Things Metric

Discussion in 'Zealot Archives' started by shrike, Apr 2, 2007.

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1. barryActive Member

The Imperial system was just that, confused the natives no end. Then we went metric the natives understood it better than we did realised they were been screwed and threw us out. End of Imperial .....end of Empire.

I can work quite happily in metric until it comes to A4 at which point I have use 8 by 11.1/2 " which idiot decided on that size I wonder.

Perhaps on behalf of English card modellers I should apologise for inflicting it on an unsuspecting world as we seem to be apologising for existing at the moment.

Oh for the days of "Send a Gunboat" with a 4 INCH gun ..................
2. MillimodelsMember

Having been brought up by a railway modelling father I was exposed to a range of scales that were 2mm/foot, 3mm/foot, 4mm/foot, 7mm/foot. As a result I use measurements that make sense to me, inches and feet for DIY projects millimeters for small scale things, grams for cooking ingredients, cwt for cement and mortar.

3. 46robMember

Earning a degree in biology, I am thoroughly comfortable with using metric measurements, especially weights, tempreatures and liquid measurements --ever measure out a micro-liter? But, in everyday life, I still find I have to mentally convert metric sizes into Imperial. I "think" in those terms....metric is an alternate universe. I don't mentally pcture three centimeters, rather my mind shows me an inch and a fraction, instead. I really don't care what system is used, as long as it's consistent. On my current design work--whenever I have to give a dimension--I give it in both systems, realizing that some metric users may not have a grasp of the imperial sstem. Things work both ways. Like languages--you may be fluent in several--but you'll think and dream in only one....everything else is interpretation.
4. SCEtoAuxMember

I'm in my early 50's also and use both systems without much trouble. In fact the tape measures that I use have both systems printed on them. I prefer using the metric system, but until it is universal I will continue with the imperial system also. Simple math and brain excercise it all you need to convert between the two systems. Anyone know of a tape measure marked out in 1/10 inches? That would be a neat one to have.

I did some work with NATO many years ago, so using newtons, liters, mm, etc. instead of psi, gallons, and inches sorta got to be easy after a while.
5. MauriceMember

The weight of a m3 of water was mentioned earlier. That is no accident and is the result of a kilogram being defined as the weight of a litre of pure water at 4 degrees centigrade and 760 mm of mercury. The metric system is a fully "consistent system" and units relate to each other across categories. It's been used for science in the UK since the 19th century because that consistency can lead to results becoming more obvious when factors naturally "drop out" of equations and things in a way that just doesn't happen in Imperial or other inconsistent systems.
Perhaps it's unfortunate that a lot of people tend to isolate each unit and try to understand it individually in terms of the units of the system they are converting from.
There's interesting stuff on the changeover experience in several countries at
http://lamar.colostate.edu/~hillger/internat.htm
Personally I fully learnt and developed a marked preference for metric in the early seventies, had no difficulty changing but retain a full Imperial capability. Lucky I suppose.
Has anyone mentioned a slug yet.

Doug

UK rulers as long ago as the 1950's had mm, cm and tenths of inches on the back. I've got one here dated 1953.
6. cygielskiMember

My experience is somewhat the reverse - I moved to the US as a kid and had to learn the imperial system. At around that time, my school was starting to teach the metric system, but even though I already knew it well, I had trouble recognizing it - giving meters in inches and metric tons in pounds is a great way to make sure nobody figures things out. Instead of training people to use the metric system, the whole teaching program concentrated around memorizing dozens of conversion factors from and to imperial values. I'm not surprised the whole initiative failed after a while.

8. swiftswordMember

I came here when I was twenty and knew nothing of inches, feet, pints, gills, bushels and pecks. For sheer simplicity, I take the metric over the imperial system any day. I think sometimes it's a matter of attitude.

I remember a professor in college putting down the metric system. "Well, a gallon is 3.78 liters. Now tell me, who in the world would buy 3.78 Liters of gas? It's so much easier to just buy a gallon!" I was fresh off the boat and didn't know about tongue-in-cheek humor. So, feeling proprietary about the metric system, I answered that "only an idiot would ask for 3.78 Liters. You'd buy 4 Liters, piece of cake!" I went on for a bit about the superiority of the metric system and didn't notice the class growing very quiet around me. I rather think I did nothing to improve the popularity of the metric system that day...

Cheers,

Oliver
9. thewoodengraverActive Member

I do like the system, but I don't use it.
When I was a Transmission Installer, this was different, I had no choice.
I'm American, I like our system, they told me it would be gone by now...they were mistaken.

I like knowing my foot measures 1 foot;
what name do you have for an inchworm?;
pounds sounds heavier than kilos;
How do you measure a pixel?;
Is the world language going to be divisible by 10?
Isn't EVERYTHING divisible by 10?

I have never met-ric...
10. rmks2000Member

I usually have to mentally convert to metric for some things. I think that it would be a lot easier just to get it over with. It's all relative. My biggest problem is that we have a hybrid system... soda sells by the liter in bottles, but by ounces in cans. Water sells by the liter for for 1, and 2 liters, but sells by the gallon after that. And some car parts still aren't fully metric which is real annoying when you round a bolt because it isn't metric.
11. lizzienewellMember

I did Nordic ski racing in high school. All skiing stuff is in meteric. I also was running crosscountry the year we changed from running 3 miles to 5 kilometers, which gave me a good feel for the difference between the two.

So no problem with kilometers if I'm on foot. I don't do well with it for altitude though and I prefere F to C because it has finer divisions. For small stuff I'm more comfortable with mm than with 32ths of an inch. Prefer metric bolts after having worked with bicycles and developing an eye for them. Water flow is in the imperial system for me cfs rather than liters per second.

Here is my solution for the best possible measurement system(I use it in my fictional world) Keep the meter but use it in multiples of twelve. Also change the counting system to base twelve. A grand-gross meter comes out rather close to a mile. And a quarter of a meter is conveniently the same size as the most popular woman's foot size. Pies and pizzas and pans of brownies can easily be divided into twelve parts. Since my own bare feet are conveniently exactly a quarter of a meter, I can do a quick estimate of meters. The relationship between the foot an an actual human foot is bizzare. Where did they find a guy with a size 14 foot. Big boots I suppose. Maybe they includes spurs.

Counting twelve on your fingers is no problem--just asign the numbers six and twelve to another place on your hand. I use the base of the pinky.
12. hpeptMember

If man was meant to use imperial system would have hands with six fingers :-D:cry::twisted:
13. Rick ThomsonMember

I've been using metric since it was rammed down my throat by Trudeau ( we western Canucks just live to blame him for everything...<g>) in the mid 70's, and having lived in Germany since the early 80's, it was a case of adapt or die.

But I can still grasp the old imperial system, and for those who are wondering a 327 block is 5.0 litres. a 350=5.7
14. GilActive Member

A Short History on the Word "Arbitrary"

The meter is about 1/40,000,000 of the Earth's circumference through the poles. It first started out as one-half the length of a one second pendulum. Problems with this as a standard length of measurement stem from the fact that it is extremely difficult to find anything that stays the same length and the fact that they thought they new the diameter of the Earth at the time. It works out that Earth's shape is a 27 degree polynomial discovered fairly recently because it plays havoc with the orbits of prying eye satellites. Even the wavelength of light is suspect in that it has been postulated that the Gravity constant may be changing. That aside it was the post revolutionary French who started metrification which explains the total English disaffection for it. Americans don't really have an affection for either system except where money is involved...,

-Gil
15. paper warriorMember

I use American measurement for estimations, but metric is better for making things to exact scale. Much finer and easier to divide be 1/72.
16. KazMember

Found this out there
The original metre and kilogram, called the Mètre des Archives and Kilogramme des Archives, were constructed in 1799 to be one ten-millionth of a quadrant of the Earth and the mass of a cubic decimetre of water respectively.
Now, the metre is defined by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures as the distance travelled by light in absolute vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second.
17. Rick ThomsonMember

<Now, the metre is defined by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures as the distance travelled by light in absolute vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second.>

Now that is a logical unit to base things on, wouldn't you say? >;-P
18. wunwinglowActive Member

Yes, it is. That is why that is the way it is defined. Because that wavelength, under those conditions, doesn't alter. Unless you are in Einsteins railway carriage going the other way, when of c o u r s e i t d o e s n ' t c h a n g e b u t t i m e c h a n g e s. . . .

When otherwise we would be using the distance between the tips of the Kings nose and his outstretched middle finger (the ell) or elbow to fingertip (cubit) (how much gopher wood? How many animals?) or the amount of grain required to cover a cat held by its tail with its nose on the floor (a unit I can't rememeber, unless it was the fine imposed for killing said cat, provided it was a good mouser....) Brunel praised a metal worker he found who could turn a piston to within the thickness of a sixpence piece.

Back in the GOOD OLD DAYS, of course, we counted One, Two, Lots.....

Try working out ANYTHING in Roman notation; no wonder the barbarians won. It is amazing the Romans lasted as long as they did!

Metric rules. Us Brits said goodbye to IMPERIAL measures some time ago (except the pint, the mile, and the bent banana) I find it hilarious that the first bunch of our colonials to go their own way are still hanging on to IMPERIAL measures! 200 years on!! Now that is nostalgia with a capital N!

Tim

PS I can work in either, both or neither.
19. WinkyNew Member

One of the major advantages of the metric system is that it is based 10. This makes changing units much easier since our number system is base 10; all we need to do is move the decimal point the correct number of places. Another nice feature is that the prefixes are consistent for length, weight and volume – i.e. milli is 1/1000 be it metres, grams or litres. The imperial system’s major disadvantage is that changing units is a major nightmare since there is no real logic behind the numbers. I’d rather change 5 km to cm (ie. move decimal 5 places) than 5 miles to inches (ie. 1 mile is 5280 feet and there are 12 inches in a foot). Also, if 12 inches is one foot than why is it 16 oz to a pint instead of 12? If you want nice divisibility why settle for 12 and 16 when 4620 is much more versatile and can be divided many more different ways?

On a trivia note, there is quite a story behind the Jack and Jill nursery rhyme. The imperial system has many measures for volume that are no longer in common use such as mouthfuls and hogsheads. Jack and Jill are units for volume during medieval times. Anyways the story goes that the King (can’t remember who) raised taxes – as reflected by Jack and Jill going up the hill. The peasants thought this was outrageous and that the tax should fall and hence Jack and Jill fell down the hill. The reference of Jack “breaking his crown” was a shot at the King. Also this is the origin for “hitting the jackpot” for when someone gets a major windfall.

For those wondering about the size of A4 paper, check the following link:

http://betweenborders.com/wordsmithing/a4-vs-us-letter/
20. LexDollmaker

Ah, thanks for the link Winky. That made the paper sizes a lot more clearer.