Anonymous:

I don't realy care if Celcius, Fahrenheit or Kelvin are used, those are all kind of arbitrary, what matters is that there is only one scale to measure temperatures in each system. For the rest of the SI vs. Imperial usint debate, I side definately on the SI side, for one main reason: the number of different units. In the Imperial system you have a lot of different units to measure what is essentially the same quantity. For example length is measured in meters in SI, but in inches, feet, yards, miles, hands, and what have you, in the Imperial system. And I'm not even talking about surfaces and volumes, which also use the metre in SI, but often completely new units in the Imperial system.

Your point is pretty moot.  There is nothing stoping you from measuring in kilofeet instead of miles if you so choose.  Well, nothing short of being ridiculed. :P

• Anonymous (unregistered) in reply to mfarah
mfarah:

Indeed, it's dumb. It's better to use the *Celsius* scale, which isn't the same.

um, wow ....

Yes, it is the same.  In fact, Celsius was originally called centigrade.  The French opposed the term since they were already using it for some other measurement (angular?).

• Eddie Pedant (unregistered) in reply to Fabian
Fabian:
Anonymous:

186,000 miles per second, it's not just a good idea, it's the law!

Well, no, actually it's an axiom.

Well, no, actually it's a law.

An axiom is an unprovable assertion used in mathematics which may or may not be true in various situations but which leads on to various inescapable conclusions if assumed.  If you can show seperately that an axiom does in fact apply to a given situation, then a body of theory is available to you.  For instance, the group theory axioms are true for the set of symmetries of the square.  You can thus prove things about this set without a full geometric analysis.  This is the power of mathematics.

This is in marked contrast to a physical law.  A physical law is always true in all situations, as far as we know.  It says, "this is the way the universe is".  There are no "other situations" where it may not apply.  A physical law can be disproven by experiment.  The law leads on to consequences and if these do not match experiment then the law is again disproven.  In every experiment done in the last 100 years the laws about the speed of light have not been disproven.  This is the power of science.

An axiom can never be disproven; it can only fail to apply.  There is thus a great difference between the two concepts.  If Einstein's laws of physics were struck down by experiment tomorrow, they would no longer be laws.  If I show that a set of objects fails to obey the group axioms, they continue to stand as axioms.  That's the difference, and it's a whopper.

• Yes, I'm "Daren" (unregistered) in reply to Anon

For those that are interested in the outcome:

On that particular day, the director shrugged it off.  He is a pretty smart guy, and even understands about bad code, but he is very heavily vested in this consulting company (in that he was one of the main people that wanted to bring them on board) so they're somewhat of a sacred cow, and can't be criticized.

Epilog: he has now been promoted to Vice President; I left that job over a year ago and am happily toiling away at a new, less-WTFy job.

• Anonymous (unregistered) in reply to m0ffx

Anonymous:

I find Fahrenheit annoying.

That's why I use Rankine.

Anonymous:

The speed of light is DEFINED as 299,792,458 m/s. EXACTLY.

But what are we to do when the Power(s) That Be change the speed of light? :P

Anonymous:

The yard is now defined as 0.9144 metres

No, that is the "international yard", which just so happens to be equivalent to a regular yard which by standard definition is 3 feet.

Anonymous:

CAPTCHA: enterprisey. I think that Mr Fahrenheit's definitions were pretty enterprisey.

Yeah, but so was the development of SI.  Sure the powers of 10 trick is neat, but they could have developed more usable base units.
• Mathilde (unregistered)

I believe I, too worked at the 'factory'. Or at the very least at a similar factory. It brings back tears just remembering the Director. I always called him Fuhrer myself.

• bramster (unregistered) in reply to zerrodefex
Anonymous:
Anonymous:
Anonymous:

Anonymous:
Who would use feet to measure length anyway?

Only an American or British, as every other country use SI units.  7 feet would be 2 meters or so.  Yes those two countries should convert to SI system, but why USA/UK would care of the rest of the World.  My 2 cents.

Why should we convert? The imperial system came before SI! Sometimes, it is just better ot use an already existing (and functional) system rather than consuming resources (time, energy, money) developing a new system and then trying to convince everyone that yours is better. SI is no more a golden hammer than COBOL is. :P\

Obviously you weren't a science or engineering major.  Computer science does not count.

It is far quicker and easier to convert between units in SI as everything is in multiples of 10.  For example, once you know that the meter is standard for distance and kilo means 1000 then you know that a kilometer is 1000 meters.  Now tell me, can you remember off the top of your head how many feet are in a mile, or how many cups in a gallon, or pounds in a ton?

Statute or Nautical Miles (5280 and (6015? that's a gues))    Imperial or US gallons?  Short ton or Long ton?

Adiabatic lapse rate is 1.98 degrees celsius per 1000 ft of elevation.

Aviation visibility is measured in Statute Miles, distance to destination in nautical miles.

Jet fuel is measured in pounds.

And unless we want to see a lot of aluminum raining out of the sky, we'd better keep it that way.

• Joe H. (unregistered) in reply to zerrodefex

5280 feet in a mile

2000 pounds in a ton

16 cups is a gallon

Seriously, how hard is that?

• bramster (unregistered) in reply to emurphy
emurphy:

WeatherGod:

Actually, at normal atmospheric surface pressures, pure water freezes at -40 degrees Celsius.

Wow, apparently this isn't a troll after all.

http://www.plantpath.wisc.edu/fac/joh/Exp2TeachGuide.htm

"First, most students do not understand, and initially will not believe, that pure water freezes at -40°C.  Someone in class is bound to say, “Don’t you mean 0°C?”  The problem is that most of us have been taught about the freezing point of water under equilibrium conditions, i.e., when there is an ice crystal present.  Given a perfect ice nucleus in pure water, the freezing point of water is 0°C.  Most of us will never encounter really pure water so we will never observe water as a liquid below about -10°C.  Many chemicals and contaminants, such as dust particles, will act as ice nuclei at temperatures below -5°C, though few are as effective as the ice nucleating bacteria, which are very active at -2° to -3°C.  So be sure to stress that the freezing point of pure water is -40°C and that less pure water is unlikely to supercool below -8° to -10°C."

So, pure water also freezes at -40° F    Coincidence?

• Franz Kafka (unregistered) in reply to zid
Anonymous:

Kilo = 1000

Kibi = 1024

1 kilobyte = 1000 bytes

1 kibibyte = 1024 bytes

KiB vs. kB

Sorry, a Kilobyte is 1024 bytes. Just because some standards group tries to redefine the world don't make it so.

• Eddie Pedant (unregistered) in reply to bramster
Anonymous:

And unless we want to see a lot of aluminum raining out of the sky, we'd better keep it that way.

Didn't one of NASA's missions fail because of a units incompatibility with a foreign developer?

I think we'll see aluminium raining out of the sky, and then the Americans will change to SI.  Seems to be how these things go.

• (cs) in reply to Bob Janova
Bob Janova:

Weight: But most everyday weights are not nice numbers in either. Ingredients for cookery are typically 10-20 oz, stuff to carry generally 0-20 lb, people typically 10-20 st. None of those work terrifically well in SI units, though 'stuff to carry' can work in kilos.

Obviously it makes more sense to speak of mass here, not weight, but well...

I've seen several people (here and elsewhere) tout the Imperial system on grounds that a pound is more useful than a kilogram in everyday life.  But in many countries the metric pound (exactly half a kilogram i.e. 500g) is a well understood unit, and it's not substantially different from the imperial pound (453.59237... g). So that's not much of an argument.

Likewise, the metric centner (50kg) neatly replaces the Imperial hundredweight (112lbs or 50.802345... kg). The metric ton is only slightly less than the Imperlal long ton. Not to mention that having a short ton and a long ton is pretty confusing.

Bob Janova:

Volume: Until the advent of precision science, most ordinary people's measures are well covered by the fl. oz (drinks), the pint (jugs that a person can easily move) and the gallon (the largest amount of water reasonably movable without wheels). Larger amounts are well catered for with the barrel, of course.

Having a fluid ounce that is a measure of volume, as opposed to the "normal" ounce which is a measure of mass, is another confusing property of Imperial units.

Though there is no close SI replacement, 3.38 fl.oz = 1 decilitre which shows that decilitres are practical for much of the same purposes. Though in Germany it's customary to just say (e.g.) "null drei" (zero three) for 0.3 litres, for instance.

A pint (473.176745ml) is quite close to half a litre, a barrel is not much more than a hectolitre. There is no metric equivalent of a gallon but I don't see much use for that anyway. Your suggestion that this is the "largest amount of water reasonably movable without wheels" is just plain wrong, by the way.

Bob Janova:

I do concur that scientific calculations are far easier in SI units, and I'd never dream of doing them in anything else. But for everyday experience I stick with imperial ones, because the numbers are all the right size.

This is right to the point, though my conclusion is much different from yours - Imperial units may be marginally better for baking and stuff like that (though you may already have to perform rather odd unit conversions for that purpose), but they are vastly inferior in terms of converting between different dimensions. For example 1ml is exactly identical to 1 cubic centimetre. There are exactly 1000 litres in a cubic metre.

On the other hand, there is no easy way to convert let's say a barrel to cubic feet, so you don't. This is a deficiency that constrains logical thinking as is apparent in another posting:

Anonymous:

Volmarias:

Yes, I was aware, but were you aware that a hogshead is not a unit of length? :P

It is a brewery term for volume, and if I remember correctly, 1 hogshead is about 55 gallons .. give or take ...

Obviously if you aren't used to thinking of volume as length to the third power, it's easy to miss the point that volume divided by area yields a length. (In general, a solid body obtained by applying a perpendicular translation by a given length to a shape with given area has that volume.)
• KJK::Hyperion (unregistered) in reply to Mr. Physics
Anyway, British units are so much nicer because there are more prime factors to play with which makes commerce easy. (I don't want a full dozen -- I only want a third of a dozen.) The metric system is dumb! It only uses prime factors of 2 and 5. Neither is it easy to represent many fractions. How do you represent a third of a killogram? 333.33333333333333333333333333333333333333333...(etc...) mg? Stupid! Stupid! Stupid. I mean, who creates a system of measurement just because it matches the number of fingers you have. Bah!!!
Oh no, not that stupid argument again. Are you really that dense? Why do you need to divide by three, pray tell? if you know in advance (and you always do, if you work with whole values), just pick a quantity that can be divided by three. You have it backwards. Metric construction material is available in centimeter lengths that are exact multiples of 3, it didn't exactly take them a lot to figure it
• (cs) in reply to Hog Shed
Anonymous:
there are so many repeating the 'metric mantra', as if 10 is the Proper Factor For Numbers To Have

Does that mean that the USA are going to abandon the decimal system? Or is it considered God-given because even the Hebrew of the Bible uses multiples of ten?

Anonymous:
kg all the way!  Why?  Because I have a 'feel' for how much a full can of Coke weighs

Ironically, a quart of regular Coke (even if you don't include the empty bottle) weighs more than 1kg because of all the dissolved sugar. A litre of Coke weighs some more still.

Anonymous:
Cups for flour, sugar etc.

This part I'll never get (even though "cups for flour, sugar etc." are commonly used in Germany as well). It leads to a lot of uncertainty due to the different sizes of cups and the different densities of flour, for example.

Anonymous:
square feet or square met[re|er]s.  I don't find either of them more intuitive than the other.  Jo (again, it's a well known unit for some) for areas of rooms.  Acres for large areas, square miles for even larger ones.

Just why would you use Imperial units for large areas, but metric units for small areas? It's already painful enough to convert Imperial units of area. For instance, 1 square kilometer is one million square meters - no fuss - whereas one square mile is twenty-seven million eight hundred and seventy-eight thousand and four hundred square feet. Not exactly intuitive.

Mixing units as you suggest, it gets worse, though: One square mile is two million five hundred and eighty-nine thousand nine hundred and eighty-eight dot one one something square meters.

• (cs) in reply to MichaelWojcik
MichaelWojcik:
Centigrade / Celsius is fairly pointless; there's nothing particular to recommend it.  Kelvin is an absolute measure, which is useful.  The reference points for degrees-C aren't significantly meaningful.

The reference points - the melting and boiling point of water, one of the most important substances in the Earth's crust and certainly the most important substance in all known life - are not "significantly meaningful"? They are obviously more meaningful than the lowest temperature in the winter of 1708/1709 in Danzig and the body temperature of a cow, respectively.

MichaelWojcik:
Fahrenheit, on the other hand, is fairly clever, considering the requirements it was designed to meet.  It's based on two reference temperatures, which are assigned to 32 and 96 degrees.

Tough luck though that the 96°F reference point no longer holds the intended meaning because the Fahrenheit scale was changed so that mean human body temperature is about 98.6°F. 100°F on the other hand comes pretty close to the mean body temperature of certain ruminant animals (see above) and 0°F have essentialy no meaning at all. What exactly was your point then?

Anonymous:
Well, no, actually it's a law.

Well, no, it's not. It's a definition and definitions, unlike natural laws, are not falsifiable (which was exactly your point about axioms). If you ever happen to measure a different value for c, your experiment is broken, by definition.

• wkempf (unregistered)

Man, I can't believe all the idiocy about SI vs Imperial.

Any way, this story reminds me of one of the first things I was assigned to do in my first "real job".  Seems the company I was working for had this nifty little masked edit control which was configurable six ways from Sunday, but had a bug when using it for date entry.  I was assigned to find and fix the bug.  When I went spelunking, I discovered the code was spaghetti enough that I couldn't comprehend it with out getting the bigger picture.  With out some of the fancy code spelunking tools we have today, I figured the best thing was to print the code out and read it in its entirety in a more comfy place than in front of the computer.

I was in the habit of using this nifty little utility for printing that existed at the time: 4Print.  4Print would print multiple "pages" on a single physical page.  I had it configured to print 2 pages per side, double sided, so effectively this was 4 normal pages of printout on a single sheet of paper.  I set it up, and started the print document, then went on to do something else (I'm a habitual multi-tasker).  After a while, it dawned on me that I hadn't received a notification that the print job was done yet, and it seemed like it had been going for several minutes.  So, I checked up on it.  I very quickly killed the print job when I realized it was around 40% complete, and had already spit out HALF A REAM of 4Print pages.

I fixed the bug by writing a new control from scratch, that actually did everything the original control did, but in under 20 actual pages of code (which would be 5 of those 4Print pages).

• Anonymous (unregistered) in reply to wkempf
Anonymous:

I fixed the bug by writing a new control from scratch, that actually did everything the original control did, but in under 20 actual pages of code (which would be 5 of those 4Print pages).

Hrm, is this the root 7 feet of bad code from the previous WTF? :P j/k

• (cs) in reply to zerrodefex
Anonymous:

It is far quicker and easier to convert between units in SI as everything is in multiples of 10.  For example, once you know that the meter is standard for distance and kilo means 1000 then you know that a kilometer is 1000 meters.  Now tell me, can you remember off the top of your head how many feet are in a mile, or how many cups in a gallon, or pounds in a ton?

I know OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD that there are 5280 feet in a mile, 2000 pounds in a ton, and ... I forget how many cups in a gallon.  Let's see, a gallon is 4 quarts, a quart is 2 pints, and a pint is 2 cups.  So, 16 cups in a gallon.

There!

• (cs) in reply to Factotumtree

Hey, I have a metric Crescent wrench!

• (cs) in reply to gl
Anonymous:

186,000 miles per second, it's not just a good idea, it's the law!

<font size="+1"></font>

<font size="+1">Surely you meant to say 1.8026175 × 1012 furlongs per fortnight.</font>

• - (unregistered) in reply to Bob Janova
Bob Janova:

Metres and km are just as good for the big stuff, but a foot-sized measurement is definitely missing.

What's wrong with cm? It works very well up to 50cm. Then you could just say 0.5m

hectograms are also used for measuring food.

Another cool fact is how the most common units are connected:

1 liter = 1dm^3 (dm = 10cm)

1 kg = 1 liter of water

• jim (unregistered) in reply to MichaelWojcik
MichaelWojcik:
Anonymous:

Nah, Celcius is better...  at 0 degree Celcius is "Man, it's cold!", but at 0 degree Fahrenheit is "Man, I'm f### freezing my b###, what the \$%# I'm doing outside!!!!", !! :-D

(I can't think on the usefulness of Kelvins)

At the end I guess is as dumb as meassure the temperature in x=1.8(Tc)+32

Centigrade / Celsius is fairly pointless; there's nothing particular to recommend it.  Kelvin is an absolute measure, which is useful.  The reference points for degrees-C aren't significantly meaningful.

Fahrenheit, on the other hand, is fairly clever, considering the requirements it was designed to meet.  It's based on two reference temperatures, which are assigned to 32 and 96 degrees.  The difference between 96 and 32 is 64.  Do those numbers look familiar?

If that's not clear enough, think about this: you have a linear gauge, with two reference points marked on it.  Now you want to mark it in gradations corresponding to a unit you've developed.  What kinds of intervals will give you an easy geometric construction procedure so you can do that mechanically?

The other SI units are useful, and the correspondence of the Celsius/Centigrade/Kelvin degree to the other SI units is sometimes useful, but the actual reference points of the C scale not so much.

What? 96?

Farenheit 100 was intended to be the normal human body temp, but the inventor happened to have a fever at the time. Normal human temp is actually 98.6.

Wtf is 96 supposed to be?

• (cs) in reply to wkempf

Anonymous:

[[...]] I was in the habit of using this nifty little utility for printing that existed at the time: 4Print.  [[...]]

No \$hit...!  I remember 4Print - I used it on Win3.0/Win3.1/WfW at about 12+ or so years ago.   Nifty little utility, but was eaten up by "n-up" features that started to become available on Laser printers...  But a nice utility nevertheless.  Wow - that took me back a bit... :)

Peace!

• (cs) in reply to Anonymous
Anonymous:
mfarah:

Indeed, it's dumb. It's better to use the *Celsius* scale, which isn't the same.

um, wow ....

Yes, it is the same.  In fact, Celsius was originally called centigrade.  The French opposed the term since they were already using it for some other measurement (angular?).

Wow, indeed. Anders Celsius invented the Centigrade scale, which went from 0 (boiling point of water) to 100 (freezing point of water). Yes, you read that right.

(Not much) later after his death, they reversed it. For all intents and purposes, the 100->0 scale is called Centigrade to distinguish it properly from the 0->100 one we all know and love, that is called Celsius, in honor of Mr. Celsius.

• zid (unregistered) in reply to Franz Kafka

Sorry, but opinion != fact.

The world is flat, always remember this.

• Anonymous (unregistered) in reply to mfarah
mfarah:

Wow, indeed. Anders Celsius invented the Centigrade scale, which went from 0 (boiling point of water) to 100 (freezing point of water). Yes, you read that right.

(Not much) later after his death, they reversed it. For all intents and purposes, the 100->0 scale is called Centigrade to distinguish it properly from the 0->100 one we all know and love, that is called Celsius, in honor of Mr. Celsius.

Yep, wow.

You are correct that Celsius invented the scale, and you are correct that shortly after his death (same year in fact) that the scale had been reversed.  However, the system was not "Celsius" until 1948.

• (cs) in reply to unklegwar
unklegwar:

Anonymous:
Seven feet of buggy code, not seven pages.

I can't wait. Next review I'm promoting that I wrote a good 731 yards of code.

This is just like measuring distance in units of time: "How far is it to your house from here?" "Oh, about 20 minutes"

Per Relativity, space = time.

On a less silly note, saying how far away something is in terms of average travel time to get there can actually be a more accurate and useful measure than limiting the answer to a linear measure.

For example: If your appartment is 1 mile from where you a pizza join, but there are no direct streets, and you have to drive around a hill, over a couple of bridges and through a couple of downtown intersections, it might be more useful to say the house is an hour and a half away, rather than 1 mile.  After all, it doesn't do you any good to order from the place 1 mile away if it will take 2 hours for the driver to get to your place, as opposed to the place 5 miles away in the other direction, where it takes 15 minutes to get to your house.  One pizza will definitely be cold, the other has a fair chance of being hot.  So, when you fire up MapQuest and want to know the distance, you better be ready to consider a time measurement as more valid than a linear measure.

• (cs) in reply to Expat
Anonymous:

Nah, Celcius is better...  at 0 degree Celcius is "Man, it's cold!", but at 0 degree Fahrenheit is "Man, I'm f### freezing my b###, what the \$%# I'm doing outside!!!!", !! :-D

(I can't think on the usefulness of Kelvins)

At the end I guess is as dumb as meassure the temperature in x=1.8(Tc)+32

Anonymous:
Anonymous:

Plus, measuring temperature in centigrade is just plain dumb.

My problem with Centigrade/Celcius is that it's hard to complain about how hot it is outside when you have to use statements like, "Man!  It must be 40 degrees out there!"  40 degrees just doesn't sound impressive to me.  Farenheit, "Man!  It must be 104 degrees out there!" is the same temperature, but it sure sounds more impressing.

As for Kelvin, I have to admit it's kind of fun to talk about, "Man!  It must be 260 degrees out there!", and see how many people can figure out whether that's hot or cold. :)

• (cs) in reply to -
Anonymous:

I have never seen anyone using celsius with fractional degrees when talking about the weather. We simply have no need for it.

And at 0C water freezes, that's a very natural starting point.

At 0C pure water at 1 ATM of pressure can be either solid or liquid, depending on if the heat of fusion has been taken out of it or not (no, I'm not talking about "Cold Fusion", I'm talking about basic high school physics).  It's only a "natural starting point" if you live at sea level and regularly deal with pure water in a solid state.

The same considerations must be taken into account for all SI measures.  For example, a kilogram is defined as being equal in mass to a particular lump of platinum-iridium alloy kept in an argon atmosphere.  That's not much less arbitrary than a foot being the length of a particular stick being held by the standards office.  (Metric is not the same as SI, they're just highly similar.  Metric kilogram is a cubic decimeter of water - but it pretty much leaves out the purity and temperature [water at 4C is denser than any other temperature; so is your cubic decimeter at 99C, 1C, 4C?  It matters but isn't stated].)

The meter is defined as a fraction of the spherical distance from the north pole to the equator.  Again, a pretty arbitrary measure.  Are meters different on Mars?  How do you deal with the fact that the Earth's size changes as the core cools and as meteorite dust accumulates on the surface?  Of course, these things are taken into account with SI (as opposed to metric), but the measure still is based on an arbitrary that has no meaning anywhere except on the surface of Earth at sea level.

The advantage to SI isn't that the measures are more "natural" or make more sense, it's that conversion is base-10, which is easy to do.  Calculating weight for 3,651 gallons of water is nowhere near so straightforward as calculating weight for 7,521 liters of water.  Even for Celcius, it's easier to convert watts times time divided by cubic centimeters and find temperature change, than it is to convert horsepower times time divided by cubic inches and find temperature change.

It has nothing to do with where the scale starts/stops, it has to do with how the measures relate to each other on a simple base-10 definition.

• Anonymous (unregistered) in reply to Gsquared
Gsquared:
Anonymous:

Nah, Celcius is better...  at 0 degree Celcius is "Man, it's cold!", but at 0 degree Fahrenheit is "Man, I'm f### freezing my b###, what the \$%# I'm doing outside!!!!", !! :-D

(I can't think on the usefulness of Kelvins)

At the end I guess is as dumb as meassure the temperature in x=1.8(Tc)+32

Anonymous:
Anonymous:

Plus, measuring temperature in centigrade is just plain dumb.

My problem with Centigrade/Celcius is that it's hard to complain about how hot it is outside when you have to use statements like, "Man!  It must be 40 degrees out there!"  40 degrees just doesn't sound impressive to me.  Farenheit, "Man!  It must be 104 degrees out there!" is the same temperature, but it sure sounds more impressing.

As for Kelvin, I have to admit it's kind of fun to talk about, "Man!  It must be 260 degrees out there!", and see how many people can figure out whether that's hot or cold. :)

It's more fun with Rankine!

A pint (473.176745ml) is quite close to half a litre.

You'll never get the British people to agree to round off to half a litre. Our pint is, IIRC, 568ml. Metrication is fine, but short measure at the pub most definitely is not!

A pint (473.176745ml) is quite close to half a litre.

You'll never get the British people to agree to round off to half a litre. Our pint is, IIRC, 568ml. Metrication is fine, but short measure at the pub most definitely is not!

• DaBill (unregistered) in reply to beanie
Anonymous:

And speed can be measured in parsecs per fortnight.

ow.

Usually this is reserved for the Kessel Run.

• DaBill (unregistered)

PS: About °F, °C and K: did it anyone of you strike odd, that the difference between 10 °C and 20 °C is 10 Kelvin?

No, but it does strike me as odd that we don't yet have a temperature measured in something starting with a U. Only then will we be complete.

Yes, yes it is.

• DaBill (unregistered) in reply to Mr. Physics

Yep, I can. 5280, 16, and 2000 respectively.

I can also tell you off the top of my head that a slug (the British unit for mass, not the animal) weighs 32 pounds (the British unit for weight, not the British unit of currency).

British units are very good for commerce: 1 foot is made up 12 inches.  12 is evenly divisible by 2, 3, 4,and 6.  The original calendar was to have 360 degrees (and because of this, the circle has 360 degrees) because 360 is such a nice number.  It not only equals 12*30 (12 30-day months), but is evenly divisible by 2,3,4,5,6,8,9,10,12, (and many others).  (There's no love though for 7 or 11 -- sigh.)

Anyway, British units are so much nicer because there are more prime factors to play with which makes commerce easy.  (I don't want a full dozen -- I only want a third of a dozen.)   The metric system is dumb!  It only uses prime factors of 2 and 5.  Neither is it easy to represent many fractions.  How do you represent a third of a killogram?  333.33333333333333333333333333333333333333333...(etc...)  mg?  Stupid! Stupid! Stupid.  I mean, who creates a system of measurement just because it matches the number of fingers you have.  Bah!!!

Actually, if you've ever seen old world merchants you'd have a different view on that last 'question'.

Hold out your dominant hand. Using your thumb, touch each section of the fingers on that hand, counting them out loud.  Yup, 12. You've got 12 sections, and it is divided into thirds and quarters inherently. Four fingers with three sections (quarters) or three sectiosn on four fingers for thirds. It also allows for tabular data as well (fingers/sections columns/rows). It's amazing to watch people who know how to calculate with that method. Fast, insanely fast. Those that can use both hands this way are nearly beyond belief.

• (cs) in reply to unklegwar
unklegwar:

I can't wait. Next review I'm promoting that I wrote a good 731 yards of code.

This is just like measuring distance in units of time: "How far is it to your house from here?" "Oh, about 20 minutes"

When I was a kid, we were on a trip and my dad stopped to get gas, and asked the gas station attendant how much further away our destination was (we are in Canada where they use the metric system):

Dad: How many kilometers is it to Ottawa?
Attendant: (puzzled look) What do you mean?
Dad: Um, how many miles is it to Ottawa?
Attendant: Miles?
Dad: Ok, how far is it to Ottawa?
Attendant: Oh, about 30 minutes up that way!

• Xichekolas (unregistered) in reply to unklegwar
unklegwar:

Anonymous:
Seven feet of buggy code, not seven pages.

...
This is just like measuring distance in units of time: "How far is it to your house from here?" "Oh, about 20 minutes."

If you were from the Midwest like I am, this would seem perfectly normal. I have never considered that my drive to work is about 25 miles. My drive to work takes 35 minutes. And really, when it comes time to set my alarm clock, that is the more important information. Another job only 10 miles away might still take 35 minutes to reach if there was no highway on which to get there.

• mnature (unregistered) in reply to mare

Anonymous:
Who would use feet to measure length anyway?

People will use whatever unit of measure they are comfortable with, or that fits their mindframe.  There is a unit of measurement, both distance and area, that is becoming more common than either the English system or SI.  That unit is football fields.  I am constantly hearing that something is as long as a football field, or is the same area as a football field.

• mnature (unregistered) in reply to DaBill
Anonymous:

PS: About °F, °C and K: did it anyone of you strike odd, that the difference between 10 °C and 20 °C is 10 Kelvin?

No, but it does strike me as odd that we don't yet have a temperature measured in something starting with a U. Only then will we be complete.

There is also Rankine, which gives us F, C, K, and R.  Just add vowels, and you can easily remember the four major temperature measurement systems.

• (cs) in reply to Xichekolas
Anonymous:
unklegwar:

Anonymous:
Seven feet of buggy code, not seven pages.

...
This is just like measuring distance in units of time: "How far is it to your house from here?" "Oh, about 20 minutes."

If you were from the Midwest like I am, this would seem perfectly normal. I have never considered that my drive to work is about 25 miles. My drive to work takes 35 minutes. And really, when it comes time to set my alarm clock, that is the more important information. Another job only 10 miles away might still take 35 minutes to reach if there was no highway on which to get there.

Same thing here in California, though for different reasons.  During a previous life, I lived in Orange County; door-to-door, my commute to work was 12 miles.  The fastest I've ever done it was in about 14 minutes, but that was coming home around 0100 one morning, after a particularly long struggle with installing a new T1; my average time was 45 minutes, and my worst was about 3.5 hours ... (For those familiar with the area, my route involved the 57, the 22, and Harbor Blvd.)

My years as a commuter were what converted me to expressing distances as time; it's much more useful in the general case.

Glad I don't have to deal with *that* any longer ...

• Code monkey (unregistered)

With over seven-feet of highlighted code in hand, Daren said: "this is what's wrong with the code."

In my last job there was a single method in a single module that, when printed out in 4 point Courier, took 17 sheets of A4 paper.

I didn't measure it at the time but a quick calculation puts that at about 5 metres (about 16'4").

• Faye Gibbins (unregistered) in reply to Charlie

That's not correct, everything but beer is in metric (Scotland).

• (cs) in reply to mnature
Anonymous:
People will use whatever unit of measure they are comfortable with, or that fits their mindframe.  There is a unit of measurement, both distance and area, that is becoming more common than either the English system or SI.  That unit is football fields.  I am constantly hearing that something is as long as a football field, or is the same area as a football field.
Would that be European or American football field?
• mnature (unregistered)

It is always entertaining to watch a good knock-down, drag-out fight over English vs. Metric units.  Most of the time, I don't believe it really matters one way or the other.

However, there are two cases where the Metric Mentality really gets in the way, simply because people who are raised with Metric usually can't do fractions worth a darn.  Those two cases are woodworking/machining and engineering.  In woodworking and machining, it is just incredibly easier to work with fractions than with centimeters or millimeters, plus being more exact.  In engineering, it is similar.  All numbers are left in fractional form until the final calculation is being made, thus ensuring accuracy.

Decimal representations of fractional amounts are, by their very nature, inaccurate, because whole numbers are always more accurate.  It is sometimes in the very nature of representing something that a flaw is found (the medium is the message).  Because Metric insists on using decimal arithmetic, insisting that fractions are somehow bad, that it gets into trouble.  We do not think in decimals, we tend to think in fractions and whole numbers.  If you want to divide a candy bar between three people, you're not going to think about the absolute length, you will simply eyeball the candy and split it into thirds.

Basing a measuring system upon body parts is not such a bad idea, either.  Makes it easy to estimate distances, either small or large, because you carry your scale around with you.  Rather than being random, the English system was based upon the reasonable measurements that people dealt with commonly throughout their lives.  Metric has its uses, but so does the English system.  Neither one is superior for everything, but each has their own merits.

• Anonymous (unregistered) in reply to mnature

Amusingly, mercury freezes at -40 (F|C) as well.

• Earl Purple (unregistered) in reply to Faye Gibbins

Anonymous:
That's not correct, everything but beer is in metric (Scotland).

And what is the speed limit on the A90?

What distance do players have to stand away from a free-kick in an Old Firm game and what are the dimensions on the pitch?

btw, imperial measurements remain in all international football.

Printing is also done in points and twips which are fractions of an inch.

• Sean (unregistered) in reply to unklegwar
unklegwar:
mbvlist:
That is plane awesome.
Nah, it's train awesome. Maybe even automobile awesome.Plane awesome would just be too plain.
More like Mag-Lev awesome, or Hyperloop awesome.
• Sean (unregistered) in reply to Expat
Expat:
Nah, Celcius is better...  at 0 degree Celcius is "Man, it's cold!", but at 0 degree Fahrenheit is "Man, I'm f### freezing my b###, what the \$%# I'm doing outside!!!!", !! :-D(I can't think on the usefulness of Kelvins) At the end I guess is as dumb as meassure the temperature in x=1.8(Tc)+32
Anonymous:
Anonymous:
Plus, measuring temperature in centigrade is just plain dumb.
Kelvins would be "..." get it? because none of his atoms are moving, its absolute zero.