1982: "Evangelism"

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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby netsplit » Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:04 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
SDK wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:I can use my size 9 shoes to get distances in feet just by counting; getting distances in meters means multiplying by 0.3 (which introduces an error, but if I cared about precise measurement, I wouldn't be using my shoes to measure it).

One meter is approximately one stride length, either a long stride or a normal stride depending on your height. Also, multiplying by 3 (not 0.3) is very easy if you insist on measuring things with your shoes (which is slow and annoying).


A yard is closer to a stride, but still a bad approximation - average stride length is around 78cm for males; 70cm for females. And multiplying by 3 without also dividing by 10 would make my bed 21 meters long - or longer than would fit in my house and the house next door combined (measured parallel to the road). Doing the conversion isn't terribly challenging, but it is more work than just counting off the measurement (and pacing out yards is easier than pacing out meters for most people).

The point is that most imperial units were originally picked to be convenient for what people wanted to measure, while metric units are chosen to be convenient to convert between, and/or define by experiment rather than by comparison with a pre-calibrated measure. For example, the meter was defined as one ten-millionth of the (surface) distance between the equator and the poles - and slightly misjudged, so that the arc is about 17km short, but that's not terribly relevant here - the main point is that yards and feet were developed to be easily used for everyday things; meters were defined to be convenient for cartographers, and approximately the same as yards.

SI units are chosen to be approximately the same magnitude as imperial units, so the individual benefits of imperial units for their specialist purpose are generally going to be small, but that doesn't mean they aren't real.



This. Metric measurement in practice jumps from units for tiny things (MM, CM) to units for fucking huge things. There's no metric equivalent of a foot. Standard has yards which are on the same scale as a meter, but most standard lengths are given in feet. I think people find feet a more natural unit of measure, because it's suited for the scale of things they'll interact with during their day.

Same with temperature. In standard subzero weather you better fucking bundle up, in metric subzero weather I don't even feel like I need a jacket sometimes. If it's dry and not windy, a standard t-shirt is enough. Standard was calibrated based on body temperature, so it more accurately reflects the experience of temperature.
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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby somitomi » Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:12 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:The point is that most imperial units were originally picked to be convenient for what people wanted to measure, while metric units are chosen to be convenient to convert between, and/or define by experiment rather than by comparison with a pre-calibrated measure. For example, the meter was defined as one ten-millionth of the (surface) distance between the equator and the poles - and slightly misjudged, so that the arc is about 17km short, but that's not terribly relevant here - the main point is that yards and feet were developed to be easily used for everyday things; meters were defined to be convenient for cartographers, and approximately the same as yards.

Cool, then the measuring tape I have in a sub-pocket of my backpack makes the meter quite convenient 8-)

I feel like arguing about which units are better for everyday use in a day and age when computers can effortlessly tell you how many kilograms six gallons of gas weigh is kind of pointless. It's mostly about what people are used to anyway.
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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Soupspoon » Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:18 pm UTC

zjxs wrote:There is one thing separating us from the other primates, and I would like to maintain that.
So, it's my fault that this one thing is not about the flinging of one's own poo, you say? I just hope you're quicker to duck next time we meet!

Did you know that you can brush with two toothbrushes? It gives you twice the clean, or gives you back hours of your life. Same thing with safety razors. We're advanced primates able to use both hands, but most people are content to just use one. There's a better way.

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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Mutex » Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:21 pm UTC

I've honestly no idea why inches and feet are more "natural" than cm or m, or how using metric is in any way harder in any situation. And the people who feel that way are yet to provide an actual situation where using metric is demonstrably disadvantageous. There's this weird, unexamined assumption it's harder because it's not what they're used to.

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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Velo Steve » Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:56 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:...
That survey reminds me: I still need to track down a 100W incandescent bulb, or find a dimmer-compatible alternative from the newer lot. Either that or replace the dimming wall-switch (so it doesn't get used) and go with the option of replacing the bulb in there now with a full-voltage LED one with internal dimming/hue-changing circuitry and remote controller.

I was happily skimming the posts without any thought of participating. Until now.

What if you want to match the brightness of the incandescent? Will your new bulb's spec be in watts? Incandescent-equivalent watts? Candelas? Lumens? Candlepower? Some vague descriptive term? Moles of photons/second?

And what's with the new dimmer switches? They don't have an actual "no current" position. What good is a switch that won't switch off?

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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby HES » Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:00 pm UTC

somitomi wrote:It's entirely about what people are used to anyway.

FTFY
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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Soupspoon » Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:19 pm UTC

Velo Steve wrote:And what's with the new dimmer switches? They don't have an actual "no current" position. What good is a switch that won't switch off?
The (old) dimmer switch in this particular case is a rotary knob with a 'click'-bump from the fully off position into the rotation from lowest to full brightness (like a transistor-radio power/volume combined control).

The only other type I'm particularly familiar with acts like a pot on rotation (to select the power passed, whether that's by current or RMS voltage limiting, I could image either/both being active) but with a toggle on-off push action. If it were one of those I could probably mechanically limit its rotation by a bit of masking tape over the top (at full-pot rotation) in a way that lets the room user just bash it on or off as necessary.

If there's a pot-like switch without zero-power (just an arbitrarily maximum impedance) then it's not this type. I'd be surprised if it's actually legal (with allowance that an empty ceiling-light bayonet socket and the inbuilt supply wire isn't exactly 'pokeable by a toddler with an opportunistically wielded knitting needle' with any great ease), but then I've no great knowledge of the applicable household electrical wiring regulations where I am.


(As to the Wattage/etc, I've so far failed to find anything but non-dimmable in the LED range, and it looks like I'm going for halogen. There are competing conversion factors on display, but something in the 60-70 actual halogen watts range seems to be the necessary area to aim for, as opposed to 8-10 actual LED watts if only the words "non-dimmable" weren't invariably on the back of all packagings I've examined, including in Tesco and several other major-chain supermarkets. I'm passing by a closing-down Maplin, later today, though, so if they've still got what I need I might get good advice and down to¹ 60% off the marked price.)

¹ - "(Up to 60%) off marked price" sounds odd to me, so I think of it as "Down to (60% off marked price)"…

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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Old Bruce » Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:20 pm UTC

From an old family recipe:
"Take sufficient flour ... add a small nob of butter...."
[sincere-face emoticon]

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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby freezeblade » Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:45 pm UTC

Old Bruce wrote:From an old family recipe:
"Take sufficient flour ... add a small nob of butter...."
[sincere-face emoticon]


Ugh. I have some of these in the family recipe book too, like for biscuits or pancakes where it says something to the effect of "Add enough flour until the correct consistency is achieved."
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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Soupspoon » Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:46 pm UTC

Someone with just a small nob of butter might not beget enough of a family for it to get old.

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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:03 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:I've honestly no idea why inches and feet are more "natural" than cm or m, or how using metric is in any way harder in any situation. And the people who feel that way are yet to provide an actual situation where using metric is demonstrably disadvantageous. There's this weird, unexamined assumption it's harder because it's not what they're used to.


Most people have a thumb and a foot (and an arm to approximate a yard).

Apparently people find 5'11" easier to remember and manipulate than 180cm.

There's not a huge difference between using metric and using imperial. What you're used to does make a difference, and so does what you're measuring (specialists in various fields tend to come up with their own consensus units anyway).

Personally, I use metric for most things, and occasionally dip into imperial, but don't do enough measurement of any kind to have a strong attachment to anything.

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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Velo Steve » Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:55 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:
Velo Steve wrote:And what's with the new dimmer switches? They don't have an actual "no current" position. What good is a switch that won't switch off?
The (old) dimmer switch in this particular case is a rotary knob with a 'click'-bump from the fully off position into the rotation from lowest to full brightness (like a transistor-radio power/volume combined control).

I had one of those and may reinstall it. My dimmable LED lights actually worked better with it than with the Lutron dimmer I bought to go with the LEDs.
Soupspoon wrote:If there's a pot-like switch without zero-power (just an arbitrarily maximum impedance) then it's not this type. I'd be surprised if it's actually legal (with allowance that an empty ceiling-light bayonet socket and the inbuilt supply wire isn't exactly 'pokeable by a toddler with an opportunistically wielded knitting needle' with any great ease), but then I've no great knowledge of the applicable household electrical wiring regulations where I am.

Perhaps they get away with it because the current getting through at the minimum is tiny and probably wouldn't be dangerous. It's still enough to keep the bulbs glowing when I want them off, though. The switch I have has a linear slider and an "on/off" rocker. The manufacturer is Lutron, which is one of the biggest here (USA). I don't think they would sell anything that wasn't legal in most places they operate.

I'd expect you to be able to get dimmables for all but the most unusual socket types. Maybe online.

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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Soupspoon » Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:01 pm UTC

Though they only had LED bulbs (nothing else, and none of them dimmable, still on the shelving units that also had prices attached to them), my attempts to help Maplin out in their closing down sale (not sure if their online side will survive the process of going into Administration, but I'll miss their high-street presence regardless) I picked up a handful of electronic kits and compinents while I was there. The least I can do. And a good deal.

The major electrical retailer nearby (sells computers, TVs, vacuum cleaners, cameras, washing machines, refrigerators, drones, hard drives, routers, etc, etc, and I haven't really liked going in there since the merger in/rationalisation of the computer superstore chain) does not sell lightbulbs, of any kind. I asked.

(I'll try online at some point, but this is one case where I should be able to find a bricks'n'mortar outlet (or a clicks'n'mortar one where I know I'm not propping up a dropship supplier) and I'd be happier not contributing to the inevitable decline of the high-street retail sector. There are other major-brand supermarkets, and if I can find a mom'n'pop type shop that's been going for decades and can use my business to stay vaguely aloat, then all the better.)

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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Mikeski » Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:14 am UTC

zjxs wrote:
Samik wrote:0 = freezing
10 = chilly
20 = spring
30 = summer
40 = hot
50+ = Death Valley


-10 = Canada
-20 = Canada
-30 = Canada


-40 = "hey, did you know this is the same in both F and C?"... also, Canada

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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby pogrmman » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:27 am UTC

I don’t really care metric vs. US customary. The one thing I might have a slight preference for is Fahrenheit over Celsius — but only for the weather. It’s nice that 100° is close to the body temperature — it’s pretty clear that 100 will be hot because of that. 0° also makes sense as a threshold — that was the coldest temperature he could get from a salt brine, so salting for ice would stop working around there (though I don’t have enough experience living somewhere cold enough for this to be a concern to confirm this).

The thing is, while I’m familiar with SI units, I’m far, far more familiar with US customary ones. I know very well just how long it takes me to walk a mile — but I’m of sure how long it takes me to walk a km (it’ll be faster than a mile, but by how much?). I know what a pound roughly is, but not a kg. Trying to work it out is a pain in the ass — having an intuitive sense works much better.

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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby somitomi » Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:15 am UTC

pogrmman wrote:The thing is, while I’m familiar with SI units, I’m far, far more familiar with US customary ones. I know very well just how long it takes me to walk a mile — but I’m of sure how long it takes me to walk a km (it’ll be faster than a mile, but by how much?). I know what a pound roughly is, but not a kg. Trying to work it out is a pain in the ass — having an intuitive sense works much better.

Having an intuitive sense is great indeed, but that depends entirely on what you grow up with. I know how much a kilometer or a kilogram is and I handle miles and pounds by converting them to metric.
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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby da Doctah » Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:51 am UTC

Samik wrote:0 = freezing
10 = chilly
20 = spring
30 = summer
40 = hot
50+ = Death Valley


Scale recalibrated for where I live:

0 = freezing
10 = freezing
20 = chilly
30 = spring
40 = summer
50+ = hot

Really, 10 Celsius or lower around here becomes the opening story on the evening news.

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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Apr 21, 2018 5:01 pm UTC

-20 = really cold
-10 = freezing
0 = chilly
10 = nice spring day
20 = warm spring / cool summer day
30 = hot summer day
40 = fuck global warming, people are going to die at this temperature

(That is coincidentally a just slightly bigger range than 0-100 F. Its applicability obviously depends on where you live, but here Fahrenheit is definitely a useful scale for talking about the kind of weather you can expect.)
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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Samik » Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:25 pm UTC

da Doctah wrote:
Samik wrote:0 = freezing
10 = chilly
20 = spring
30 = summer
40 = hot
50+ = Death Valley


Scale recalibrated for where I live:

0 = freezing
10 = freezing
20 = chilly
30 = spring
40 = summer
50+ = hot

Really, 10 Celsius or lower around here becomes the opening story on the evening news.

I'm right there with you. I was going for categories that I thought would be reflective of "normal" people's experiences, because I'm a wacko who's comfort zone is about 30-45C.

Spoiler:
My hottest Grand Canyon rim-to-rim:

Shaded thermometer (actual air temp):
Untitled.jpg

Unshaded:
Untitled2.jpg

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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby pogrmman » Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:21 am UTC

Samik wrote:
da Doctah wrote:
Samik wrote:0 = freezing
10 = chilly
20 = spring
30 = summer
40 = hot
50+ = Death Valley


Scale recalibrated for where I live:

0 = freezing
10 = freezing
20 = chilly
30 = spring
40 = summer
50+ = hot

Really, 10 Celsius or lower around here becomes the opening story on the evening news.

I'm right there with you. I was going for categories that I thought would be reflective of "normal" people's experiences, because I'm a wacko who's comfort zone is about 30-45C.

Spoiler:
My hottest Grand Canyon rim-to-rim:

Shaded thermometer (actual air temp):
Untitled.jpg
Unshaded:
Untitled2.jpg


I was kind of tempted to do something similar — I’m definately a warm weather kind of guy. In terms of °C, I prefer about 27-36 if it’s as humid as it normally is here, and 30-45 or so if it’s dry. I do have a fairly wide comfort zone though — I’m fine with anything from about 20° and up. Much colder than that, and I find my comfort depends on far more factors than they do for comfort in heat — how acclimated I am to the cold, how sunny it is, humidity, wind, precipitation, how warm it is inside, how much time I’ve spent outside lately, and even my mood. For instance, if it’s sunny and still, I’m not in a good mood, there’s been no precipitation for a while, it’s dry, and I’ve been cooped up inside — I can be pretty comfortable (albeit chilly) at as low as -5° or so. Though I usually can’t stand much under 10°.

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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Steve the Pocket » Mon Apr 23, 2018 7:25 pm UTC

As a computer person, many of my issues with metric stem from a deep-seated distaste for base ten itself, primarily the requirement to keep adding more decimal digits every time you want to cut something exactly in half—and the knowledge that even floats will eventually lose precision this way.

And then you have Photoshop, which decided to re-standardize on metric a while back, leading to a loss of precision when interfacing with anything that still uses inches. Like scanners, monitors... you know, stuff you'd never need to use with Photoshop, I'm sure. And no, manually setting your units to inches won't help, because its definition of an "inch" has changed to mean "exactly 2.54 centimeters".
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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby orthogon » Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:22 pm UTC

Steve the Pocket wrote:And no, manually setting your units to inches won't help, because its the definition of an "inch" has changed to mean "exactly 2.54 centimeters".

You were using Photoshop before 1959? :-P
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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Steve the Pocket » Thu May 03, 2018 6:27 am UTC

What I meant was, everything is now internally defined in terms of pixels per centimeter rather than pixels per inch, precision be damned. So a page scanned at 400 dpi now gets "rounded" to 400 plus some decimal digits. At least, that's what I assume is the source of the problem, since the "Document Size" went from defaulting to inches to defaulting to centimeters when I select "pixels" as my primary unit of measure.
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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Mutex » Thu May 03, 2018 8:44 am UTC

So just multiply the DPI you want by 2.54.

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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby YTPrenewed » Thu May 03, 2018 7:24 pm UTC

Difference is, the effects on scientific progress of imperial vs. metric are (relatively) more trivial, while the harm done by religious opposition to embryonic stem cell research is much more severe.

There's also the issue that religion legitimizes superstition, but it's unclear the extent to which religion's a cause of that and the extent to which it's an effect. (Though judging by the differences between religious and nonreligious states, it's probably a feedback loop.)

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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Archgeek » Fri May 11, 2018 4:27 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Mutex wrote:Which is why I asked for actual, concrete, everyday situations where there was an actual advantage to someone using imperial. The reverse seems to be more true, I find converting between say stone and pounds, or pounds and oz, difficult to do in my head. 12 is easy to split up in 2, 3, and 4, which is presumably why it comes up a lot in imperial, but dividing by 12 in my head is a lot harder than using base-10. And dividing by 14 is even harder. And if you're using a calculator, all the advantages of 12 being easily divisible disappear and base-10 makes even more sense.

Sure and if your calculator does unit conversions you don't actually need to know anything in your own brain. But you're right that metric is easier for lazy people and people who aren't good with numbers.

And I think we can all agree English stones are fucking stupid, though 16-pound Scottish stones make some sense.

Agreed, 14 is just absurd (a seven, really?!). At least with 16-pound stones I can convert on my hands by shoving a weight into binary and scootching the radix over by 4.
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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri May 11, 2018 6:10 pm UTC

Archgeek wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
Mutex wrote:Which is why I asked for actual, concrete, everyday situations where there was an actual advantage to someone using imperial. The reverse seems to be more true, I find converting between say stone and pounds, or pounds and oz, difficult to do in my head. 12 is easy to split up in 2, 3, and 4, which is presumably why it comes up a lot in imperial, but dividing by 12 in my head is a lot harder than using base-10. And dividing by 14 is even harder. And if you're using a calculator, all the advantages of 12 being easily divisible disappear and base-10 makes even more sense.

Sure and if your calculator does unit conversions you don't actually need to know anything in your own brain. But you're right that metric is easier for lazy people and people who aren't good with numbers.

And I think we can all agree English stones are fucking stupid, though 16-pound Scottish stones make some sense.

Agreed, 14 is just absurd (a seven, really?!). At least with 16-pound stones I can convert on my hands by shoving a weight into binary and scootching the radix over by 4.


If you're going to have 8 stone in a 112lb hundredweight, then it has to be 14lb per stone. Would you rather have 7 stone per cwt?

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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby SuicideJunkie » Fri May 11, 2018 6:32 pm UTC

somitomi wrote:Having an intuitive sense is great indeed, but that depends entirely on what you grow up with. I know how much a kilometer or a kilogram is and I handle miles and pounds by converting them to metric.

I grew up with it, and I'm now way off on my estimations of how much a kilogram weighs.
Apparently I'm about 5x stronger now than when I was calibrated as a kid.

As for temperature:
-20 = Minimum for shorts
-10 = Minimum for sandals
0 = Car can be used as a fridge!
10 = Nice
20 = Find shade
30 = Stay inside with A/C

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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Archgeek » Fri May 11, 2018 10:13 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
Archgeek wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
Mutex wrote:Which is why I asked for actual, concrete, everyday situations where there was an actual advantage to someone using imperial. The reverse seems to be more true, I find converting between say stone and pounds, or pounds and oz, difficult to do in my head. 12 is easy to split up in 2, 3, and 4, which is presumably why it comes up a lot in imperial, but dividing by 12 in my head is a lot harder than using base-10. And dividing by 14 is even harder. And if you're using a calculator, all the advantages of 12 being easily divisible disappear and base-10 makes even more sense.

Sure and if your calculator does unit conversions you don't actually need to know anything in your own brain. But you're right that metric is easier for lazy people and people who aren't good with numbers.

And I think we can all agree English stones are fucking stupid, though 16-pound Scottish stones make some sense.

Agreed, 14 is just absurd (a seven, really?!). At least with 16-pound stones I can convert on my hands by shoving a weight into binary and scootching the radix over by 4.


If you're going to have 8 stone in a 112lb hundredweight, then it has to be 14lb per stone. Would you rather have 7 stone per cwt?

Though I want to first assert that one'd expect to find greater utility among the general populace in easing the lesser conversion...this question seems to be glossing over the larger issue of having 112 in a measure named for 100. What the dang heck!? That's just up there with "centipede" in terms of hundred-related-misnomers.
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Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby rmsgrey » Sat May 12, 2018 12:33 am UTC

Archgeek wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:
Archgeek wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
Mutex wrote:Which is why I asked for actual, concrete, everyday situations where there was an actual advantage to someone using imperial. The reverse seems to be more true, I find converting between say stone and pounds, or pounds and oz, difficult to do in my head. 12 is easy to split up in 2, 3, and 4, which is presumably why it comes up a lot in imperial, but dividing by 12 in my head is a lot harder than using base-10. And dividing by 14 is even harder. And if you're using a calculator, all the advantages of 12 being easily divisible disappear and base-10 makes even more sense.

Sure and if your calculator does unit conversions you don't actually need to know anything in your own brain. But you're right that metric is easier for lazy people and people who aren't good with numbers.

And I think we can all agree English stones are fucking stupid, though 16-pound Scottish stones make some sense.

Agreed, 14 is just absurd (a seven, really?!). At least with 16-pound stones I can convert on my hands by shoving a weight into binary and scootching the radix over by 4.


If you're going to have 8 stone in a 112lb hundredweight, then it has to be 14lb per stone. Would you rather have 7 stone per cwt?

Though I want to first assert that one'd expect to find greater utility among the general populace in easing the lesser conversion...this question seems to be glossing over the larger issue of having 112 in a measure named for 100. What the dang heck!? That's just up there with "centipede" in terms of hundred-related-misnomers.

Historically, the answer appears to be that pounds avoirdupois, stones, hundredweights, and tons evolved as unrelated or semi-related measures, and when things got standardised, people picked round numbers that kept the weights reasonably close to what they were before. The (wool) stone was picked because it was a good weight for measuring wool for trade.

The idea of having a single, simple set of weights that apply to everything rather than specialist weights for each type of commodity is a relatively modern one - after all, what's a convenient unit for bales of wool is going to be a bit small for trading metals and a bit big for trading gems.

Also, apparently "hundred" was used historically for 120 as well.


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