PDA

View Full Version : Why we need the metric system



tracer
2010-Sep-17, 07:58 PM
I've just put together a video describing one (often overlooked) reason why we Americans need the metric system -- and, no, this reason ISN'T the Mars Climate Orbiter:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtNnVvdvfZw [OBSOLETE]



(Note that in doing this little project, I've discovered some of the audio problems you get when you try to upload WMV-format videos to YouTube. The WMV-to-MP4 converter I used to get around the problem lowered the resolution substantially, for some reason.)




EDIT:

UPDATE:

I've uploaded a higher-quality version of this video to YouTube, with easier-to-read text in the graphics and balanced audio. It's here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XI9w8g4UT2I

As a result, I have DELETED the original video link I posted at the top. Please use the new link to watch this video instead.

kleindoofy
2010-Sep-17, 08:03 PM
What you mean "we," paleface?

tracer
2010-Sep-17, 08:43 PM
What you mean "we," paleface?

Um ... the Royal "We".

Yeah.

swampyankee
2010-Sep-18, 01:23 AM
I have the metric system. It's just most other USians don't want to use it.

Solfe
2010-Sep-18, 02:00 AM
I think the English system appeals so much because they are relative to the human body; a ounce fits in the hand, an inch is about the size of a thumb, a cup is about two handfuls, etc. I can picture a litre or a cubic cm, but not as easily as a I can a cup or an inch.

Of course, I wouldn't want to take this stance against my chemistry teacher. The metric system is wonderful for math, where the English system is one big headache when it comes to figuring out equivalency.

astromark
2010-Sep-18, 02:40 AM
As Solfe has pretty well answered and, tied that answer up with a admission of 'FAIL' :clap:

I just want to add that this subject and the arguments it fosters. Are mostly emotive based.

The link to the youtube file is only a small part of the many good reasons why...Scientific simplicity.

Solfe
2010-Sep-18, 03:51 AM
"0.477^3 km of water goes over Niagara Falls per day. How many gallons per second is that?" was my Chem teachers question today. Not so unusual since the falls (note the lower case) is less than 20 minutes away. The number of gallons per second is so large as to defy any picturing, but I do know what a .5^3 km looks like, hence the fail.

Oddly enough, wikipedia measures it cubic gallons per minute. I thought they generally used metric. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niagara_Falls.

Switching between the systems is no biggie in Western New York since Canada is so close; its mixing them together that causes really, really big headaches.

Trebuchet
2010-Sep-18, 04:04 AM
Oddly enough, wikipedia measures it cubic gallons per minute. I thought they generally used metric. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niagara_Falls.

Cubic gallons? Since gallons are already a volume, that's somethng 9-dimensional! Actually they say cubic feet. And since Wikipedia is user-written, it's not too surprising to find "imperial" units (which might as well be called "American" units" in there. It is a little surprising not to see it in both units, however.

Solfe
2010-Sep-18, 04:07 AM
See? I blended my own units. Headache to mix them. :)

kleindoofy
2010-Sep-18, 05:50 AM
I think the English system appeals so much because they are relative to the human body; a ounce fits in the hand, an inch is about the size of a thumb, a cup is about two handfuls, etc. I can picture a litre or a cubic cm, but not as easily as a I can a cup or an inch. ...
When I moved to Europe from the States, it took me a while to get used to the mectric system.

About 30 seconds.

If I put a liter carton of milk on the table and told you it was a quart, you'd say "yeah, sure, it's a quart, so what?"

If I then said "no, it's a liter," you'd say "coulda fooled me, looks like a quart."

Yup, that dang darn metric system's a female dog, it sure is.

Ok, it took a while to learn the temperatures, especially the higher ones for cooking.

Oh, btw, although metric measuring utensils for cooking measure in liters and grams, they still look like the good old cup, and are more or less exactly the same.

Yup, really hard to get used to.

pghnative
2010-Sep-18, 12:19 PM
you'd think that all those people who've always wanted to drive 100 would support the metric system...

neilzero
2010-Sep-18, 12:22 PM
Cubic gallons per minute is sort of like Scrooge McDuck's money bin which holds 4 cubic acres. You drank how many cubic liters of beer?
I'm about half way converted to metric, but have to convert back to English system with more than half the people, I talk to.
When the conversion is easy, I type/say both. In the Niagara Falls example, and cubic parsecs, the conversion is not easy. One second is how many nano years? Metric time anyone? I'll be there in 36 kiloseconds = ten hours.
One milliliter = one cubic centimeter, but not exactly. One of them weighs one gram, if the density is one.
Part of the fault is scientists and other shakers and movers. cps = hertz, joules = watt-seconds, BTU = ? large calories = ? small calories, one large calorie = one kilocalorie, one small calorie = 0.239 watt seconds. The new names are not helpful. Neil

tracer
2010-Sep-18, 08:46 PM
I've set the thermostats in my house (and the climate control in my car) to display the temperature and temperature-setting in degrees Celsius.

For some unfathomable reason, Mrs. Tracer feels this is counterintuitive since we live in California.

Van Rijn
2010-Sep-18, 09:14 PM
I've set the thermostats in my house (and the climate control in my car) to display the temperature and temperature-setting in degrees Celsius.


Does your home thermostat allow the temperature to be set at half degree increments? A degree in Celsius is a bit wide. For instance:

24 C = 75.2 F
25 C = 77 F
26 C = 78.8 F

I don't know about you, but I've had home thermostat fights before over a couple of degrees (in Fahrenheit).

Bearded One
2010-Sep-18, 10:30 PM
Does your home thermostat allow the temperature to be set at half degree increments? A degree in Celsius is a bit wide. For instance:

24 C = 75.2 F
25 C = 77 F
26 C = 78.8 F

I don't know about you, but I've had home thermostat fights before over a couple of degrees (in Fahrenheit).Celsius is not a good scale for general use by humans. Just because they put a 100 degrees between the freezing and boiling point of water people think it's some kind of "proper" metric scale. Fahrenheit is much more practical for day to day use but still not the greatest. Ideally we would use a scale where all temperatures that we commonly encounter have a positive number but doesn't get to large. Find the coldest spot on Earth to establish the low point so that we never have to use negative numbers to express temperatures on our home planet. The size of a degree should be determined by the smallest temperature that a human can reasonably differentiate.

kleindoofy
2010-Sep-18, 10:39 PM
Celsius is not a good scale for general use by humans. ... Fahrenheit is much more practical for day to day use ...
Judging by the certainty with which you make this assertation, I assume you have lived day to day life in both systems.

If not, then how do you pretend to know that?

Bearded One
2010-Sep-18, 11:02 PM
Judging by the certainty with which you make this assertation, I assume you have lived day to day life in both systems.

If not, then how do you pretend to know that?Yes and I choose Fahrenheit over Celsius because it is far more practical. As Van Rijn said, Celsius is not sufficient for everyday use because the degree divisions are to large. I would never choose Celsius for a room thermostat unless it allowed 1/10 degree increments. Celsius need not be considered part of the metric system, we do not use millidegrees or kilodegrees. The primary feature of the metric system is that units are scaled by increments of ten but we don't generally scale temperatures like we do other measurements.

kleindoofy
2010-Sep-18, 11:32 PM
... Celsius is not sufficient for everyday use because the degree divisions are to large. ...
Well then, according to your logic, grams win over ounces hands down, as do kilometers over miles.

It must be almost impossible to drive a car with those clumsy mile increments. Oh no, wait. It isn't.

grant hutchison
2010-Sep-19, 12:15 AM
Ok, it took a while to learn the temperatures, especially the higher ones for cooking.Heh.
When my wife and I moved into our first flat, we acquired our first ever Celsius oven; the old cookers we'd used as students were in antique Fahrenheit. First night in our new home, we popped a bottle of red wine, then mixed up a chili con carne and put it in the oven. The dial on the damn oven didn't go nearly high enough for our usual setting. Sigh. So we cranked it up as far as it would go, added half an hour of cooking time, and went out for a walk. Came back to a kitchen full of smoke, an oven that looked as if it had hosted a brief thermonuclear exchange, and a charred casserole dish you couldn't have cleaned with a rotary sander.

Grant Hutchison

grant hutchison
2010-Sep-19, 12:19 AM
Yes and I choose Fahrenheit over Celsius because it is far more practical. As Van Rijn said, Celsius is not sufficient for everyday use because the degree divisions are to large.Which I presume is why every Celsius thermostat I've every used flips in half-degree increments. Do they make ones that don't? I can't remember seeing one, but I suspect it's not something I'd make a mental note of. At worst, you seem to be talking about a design flaw in an individual piece of equipment, not a major disadvantage to a measurement scale.

Grant Hutchison

tracer
2010-Sep-19, 03:31 AM
Which I presume is why every Celsius thermostat I've every used flips in half-degree increments. Do they make ones that don't? I can't remember seeing one,

My home's thermostat is kind of weird.

It will display degrees Celsius, but internally the temperature setting is still stored in degrees Fahrenheit. Each press of the "up" or "down" button for the temperature setting increases or decreases the setting by 1 degree Fahrenheit even if you're displaying Celsius.

So, in pressing the "up" button over and over to increase the temperature setting, you see: 22, 22, 23, 23, 24, 25, 25, 26, 26, 27, 27, 28, 29, ...

grant hutchison
2010-Sep-19, 12:41 PM
My home's thermostat is kind of weird.

It will display degrees Celsius, but internally the temperature setting is still stored in degrees Fahrenheit. Each press of the "up" or "down" button for the temperature setting increases or decreases the setting by 1 degree Fahrenheit even if you're displaying Celsius.

So, in pressing the "up" button over and over to increase the temperature setting, you see: 22, 22, 23, 23, 24, 25, 25, 26, 26, 27, 27, 28, 29, ...The tragedy is that someone, somewhere, once decided that that was acceptable behaviour from a piece of equipment they were manufacturing and selling.

Grant Hutchison

Bearded One
2010-Sep-19, 02:27 PM
It's very rare that I see a thermostat allow half degree increments. Doing so pretty much destroys the "metric" aspect of the Celsius scale, dividing by two wrecks the system, you are supposed to divide by ten. It's a patch to make the scale more practical.

Fahrenheit had the right idea, he just didn't live where it got cold enough.

Maybe somebody can tell me what is suppossed to be all great and fantastic about the Celcius scale other than the fact that it is the scale generally linked with the "metric" system? The ideal scale is Kelvin which puts zero where it belongs, at zero. These other scales exist to make things easier for us mere humans. Negative temperatures are the result which always seemed a little weird to me.

Besides, I hate sub-zero temeperatures and with Fahrenheit I don't have deal with as many of them.

:)

R.A.F.
2010-Sep-19, 02:59 PM
Hey, Tracer...how's it goin' :)

Although it would make sense to adopt the metric system, I seriously doubt it ever will be adopted...the change would be too tramatic.

grant hutchison
2010-Sep-19, 03:43 PM
It's very rare that I see a thermostat allow half degree increments. Doing so pretty much destroys the "metric" aspect of the Celsius scale, dividing by two wrecks the system, you are supposed to divide by ten."Metric" just means "pertaining to the metre": it's an identifier for the particular system of measurement, in the same way "imperial" measures refer back to units once popular in the British Empire. So it's hardly "destroyed" by the appearance of a measurement increment of 0.5. Rounding to the nearest half-measure is pretty common in all measurement systems, if useful differences in measure are smaller than one unit but greater than the next. The widespread use of half-inch plywood doesn't seem to have convinced American joiners that the inch is an impractical unit of measurement, for instance. The only difference is that metric prefers "0.5" to "1/2" on these occasions, as a nod to its decimal basis.

Grant Hutchison

swampyankee
2010-Sep-19, 04:05 PM
Bad ergonomic design is endemic; indeed it warrants at least one web site (http://www.baddesigns.com/).

kleindoofy
2010-Sep-19, 09:10 PM
... Maybe somebody can tell me what is suppossed to be all great and fantastic about the Celcius scale ...
Absolutely nothing.

Just like the Fahrenheit scale. Nothing all great and fantastic about that either. Who cares if water freezes at 32 or 0 or at 1001? It's totally irrelevant.

It all has to do with what one is used to, and it's very easy to get used to something and mistake personal taste with absolute values. I'm actually surprised how many people don't bother making total fools of themselves by labeling one as fecal matter and the other as nearly divine, no matter which way around that is done.


... it would make sense to adopt the metric system, I seriously doubt it ever will be adopted ...
Alhough you didn't specify. I assume you're referring to the USA. If not, for the vast portion of the planet, history has run over you like a steam roller. ;)

cjameshuff
2010-Sep-20, 12:55 AM
Just like the Fahrenheit scale. Nothing all great and fantastic about that either. Who cares if water freezes at 32 or 0 or at 1001? It's totally irrelevant.

Actually, in the context of outdoor temperatures, the freezing point of water is rather more important than any other temperatures. The whole "put zero at the lowest temperatures encountered" idea just ignores the usefulness of zero as a numeric reference point. When the weather gets close to freezing, the Celsius scale has a bit of an advantage in figuring out how warm you need to dress, whether the roads are likely to be icy, whether plants might get frosted, etc. So, there's good reason to set the zero at fresh water's freezing point, or at something close, like the triple point. Whole Celsius degrees may be awkwardly large, but you can use fractional degrees. Even half degrees. Think of them as increments of 5/10ths if you insist.

My personal favorite scale: divide the range from 0 K to the triple point of water (273.16 K) into 1000 divisions, use that to define the temperature unit: each degree is 0.27315 K. Set the zero of the relative scale at the freezing point, and you have an easy-to-remember offset of 1000 degrees between the absolute and relative scales. Water boils at 273 degrees on the relative scale. Normal blood temperature is 135.5 degrees, room temperature about 91 degrees. Water freezes at just under 0 degrees (-0.037 degrees)...the triple point's close enough to the freezing point for most purposes, for those rare cases where it's not, dealing with more precise values isn't a problem.

grant hutchison
2010-Sep-20, 01:08 AM
Actually, in the context of outdoor temperatures, the freezing point of water is rather more important than any other temperatures.As revealed by that extra concept of "degrees of frost", which is a recurrent theme for those working on a Fahrenheit scale, but an unnecessarily proliferated entity for those working with Celsius (or Réaumur, for all you cheese-makers).

Grant Hutchison

Ronald Brak
2010-Sep-20, 01:49 AM
I'm surprised to see there are people who think centigrade (and thus Kelvin) units are too large for day to day use. However, I haven't had much experience with thermostats. I would guess Anders Celcius didn't have much experience with them either.

Ronald Brak
2010-Sep-20, 02:08 AM
One more thing I'd like to mention: If you ever reconstruct a working steamboat boiler in your living room, celcius is definitely the way to go.

Atraveller
2010-Sep-20, 02:09 AM
"0.477^3 km of water goes over Niagara Falls per day. How many gallons per second is that?" was my Chem teachers question today. Not so unusual since the falls (note the lower case) is less than 20 minutes away. The number of gallons per second is so large as to defy any picturing, but I do know what a .5^3 km looks like, hence the fail.

Is that the American Falls, or The Canadian Horseshoe falls? Or a combination? If you combine both do you express the canadian flow in Kgs, or litres, and the american in pounds, and US gallons (remember Imperial gallons are not the same as US gallons.)

I've lived with and used both systems. I vote for Metric - much easier to use, except for navigation (I use nautical for that.)

And I do like zero to be freezing...

tracer
2010-Sep-20, 02:14 AM
My personal favorite scale: divide the range from 0 K to the triple point of water (273.16 K) into 1000 divisions, use that to define the temperature unit: each degree is 0.27315 K.

Yeah, but then, in that Bullwinkle and Rocky segment where Bullwinkle set the oven to six thousand degrees, it's not nearly as impressive.

astromark
2010-Sep-20, 02:44 AM
On careful consideration... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtNnVvdvfZw ... has encapsulated this argument very well.

We can 'blither' on regardless or concede. Its not a true science until you start conversions.. Thats where the mistakes are born.

I see some mention of the metric not being a small enough increment when applied to temperature...

But with the metric you can subdivide so easily... just add the point and continue to define...

o.o1 can be read as o.o1o it being the same value. Where is the problem ?

Jens
2010-Sep-20, 04:29 AM
I'm surprised to see there are people who think centigrade (and thus Kelvin) units are too large for day to day use. However, I haven't had much experience with thermostats.

I suppose it could be an issue. Just from personal experience, the thermostats here (or rather, air conditioner controllers) are graded in degrees Celsius, and you can't make a half-degree. But I've never really seen people argue about whether it should be on 26 or 27. It doesn't seem to make that much of a difference. For thermometers for taking body temperature, though, they are written in tenths of a degree. But I think that may be the same for Fahrenheit thermometers as well.

Ivan Viehoff
2010-Sep-20, 07:42 AM
My home's thermostat is kind of weird.
...
So, in pressing the "up" button over and over to increase the temperature setting, you see: 22, 22, 23, 23, 24, 25, 25, 26, 26, 27, 27, 28, 29, ...
So not actually any of the temperatures one would actually use, then? That would be weird.

Van Rijn
2010-Sep-20, 09:42 AM
I suppose it could be an issue. Just from personal experience, the thermostats here (or rather, air conditioner controllers) are graded in degrees Celsius, and you can't make a half-degree. But I've never really seen people argue about whether it should be on 26 or 27. It doesn't seem to make that much of a difference.


27C would be close to 81F . . . that's definitely on the warm side for an interior summer temperature. I prefer 76F (around 24.4C)

Anyway, I've been in thermostat arguments over a couple of degrees F, so it depends on the people and also the details of the system (you might notice it more with some air conditioning/heating systems than others - a central air/heating system with one thermostat, and a cycling on/off blower, for instance, might make it more noticeable).

In any event, I'd be pretty annoyed if I had a thermostat that effectively only worked in what I would consider two degree increments.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Sep-20, 09:54 AM
As I'm comfortable at about 18-23C (and one autumn didn't think of turning the heat on until I noticed it was 15C inside by looking at a thermometer), I find the concept of niggling over half degrees rather strange, especially as an argument against the SI system.

The only times I've been in thermostat arguments was with someone who didn't understand the fundamental idea of a thermostat and persisted in turning it all the way up whenever she thought it was chilly.

AndreasJ
2010-Sep-20, 10:19 AM
My thermostat has no numbers as all (unless one is supposed to consider the markings I, II, III, and IIII as archaic Roman numerals, which would imply some seriously strange temperature scale). Apparently, one is supposed to figure out what setting corresponds to a comfortable indoor temperature purely by trial and error.

There's no "step size" either - it's analogue. No idea how precise it may be in practice, as, having moved in here during the summer, I haven't turned on the system yet.

swampyankee
2010-Sep-20, 10:29 AM
Most (all?) thermostats are "bang-bang" controllers, too, so they're either on or off. Most are set up so the furnace will stay on until the temperature at the thermostat is a bit over (usually something like 1C or 2F), and the furnace won't come on until the temperature is a bit under.

Oh, I've seen those thermostat arguments, too. I still find them rather silly, as it's not that uncommon for a room to have significant variations, especially near poorly insulated windows.

astromark
2010-Sep-20, 10:33 AM
As I'm comfortable at about 18-23C (and one autumn didn't think of turning the heat on until I noticed it was 15C inside by looking at a thermometer), I find the concept of niggling over half degrees rather strange, especially as an argument against the SI system.

The only times I've been in thermostat arguments was with someone who didn't understand the fundamental idea of a thermostat and persisted in turning it all the way up whenever she thought it was chilly.

Thats the problem... Some people just do not understand the thermostat concept... or they think if its on. Its wasting money...

You can not help some people.... It would not. No,. It does make no difference as to what scale you measure your temperature by...

Its just a numeric scale for the recording of data. , and for that reason alone the metric system does work best...

NEOWatcher
2010-Sep-20, 03:26 PM
Oh, I've seen those thermostat arguments, too. I still find them rather silly, as it's not that uncommon for a room to have significant variations, especially near poorly insulated windows.
Not only that, but people are assuming digital thermostats.

First off; with the older analog thermostats, we had no clue as to how sensitive they were. Some had a sensitivity setting to them, but that was by trial and error. In the end, it was mostly just a bimetal spring with a bulb of mercury tilting... Not very accurate.

Also; there is an assumption that the setting of a digital display indicates sensitivity. My thermostat does go with the display to determine off/on, but what's to prevent one to have a sensitivity of 0.x degrees?

Jens
2010-Sep-20, 03:30 PM
My thermostat has no numbers as all

In Sweden you haven't learned to count yet? Is it possible the Roman conquest didn't get that far north? ;)

tracer
2010-Sep-20, 04:39 PM
My thermostat has no numbers as all (unless one is supposed to consider the markings I, II, III, and IIII as archaic Roman numerals, which would imply some seriously strange temperature scale). Apparently, one is supposed to figure out what setting corresponds to a comfortable indoor temperature purely by trial and error.

That also sounds like the way some British ovens are calibrated.

Instead of having a temperature setting dial, these ovens have a dial calibrated in "Gas Marks (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_Mark)", ranging from 1/4 to 9. Each gas mark from 1-9 corresponds to a temperature in increments of 25 degrees Fahrenheit -- so for 400F you'd set the oven to 6, and for 425F you'd set the oven to 7. The 1/2 gas mark is 25 F below the 1 gas mark, and the 1/4 gas mark is 25 F below that.

I guess I shouldn't be too surprised. The Brits still weigh people in "stone" after all.

grant hutchison
2010-Sep-20, 05:15 PM
The Brits still weigh people in "stone" after all.I've never really understood why Americans don't. You've embraced feet and inches, pints and gallons; why not pounds and stones? For consistency, you should really be measuring your height in inches.

Grant Hutchison

NEOWatcher
2010-Sep-20, 05:22 PM
My thermostat has no numbers as all (unless one is supposed to consider the markings I, II, III, and IIII as archaic Roman numerals, which would imply some seriously strange temperature scale). Apparently, one is supposed to figure out what setting corresponds to a comfortable indoor temperature purely by trial and error.
Now that I think about it, my camper doesn't have temperature settings either.
Here's what it looks like (http://www.americanrvcompany.com/assets/images/161154(1).jpg).

Normally; I will wait until I get cold, and move the lever very slowly until I hear the furnace kick on. It's not really a problem since I usually only use the furnace in it only once or twice a year.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Sep-20, 05:35 PM
Normally; I will wait until I get cold, and move the lever very slowly until I hear the furnace kick on.
That tends to be my way of doing it too. If it's too cold, turn the thermostat just enough up for it to start heating.
Normally only takes one or two goes to get it set for comfy and has the advantage that comfy is approached from below so I don't end up in the expensive end of the comfy range.

Actually, first step when it feels cold is to try to remember if I forgot a meal, as I get cold before I get hungry when that happened.

kleindoofy
2010-Sep-20, 09:17 PM
... When the weather gets close to freezing, the Celsius scale has a bit of an advantage in figuring out how warm you need to dress, whether the roads are likely to be icy, whether plants might get frosted, etc. ...
I think you're grossly underestimating the intellect of the average human.

Growing up in the US, I never once witnessed a person who looked at an outside thermometer, read "32°," became confused, had to think a bit, and donned shorts and a t-shirt.

Btw, the 1-100 scale of Celcius only works at 1 standard atmosphere. So I guess the mountain folk will never know what to wear when, or when to cover up the late tomatos at night.

Van Rijn
2010-Sep-20, 09:50 PM
Most (all?) thermostats are "bang-bang" controllers, too, so they're either on or off. Most are set up so the furnace will stay on until the temperature at the thermostat is a bit over (usually something like 1C or 2F), and the furnace won't come on until the temperature is a bit under.

Oh, I've seen those thermostat arguments, too. I still find them rather silly, as it's not that uncommon for a room to have significant variations, especially near poorly insulated windows.

Or different rooms. That's part of the reason why thermostat arguments can happen: One room might cool off or warm up quicker than others, so gets coooler/hotter while the system isn't running. Sometimes insulation can help, or redesigning the air/heating system, but that can get expensive, or impractical.

And it's not silly to the people that are uncomfortable in their own homes.

kleindoofy
2010-Sep-20, 11:11 PM
Heavens!

Here we are attributing random yet oh so meaningful zero degree levels and have totally forgotten the holiness that is the so-called chill factor. You know, the fake temperature weathermen sell to us so we know how cold it would feel if we were chained naked to the hood of a car travelling 50 down the highway on a cold winter day. (Strange that they don't mention chill factor in the summer. It is after all so important.)

Anyway, since the fake chill factor temperature has replaced the real temperature in the minds of the masses, perhaps we should assign zero to some value spawned by pure fantasy, at best from a media marketing organisation. I'm sure they could come up with something very dramatic and risqué.

Freezing water is soooo 70's.

AdamL
2010-Sep-21, 01:02 AM
I live in Europe and I grew up there.
I never felt the Celsius scale to be lacking in precision or range but maybe I am just biased...
I can adjust my room temperature quite nicely, thank you very much! :)

Jens
2010-Sep-21, 01:42 AM
Btw, the 1-100 scale of Celcius only works at 1 standard atmosphere. So I guess the mountain folk will never know what to wear when, or when to cover up the late tomatos at night.

Yes, it's a well-known fact that all humans died before the development of thermometers. They didn't know what to wear.

astromark
2010-Sep-21, 02:51 AM
I can not understand this confusion regarding what to wear and when to adjust the thermostat...

If you; get wet... its raining. get cold... it is. Or...

If you accept the global worming arguments...its a no starter... regardless...:eh:

or you get what you deserve and freeze for a few dollars to wast on some thing else...

All the humor in the world can not save this one...

The decimal based metric system would seem to simplify all and any form of measurement.

Particularly if you need to work with these numbers...

Is there a sensible answer contradicting that...

swampyankee
2010-Sep-21, 03:05 AM
I live in New England -- you know, one of those parts of the world to actually have weather unlike, oh, Hawaii -- and have never found the need to check a thermometer to figure out whether I should wear shorts and a T-shirt or multiple layers, including a warm coat when I leave my house. If the grass is coated by white stuff and oak leaves that cover the grass in the back yard (I've a small, fenced yard, and two large oak trees) are covered with similar white stuff, it's probably time for a coat. If the oak leaves are still attached to the trees and are still green, I can probably get away with shorts.

GeorgeLeRoyTirebiter
2010-Sep-21, 04:53 AM
Strange that they don't mention chill factor in the summer. It is after all so important.

Actually, there is a summertime equivalent: the heat index (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_index). It's supposed to account for the effect of relative humidity instead of wind speed.

See, this is what happens when a meteorologist hears "yeah, but it's a dry heat" too many times.

tracer
2010-Sep-21, 06:13 AM
If you accept the global worming arguments...its a no starter... regardless...:eh:

Heck yeah. Just worming my own dog is a big enough nuisance in itself. Worming every dog on the globe's got to be an insurmountable task!

PhillipJFry
2010-Sep-25, 04:49 PM
The metric system is the tool of the devil! My car gets forty rods to the hogshead and that's the way I likes it.

- Abe simpson

wd40
2010-Sep-26, 03:55 AM
Don't you just yearn for the days when the UK ran to Base 12, there were 240 pence to the pound sterling, and there were dodecahedral threepenny coins?!

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d4/Threepence_obverse.jpg

One might think that Napoleon won!

grant hutchison
2010-Sep-26, 12:21 PM
I liked the dodecagonal thrupenny bits. But not as much as I now like our septagonal curve-of-constant-diameter 50p and 20p pieces.

Grant Hutchison

swampyankee
2010-Sep-26, 02:43 PM
Dodecahedral coins make "heads or tails" a bit more challenging, but they would make spontaneous games of D&D more likely.

otakenji
2010-Sep-26, 03:37 PM
When I was in elementary school in the 1960s, we were taught the metric system in depth because at the time it seemed that the USA would switch over by 1970. Unfortunately it never happened.
People are resistant to change, and I think this is what kept the conversion from happening. One wonders how much money is wasted in our international commerce when units have to be constantly converted.
It makes no sense to me at all, we should get in sync with the rest of the world and convert to the easy decimal metric system.

kleindoofy
2010-Sep-26, 09:11 PM
... One might think that Napoleon won!
In surprisingly many ways, he actually did.

swampyankee
2010-Sep-27, 10:33 AM
Do you mean changes like the Code Napoleon, which seems to be the basis for all the legal systems of Continental Europe?

Jens
2010-Sep-27, 11:05 AM
In surprisingly many ways, he actually did.

I also wonder what you mean. The first thing that came to mind was the thing about Napoleon switching driving to the right side, but I don't think it's really a true story.

grapes
2010-Sep-27, 12:34 PM
All the humor in the world can not save this one...

The decimal based metric system would seem to simplify all and any form of measurement.

Particularly if you need to work with these numbers...

Is there a sensible answer contradicting that...Sure! :)

All numbers are easy. And now, with computers, they're easy for everyone.

CJSF
2010-Sep-27, 01:40 PM
While watching The Amazing Race last night, I found it mildly interesting that the British people the teams were asking directions from used miles and yards. I wondered out loud if they do that anyway, or were automatically translating for the Americans.

CJSF

grant hutchison
2010-Sep-27, 02:15 PM
While watching The Amazing Race last night, I found it mildly interesting that the British people the teams were asking directions from used miles and yards. I wondered out loud if they do that anyway, or were automatically translating for the Americans.British use of metric and imperial is quite mixed, varying with the age of the speaker and the context, among other things. For instance, our road signs and road maps are in miles, but our topographic maps are gridded in kilometres with altitude in metres. If I'm giving directions to a driver, I use miles; if I'm giving directions to a walker in the hills, I use kilometres.

Grant Hutchison

HenrikOlsen
2010-Sep-27, 02:17 PM
The British use miles on their roads and km on their maps.
After being the designated navigator/map reader for the Two Walls trip with Chrissy I will say it's a mess if you're not used to it.

I'll also say that if I'm to be navigator of a support team for walkers like that again, I'm going to put a GPS tag on the walkers so I don't have to rely on them telling us where they are.

AndreasJ
2010-Sep-27, 02:42 PM
Sure! :)

All numbers are easy. And now, with computers, they're easy for everyone.

Even the people for whom computers are hard?

kleindoofy
2010-Sep-27, 07:09 PM
Do you mean changes like the Code Napoleon ...
Among other things. Nepoleonic secularisation changed the face of Europe in a way no number of Waterloos could ever hope to change back.

Though many people bemoan the more troublesome sides of secularisation, especially the destruction of historic libraries, I doubt any of them would care to return to the pre-Nepoleonic system of tithing and prebendary which held its grip on Europe during the Holy Roman Empire.

Swift
2010-Sep-27, 09:10 PM
Originally Posted by swampyankee
Do you mean changes like the Code Napoleon ...
Among other things. Nepoleonic secularisation changed the face of Europe in a way no number of Waterloos could ever hope to change back.

Though many people bemoan the more troublesome sides of secularisation, especially the destruction of historic libraries, I doubt any of them would care to return to the pre-Nepoleonic system of tithing and prebendary which held its grip on Europe during the Holy Roman Empire.
I think this is getting seriously off topic and into potentially forbidden topics as well. Please, no further comments along this line.

holmes4
2010-Sep-27, 10:12 PM
It's funny but overhere in Britan I've never seen a house themostat in anything but C. Not even in the 1970s!.

Like wise I've never seen the themostat on a oven mark in F, gas mark 1 to 9 and C yes but not F

Mark

otakenji
2010-Sep-30, 04:40 AM
Getting back on topic, the metric system is easier than the old English system even on the computer. Take for example scale ruler units. Architectural scale is always in fractions. Engineering scale is always in decimal inches and feet. But a metric scale is just simply a metric scale, so easy to use....

grapes
2010-Oct-01, 08:04 AM
To tell you the truth, what I am noticing is an inattention to units--because they are "so easy". So, someone may take 30m in 2s and decide that's 15 kilometers per hour. :)

Jens
2010-Oct-01, 08:51 AM
To tell you the truth, what I am noticing is an inattention to units--because they are "so easy". So, someone may take 30m in 2s and decide that's 15 kilometers per hour. :)

Well then just get rid of the pesky things altogether. You go 30 in 2 and that makes 15.

grapes
2010-Oct-01, 02:11 PM
And me, I'd rather take 30 in 2 and go 60 :)