"Complecti antecessores tuos in spelæis stygiis Tartari appara," eructavit miles primus.
"Vix dum basiavisti vicarium velocem Mortis," rediit G
[ Parent ]
Applies to the Imperial system as well (none / 0) (#140)
by nidarus on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 10:36:05 AM EST

Simply because it's defined against metric system.

[ Parent ]
Funny you should mention that (none / 0) (#173)
by codejack on Mon Sep 17, 2007 at 05:44:30 PM EST

They're probably going to have to change the definition of a meter again; recent studies have shown slight differences in the speed of light at different frequencies.

Also, those "handy" units like "the length of a human foot", while readily accessible, belie a certain...imprecision.

The fact of the matter is that Einstein was right: you can only measure something in relation to something else. In modern science, we use the ASKM system, which assumes four basic units (ampere, second, kilogram, meter), and derive everything else from them.


Please read before posting.

[ Parent ]
nice to know there are retards besides americans (1.71 / 7) (#19)
by circletimessquare on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 06:18:38 PM EST

in the world

dear uk, dear usa: go metric you archaic morons

shut the fuck up with the whining. it's just not a big deal, except to small minded nationalistic fucktards

the pound, inch whatever it is called system is done. it's over. it's history

get with the times you simpleminded pricks

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

this article was written by a north american. n (2.00 / 2) (#23)
by livus on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 09:35:39 PM EST



---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
your point? nt (none / 1) (#41)
by circletimessquare on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 09:02:36 AM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
suddenly I need a point to post at k5? (none / 0) (#114)
by livus on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 07:55:07 PM EST

Have you seen Tuli by the way? Would be interested to know what you think of it.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
why do you care (none / 1) (#28)
by Delirium on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 02:11:17 AM EST

For scientific purposes, metric is already used. For everyday-life purposes, what the hell does it matter?

[ Parent ]
because it makes da limeys cry nt (none / 0) (#40)
by circletimessquare on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 09:02:08 AM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
don't forget myanmar and liberia! (3.00 / 2) (#64)
by rhiannon on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 01:35:30 PM EST

We're in good company with other bastions of progress and prosperity!

-----------------------------------------
I continued to rebuff the advances... so many advances... of so many attractive women. -MC
[ Parent ]
teehee ;-) nt (none / 0) (#68)
by circletimessquare on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 01:54:50 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
also much of asia (none / 0) (#136)
by Delirium on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 04:49:08 AM EST

You buy vegetables in Taiwan by the catty, for example (a traditional unit equal to around 600 grams), which I suppose would get you prosecuted if you were in the UK!

[ Parent ]
it's always funny (none / 1) (#82)
by mirko on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 05:11:37 PM EST

to read such things from Switzerland...
Inches... who need these ? :-D
BTW, sorry for the typoes, I just had a third Leffe "Vieille Cuvée" ... :-)
--
Finally I managed to make the decision that I would work on it. - MDC
we had to huddle together - trane
[ Parent ]
can i ask you a question about switzerland? (none / 0) (#84)
by circletimessquare on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 05:46:37 PM EST

what is the ppoular attitude towards switzerland's unique heroin harm reduction program (free heroin for those in the program). do people resent it? (rewarding bad behavior) approve of it? (getting junkies off the streets)


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
switzerland's unique heroin harm reduction program (3.00 / 2) (#103)
by mirko on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 01:36:41 PM EST

I don't know exactly what you call such a program, I've not heart of free hero, but we've got a few junkies in the streets, they ignore us and we ignore them. Since they had some reserved injections rooms with free clean injection devices, the AIDS infection rate has dropped.
So, we kinda coexist pacifically with them. Yep, it's dramatic but at least, they know we cannot prevent them to do drugs so they do it the way we tolerate it, for both our sakes.

Quid Pro Quo, Clarisse, tell me about the damn movie, now! I want to distribute it here :-)
--
Finally I managed to make the decision that I would work on it. - MDC
we had to huddle together - trane
[ Parent ]

thank you ;-) nt (none / 0) (#104)
by circletimessquare on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 03:29:17 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
awesome (none / 1) (#105)
by Linux or FreeBSD on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 04:26:19 PM EST



[ Parent ]
IAWTP (3.00 / 17) (#20)
by BottleRocket on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 07:04:30 PM EST

Next thing to go should be the second. 9,192,631,770 periods of the transition between hyperfine levels of the ground state of Cesium-133 my ass.

The new standard, called the America, fuck yeah!!! timescale, will be the amount of time it takes for my microwave to raise the surface temperature of a refrigerated breakfast burrito 1 degree Farenheit. I'll expect everyone to adopt the new standard by the end of the week.

$ . . . . . $ . . . . . $ . . . . . $
. ₩ . . . . . ¥ . . . . . € . . . . . § . . . . . £
. . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . *
$ . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $
Yes I do download [child pornography], but I don't keep it any longer than I need to, so it can yield insight as to how to find more. --MDC
$ . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $
. . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . *
. ₩ . . . . . ¥ . . . . . € . . . . . § . . . . . £
$ . . . . . $ . . . . . $ . . . . . $
$B R Σ III$

Bottles for K5 Ambassador to the UN!! .nt (3.00 / 2) (#80)
by nostalgiphile on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 05:04:23 PM EST



"Depending on your perspective you are an optimist or a pessimist[,] and a hopeless one too." --trhurler
[ Parent ]
you rock dude ;-) (none / 1) (#100)
by circletimessquare on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 12:45:40 PM EST

funniest thing all month on k5


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Metric! Bah! (2.81 / 11) (#21)
by xC0000005 on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 08:21:49 PM EST

My car gets fourteen rods to the hogshead. What could be simpler than that?

Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't
a lot of the time i ask for a pint (none / 0) (#29)
by Jobst of Moravia on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 02:37:22 AM EST

and get a handle. this is pretty much unacceptable

fucking australia would never conform, they like their entirely fucking arbitrary pot/schooner/pint shit that changes from state to state too much. actually i think many of them would implode

which would be a good thing

---
              __
   .,-;-;-,. /'_\ ---Did this Negro say "Street Moor"?
 _/_/_/_|_\_\) /
'-<_><_><_><_>=\
 `/_/====/_/-'\_\
  ""     ""    ""

FUCK YOU HEATHEN (none / 1) (#30)
by GrubbyBeardedHermit on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 03:11:22 AM EST

I bet you are also a supporter of daylight savings time, analogue watches, vi and other anachronisms.

GBH

mixing number systems (3.00 / 5) (#31)
by tolomea on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 03:48:44 AM EST

We use a base 10 number system.

Metric has a base 10 measurement system on top of that. Having them both the same base like this makes the whole array of basic math far far simpler.

Imperial doesn't even have a common base across it's various measurements, but to the degree that it does it's 12. And 12 is not the same as 10 and having them different creates a whole bunch of extra pain for no good reason.

Now if you were going to argue for us to change to a base 12 number system then maybe you'd have a point. Actually you'd have quite a good point because as you noted 12 is a nicer number than 10.

But in all seriousness the chances of getting the world to move to a base 12 number system are basically non existent. So 10 it is.

That said if you want to keep using the mess that is the imperial measurement system, then go for it, just don't expect the rest of the world to join you.

Pay for a new account (3.00 / 2) (#32)
by bob6 on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 04:33:15 AM EST

I'm pretty sure rusty will accept shillings.

Cheers.
That's be sixpence nine shillings three bob (none / 0) (#44)
by rusty on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 09:05:15 AM EST

guv'nor.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Actually, Britain has mostly adopted Metric (2.00 / 2) (#34)
by Wen Jian on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:46:08 AM EST

It's the Yanks that continue to use acres, cubic feet and pints. And Quarts? What the fuck is a quart? It looks bigger than a quarter of a pint, but smaller than a quarter of a gallon.

This may be a result of the Septics not only retaining an outmoded system that was last considered cutting edge when the distance a peasant required to turn his plough was indeed still a 'chain',and the length of his plot of land was a 'furlong', but also porpoisefully breaking that system by altering the standard size of some of their key weights and measures in order to thumb their childish chest-beating noses at the British.

So now, the Yanks persist in utilising a system that not only impedes international trade by its very nature, but was in fact designed to do so from its inception. Nice one.

There's an argument for retaining at least a dual system - standardised measurements facilitate trade. That benefit is directly in line with one of the major EU mandates, one which has existed since the very inception of it's forebear, the EEC - that there should be no impediment to trade within and between the member states. I certainly think that the current situation in Britain is perfectly satisfactory for the purpose.
It was an experiment in lulz. - Rusty

A quart (none / 1) (#43)
by rusty on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 09:04:47 AM EST

is two pints, or a QUARTer of a gallon. It's not that hard.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
US gallon and UK gallon (none / 1) (#45)
by IHCOYC on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 09:47:25 AM EST

The US gallon is smaller than the Imperial gallon, as it should be. In foreign terms, an imperial pint is about .568 litres, a US pint is .473. In both systems, there are two pints in a quart, and four quarts or eight pints in a gallon.
--
"Complecti antecessores tuos in spelæis stygiis Tartari appara," eructavit miles primus.
"Vix dum basiavisti vicarium velocem Mortis," rediit G
[ Parent ]
Oh yeah (none / 0) (#178)
by tetsuwan on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 08:53:32 AM EST

and this is very "practical", because when someone talks about miles per gallon, they have to specify what f***ing gallon they mean. Brits and Ammies cannot even talk about fuel consumption without being confounded by their own units.

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

What is petrol anyway? $ (none / 0) (#181)
by skyknight on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 03:43:07 PM EST



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
That's great, except... (none / 0) (#92)
by Wen Jian on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 08:53:20 AM EST

Yuor gallonz R teh unrite siez!!!!!!
It was an experiment in lulz. - Rusty
[ Parent ]
Except (none / 0) (#141)
by holdfast on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 11:08:41 AM EST

That your pint is 0.8 of a pint.

According to the history book, a pint is made up of 20 "fluid ounces" or a little more accurately 568ml.

Check your pint and see if it is actually something else.


"Holy war is an oxymoron."
Lazarus Long
[ Parent ]
Speaking as an American... (3.00 / 3) (#36)
by chlorus on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:43:11 AM EST

...this is really stupid. It's as if you have some kind of mental handicap that prevents you from comprehending the decimal system. You can't divide ten by four, you say? Yes, you can, it's 2.5. Was that so hard?

Peahippo: Coked-up internet tough guy or creepy pedophile?

What about three? (none / 1) (#42)
by rusty on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 09:03:01 AM EST

As a sometimes carpenter, I have to say I'd dread a decimal world. For a lot of things, and for science especially, the metric system makes sense. But feet and inches are very convenient for building.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
ive heard that argument (none / 0) (#51)
by circletimessquare on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 11:15:53 AM EST

and remain unimpressed. i don't know about you, but i don't know many carpenters who need that kind of precision. not many carpenters building space shuttles (and nasa iss metric btw)

...which reminds me of another good reason to go metric:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Climate_Orbiter#The_metric_mixup


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

The problem there... (none / 0) (#52)
by chlorus on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 11:39:17 AM EST

...is that all the major engineering companies of decades of data in Imperial units. Couple that with the insane amount of conservativism in the aerospace and defense industries and you end up with a lot of inertia. I doubt they're going to throw away decades of engineering data and designs any time soon.

Peahippo: Coked-up internet tough guy or creepy pedophile?
[ Parent ]

bullshit (none / 0) (#53)
by circletimessquare on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 11:51:18 AM EST

as engineers are the first to embrace the standardization of metric

you talk like the most intelligent and scientific of us are the most inward and parochial. when the opposite is true. this issue is all about xenophobic retards in the woods who think using metric is a plot of the devil to deny them their patriotic pounds and inches


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

uh bullshit (none / 0) (#55)
by chlorus on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 12:35:25 PM EST

We have decades of engineering data in Imperial units. Whether that fits into your belief system or not is immaterial, it's the situation that exists.

Peahippo: Coked-up internet tough guy or creepy pedophile?
[ Parent ]

OH MY GOD IT'S IN CUBITS (1.50 / 2) (#56)
by circletimessquare on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 12:53:55 PM EST

HOW ARE WE EVER GOING TO BUILD ANYTHING EVER AGAIN WHEN SOMEBODY ONCE USED CUBITS?

shut the fuck up. that is lamest most retarded argument i ever heard. actually, considering that places like shanghai and dubai are the building boom centers, and the usa is quite moribund in that department, maybe we should adopt metric to speed up our building?

that is of course, a totally lame argument

IT'S THE SAME ROOT CONCEPT AS YOURS ASSWIPE


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

More costs (3.00 / 2) (#58)
by rusty on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 01:21:18 PM EST

Like my comment above, the point isn't that we can't convert the data, it's that looking up say a thrust curve or a material's deformation table would also involve converting the imperial data, thus making each such even more expensive for a while.

You're generally missing the point that neither system is inherently better or worse, but converting from one to the other (either way) imposes real costs that have to be weighed against the potential benefit of switching.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

the potential benefit of switching: (none / 0) (#62)
by circletimessquare on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 01:28:53 PM EST

harmony with the rest of the fucking world

which carries with it more PERMANENT benefits than all of the TEMPORARY negatives you listed, and a whole bunch more you didn't: specious, conjectural, imaginative, or otherwise, the benefits of switching still wins out in the end, over all of the negatives you have listed and some more

liberia, myanmar, usa: backwards morons

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Canada went metric years ago ... (3.00 / 2) (#66)
by dakini on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 01:52:27 PM EST

the only thing I remember causing problems, were those of us who had to relearn as we were taught with the old system. As far as metric, most things have both tables on them, i.e., pounds/kg..miles/km. Anyway, I don't believe there was much of a cost going to metric. One morning we seemed to wake up, and there we were, in the metric world.

In reality, metric is much easier to learn as it is all in "tens."

Liberia, Myanmar (Burma), and the United States are the three countries that have yet to adopt the metric system.

" May your vision be clear, your heart strong, and may you always follow your dreams."
[ Parent ]

thank you for some common sense (none / 0) (#67)
by circletimessquare on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 01:54:13 PM EST

it's you versus the backwards xenophobic morons


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Oh, harmony (3.00 / 2) (#72)
by rusty on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 02:48:07 PM EST

I see. Well then. Sign me up.

Hey, how much will harmony add to the GDP per year?

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

are you playing stupid? (none / 0) (#76)
by circletimessquare on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 03:43:18 PM EST

every time trade with another country is required, a conversion is required, currently

i leave it to your boundless intellect to imagine if that helps or hurts GDP


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

So next you'll be pushing for a universal currency (none / 1) (#108)
by rpresser on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 05:24:29 PM EST

so nobody ever has to deal with exchange rates, right?

Your whole argument is "do it that way because everyone else is doing it that way."
------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]

yes. what's the problem with that? nt (none / 1) (#111)
by circletimessquare on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 05:58:14 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Do you wear a Mao suit too? (1.50 / 2) (#115)
by IHCOYC on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 08:06:14 PM EST

Who gets their kicks from enforced uniformity? Do you truly believe that the world will be anything other than a greyer and bleaker place after every local difference is hammered flat?
--
"Complecti antecessores tuos in spelæis stygiis Tartari appara," eructavit miles primus.
"Vix dum basiavisti vicarium velocem Mortis," rediit G
[ Parent ]
oh yeah it's so emotional (none / 0) (#123)
by circletimessquare on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 11:25:57 PM EST

we can save billions, but i once saw the beatles "yellow submarine" so i know such a world would hurt my feelings and make kittens cry. therefore, it is a bad idea

(rolls eyes)

please get your head out of your ass


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

perhaps decimal time? (3.00 / 2) (#121)
by Delirium on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 11:23:44 PM EST

That worked our real well in the French revolution, I hear.

[ Parent ]
i don't get it nt (none / 0) (#124)
by circletimessquare on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 11:26:11 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
if the point of metric is base-10 being easy (none / 1) (#128)
by Delirium on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 11:29:30 PM EST

Then using 60 seconds in an minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, and 7 days in a week is pretty inexcusable. The revolutionary French, in addition to switching from traditional units to decimalized ones for things like distance and mass, also switched briefly to a decimalized time system. It was not popular so they dropped it, but the metre survived.

[ Parent ]
i think we should change time (none / 1) (#129)
by circletimessquare on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 11:34:52 PM EST

365 days a year is unchangeable, so perhaps 10 months of alternating 36/ 37 days each

i still have to check every now and then exactly how many days are in a particular month. its completely retarded our current system

so yes, the french were onto something, too bad it didn't stick

i don't understand why you have a problem with superior systems

nostalgia is a pretty retarded reason to stick with inferior units


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

there's no real reason to switch, though (none / 1) (#130)
by Delirium on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 11:39:16 PM EST

If you're doing something where you want time representation to be simple, just keep your shit in seconds.

[ Parent ]
also (none / 0) (#150)
by circletimessquare on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 11:28:32 PM EST

each 36/37 day month should consist of six 6 day weeks (with a "leap day" every other month)

people would work 4 days, have 2 off

seems better to me


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

that's not decimal (none / 0) (#151)
by Delirium on Sun Sep 16, 2007 at 12:02:19 AM EST

The original French proposal was to have 10-day weeks, which was a large part of why it failed.

[ Parent ]
the issue is 365 days in a year (none / 0) (#164)
by circletimessquare on Sun Sep 16, 2007 at 10:32:10 PM EST

you have to work with that. the best compromise with decimal is 10 months of alternating 36/37 days

...or 36 daysx10, and then a 5 day "special week" at the end of the year... connect it to christmas somehow and you could have the support of the vatican ;-P


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Already there (none / 1) (#142)
by holdfast on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 11:15:39 AM EST

The second is an SI unit.  I understand that the USA has been using it for several years now.

Perhaps the morons who hate decimalisation had better revert to whatever system was in use before seconds.


"Holy war is an oxymoron."
Lazarus Long
[ Parent ]
only adopted retroactively (none / 0) (#144)
by Delirium on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 03:33:17 PM EST

The second is a traditional unit that the SI couldn't displace. The metric-time advocates did try to replace the minute/hour/week with decimalized versions (100 minutes in an hour, 10 hours in a day, 10 days in a week), but they failed due to popular opposition.

[ Parent ]
that sounds like a downside, not a benefit (nt) (2.00 / 2) (#122)
by Delirium on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 11:24:43 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Er.. what? (3.00 / 2) (#57)
by rusty on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 01:18:35 PM EST

It's not about precision, it's about ease of division. a base twelve system gets you easy division by 2, 3, and 4. A base ten system gets you 2 and 5.

Would it make a huge amount of practical difference? No, not for anyone who starts after the change. But changing all building materials to metric would slow building way down for a while. There would be a measurable cost, is all I'm saying.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

the TEMPORARY conversion would hurt (none / 0) (#63)
by circletimessquare on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 01:29:45 PM EST

followed by LARGER, PERMANENT benefits


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
I don't see the benefits (none / 1) (#71)
by rusty on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 02:45:54 PM EST

We don't seem to be having any trouble trading with the rest of the world due to units. I don't see where the benefit is.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
HAI (none / 0) (#77)
by circletimessquare on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 03:47:39 PM EST

V qba'g frrz gb or univat nal gebhoyr gnyxvat gb lbh qhr gb ebg13. V qba'g frr jurer gur orarsvg vf hfvat cynva Ratyvfu.


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
CTS demonstrates another issue (3.00 / 3) (#78)
by godix on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 04:26:01 PM EST

namely that most people aren't worth interacting with so why bother changing from a well established system to something a bunch of freaks use?


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]
Gibberish (3.00 / 2) (#81)
by IHCOYC on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 05:05:33 PM EST

Well, that's the problem with the metric system in a nutshell. Any quantity stated in metric units is a mere cipher. To get any meaning out of them, you have to refigure them, multiplying by 1.609 or using (x * 1.8) + 32. Most of them, you have to look up. This poses a significant strain on the memory and renders the supposed simplicity and convenience illusory.
--
"Complecti antecessores tuos in spelæis stygiis Tartari appara," eructavit miles primus.
"Vix dum basiavisti vicarium velocem Mortis," rediit G
[ Parent ]
nice. ethnocentrism defined nt (none / 0) (#83)
by circletimessquare on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 05:44:44 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
that's really not true. (3.00 / 2) (#89)
by aphrael on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 02:32:24 AM EST

i've got a decent intuitive sense for a kilometer, a liter, and a degree centigrade.

hell, liters are much easier to figure out than the US customary system. wtf is a cup?

[ Parent ]

You don't cook, do you? (none / 0) (#94)
by chlorus on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 09:26:43 AM EST


Peahippo: Coked-up internet tough guy or creepy pedophile?
[ Parent ]

236 ml. (none / 1) (#107)
by rpresser on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 05:22:46 PM EST

How do they label drinking tumblers (or paper drinking cups) Over There? Here we can buy 6 oz, 8 oz, 12 oz, 16 oz.  Do you buy 250ml or some such?

Liters are only easier for you to figure out because you've been using them all your life. I've been using gallons all my life and they're much easier than liters.
------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]

jesus what a moron (2.00 / 2) (#112)
by circletimessquare on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 06:04:25 PM EST

you have a feel for it, because you've been using it all your life

if you were using cubits, or chains per fortnight, or libraryofcongress units all your life, you'd have a feel for them to

ergo, you're using a self-reinforcing fallacy

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

jesus what an ASSHOLE (2.00 / 2) (#119)
by rpresser on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 11:21:25 PM EST

I fucking SAID it was easier for me because I've been using it all my life.  Where's the fucking fallacy?

Ease of use is ENTIRELY derived from familiarity. SI units are IN ABSOLUTELY NO WAY inherently "easier" than any other system of units, just as English is in no way inherently easier than Spanish. Or Esparanto.

The only fucking fallacy is the lie that you have a phallus.
------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]

so why do you want to doom your grandchildren (none / 0) (#127)
by circletimessquare on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 11:28:11 PM EST

to a retarded system? make the sacrifice, switch in your generation, earn their thanks. grand ddad was a swell guy. what, it's so hard for you? you poor suffering soul. switching to metric will truly give you indigestion and make you pout. awww, poor little baby

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Why do I bother (3.00 / 2) (#131)
by rpresser on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 11:44:19 PM EST

  1. I'm never going to have grandchildren. I am monogamous and childfree and almost certain to remain so.  And I like it that way.

  2. Don't change the subject. My first reply was a response to the claim that "liters are easier." If you look carefully at my replies you will not see any that say the US should not switch. I'm neutral on this.

  3. I'm not neutral on your tactics, however; you're still an asshole in this discussion (as usual). Although you abuse paragraphs less, you still can't argue straight.  Everything's a personal attack.

------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]
if you don't have children (none / 1) (#149)
by circletimessquare on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 11:27:11 PM EST

you aren't interested in the future

so you have relinquished your right to talk about it


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Litres _are_ easier. (3.00 / 2) (#167)
by it certainly is on Mon Sep 17, 2007 at 03:18:27 AM EST

I can do conversions just by moving the decimal point. What's 10 times £3.80? It's £38. What's 10 times 2/5d? 20 shilling + 50 pence. 50 pence = 4 shilling + 2 pence, so total 24/2d. What the fuck is the slightest bit sane about that?

If decimalised values are so bad, why don't you argue to move dollars and cents to something based around base 12 numbers?

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Multiplications aren't conversions. (none / 0) (#170)
by rpresser on Mon Sep 17, 2007 at 09:04:47 AM EST

And the "easier" comment -- in the original post I responded to as well as in all my replies -- referred to looking at a physical object or quantity and having a perceptual determination on how big it is in your system of units. No mathematical tricks help with that -- only familiarity does.  (Unless you're Andrew Jackson "Slipstick" Libby.)

And I reiterate, I am not arguing to move anything; I am opposing one argument that has been put forward as insufficient.  If your goal is to convince, use arguments that stand up.
------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]

Ease of language (none / 0) (#185)
by Corwin06 on Sun Sep 28, 2008 at 06:25:39 AM EST

...just as English is in no way inherently easier than Spanish. Or Esparanto.

English is way easier than Spanish. There are two (yes, two) tables to memorize to speak English, plus vocabulary. English is the easiest language on Earth.

Esperanto is unlearnable. It has no vocabulary. You just mangle a word from any language into an Esperanto-like form and use that, hoping the people who are trying to understand you will recognize it.

"and you sir, in an argument in a thread with a troll in a story no one is reading in a backwater website, you're a fucking genius
--circletimessquare
[ Parent ]
they often use disguised imperial measures (none / 1) (#125)
by Delirium on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 11:26:17 PM EST

For example, most European countries buy their soft drinks in 12-oz cans, just relabeled with some non-round number of mL. In practice, what people have a feel for is "one soft-drink can", and whether it's labeled with mL or oz doesn't matter.

[ Parent ]
12 oz? (none / 0) (#186)
by Corwin06 on Sun Sep 28, 2008 at 06:31:17 AM EST

Ah, 33cl. 1/3l. One drink.

Yes. How is 12oz more natural than "one third liter" ?  One glass is 250ml is one quarter liter. One can is a little bigger. Eight centiliters bigger.

All simple numbers. And yes, products meant to be sold to humans tend to come in quantities fit for humans to consume.

"and you sir, in an argument in a thread with a troll in a story no one is reading in a backwater website, you're a fucking genius
--circletimessquare
[ Parent ]
I agree with your proposal (none / 1) (#126)
by Delirium on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 11:27:21 PM EST

Everyone should standardize on English and dump their obsolete local languages for the sake of global intercommunication!

[ Parent ]
They already have. (none / 1) (#166)
by it certainly is on Mon Sep 17, 2007 at 03:09:49 AM EST

Haven't you noticed? Not only is English the required world standard language for aviation.

English is also the most widely used business language. See lingua franca#English. There are many millions of people learning English just because English is recognised worldwide by non-native English speakers.

The number of local languages which have died off or only have a few fanatical adherents is amazing. They're usually killed by regional languages rather than English, unless the region is Britain. You should look it up some day.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Compatibility pays off (none / 0) (#146)
by nusuth on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 04:43:53 PM EST

Most US built machinery are hell to service in rest of the world. The tool sets, nuts, mashes, pipes and fittings etc. are incompatible. To buy anything US built, one has to invest in an incompatible tool set and spare parts. Naturally, no one does this as long as there is viable metric built alternative.

[ Parent ]
Sort of (none / 1) (#169)
by rusty on Mon Sep 17, 2007 at 09:02:24 AM EST

Although a) there's very little US-built machinery left, and b) most of it that's intended for anywhere else is already metric. Like bikes are all metric, regardless of where they're made.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Nevertheless, (none / 0) (#183)
by werner on Fri Nov 09, 2007 at 01:18:15 PM EST

the remnants of the Imperial system still cause lots of hassle when the rest of the world communicates with Americans.

All dimensions in US specifications need to be recalculated, and generally wind up as very odd values in metric.

As you say, bikes are metric, which must cause headaches for USians who don't have the right tools and need to do a bit more thinking.

It was ironically suggested above that the whole world standardise on English, but that's actually what's happening.

I work for several German multinationals, and despite being German, the corporate language is English because sticking with a system used only in one or two countries (in this case German) is enormously detrimental long-term.

Short-term pain, long-term gain.

[ Parent ]

Yeah (none / 0) (#184)
by rusty on Fri Nov 09, 2007 at 01:21:48 PM EST

Bikes being metric is a pain. Everyone who owns a bike also has two complete sets of hex keys and wrenches, and we can still never find the right one when we need it. The worst is that the hex keys are so close to being the same, but not quite close enough. It's maddening.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
"Dividing by fourths" (none / 1) (#54)
by tweet on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 12:08:53 PM EST

is multiplying by 4, which is pretty straightforward with 10 as with 91.

Also, this sucks

_______________________________________________
Not everything in black and white makes sense.

yeah but try thirds! that's what I thought! $ (1.50 / 2) (#59)
by balsamic vinigga on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 01:21:44 PM EST



---
Please help fund a Filipino Horror Movie. It's been in limbo since 2007 due to lack of funding. Please donate today!
[ Parent ]
Damn you! (none / 1) (#61)
by tweet on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 01:26:03 PM EST


_______________________________________________
Not everything in black and white makes sense.

[ Parent ]

Yeah inforce units of measurement (1.75 / 4) (#60)
by balsamic vinigga on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 01:24:42 PM EST

through the barrel of a gun! Great idea guys.

Sure us USians might be all fucked up and stuck with imperial units and shit, but we're free damn it.

I mean jesus christ, if you're that much of a metric nazi, bring your fucking meter stick with you to the lumber yard! Or, heaven forbid bring a calculator since the conversions are just simple ratios.

You have to be both fascist and lazy to support outlawing particular units of measurement!

---
Please help fund a Filipino Horror Movie. It's been in limbo since 2007 due to lack of funding. Please donate today!

Please to be noting (none / 0) (#79)
by vectro on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 04:26:15 PM EST

Where exactly anyone said anything about outlawing any kind of private action?

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
Read the first link. (none / 1) (#106)
by rpresser on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 05:19:03 PM EST

"Until now, retailers have been able to sell in imperial measures as long as it was displayed alongside the metric measure but were bracing themselves for a complete ban on imperial measures from 2009."
------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]
+1 for lulz (none / 0) (#69)
by Corwin06 on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 02:20:38 PM EST

Seriously... if you're serious then you're such a moron ... The mmertic systemm is easy to count. The Imperial system requires conversions all the time. Metric system : One one one ten ten ten - it doesn't get any easier than that.
"and you sir, in an argument in a thread with a troll in a story no one is reading in a backwater website, you're a fucking genius
--circletimessquare
OMG spelling faults... (none / 0) (#70)
by Corwin06 on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 02:21:27 PM EST

I should not post that stoned... or mebbe I should re-read...
"and you sir, in an argument in a thread with a troll in a story no one is reading in a backwater website, you're a fucking genius
--circletimessquare
[ Parent ]
stoned posting (none / 1) (#74)
by aphrael on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 03:30:27 PM EST

is the best posting.

stoned anything, really.


[ Parent ]

9/11 terrorism gun control (none / 1) (#75)
by Phssthpok on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 03:36:34 PM EST


____________

affective flattening has caused me to kill 11,357 people

nice troll (3.00 / 5) (#86)
by trhurler on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:31:55 PM EST

Too bad dividing things into thirds is actually not important to anyone BUT coke dealers, who use metric anyway.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

trhurler: pro-european metric weenie (none / 0) (#120)
by Delirium on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 11:22:24 PM EST

you heard it here first

[ Parent ]
Hah (none / 0) (#174)
by trhurler on Mon Sep 17, 2007 at 07:52:03 PM EST

I use both systems actually. Each has certain things it is particularly good and bad at.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
If you ask me (3.00 / 4) (#88)
by Verbophobe on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 12:53:47 AM EST

The main problem with US customary units is that they're defined in a length/time/force system, whereas SI is a length/time/mass system. This, basically, means that it's meaningless to convert from pounds to kilograms, or vice-versa, because the pound is a unit of force and the kilogram is a unit of mass.

The US unit of mass is called a "slug". If you've never heard of this before, you're not alone. A slug is a lb * s^2/ ft and denotes the quantity of mass that, when subjected to a force of 1 lb, will accelerate by 1 ft/s^2. You can also define something called a pound-mass (lbm), which is 1 lb / (32.2 ft/s^2), i.e. the force of a pound divided by the standard gravitational acceleration at sea level.

Not to be outdone, you can also define a unit called the kilogram-force, where 1 kgf = 1 kg * 9.81 m/s^2, i.e. force applied on a mass of a kg by the standard gravitational acceleration at sea level. Incidentally, the SI unit for force is the Newton, which is a kg * m/s^2 and denotes the force needed to accelerate a 1 kg mass by 1 m/s^2.

1 pound = 4.45 Newtons
1 kilogram =  0.068 slugs

Technically, when someone tells you that they weigh 70 kg, they really mean that they weigh 70 kgf. Or 687 N. Or why not 4.8 slug-force?

If you ask me, both systems are equally worthless. Most people avoid using SI prefixes on their units because scientific notation is so much simpler and more exact (200 GPa vs. 2 * 10^11 Pa or, even better, 200 * 10^9 Pa), so the base-10 advantage/disadvantage is moot. Furthermore, the moment you need any kind of precision in US customary, you immediately switch to decimal notation and avoid mixing units like the plague.

In fact, come to think of it, the only real problem with US customary is that people can't agree on whether they want to calculate things in inches or in feet, so you're always fucked trying to figure out which 12^n fudge factor you're actually supposed to use.

Proud member of the Canadian Broadcorping Castration

I hope you enjoy confusing the issue like this. (none / 0) (#110)
by rpresser on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 05:40:53 PM EST

So I'll join in.

When people say "I weigh 350lb" or "I mass 75 kg" what they're really trying to do is compare measures of obesity.  And the best one for that is BMI, which has units of kg/m2, right?

You use mass to answer the question "How much obese fatty is over there?"  You use weight to answer the question "How strong does his chair have to be to hold him up?"

------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]

lol at the computing example (none / 0) (#118)
by Delirium on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 11:20:20 PM EST

In computing they aren't even usually used according to the SI. In standard computing usage, "mega" means 2^20 (1048576), while in the SI it means 10^6 (1000000).

(And no, nobody uses "mebibytes".)

[ Parent ]

In computing, kilo = 1000 (none / 0) (#133)
by squigly on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 03:18:01 AM EST

In standard computing usage, "mega" means 2^20 (1048576), while in the SI it means 10^6 (1000000).

The only exception is in chip memory.  A 1 gigabyte hard disk holds 10^9 bytes.  1 megabit per second means 10^6 bits in a second.

[ Parent ]

depends on who's measuring (none / 0) (#135)
by Delirium on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 04:47:01 AM EST

If you're talking about the physical hard disk as measured by drive manufacturers, then yes, "giga" means 10^9. But if you're talking about how the end user actually uses a hard disk, with a filesystem on it, then "giga" means 2^30. A "5 gigabyte" file is 5 x 2^30 bytes, and a "200 gigabyte" FAT32 or ext2 partition is 200 x 2^30 bytes.

This is so prevalent that it's not uncommon to hear explanations of why a "200 gigabyte" harddrive, as labeled by manufacturers, really only holds 186 gigabytes.

[ Parent ]

Huh (none / 1) (#147)
by nidarus on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 10:39:05 PM EST

"Most people avoid the SI prefixes" because "scientific notation is so much simpler"? Where do you get it from?

Maybe you mean scientists? Non-Americans (and, apparently, non-Britons) constantly use kilograms, milligrams, centimeters and the like in their daily lives.

How do you even pronounce something like "200 * 10^9 Pa"? How is it easier than "two hundred gigapascals"?

[ Parent ]

Well (none / 0) (#157)
by Verbophobe on Sun Sep 16, 2007 at 03:03:15 PM EST

"Most people" = scientists and engineers. Other people have no use for precision in their units, unless it's for trade. I don't know if you've ever gone through the agony of doing many calculations with mixed prefixes.

And you pronounce it "200 e 9 pascals".

Proud member of the Canadian Broadcorping Castration
[ Parent ]

Uh ok...? (none / 0) (#162)
by nidarus on Sun Sep 16, 2007 at 05:43:46 PM EST

But this article wasn't about which units scientists should use, and since they use SI anyway, it's a pointless debate. It was all about how ordinary Anglo-Saxon people (as opposed to French "scientists and bureaucrats") should use the Imperial system.

You said "both systems are equally worthless", but what you meant was "both systems are more or less equivalent for scientists". You can see the source of my confusion.

[ Parent ]

So basically (none / 0) (#158)
by Verbophobe on Sun Sep 16, 2007 at 03:07:58 PM EST

What you're trying to say is that you were ignorant about these matters before reading my comment, but now that you know them it frustrates you?

Proud member of the Canadian Broadcorping Castration
[ Parent ]
Wrong?! (none / 0) (#163)
by Verbophobe on Sun Sep 16, 2007 at 08:01:09 PM EST

Jesus christ, so I'm wrong that the kilogram is a unit of mass and the pound is a unit of force?

What's wrong with you?

Proud member of the Canadian Broadcorping Castration
[ Parent ]

Imperial users will eventually die. (3.00 / 2) (#90)
by it certainly is on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 04:27:04 AM EST

Their children are already measuring in metric almost exclusively.

This is all it really boils down to: people being used to one set of units or the other, and finding the other one hopelessly confusing because they weren't brought up with it.

You say the number 12 is so useful, yet I don't see you lambasting it for being completely useless in comparison to then number 60.

You don't take into account that the US and UK use the same names for things but they're usually completely different scales. What use is that to a scientist, chef or trader?

The "stories" of the fahrenheit scale sound made up, and there's no simple definition. On the other hand, centigrade scale has a handy mapping: ice melts at 0 and water boils at 100 (roughly). Why pick arbitrary numbers like 32 and 212?

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.

Roughly? (none / 0) (#93)
by chlorus on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 09:23:09 AM EST


Peahippo: Coked-up internet tough guy or creepy pedophile?
[ Parent ]

and the water (3.00 / 3) (#101)
by rhiannon on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 01:20:54 PM EST



-----------------------------------------
I continued to rebuff the advances... so many advances... of so many attractive women. -MC
[ Parent ]
so how's that road-sign metrication going? (none / 1) (#117)
by Delirium on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 11:16:11 PM EST

The 1956 announcement that all road signs would be converted to km and km/hr seems to be coming along quite nicely eh? Surely all those elderly folks of the 1950s who were holding it up must've died by now?

[ Parent ]
The 17 years old drivers of 1956 (none / 0) (#165)
by it certainly is on Mon Sep 17, 2007 at 02:26:15 AM EST

...will hold licenses until 2009.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

I wouldn't say scary (none / 0) (#99)
by Corwin06 on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 12:08:43 PM EST

but I'm not American, either.

I normally use the metric system, but if I have to build anything that doesn't have nice little holes to put the screw in right there, I use "that piece is half the length of that one" and generally abuse the binary system in just that way... It just feels right to count in powers of two: you just need to precisely size one piece and everything follows.

"and you sir, in an argument in a thread with a troll in a story no one is reading in a backwater website, you're a fucking genius
--circletimessquare
What about nursery rhymes? (3.00 / 2) (#109)
by rpresser on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 05:26:16 PM EST

Peter Piper picked 8809.768 ml of pickled peppers?
------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
this article is about the UK (nt) (none / 0) (#116)
by Delirium on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 11:11:59 PM EST



Hell, no! (none / 0) (#134)
by squigly on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 03:21:40 AM EST

I refuse to grow an extra finger just so these damn luddites can have their way!


Good (1.50 / 1) (#137)
by ElMiguel on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 06:39:03 AM EST

I'm already feeling the increased discussion quality from the paid registration.

for the trolling sake (none / 0) (#138)
by vqp on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 10:16:05 AM EST

I don't want to argue about the superiority of number 12, but for Newton's sake, at least the metric system has a correlation between the different units.

1 m x 1 m = 1 m2 . Compare this to inches, feet, miles and acres.

1 liter = 1000 cm3  = 1 kg (of water in regular conditions)
Compare this to calculate gallons, calculate the weight of a gallon of water, calculate the dimensions of a cubicle with 1 gallon capacity.

happiness = d(Reality - Expectations) / dt

A new project for you to occupy your time (none / 1) (#139)
by cvalente on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 10:26:06 AM EST

The number 12 is a colossally abundant number, while the number ten is a deficient number. In plain English, it's easier to split things into a larger variety of fractions and have it come out even with a system based around 12 and 16 than around the number 10 and only 10.

Go for it and evangelize the world to adopt a base 12 or 16 numeric positional system. Why stop there? Go all the way to base 30 = 2*3*5 or base 60=2*2*3*5. Those Babylonians knew better after all.

Then your argument will make sense. As long as the number system remains base 10 (as it is in all the planet for practical purposes) your argument is irrelevant.



already succeeded (none / 0) (#145)
by Delirium on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 03:34:38 PM EST

How many minutes have we got an hour again?

[ Parent ]
You missed my point (3.00 / 4) (#152)
by cvalente on Sun Sep 16, 2007 at 12:50:55 AM EST

Even measures like that (and angles for instance (360 degrees)) are still expressed in base 10 numbers. Like it or not, base 10 won. Measure systems should be in accordance with this. And yes, the time measurement is all messed up. Months are irregular for historical reasons... Who many square feet in one square mile? Do you really know this? Because I know how many cm^2 in one m^2.

[ Parent ]
-1 Not European Enough (none / 0) (#143)
by nlscb on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 11:53:53 AM EST

European makes everything better, just like everyone in blue states say.

UKia fails it again in its Europeaness.

Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange

Article incomplete (none / 0) (#148)
by nidarus on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 10:53:07 PM EST

Doesn't mention that the metric system is sexist

Sharp contrast (none / 1) (#153)
by cvalente on Sun Sep 16, 2007 at 06:31:09 AM EST

Sexist The metric system has been almost wholly created and standardized by male scientists and bureaucrats. At the time, during which women were considerably less liberated than today, woman had virtually no say in the creation and, in many countries, the imposition of these units. Perhaps, if they had, the value of the practical units used in those tasks undertaken by woman at the time would have been recognized.

This is in sharp contrast to the imperial system where women had a tremendous influence having been standardized much earlier than the metric system (SI) when women were considerably more liberated than today.



[ Parent ]

Obviously (none / 0) (#156)
by nidarus on Sun Sep 16, 2007 at 10:22:57 AM EST

However, I should point out that Metric system != SI, and it was not invented "today".

[ Parent ]
sI and metric (none / 0) (#172)
by cvalente on Mon Sep 17, 2007 at 04:48:54 PM EST

from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=International_System_of_Units&oldi d=158454431: "The International System of Units (abbreviated SI from the French Le Système international d'unités) is the modern form of the metric system" as for the SI, the latest definition of what a meter is dates from 1983. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Metre&oldid=158331759 "To further reduce uncertainty, the seventeenth CGPM in 1983 replaced the definition of the metre with its current definition, thus fixing the length of the metre in terms of time and the speed of light:" regarding the "today" I was answering this: "At the time, during which women were considerably less liberated than today", hence my usage of the word. I do agree strictly speaking it's not correct to do so.

[ Parent ]
The Imperial system (none / 1) (#175)
by The Emperor Has No Clothes on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 04:41:38 AM EST

liberates women by saving them time and effort. Every good housewive has an intuitive feel for how much a Cup is, while the Mole is virtually useless in the kitchen. We can't expect women to know how many atoms are in 0.12kg of carbon-12. Measuring a cup of flour, on the other hand, comes easily to the female mind.

[ Parent ]
The gram is not the unit of mass (none / 0) (#154)
by superiority on Sun Sep 16, 2007 at 07:00:28 AM EST

The unit of mass is the kilogram. One gram is defined as one thousandth of a kilogram.

This reminds me of HS... (3.00 / 2) (#155)
by bighappyface on Sun Sep 16, 2007 at 09:22:00 AM EST

...when my chem teacher thought there were 30 grams in an ounce, and I said 28.

I just wanted to be like "I BUY THIS SHIT ALL THE TIME, I KNOW HOW MUCH A QUARTER, EIGHTH, AND FULL OUNCE ARE"

Instead I just ignored him and let the girl he was helping fuck up her work after he "corrected me" as to how many grams were in an ounce.

adjectives and nouns (none / 0) (#161)
by PigleT on Sun Sep 16, 2007 at 05:37:27 PM EST

"a degree celsius is too large and imprecise."

No it's not. It's 1 celsius degree above the triple-point of water at STP, simple.

Let's get this straight once and for all: a degree celsius is a measurement of a temperature. A celsius degree is the size of a difference of one degree on the celsius temperature scale; the `celsius' has become an adjective.
~Tim -- We stood in the moonlight and the river flowed

It's about time we did the same with currency (none / 0) (#168)
by squigly on Mon Sep 17, 2007 at 04:55:44 AM EST

The US has the right general idea dividing the "dollar" into four "quarters", but that's not nearly good enough.  The quarter is divided into two and a half "dimes" or five "nickels".  Why? Why does anyone want to divide by five, and who in the world would want to divide by two and a half for a measurement?

The correct way to divide currency was abandoned by a short sighted British Royal Mint in the 1970's.  The pound was split into 4 crowns or 20 shillings.  The shilling was split into 12 pennies.  The penny could then be split further into 4 farthings.  If the precision of the currency is still too low, this can be divided into yet smaller units such as groats.

Yet we seem to be stuck with a mass of incompatible currency systems all of which are based arbitrarily on the number of fingers on a hand.  

let's measyre the king's cock and use that (none / 1) (#177)
by newb4b0 on Sat Sep 22, 2007 at 07:19:20 PM EST

as the standard unit. 10 cocks to the north

http://www.netmoneychat.com| NetMoneyChat Forums. No Registration necessary. Ya'll.

Troll (none / 0) (#179)
by fuchikoma on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 12:35:19 PM EST

Is this post even serious?
I grew up on both systems in Canada in the 80s. Now we're officially metric, but I still need to know imperial to talk to middle aged and older people.

Tell me... no lookups, no calculators - how many 1/16ths of an inch are in a mile? How many ounces does a gallon of water weigh? And what is its volume?

In metric, there are 1,000,000 millimeters in a kilometer; 1000 grams per litre of water, and it will occupy 100 square centimeters. Things are pretty much a matter of shifting decimal places and knowing some simple terms to denote the number of zeros that apply to ALL measurements. There is no fluid ounce/weight ounce. No British/European/American mutations of a measurement with the same name and SORTA CLOSE values. No straight-up hard memorization of how many ounces in a pound and so on. There are 1000 grams in a kilogram - because kilo means 1000.

The only real shortcoming of metric is that some things like weight are still held to a physical standard that has to be preserved with insane purity as opposed to relating it to some universal constant. Generally if you can shift a decimal you can do metric, where imperial is like learning a different language by memorizing a bunch of arbitrary rules, only to find that once you've conquered it, other parts of the world use different dialects and you have to learn them too. It's a mess!

The only reason someone would choose imperial is sheer stubbornness and unwillingness to learn. Imperial lengths are useful for working on archaic equipment, but that stuff is going the way of the dodo anyway.

Temperature (none / 0) (#180)
by fuchikoma on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 12:51:05 PM EST

Human scale? Fahrenheit?
Yes... it's calibrated 0-100 as "really freakin' cold" to "as warm as a particular scientist." WTF? That's so arbitrary it's silly.

Celsius on the other hand, as long as we have water and air at "standard pressure", it will freeze at 0C and boil at 100C. That makes perfect sense. It even works for measuring weather - in Western Canada here a warm summer day is 25C. A really hot day is around 35C. A cold winter day is -25C. A really cold winter day is -35C. As a point of curiousity, -40C is about equal to -40F.

It makes perfect sense for everyday measurements. If you're working in a lab, you might choose to use Kelvin instead - that's fine - just add a constant 273 degrees to your Celsius reading. 273.15 if you want to be really precise. At 0K... well... matter as we know it freezes and we have zero atomic motion. Seems like a sound measurement to me. No one I know of uses Kelvin outside labs, where Celsius requires no thought at all unless you're converting an old recipe.

Down with the metre and litre! Long live pints and pounds! | 178 comments (156 topical, 22 editorial, 0 hidden)
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