Sorry, had to vent my spleen : Non Metric use.

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Sorry, had to vent my spleen : Non Metric use.

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1guido47
Modifié : Juil 15, 2019, 10:26pm

I recently read a "National Geographic" article.

Interesting, but...l "determined from a thousandth of an ounce of bone or tooth"...

Who the hell uses ounces and pounds (or quarts and gills etc.) as units of measurement in a Scientific sense nowadays ?

As I said SORRY But I had to vent somewhere :-

Guido.
.
ETA. The Article https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/2019/07/first-europeans-immigrants-ge...

3wcarter
Juil 15, 2019, 10:50pm

Its the backward USA. The only country still to use the old Imperial measurements.
The National Geographic publishes its magazines in several languages. It is a pity they cannot use metric terms in English editions sent outside the USA.

4guido47
Modifié : Juil 15, 2019, 11:42pm

>2 davidgn:

NO. May I cry a little. I disliked Rupert Murdoch when he was an Australian, I Double Plus do not like him now he is a USA'er. and FOX.

And I do wonder what will happen to NG in the future? Head lines such as...

CO2 is good for you?

Interesting finds of Explorer bodies in Antarctica because of Glacier acceleration

More corn for Kansas (sorry Doris Day, but wait, you my LOVE, were a Republican, I'll still forgive you... different days)

Please feel free to add any other NQR science you have seen recently.

I am going to cry for a little while and then come back and...

Guido

ETA. About 10 years ago I bought a "Complete National Geographic" on DVD. It was quite a quirky set. Some images on their side, no zoom, navigation? etc. So I
imagine Murdoch might l fix that up (for a price) And I (sigh) will probably buy it.

5krazy4katz
Modifié : Juil 16, 2019, 12:08am

As an American scientist, I feel the same way. Come home from a day at the lab, open up a cookbook and what? Ounces and cups?! And so it goes …

6Cynfelyn
Juil 16, 2019, 2:28am

It's a generational thing. As a UK child of the fifties, I went through a educational system untroubled by metric, and as an archivist, I spend my work life and most of my home life in miles, feet and inches, stones, pounds and ounces, and assorted acres, chains and fathoms. I don't 'get' metric, but translate from imperial: a kilogramme is a bag of sugar, a metre is 39 inches=3 inches longer than a yard, "a litre of water's a pint and three quarters", a kilometre is five-eights of a mile (or five furlongs, if the other person is being unnecessarily fundamentalist about metric).

My wife, a child of the sixties, and a botanist, 'gets' metric. Besides pints and miles (and babies being born in pounds and ounces), my children, along with most of the population, think imperial is as loopy as pounds, shillings and pence.

I have often wondered to what extent there is awareness of and fondness for the traditional pre-metric measuring systems among the general population (and among archivists/historians) of metric countries.

7MarthaJeanne
Juil 16, 2019, 4:10am

We visited the Stanford Accelerator Laboratory several years ago, and the only thing I recall of the tour was that when I asked the guide for metric versions of the dimensions he was giving, he hadn't the foggiest idea. He did manage to look embarrassed, but don't even American scientists use metric?

Of course there was that spacecraft problem back 20 years ago. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Climate_Orbiter

8PossMan
Modifié : Juil 16, 2019, 5:38am

>6 Cynfelyn:: Yes and I remember a lot of our school 1950s exercise books had handy reference tables on the back cover of conversions for poles, rods, perches, roods, scruples, grains. Not really all that useful as I can't remember using many of those things as they were already dropping into history. But we still use carats for weighing diamonds.

9pgmcc
Juil 16, 2019, 5:45am

>8 PossMan: I remember those tables too but I do not remember weighing any diamonds recently or, in fact, ever. Perhaps we work in different industries. :-)

10reading_fox
Juil 16, 2019, 7:01am

The 'thing' about imperial units is that were derived from practical and useful measures. An inch is nearly always more useful than cm for measuring. They also divide a lot better, 1/3 of a yard is 1 foot. 1/3 meter is a pain. I frequently mix and match as is most convenient for me. But as per >7 MarthaJeanne: be aware who else is using your measurements.

In the lab as a scientist I'm all metric Litres and grams etc. But measuring up a bench for a new instrument may well still be 5'

11MarthaJeanne
Modifié : Juil 16, 2019, 8:41am

Actually, it's all in what you are used to. I know that if I measure a thread from my nose out my outstretched arm, that it will work well for me as a doubled thread, and is 90cm long. A 5 cm stretch of weaving is about 2 1/2 fingers wide. If I take long strides they are close to a meter and work well to measure out a new bed in the garden. Do you know anyone whose foot is really 30 cm. long? Mine is about 22cm. 1/3 of a meter works just as well as 1/5 of a yard. or even better, as 33.33 is a known number. Inches are usually divided into eights. A fifth of a yard would be 7 and about 1 1/2 eights inches.

I can travel almost anywhere in the world and know that my measurements will be understood. The UK is a mixture of systems still, but Americans beware! a familiar sounding unit may not be. American pints are 16 oz. British pints are 20 oz. (If you are reading a recipe in English and it call for pints, chances are that it is a British recipe and you want the larger amount. On the other hand, the US and the UK agree that Tablespoons are 15ml, but Australian Tablespoons are 20 ml. It can make a big difference.)

12pgmcc
Juil 16, 2019, 9:23am

>11 MarthaJeanne:

On the other hand, the US and the UK agree that Tablespoons are 15ml, but Australian Tablespoons are 20 ml. It can make a big difference.)

There was an episode of Dr. Finley's Casebook (I will just leave the title there to intrigue those who have never heard of it.) in which a court case (I think it may have been a coroner's court) was held as to whether the death of a patient was murder perpetrated by someone deliberately giving the deceased an overdose of their prescribed medicine, or a tragic accident. The dose was carefully written down as a tablespoonful so many times a day. The amount in the body of the deceased indicated much more had been taken. The verdict was coming down on murder when Dr. Cameron, Dr. Finley's partner, burst into the court and asked to be heard. He then produced a collection of spoons of various sizes and commenced to ask the court attendees what each spoon was described as. He showed that a tablespoon meant something different in various parts of the locality and that in the location where the deceased resided the tablespoon was as much as twice the size of a tablespoon where the doctor lived.

13bnielsen
Modifié : Juil 17, 2019, 11:22am

>6 Cynfelyn: "I have often wondered to what extent there is awareness of and fondness for the traditional pre-metric measuring systems among the general population (and among archivists/historians) of metric countries."

Here in Denmark: Awareness, some. Fondness, none. Not everything has gone metric, though. Printers use dots/inch, some meat packages are 500 g (i.e. a pound), eggs are some in sizes (small, medium, large) rather than grams or liters. (And the Danish names for numbers are based on units of twenty :-)

14MarthaJeanne
Juil 17, 2019, 1:48pm

Pipes in Austria are measured in 'Zoll' (inches).

I don't think half kilo packages really have to do with old measures. Some here are 500, some 350, some 600. I actually buy my eggs by the kilo, but most are S, M, L... but these are defined by metric weight.

15bnielsen
Juil 17, 2019, 2:09pm

>14 MarthaJeanne: Pipes and inches are also linked here. And tubes. A 1 inch tube has an opening 1 inch across and a 1 inch pipe has an outer diameter of 1 inch.

16PossMan
Juil 18, 2019, 5:33am

>13 bnielsen:: >14 MarthaJeanne: And also eggs here are sold by the dozen or half-dozen. Grist to the mill of those who think our number system should be based on 12 rather than 10.

17reading_fox
Juil 18, 2019, 5:47am

>13 bnielsen: 500g is a metric "pound" eg a more sensible unit than metric usually deals with. A correct pound weight in grams is 454g. See my >10 reading_fox: in that imperial units are more convenient.

18pgmcc
Juil 18, 2019, 6:36am

I recently scored a point at a pub quiz by knowing a chain is twenty-two yards. Apart from the quiz master I was the only one who knew. It made me feel old. :-)

19bnielsen
Juil 18, 2019, 8:31am

>18 pgmcc: In Danish a "kabellængde" used to be 100 "favne" = 188,312 m. But in 1907 the definition was changed to 1/10 "sømil" = 185,2 m. Much more metric :-) And yes, eggs are sold by the dozen or half-dozen here.

20MarthaJeanne
Juil 18, 2019, 9:26am

I buy my eggs in kilo boxes. More normal here are egg cartons of 6 or 10. If you buy them on larger sheets, they are 30.

21jjwilson61
Juil 18, 2019, 12:31pm

>17 reading_fox: I fail to see how 500g is inconvenient. 454g would be inconvenient but a half a kilo is no more inconvenient than half a gallon (I know that one is weight and the other volume but the point is the convenience of the units).

22pgmcc
Juil 18, 2019, 1:23pm

>19 bnielsen: When I was growing up a billion was one million million, i.e. 1,000,000,000,000. The American billion of only one thousand million appears to have been adopted universally through tenacity.

Likewise, a trillion was one million million million, i.e. one million billion. Now a trillion is only and old billion.

23bnielsen
Juil 18, 2019, 1:44pm

>22 pgmcc: Here a billion is a million million and a trillion is one million million million, but I agree that the American use of the words have spread.

>21 jjwilson61: 500 g is very convenient, I agree. But prices listed as "pr 500 g" are misleading when other prices are "pr 1000 g".

24MarthaJeanne
Juil 18, 2019, 2:14pm

>23 bnielsen: Here that is not allowed. Prices are per package with a kilo price in smaller font. I use that a lot when comparing 5 different packages of smoked salmon, each with a different amount of fish. I may not pick the cheapest, but I at least know how the one I take matches up.

25wcarter
Juil 18, 2019, 4:43pm

>24 MarthaJeanne:
Same in Australia. All packaged foods have to show price per kilogram as well as the actual nett weight and price.
Particularly with fresh food, the actual weight of (eg. Steak) will vary from piece to piece, but the price per kilogram for the same style of cut will remain the same.
When the metric system was introduced in Australia in the 1960s, it was illegal to use the Imperial system for a few years, so everyone became familiar with it very quickly.
Would not dream of going back to the confusing old system, even though I learnt it in school.
Then there was also pounds, shillings and pence at ratios of 20 and 12 - let alone Guineas (21 shillings)!!

26reading_fox
Juil 19, 2019, 5:18am

>21 jjwilson61: - 500g is not a unit. 1g is a unit, as is 1 kg. These are not useful amounts most of the time. The convenient unit is 1lb, which everyone recognises by using the nearest metric equivalent as a workaround.

27MarthaJeanne
Modifié : Juil 19, 2019, 6:02am

Actually, a kilo is a very useful unit. I buy flour, sugar, eggs and other staples in kilo packages. Pound bags of flour would be very inconvenient, as one is not enough for a batch of bread. In fact most prepackaged fruit I buy is in kilo packages.

If you are buying open fruits and vegetables or unpackaged meat products, what does it matter what the unit is? You take five bananas, three leeks, two pork chops, six scallops, and weigh them to find a price. Whether the weight is given in pounds, kilos or something else is totally unimportant.

28jjwilson61
Juil 19, 2019, 10:19am

>26 reading_fox: 500g is not a unit. 1g is a unit, as is 1 kg

In science, yes. In everyday life any standard package is a unit. If I always buy milk in half-gallon cartons then that's a familiar and useful unit. In that sense there's really no difference between buying my flour in 500g or 1lb packages as long as they aren't sold side by side. That would be confusing.

29Cynfelyn
Modifié : Juil 19, 2019, 10:56am

>28 jjwilson61: In the UK pint bottles and quart plastic bottles of milk are sold along side half, one and two litre plastic bottles. It's not confusing. I presume some suppliers have stayed imperial, while some have gone metric. What is confusing is when suppliers get creative with the colours for full-fat, semi-skimmed and skimmed.

Pint glass bottles are currently having a bit of a moment here, benefitting from the backlash against single-use plastic.

30pgmcc
Juil 19, 2019, 12:08pm

>29 Cynfelyn: They stopped using glass milk-bottles in the early 1970s where I lived. I believe the decision was driven the propensity of certain people to make Molotov cocktails with them. They were, I am told, perfect for that purpose.

31stellarexplorer
Juil 19, 2019, 2:09pm

>3 wcarter: I think it’s really unfair to single out the United States for a backward attitude toward units of measurement. Myanmar and Liberia also retain the use of the English measurement system.

32PossMan
Modifié : Juil 19, 2019, 2:52pm

>29 Cynfelyn:: I remember in the early 1950s the farmer coming round in his horse and cart and topping up your containers with milk. That was Ramsbottom, Lancashire UK. The millenials and snowflakes wouldn't allow that now.

>31 stellarexplorer:: I'm surprised that citizens of the USA would seek comparison with Burma (OK Myanmar) and Liberia.

33stellarexplorer
Juil 19, 2019, 6:27pm

>32 PossMan: I neglected to include the wink emoji

34PossMan
Juil 20, 2019, 2:24pm

>33 stellarexplorer:: Ah well so did I (wink emoji)

35wcarter
Juil 20, 2019, 5:34pm

36stellarexplorer
Modifié : Juil 21, 2019, 12:10am

>34 PossMan: >35 wcarter: It is good to find like-minded people. No wink emoji

37PossMan
Modifié : Juil 22, 2019, 2:23pm

And we also have those weirdo things that are just called "units". Here in UK we are told to drink only so many units each week or we will die a horrible death. At present this seems to relate only to alcohol but soon we may have sugar units.

And a recent report suggests sleep units may be in the offing. While the nanny state rides overshod supreme, Iran can just grab hold of our tankers.

38bnielsen
Modifié : Juil 24, 2019, 3:33pm

> 'we also have those weirdo things that are just called "units"'

Hmm, is a Boris the same as a unit?

(Sorry! Just my way of congratulating you on your new PM!)

39wcarter
Juil 24, 2019, 5:36pm

Does anyone have a value for the mysterious Boris:Trump ratio? ;-)

40stellarexplorer
Juil 24, 2019, 11:50pm

>39 wcarter: To paraphrase Mr. Spock, I have never calculated this value :-)

41reading_fox
Juil 25, 2019, 4:55am

>37 PossMan: - the alcohol unit makes sense. It's exactly 10ml of pure ethanol. So if you have a 5% beer, and you drink a metric 500ml (not-pint) you've drunk 2.5 units. If you have a shot to go with it (40% of 25ml) that's another unit, and later on a large glass of weak wine (10% of 250ml) that's another 2.5units bringing your total to 6

Trying to track this without a standard definition is quite tricky, especially with the variability in "large" and "strong"

However what you do with that information is somewhat less clear cut. Despite looking I've no idea how wide the error bars should be on the recommended consumption limits.

It would be somewhat similar to do the same for sugar (and salt). But I'm not sure how you'd be so precise with sleep.

42PossMan
Juil 25, 2019, 2:38pm

>41 reading_fox:: I didn't know that so thanks. Why don't our leaders tell us to only drink XXX ml of alcohol per week/day rather than so many units (which would be XX units)? And as you somewhat suggest how they arrived at the XXX figure is not entirely clear. Perhaps after a long dinner the women were sent out, the port passed round, and the panjandrums came to a decision? I suspect it doesn't matter because the average guy who goes to his English village pub knows what he can drink and still get home under his own steam on his own legs and isn't going to let some millenial snowflake in London dictate to him.

I'm also a little surprised that no-one has brought up the distinction between "metric" and SI. Some people round here in backward Scotland think temperature should be measured in Centigrade (or even Celsius if they were listening at school). What happened to Kelvin? For myself I'm only gradually growing out of Fahrenheit and Reamur has always been a non-starter with me.

43Cynfelyn
Juil 25, 2019, 5:45pm

Yay! Someone mentioned Réaumur.

I liberated a Réaumur thermometer as a souvenir of the abolition of the GLC (Greater London Council) in 1986. Goodness only knows what they were using it for. I think it must have been a useless relic even then.

44PossMan
Juil 26, 2019, 7:59am

>43 Cynfelyn:: Wow! Look forward to see it with you on Antiques Roadshow.

45bnielsen
Juil 28, 2019, 9:30am

46PossMan
Juil 28, 2019, 2:46pm

>45 bnielsen:: I like it.

47bnielsen
Juil 28, 2019, 4:30pm

>46 PossMan: I still remember playing around with a HP calculator once and asking it to convert F to C and discovered that you had to tell it whether this was a temperature or a temperature difference. For me Celcius makes sense and Fahrenheit not so much. I even have "233 grader Celsius" on my book shelves :-)