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Glom
2004-Feb-24, 07:08 PM
One English billion = 1,000,000,000,000 = 10^12
One American billion = 1,000,000,000 = 10^9

Which is better?

314,159,265,358,979,323,846 would be three hundred and fourteen quintillion, one hundred and fifty nine quadrillion, two hundred and sixty five trillion, three hundred and fifty eight billion, nine hundred and seventy nine million, three hundred and twenty three thousand, eight hundred and fourty six in American counting.

But in English counting, it's three hundred and fourteen million, one hundred and fifty nine thousand, two hundred and sixty five billion, three hundred and fifty eight thousand, nine hundred and seventy nine million, three hundred and twenty three thousand, eight hundred and six.

I can see advantages to both sides. The American system groups the numbers more simply so that it is more obvious what is of what magnitude. With a long winded number like that, the English system can get confusing. The American system constructs the numbers from a series of groups of hundreds, tens and units and defines a rank by the additional value such a million or billion. It's an assemblage of bitsize and easily digestible values. The English system reuses the additional value terms to the point when you can loose track of what they are. Is that million describing how many billions of trillions there are or how many thousands of quintillions?

On the other hand, the American system requires that the counting of that number to go all the way to the quintillions, which is the highest number I've ever heard used (what's next, sextillion? Doesn't sound right.), while the English system doesn't require entering even the trillions. You can go up to 10^192 while not having to challenge the supremacy of the quintillions, while the American system would limit the quintillions to 10^21. That's a big difference. Million and billion are familiar terms. Quadrillion and quintillion are more exotic. The English system keeps counting in the familiar terms for longer.

TriangleMan
2004-Feb-24, 07:19 PM
Recently a British financial analyst informed me that for financial information the term 'billion' is being used in the UK as the American meaning. I think over time the British meaning will be phased out.

Kaptain K
2004-Feb-24, 07:21 PM
On the other hand, the American system requires that the counting of that number to go all the way to the quintillions, which is the highest number I've ever heard used (what's next, sextillion? Doesn't sound right.)
American System:
thousand
million
billion
trillion
quadrillion
quintillion
sextillion
septillion
octillion
nontillion
decitillion
etc.

Every three zeros, change the "illion". What could be simpler?

ToSeek
2004-Feb-24, 07:46 PM
I go with the Americans on this one, and I wouldn't say its just bias. I agree with the Brits that the ground floor of the house should be the zeroth floor and that writing dates as day-month-year rather than month-day-year makes more sense. But Kaptain K provides a good justification for the "American way."

milli360
2004-Feb-24, 08:16 PM
Every three zeros, change the "illion". What could be simpler?
Every six zeroes--including the first time?

In the American system, "bi"illion means three sets of three zeroes, and "tri"illion means one more set of three zeroes, or four sets total. The only way this can make sense is if Xillion means X sets of three zeroes, followed by another set of three zeroes.

In the English system, "bi"illion means two sets of six zeroes, and "tri"illion means three sets of three zeroes.

But I still like the American system better. :)

Amadeus
2004-Feb-24, 08:20 PM
All right, time to stand up for Queen and Country :lol:

Ours are bigger than yours so the're better, so there 8-[

Also can we argue about American-English spelling?
This is a sore point with me because all our office software uses an american dictionary that makes the spell check useless.

I.E Colour gets changed to Color. #-o

mike alexander
2004-Feb-24, 08:27 PM
I.E Colour gets changed to Color

Yes. And therefore?


:wink:


The whole 'u' thing is strange, anyhow. Americans still have 'velour'. Do Brits have 'colouns'?

milli360
2004-Feb-24, 08:30 PM
writing dates as day-month-year rather than month-day-year makes more sense.
Only marginally. year-month-day hour-minute-second, with zeroes

tjm220
2004-Feb-24, 08:32 PM
Now if we can get them to switch to the metric system... :D

gethen
2004-Feb-24, 09:17 PM
Now if we can get them to switch to the metric system... :D
Tried that once but the force of inertia won out. :wink:

mike alexander
2004-Feb-24, 09:29 PM
While the length measurements are a bit strange, the British (now American?) system of weights is just as 'logical' as the metric. More in some ways, since it's a modified binary system.

Many years ago Phil Morrison pointed out that the British system of weights is easier to do than the metric, especially in primitive situations.

TriangleMan
2004-Feb-24, 09:33 PM
Many years ago Phil Morrison pointed out that the British system of weights is easier to do than the metric, especially in primitive situations.
Having grown up at a time when Canada changed from imperial to metric I find myself more comfortable using metric for some things but imperial for others. Height in feet/inches but distance in km, weight in pounds but volume in litres. That said I find metric easier to work with.

§rv
2004-Feb-24, 09:40 PM
Having grown up at a time when Canada changed from imperial to metric I find myself more comfortable using metric for some things but imperial for others. Height in feet/inches but distance in km, weight in pounds but volume in litres. That said I find metric easier to work with.

In Trinidad we basically do the same thing. In the markets, the vendors use pound scales and people buy by the pound. Yet we measure in cm, m etc. Height is also measured in feet and inches. It is a nice fusion of both systems but I have to agree, the metric system is much easier

ToSeek
2004-Feb-24, 10:22 PM
writing dates as day-month-year rather than month-day-year makes more sense.
Only marginally. year-month-day hour-minute-second, with zeroes

That makes the most sense of all. Whenever I stick a date or time in a file name, that's how I do it so they'll stay in chronological order.

JMV
2004-Feb-24, 10:36 PM
How do you Americans calculate units of force, newtons?
[F]=1N=1kg*1m/s^2=2,2lb*3,28'/s^2

Sounds complicated with pounds and feet. :o

I think SI units are much simpler because they have precise definitions in nature, except for mass, which is a bit debated issue. What do you think would be the best definition for kilogram.
Maybe mass of one cubic decimetre of water with temperature of 277,15K? Is it too complicated?

[corrected the temperature, stupid calculator, making me look bad #-o ]

vuo
2004-Feb-24, 11:27 PM
This is really American thinking. The US of A and England - that's the world!

The problem with the British system is that they don't use the -illard suffix at all. It simplifies things a lot: 10^6 million, 10^9 milliard, 10^12 billion, 10^15 billiard (really!), 10^18 trillion, etc. In practice, after 10^12 mantissa-exponent -notation is used. As far as I know, this is originally a French system, but used elsewhere in Europe, too.

The Anglic peoples have problems with absurd things, like units, the clock and now this.

Avatar28
2004-Feb-24, 11:58 PM
How do you Americans calculate units of force, newtons?
[F]=1N=1kg*1m/s^2=2,2lb*3,28'/s^2

Sounds complicated with pounds and feet. :o

I think SI units are much simpler because they have precise definitions in nature, except for mass, which is a bit debated issue. What do you think would be the best definition for kilogram.
Maybe mass of one cubic decimetre of water with temperature of 277,15K? Is it too complicated?

[corrected the temperature, stupid calculator, making me look bad #-o ]

I thought it already was. I thought it went something like 1 milliliter of water takes up 1 cubic centimeter and weighs 1 gram or something and so they're all tied together like that. Or maybe I'm hallucinating, but I'm sure I read something like that in one of my science texts years ago.

Andromeda321
2004-Feb-25, 12:18 AM
Wait, random question of the day: what do the Brits call the American billion? Just a thousand million?

Maksutov
2004-Feb-25, 12:32 AM
Now if we can get them to switch to the metric system... :D
Tried that once but the force of inertia won out. :wink:

Probably would have had better luck if the effort hadn't been made during the Carter administration! :D

"Gimme one a them 354 cc Billy Beers, y'all!" :wink:

AGN Fuel
2004-Feb-25, 12:40 AM
Although I grew up with the British measurement and doggedly tried to stick with it, the vast bulk of info I receive uses the American meaning and I have folded...... 8-[

Usually however, I find it easier to simply use the exponential, 10^9 or 10^12. Takes away any confusion.

(Unless I want to give a talk a Sagan-like gravitas by talking about the 'billions' of stars in our galaxy, etc. :D )

Bob
2004-Feb-25, 12:53 AM
It's sad, though, that there are no English billionaires, not even the Queen.

JMV
2004-Feb-25, 12:59 AM
I thought it already was. I thought it went something like 1 milliliter of water takes up 1 cubic centimeter and weighs 1 gram or something and so they're all tied together like that. Or maybe I'm hallucinating, but I'm sure I read something like that in one of my science texts years ago.
I read last October from one magazine that to this date we still use a platinum-iridium weight casted in 1879 to define an official kilogram. It's held in a vault or a locker of some kind of International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Paris and it's not taken out of it's jar very often. They open the locker only once a year to inspect that it's still there. There are several copies of it around the world and their masses are compared for inspections to the original once every 20 years.

It's been complained that the water definiton would be too complicated, and that's why scientists are trying to find a better way to define kilogram. It's been proposed to use some kind of current balance thing, "an apparatus which balances the force generated by a current in a magnetic field with a standard mass". Don't ask me, I have no idea what means, but that's what it says in NPL website http://www.npl.co.uk/mass/research.html .

There are other propositions, like ion beam technique and the number of elementary units in a certain isotope of a certain element. I don't know much about these either.

Normandy6644
2004-Feb-25, 02:56 AM
Now if we can get them to switch to the metric system... :D

Funny, when using most numbers I hate the metric system (no real reason, just do :lol: ), but when doing physics I hate non-metric units. What the hell is a slug supposed to be? :lol:

Jpax2003
2004-Feb-25, 03:51 AM
Let's do binary instead!

2^30 I think

I think both a decimal and a dodecimal system are ok for weights and measures.

JohnOwens
2004-Feb-25, 04:13 AM
314,159,265,358,979,323,846 would be three hundred and fourteen quintillion, one hundred and fifty nine quadrillion, two hundred and sixty five trillion, three hundred and fifty eight billion, nine hundred and seventy nine million, three hundred and twenty three thousand, eight hundred and fourty six in American counting.

But in English counting, it's three hundred and fourteen million, one hundred and fifty nine thousand, two hundred and sixty five billion, three hundred and fifty eight thousand, nine hundred and seventy nine million, three hundred and twenty three thousand, eight hundred and six.

Shouldn't that be "three hundred and fourteen trillion", and "eight hundred forty six", for the UK style? And in the American style, at least, it's "forty", not "fourty".


The English system reuses the additional value terms to the point when you can loose track of what they are. Is that million describing how many billions of trillions there are or how many thousands of quintillions?

Million will never describe how many billions or trillions, unless you get to the point that you're talking about "million trillion trillion" or something like that, and don't want to bother with "septillion". Otherwise, only thousands, hundreds, tens, and units will immediately precede million, billion, trillion, etc.

JohnOwens
2004-Feb-25, 04:21 AM
In the English system, "bi"illion means two sets of six zeroes, and "tri"illion means three sets of three zeroes.

Just so no one gets the wrong idea about how it works, I believe my esteemed colleague meant to say "three sets of six zeroes."



writing dates as day-month-year rather than month-day-year makes more sense.
Only marginally. year-month-day hour-minute-second, with zeroes

I'll agree with this one, too. But I mostly use it only on things that are only for my own use, since no one else seems to get it. :roll:

JohnOwens
2004-Feb-25, 05:01 AM
This is really American thinking. The US of A and England - that's the world!

The problem with the British system is that they don't use the -illard suffix at all. It simplifies things a lot: 10^6 million, 10^9 milliard, 10^12 billion, 10^15 billiard (really!), 10^18 trillion, etc. In practice, after 10^12 mantissa-exponent -notation is used. As far as I know, this is originally a French system, but used elsewhere in Europe, too.

The Anglic peoples have problems with absurd things, like units, the clock and now this.

Actually, I'm quite fond of the million-milliard-billion-billiard system as well, but I've found even less people who know what I'm talking about then. :(

JohnOwens
2004-Feb-25, 05:07 AM
How do you Americans calculate units of force, newtons?
[F]=1N=1kg*1m/s^2=2,2lb*3,28'/s^2

Sounds complicated with pounds and feet. :o

I think SI units are much simpler because they have precise definitions in nature, except for mass, which is a bit debated issue. What do you think would be the best definition for kilogram.
Maybe mass of one cubic decimetre of water with temperature of 277,15K? Is it too complicated?

I thought it already was. I thought it went something like 1 milliliter of water takes up 1 cubic centimeter and weighs 1 gram or something and so they're all tied together like that. Or maybe I'm hallucinating, but I'm sure I read something like that in one of my science texts years ago.

That's the approximation, and what they were shooting for when they made that platinum mass. Problem with it as an exact definition is, the (extremely) exact density of water is also dependent on the current pressure, and guess what unit you need to define to use pressure? Hint: 1 Pascal=1kg/(m*s^2) So it's impossible to get it exact without already having defined it. :(

DreadCthulhu
2004-Feb-25, 08:09 AM
How do you Americans calculate units of force, newtons?
[F]=1N=1kg*1m/s^2=2,2lb*3,28'/s^2


Remember, the American system, the pound is the unit of force, the unit of mass is the slug, though sometimes you see poundmass being used, though I hate it when people do that, as it just makes everything more complicated. You can derive the force from mass and acceleration just as easily as in the metric system.

1 pound force = 1 slug * 1 foot/second^2.

1 slug = 14.5939029 kilograms

1 pounds force = 4.44822162 Newtons

milli360
2004-Feb-25, 10:43 AM
In the English system, "bi"illion means two sets of six zeroes, and "tri"illion means three sets of three zeroes.

Just so no one gets the wrong idea about how it works, I believe my esteemed colleague meant to say "three sets of six zeroes."
Good call. My mistake.

That's the approximation, and what they were shooting for when they made that platinum mass.
Little known trivia: the approximation that they were shooting for when they defined the meter, was the "seconds" pendulum, which is the length of pendulum necessary for its swing (one-half period) to be exactly one second. They ended up using it to justify a scientific boondoogle instead, but had it remained, then the acceleration due to gravity would be exactly pi squared meters per second per second.

kucharek
2004-Feb-25, 10:57 AM
Efforts are currently under way to get a new definition for the kilogramm. They want to have it based on something like: Such and such many atoms of this or that element add up to 1kg. I read somewhere about some competition between standardization institutions whos doing best.

Harald

PS: A Link:

http://www.nml.csiro.au/General/historyKilogram.htm

JMV
2004-Feb-25, 11:31 AM
Remember, the American system, the pound is the unit of force, the unit of mass is the slug, though sometimes you see poundmass being used, though I hate it when people do that, as it just makes everything more complicated. You can derive the force from mass and acceleration just as easily as in the metric system.

1 pound force = 1 slug * 1 foot/second^2.

1 slug = 14.5939029 kilograms

1 pounds force = 4.44822162 Newtons
Ok, thanks. Everytime I look in the encyclopedia it says 1 pound=0,4536 kilograms so I was a bit confused when people used it to describe units of thrust (force), though sometimes people use kilograms for that too. It's annoying when people use both mass' and force's units for same purposes.

As for the topic, I use milliard billion billiard system myself (because of my mothertongue).

Amadeus
2004-Feb-25, 12:19 PM
It's sad, though, that there are no English billionaires, not even the Queen.

I'am working on it! :lol:

Argos
2004-Feb-25, 12:54 PM
How do the English call this number: 1.000.000.000? Thanks.

As to the question, I think the International System (SI) better than any other.

Normandy6644
2004-Feb-25, 12:56 PM
Remember, the American system, the pound is the unit of force, the unit of mass is the slug, though sometimes you see poundmass being used, though I hate it when people do that, as it just makes everything more complicated.

Do the English use the dyne at all? I would hope not, but I know it's still another unit of force.

Argos
2004-Feb-25, 01:00 PM
How do the English call this number: 1.000.000.000? Thanks.


Forget about the question. I just saw it above.

milli360
2004-Feb-25, 01:27 PM
How do the English call this number: 1.000.000.000? Thanks.


Forget about the question. I just saw it above.
So, to swing the topic to astronomy again...there are milliards and milliards of stars...

JohnOwens
2004-Feb-25, 05:12 PM
Efforts are currently under way to get a new definition for the kilogramm. They want to have it based on something like: Such and such many atoms of this or that element add up to 1kg. I read somewhere about some competition between standardization institutions whos doing best.

Harald

PS: A Link:

http://www.nml.csiro.au/General/historyKilogram.htm

Another link, where they're trying to make a kilogram that's an exact sphere of pure silicon:
http://www.npl.co.uk/mass/avogadro.html

amstrad
2004-Feb-25, 06:18 PM
I think the british system makes far more sense as far as systematic counting. It is also far more efficient at using number names. Lets make sure we all know what we are talking about:



Number American English
------ -------- -------
10E0 one one
10E1 ten ten
10E2 hundred hundred
10E3 thousand thousand
10E4 ten thousand ten thousand
10E5 hundred thousand hundred thousand
10E6 million million
10E7 ten million ten million
10E8 hundred million hundred million
10E9 billion thousand million
10E10 ten billion ten thousand million
10E11 hundred billion hundred thousand million
10E12 trillion billion
10E13 ten trillion ten billion
10E14 hundred trillion hundred billion
10E15 quadrillion thousand billion
10E16 ten quadrillion ten thousand billion
10E17 hundred quadrillion hundred thousand billion
10E18 quintillion million billion
10E19 ten quintillion ten million billion
10E20 hundred quintillion hundred million billion
10E21 sextillion thousand million billion
10E22 ten sextillion ten thousand million billion
10E22 hundred sextillion hundred thousand million billion
10E22 septillion trillion

Glom
2004-Feb-25, 06:44 PM
The English system makes better use of the numbers and so as long as you want to specify something general like a magnitude. 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000 (10^42) would be a thousand billion trillion. But for a more specific number like 111,111,111,111,111,111, it's too easy to loose track of where you are in the English system while the American makes it easier.

JohnOwens
2004-Feb-25, 06:51 PM
The English system makes better use of the numbers and so as long as you want to specify something general like a magnitude. 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000 (10^42) would be a thousand billion trillion....

No, it would be a million trillion trillion, or billion billion trillion, or a septillion if you want to do it that way. Except the number you typed out was 10^39, which would be a thousand trillion trillion, or a thousand sextillion, or a sextilliard.

JohnOwens
2004-Feb-25, 06:54 PM
Slight fix:




Number American English
------ -------- -------
10E18 quintillion trillion
10E19 ten quintillion ten trillion
10E20 hundred quintillion hundred trillion
10E21 sextillion thousand trillion
10E22 ten sextillion ten thousand trillion
10E23 hundred sextillion hundred thousand trillion
10E24 septillion quadrillion

informant
2004-Feb-25, 08:02 PM
I like the American system better, because it's simpler.


In the American system, "bi"illion means three sets of three zeroes, and "tri"illion means one more set of three zeroes, or four sets total. The only way this can make sense is if Xillion means X sets of three zeroes, followed by another set of three zeroes.
How about thinking of the x-illion as "x thousands after a thousand"? (1000 + 1000x)

JohnOwens
2004-Feb-25, 08:10 PM
I like the American system better, because it's simpler.


In the American system, "bi"illion means three sets of three zeroes, and "tri"illion means one more set of three zeroes, or four sets total. The only way this can make sense is if Xillion means X sets of three zeroes, followed by another set of three zeroes.
How about thinking of the x-illion as "x thousands after a thousand"? (1000 + 1000x)

Sounds like you just described "less simple" to me. "Less simple" != "more familiar"

informant
2004-Feb-25, 08:22 PM
Who says I'm more familiar with it? :) And please explain how you think the British (European) system is simpler.

siriusastronomer
2004-Feb-25, 08:42 PM
As an american who doesn't much like living in america (ok...i'm going to be lynched now aren't i?) I'm inclined to say the British do a whole lot better than we do. I'm not really sure i can say which counting method is better but the American system is easier for me, but that's just because I've been using that all my life.

Why don't we use SI units? that would make everything SO much easier (ie: chemistry...physics...understanding how much 30 kg really is...)

mike alexander
2004-Feb-26, 12:57 AM
Aw, come on. For everyday use it's easy. A liter is about a quart, a kilogram is about two pounds, a kilometer is about half a mile.
Good enough for government work.

Eroica
2004-Feb-26, 08:41 AM
How do the English call this number: 1.000.000.000? Thanks.


Forget about the question. I just saw it above.
I hope the answer you got was a billion!

Eroica
2004-Feb-26, 08:44 AM
Who says I'm more familiar with it? :) And please explain how you think the British (European) system is simpler.
There is no such thing as the British (European) system. In Europe the metric system reigns supreme; in Britain the imperial system is still dominant. And as far as billions, trillions etc go, everyone everywhere in the world - including the British - use the American system.

informant
2004-Feb-26, 10:18 AM
There is no such thing as the British (European) system. In Europe the metric system reigns supreme;
Who's talking about systems of physical units?! I sure am not.


And as far as billions, trillions etc go, everyone everywhere in the world - including the British - use the American system.
Sorry, but that simply isn't true.


Although we describe the two systems today as American or European, both systems are actually of French origin. The French physician and mathematician Nicolas Chuquet (1445-1488) apparently coined the words byllion and tryllion and used them to represent 10^12 and 10^18, respectively, thus establishing what we now think of as the "European" system. However, it was also French mathematicians of the 1600's who used billion and trillion for 10^9 and 10^12, respectively. This usage became common in France and in America, while the original Chuquet nomenclature remained in use in Britain and Germany. The French decided in 1948 to revert to the Chuquet ("European") system, leaving the U.S. as the chief standard bearer for what then became clearly an American system.

In recent years, American usage has eroded the European system, particularly in Britain and to a lesser extent in other countries. This is primarily due to American finance, because Americans insist that $1 000 000 000 be called a billion dollars. In 1974, the government of Prime Minister Harold Wilson announced that henceforth "billion" would mean 10^9 and not 10^12 in official British reports and statistics. The Times of London style guide now defines "billion" as "one thousand million, not a million million."

The result of all this is widespread confusion.[…]
http://www.hilmar-klaus.de/potenzprobleme.htm


How about thinking of the x-illion as "x thousands after a thousand"? (1000 + 1000x)
Sigh... :roll: That was meant to be 1000 * 1000^x.

Eroica
2004-Feb-26, 12:16 PM
Sorry, but that simply isn't true.
:oops: I stand corrected. What I said still applies to Britain and Ireland, though.

milli360
2004-Feb-26, 12:45 PM
How about thinking of the x-illion as "x thousands after a thousand"? (1000 + 1000^x) [exponentiation inserted--how do you spell the name of that thing?]
I thought my list made that point too. At least, that's what I meant to say.

Who says I'm more familiar with it? :) And please explain how you think the British (European) system is simpler.
The formula would be simply 1000000^x.

I hope the answer you got was a billion!
I believe Argos's answer was milliard.


There is no such thing as the British (European) system. In Europe the metric system reigns supreme; in Britain the imperial system is still dominant. And as far as billions, trillions etc go, everyone everywhere in the world - including the British - use the American system.
If everybody uses it, why is it called the American system? :)

Amadeus
2004-Feb-26, 01:26 PM
[Darth vader voice]

Fooish rebels, the Imperial System shall be victorious.
:evil:
[/Darth vader voice]

informant
2004-Feb-26, 06:39 PM
[...] please explain how you think the British (European) system is simpler.
The formula would be simply 1000000^x.
Both formulas are fairly simple. It's also simple to write down a number in figures, given its name in words, in both systems.
Where there is a difference is if you are given a number in figures, and try to read it in words. This is simpler in the American system.

milli360
2004-Feb-26, 07:49 PM
Both formulas are fairly simple.
No argument there. I'm proficient in both, and double acrostic.

Where there is a difference is if you are given a number in figures, and try to read it in words. This is simpler in the American system.
Even using "milliard"? Why would that be?

informant
2004-Feb-26, 08:50 PM
You're right, it is just as easy with the -illion/-illiard nomenclature. My opinion was colored by the fact that I'm used to -illion/thousand -illion instead.

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2004-Feb-29, 08:24 AM
Personally, I think we should just junk both The Metric and Imperial Systems.

They're both way too arbitrary.

Einstein shows the way, however.

Just set your basic measurement as the distance light travels in one beat of a Cesium-131 Clock, and derive from there.

Eroica
2004-Feb-29, 10:03 AM
Just set your basic measurement as the distance light travels in one beat of a Cesium-131 Clock, and derive from there.
Cesium? That's way too arbitrary! :wink:

Glom
2004-Feb-29, 01:13 PM
The second is derived from cesium and the metre is defined from the speed of light.

JohnOwens
2004-Feb-29, 04:46 PM
Personally, I think we should just junk both The Metric and Imperial Systems.

They're both way too arbitrary.

Einstein shows the way, however.

Just set your basic measurement as the distance light travels in one beat of a Cesium-131 Clock, and derive from there.

Bah! Planck units, all the way! That's non-arbitrary! 8)

Amadeus
2004-Feb-29, 10:19 PM
Personally, I think we should just junk both The Metric and Imperial Systems.

They're both way too arbitrary.

Einstein shows the way, however.

Just set your basic measurement as the distance light travels in one beat of a Cesium-131 Clock, and derive from there.

Bah! Planck units, all the way! That's non-arbitrary! 8)

Just tell me how to ask for a pound of potatoes, half a kilo of sausages and a pint of milk.

I want bangers and mash tonight

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2004-Mar-01, 01:34 AM
Personally, I think we should just junk both The Metric and Imperial Systems.

They're both way too arbitrary.

Einstein shows the way, however.

Just set your basic measurement as the distance light travels in one beat of a Cesium-131 Clock, and derive from there.

Bah! Planck units, all the way! That's non-arbitrary! 8)

Just tell me how to ask for a pound of potatoes, half a kilo of sausages and a pint of milk.

I want bangers and mash tonight

Planck Units could work alright, I'm just worried that people wll get tired of mesuring things by Nonaplancks.

Bangers and Mash sounds cool, although, I've always prefered Bubbles and Squeak.

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2004-Mar-01, 01:42 AM
The second is derived from cesium and the metre is defined from the speed of light.

Not originally, in either case.

Both were set arbitrarily, and then defined as a certain number of the constants.

What we should do, is derive from the Constants themselves, not the other way around.

themusk
2004-Mar-01, 04:24 AM
Both were set arbitrarily, and then defined as a certain number of the constants.

Neither was set "arbitrarily"-- the second is roughly the resting pulse of a fit human being (a handy timekeeping unit in the days before accurate timepieces and Dunkin Donut franchises :wink: ) and the meter was intended to be a fraction of the circumference of the earth, but they measured wrong. The two units might not be up to crack with our current technology, but both reflect the very best efforts of others in the past to base their units on the constants they knew. I prefer instead to think of the units as "legacy code" :)

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2004-Mar-01, 04:30 AM
I prefer instead to think of the units as "legacy code" :)

True.

But I still think we can do better.

Besides, then we can forget all of this, Must Be Protected at any and All Costs, Measurement Standards, and have a unit a Grade Schooler can derive in their heads.

How would that be for convenience?

JohnOwens
2004-Mar-03, 12:09 AM
Both were set arbitrarily, and then defined as a certain number of the constants.

Neither was set "arbitrarily"-- the second is roughly the resting pulse of a fit human being (a handy timekeeping unit in the days before accurate timepieces and Dunkin Donut franchises :wink: ) and the meter was intended to be a fraction of the circumference of the earth, but they measured wrong. The two units might not be up to crack with our current technology, but both reflect the very best efforts of others in the past to base their units on the constants they knew. I prefer instead to think of the units as "legacy code" :)

Actually, I'm pretty sure the second is derived from the combination of the length of the solar day, and the old-old-OLD days' base-60 math (Babylonians? Sumerians? Who was it?). Although it could be this originally was only used to get as small as minutes, and then someone later noticed that if this principle were carried out to another degree, a sixtieth of a minute was pretty close to a heartbeat.

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Also, I've come to an idea about the density of water being affected by pressure, and affecting the (would-be) definition of a kilogram. What if you took it to be the mass of a cubic decimeter of water at its triple point? It would be a bit different than what we now call a kilogram, but at least it would be a reproduceable standard.

frogesque
2004-Mar-04, 04:35 PM
Really it's very simple.

1/1,000,000,000 = 1 billionth

1/1,000,000 = 1 millionth

1/1,000 = 1 thousandth

1/1 = unity (or i^4 but that's a whole new load of frogspawn!)

1,000 = 1 thousand

1,000,000 = 1 million

1,000,000,000 = 1 billion (or the approximate debt [in $] of the average Californian citizen)

The real fundamental unit of time is the time it takes to forget you have just eaten 1 pound (avoirdupois) of chocholate (aproximately 3.1415926 seconds). This unit can then be subdivided into squares (30 sighons) and nibbles (10 nighons).

This also explains the fundamental quantum nature of time in that we can only ever go forward and want chocholate, never back to a time when we had chocholate. From this we can further deduce that chocholate cannot contain any calories. Hence the famous saying of Mary Antoinette "You cannot have your cake and eat it - especially with your head on a pikestaff"