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Imperial versus metric


Camacha
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A system centered around its units multiplying by 10 to get the next one is naturally the best one when it comes to the incredible distances in space. It's also more convenient in everyday use. Verdict: the only use imperial has in modern society is saving money on replacing road signs.

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5 hours ago, Bej Kerman said:

Verdict: the only use imperial has in modern society is saving money on replacing road signs.

As well as saving the headache, chaos, and carnage of trying to update the global navigation systems to metric. No more Blackbirds descending to flight level 600

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16 hours ago, Bej Kerman said:

A system centered around its units multiplying by 10 to get the next one is naturally the best one when it comes to the incredible distances in space.

Yes because that happens to be the base of numerals that we end up with, and talking in magnitudes is at least justified.

So given base 10 (ten) then the metric system is justified. But if we had ended up with base 12 (so 1012 ) then that version of "10" (some call 'douze') is going to be more logical.

11 hours ago, StrandedonEarth said:

As well as saving the headache, chaos, and carnage of trying to update the global navigation systems to metric.

Ex-eastern bloc countries used to have metric flight stuff. The sole 'logical' combination is probably nautical miles which does have something to do with the Earth's circumference, but other than that it's just the fact that it's much easier to keep legacy compatibility than otherwise.

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45 minutes ago, YNM said:

Ex-eastern bloc countries used to have metric flight stuff. The sole 'logical' combination is probably nautical miles which does have something to do with the Earth's circumference, but other than that it's just the fact that it's much easier to keep legacy compatibility than otherwise.

The single most important aspect about a standard is that it is a standard. As long as everyone uses the same units the biggest problems are solved. Next comes what standard to use, and everyone will find reasons why their system should be the one. Being a minority becomes unsustainable in the long run when trade suffers ("Don't buy machinery from Myanmar—they're impossible to service with those weird bolts they use"), but when you're big enough you can ignore that, as a country. The trend of outsourcing manufacturing will put pressure on that though.

A nautical mile is 1 minute of longitude — but only at the equator so there's not that much reason to use it nowadays — except that everyone uses it for maritime and aeronautical navigation, and then we go back to the first point: if everyone uses that unit, it's very hard to argue against it.

"Flight levels" in aerospace are a wonderful example of "the number might be wrong but if everyone is using the same number it doesn't matter" - the altimeter of an aircraft basically translates an atmospheric pressure to an altitude, so you have to correct it for what the actual barometric pressure at sea level is. But what if you're moving fast, or are too far from a ground station to get a reliable reading? That's where Flight Levels come in. "Let's just assume that sea level pressure is one standard atmosphere or 1013 mBar." So, FL350 isn't really 35,000 feet - it's what your altimeter shows as 35,000 feet assuming a particular setting. But since everyone is using that setting, being even 1000 feet off is not an issue, as all air traffic around you will be off by the same amount, and vertical separation is maintained. Your standard doesn't have to be "right;" it just has to be a standard.

 

Edited by Kerbart
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6 minutes ago, Kerbart said:

The single most important aspect about a standard is that it is a standard. As long as everyone uses the same units the biggest problems are solved.

Yep.

Still there are complications - just look at ICAO Annex 14 and you'd realize quickly not everyone in the field speaks the same way.

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The Soviet/Russian aviation happily uses the FL350-like designations just as a flight level callsign, corresponding to the altitude in meters.

And for decades there was absolutely no need in miles or feet, except for the purchased boeingobuses which use the tools in feet and the overturned navball.

Though, since, unlike the mechanical tools ,the MFD allows usage even of Ancient Egyptian ells and navballs painted pink-and-lime, the British units will get less nailed to the hardware and at last will be replaced with standard meters.

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20 hours ago, Bej Kerman said:

A system centered around its units multiplying by 10 to get the next one is naturally the best one when it comes to the incredible distances in space. It's also more convenient in everyday use. Verdict: the only use imperial has in modern society is saving money on replacing road signs.

You also have legacy, here in Norway planks and other wood are measured in thumbs, its sold in metric lengths however as we uses the metric system. 
However you renovate or upgrade old houses so the old standard stuck, the 2x4" is very classic. 

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1 hour ago, magnemoe said:

You also have legacy, here in Norway planks and other wood are measured in thumbs, its sold in metric lengths however as we uses the metric system. 
However you renovate or upgrade old houses so the old standard stuck, the 2x4" is very classic. 

Almost, but not quite. The terminology of the old units survived, but the 2x4'' plank is actually 48x98 mm. That is, it is sawed as a 50x100 mm piece and planed down by one millimeter on every surface. That's true for all of the standard lumber dimensions: 23, 48, 73, 98, 148, and 198 mm. It's an even number of millimeters divisible by 25, minus 2. The only exception I can remember from my days working at a hardware store are the 36 mm and 120 mm dimensions, which are used only rarely. 

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6 hours ago, Codraroll said:

Almost, but not quite. The terminology of the old units survived, but the 2x4'' plank is actually 48x98 mm. That is, it is sawed as a 50x100 mm piece and planed down by one millimeter on every surface. 

Something similar where I grew up; pounds are used for 500 g masses, and ounces are 100 g. They are not “legal units” but everyone in a store will know what you want if you order a pound of meat or two ounces of licorice.

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If combine the Planck natural units and base 12. then

Length: 1.616255(18)×10−35 m * 1232 ~= 0.5524 m.
I.e a pair of 27.6 cm / 10.9" feet one by one.
That's about size 40 in Russian boot system and is a very realistic size, man's or woman's.

Time: 5.391247(60)×10−44 s * 1240 ~= 0.792 s.

Mass: 2.176434(24)×10−8 kg * 127 ~= 0.78 kg.

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8 hours ago, Codraroll said:

Almost, but not quite. The terminology of the old units survived, but the 2x4'' plank is actually 48x98 mm. That is, it is sawed as a 50x100 mm piece and planed down by one millimeter on every surface. That's true for all of the standard lumber dimensions: 23, 48, 73, 98, 148, and 198 mm. It's an even number of millimeters divisible by 25, minus 2. The only exception I can remember from my days working at a hardware store are the 36 mm and 120 mm dimensions, which are used only rarely. 

Ok then I guess its 50x100 mm as its within the margin, has to check then back at my parents farm. 
1-2 mm is within margin for carpeting. In this case I get its actualy 50x100, as they sell this in bulk, they don't sell 50x100 mm and they will not trim down but rater to this at the saw. Its easy to trim it down if needing the extra precision who is rarely needed for houses unless internal. 
And yes planks come in lots of thicknesses, was looking for an plank of one thickness to replace part of an railing and the folding rule only had cm and I thought the numbers might make more sense in thumbs. 

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In the US, 2x4s are not 2''x4'' either. They are so-called "dimensional lumber" and are planed down to actually be 1.5 inches x 3.5 inches. The extra half inch is for sawing and planing purposes.

(And just to require less wood. In older buildings from the early-to-mid 20th century, you often find that 2x4s are both unplaned and also actually 2''x4''.)

Edited by mikegarrison
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On 6/17/2021 at 1:39 PM, mikegarrison said:

I work in an industry where, everywhere in the world, airplane altitudes are measured in feet and speed is measured in nautical miles per hour.

 

Not everywhere. Many EFIS displays even have a button to allow the crew to switch between metric and imperial altitudes, for use when operating in airspace of countries that use metric altitudes.

That, and the International Nautical Mile (the one that counts) is defined as EXACTLY 1852 metres.

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On 6/23/2021 at 9:45 AM, magnemoe said:

You also have legacy, here in Norway planks and other wood are measured in thumbs, its sold in metric lengths however as we uses the metric system. 
However you renovate or upgrade old houses so the old standard stuck, the 2x4" is very classic. 

Also in Finland planks, nails and some other carpenter's materials are called by inch measurements. Everything is sold and official drawings is made in metric units according to European standards but inch is used in professional jargon and hobby carpenters too. Every store know to give you 98 x 48 mm plank if you ask "kakkosnelonen", which means 2 x 4 and packet of 75 mm nails if you ask 3".

 

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Speaking as someone who grew up using the imperial system, I can say that it is extremely easy to switch to metric and start thinking in centimetres, kilometres, kilograms etc. All it takes is a decision to switch, and you soon find the imperial system you grew up with absolutely unnecessary.

So I'm a metric convert. I even switched from MPG (UK MPG, not US MPG, there's a difference!) to l/100km and understand that better now.

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Maybe the US should switch to counting in base-16, and create its own logical, metric-esque* system for that. Because hexadecimal is obviously the best base.

*(since they're both French roots, can I say "metriquesque"?)

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8 minutes ago, Deddly said:

Speaking as someone who grew up using the imperial system, I can say that it is extremely easy to switch to metric and start thinking in centimetres, kilometres, kilograms etc. All it takes is a decision to switch, and you soon find the imperial system you grew up with absolutely unnecessary.

So I'm a metric convert. I even switched from MPG (UK MPG, not US MPG, there's a difference!) to l/100km and understand that better now.

It depends on what you do. If you use units occasionally and crude accuracy is enough it should not be hard, but if you are for example a machinist I can imagine it is easy to make mistakes with unfamiliar units when you are tired and boss nags about increased production demands. For me units are not difficult, it is just a factor. Easy to estimate crudely in head or calculate with calculator if an  accurate value is needed. Strange habit to split inches in two's powers instead of usual decade system is the annoying thing. Especially larger divisions, like 7/64 inch.

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3 minutes ago, SOXBLOX said:

Maybe the US should switch to counting in base-16, and create its own logical, metric-esque* system for that. Because hexadecimal is obviously the best base.

*(since they're both French roots, can I say "metriquesque"?)

And start this from the Albuquerque.
So, the initiative would be called "Albuquerque Metriquesque", abbr. "que-que-que-que "or Q4.

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7 minutes ago, Hannu2 said:

It depends on what you do. If you use units occasionally and crude accuracy is enough it should not be hard, but if you are for example a machinist I can imagine it is easy to make mistakes with unfamiliar units when you are tired and boss nags about increased production demands.

You are absolutely right of course. But I think such errors are only likely to occur in the beginning. I was surprised how quickly my deep-rooted opinions about the imperial system were supplanted.

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8 minutes ago, SOXBLOX said:

Maybe the US should switch to counting in base-16, and create its own logical, metric-esque* system for that. Because hexadecimal is obviously the best base.

*(since they're both French roots, can I say "metriquesque"?)

Objectively I'd say base 12, since that makes things easily divisible by 2, 3, 4 and 6. There's benefits with hex when you write machine language but I don't think our number system should be geared towards masochists.

4 minutes ago, kerbiloid said:

And start this from the Albuquerque.
So, the initiative would be called "Albuquerque Metriquesque", abbr. "que-que-que-que "or Q4.

That reminds me of the most inefficient word in the English language: "Queue" - which could be spelled 80% shorter ("Q") without losing any of the pronunciation.

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38 minutes ago, SOXBLOX said:

Because hexadecimal is obviously the best base.

No stopping 1/3s, sadly. Base 12, despite being a smaller base, is better than Base 16 (which is only as good as Base 8).

 

Edited by YNM
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Base 16 and a pocket calculator.

***

The genetic engineering,

We should develop a standard human model and genetically code it to make all humans be of standard size.

It should match standard units which are to be developed, too.

Edited by kerbiloid
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