1982: "Evangelism"

This forum is for the individual discussion thread that goes with each new comic.

Moderators: Moderators General, Prelates, Magistrates

User avatar
Locoluis
Posts: 99
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2006 7:30 pm UTC
Location: Santiago, Chile
Contact:

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Locoluis » Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:40 pm UTC

Show, don't tell. The benefits of choosing one side over another should be evident in the end. If not, then it's likely just a matter of personal preference that's not worth waging holy wars about.

OTOH, I'm not welcome to talk about things I'm passionate about here; I can do that in my own blog. Similarly, online communities should not take sides on arguments that are outside their intended scope, because if they do they will alienate some of their own members that never agreed to support that off-topic cause. There are places for evangelism, and places where we should all learn to coexist without making a fuzz about topics where there's no achievable consensus.
Sueños del Sur - A webcomic about four siblings, their family, friends, adventures and dreams.
http://sds.lgm.cl/

User avatar
YellowYeti
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:05 am UTC

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby YellowYeti » Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:42 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:Only about a half of us (who voted, about a third of us who could vote and maybe around a quarter of everyone who would have to live with the result) voted for Brexit, so 'just' half of everyone these lot asked wanting to work with pounds and ounces isn't too far off matching the entire Leave camp directly relating to everything going back to days of yore... ;)


My father.. this... Voted for brexit, wants to go back to pounds and ounces, AND eats his bananas from the wrong (small) end. When I have asked him about the banana thing, he stares into the mid distance and says 'spiders' with a grim look on his face.

Mind, he also wants to repeal all 'modern' music, claiming that "Nothing has sounded any good since 1962". I'm not sure if 1962 was the end of civilisation because of the Beatles, or the birth of his first child.

Carteeg_Struve
Posts: 115
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2009 12:56 pm UTC

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Carteeg_Struve » Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:56 pm UTC

I'll admit I'm in the "Go Metric except for Temperature" camp. Having the scale going from 0-100 in what is a typical range from livable but really cold vs livable but really hot just makes sense to me in the common day to day usage that we..... $#!+. I'm doing it again.

I'm also in the emacs camp, but that's more because I tried to jump to something else, but my muscle memory for emacs commands keeps kicking in and screw up what I was doing.... I guess that's the equivalent of "I'm just a member of X church because my parents were members and I just never bothered to stop going."

jgh
Posts: 111
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 1:04 pm UTC

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby jgh » Thu Apr 19, 2018 1:18 pm UTC

Vroomfundel wrote:Well, guess what, the UK did it - and only half want to reverse it post brexit....

Arghh!!! Post-X is a prepositional adjective.

Mutex
Posts: 1341
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:32 pm UTC

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Mutex » Thu Apr 19, 2018 1:29 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:
Vroomfundel wrote:and only half want to reverse it post brexit... wait, what?

Only about a half of us (who voted, about a third of us who could vote and maybe around a quarter of everyone who would have to live with the result) voted for Brexit, so 'just' half of everyone these lot asked wanting to work with pounds and ounces isn't too far off matching the entire Leave camp directly relating to everything going back to days of yore... ;)

The survey was among Leave voters, so it's only a quarter of the population that wants to bring back hands and cubits, and the fire-squad for litterers etc.

User avatar
da Doctah
Posts: 891
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:27 am UTC

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby da Doctah » Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:22 pm UTC

I'm collecting names of people who would like to push to restore thorn, ash, wynn and yogh to the English alphabet.

User avatar
GlassHouses
Posts: 122
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2016 12:41 pm UTC

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby GlassHouses » Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:42 pm UTC

People throw away the ends of bananas? Because they're "gross"?

?!?!?!?

I was completely unaware of this phenomenon. I open bananas from the stem end, because it's easier (duh), and then I eat the whole thing and leave only the empty peel. If that last bit tastes any different from the rest, my uncultured taste buds have never noticed.

I'll try to pay more attention next time. :D

rmsgrey
Posts: 3406
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:35 pm UTC

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby rmsgrey » Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:51 pm UTC

Imperial measures are generally extremely well designed for day-to-day purposes when measuring the things they are intended to measure. On the other hand, they're a complete pain when you want to measure multiple different types of thing or do calculations involving multiple types of quantity (even things like weights of different types of thing may not have the same units of measure) so metric is a lot better for doing science.

Something similar applies to number systems - for things like counting, tally-marks or Roman numerals actually work better because you can update them without deleting the old number a lot of the time; for dealing with larger quantities, or more general arithmetic, the Arabic numerals that pretty much everyone uses today are inarguably superior.

Mutex
Posts: 1341
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:32 pm UTC

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Mutex » Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:06 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:Imperial measures are generally extremely well designed for day-to-day purposes when measuring the things they are intended to measure.

Can you give an example of an everyday situation where using imperial is easier than metric?

Raidri
Posts: 46
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2016 10:39 am UTC
Location: Germany

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Raidri » Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:12 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:Imperial measures are generally extremely well designed for day-to-day purposes when measuring the things they are intended to measure.

Can you give an example of an everyday situation where using imperial is easier than metric?

While baking a cake a cup of sugar is easier to measure than say 200g of sugar (which needs a scale).
Last edited by Raidri on Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:14 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Soupspoon
You have done something you shouldn't. Or are about to.
Posts: 3482
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2016 7:00 pm UTC
Location: 53-1

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:13 pm UTC

da Doctah wrote:I'm collecting names of people who would like to push to restore thorn, ash, wynn and yogh to the English alphabet.
Is that to tout for votes/subscriptions, or to ensure they're the first ones up against the wall…?

*whistles tunes from The Mikado*


(ETA: a "cup" is not Imperial measure. Also, fix your pints and gallons!)
Last edited by Soupspoon on Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:18 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

Mutex
Posts: 1341
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:32 pm UTC

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Mutex » Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:15 pm UTC

Raidri wrote:
Mutex wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:Imperial measures are generally extremely well designed for day-to-day purposes when measuring the things they are intended to measure.

Can you give an example of an everyday situation where using imperial is easier than metric?

While baking a cake a cup of sugar is easier to measure than say 100g of sugar (which needs a scale).

Because you have an existing measuring cup the size you need?

Also that's a difference between measuring volume and mass, you could write the recipe using metric volume units if you wanted.

speising
Posts: 2265
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 4:54 pm UTC
Location: wien

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby speising » Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:32 pm UTC

Raidri wrote:While baking a cake a cup of sugar is easier to measure than say 200g of sugar (which needs a scale).

*actually*, especially in baking weight measurements are superior, since the density of flour can vary significantly, per type and depending on how compressed it is. just knock that cup a few times on the counter to see that.
also, my favourite example from a recipe online: "2 cups apples"???

Mutex
Posts: 1341
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:32 pm UTC

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Mutex » Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:40 pm UTC

In the UK, recipes using imperial will generally use ounces so there's no difference in measuring.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26438
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:42 pm UTC

Vroomfundel wrote:More than 30 posts and nobody has mentioned the metric units religious war yet? It's about time!
There were at least two posts above yours about it.

Locoluis wrote:Similarly, online communities should not take sides on arguments that are outside their intended scope, because if they do they will alienate some of their own members that never agreed to support that off-topic cause.
Nah, the official position of the XKCD forum is that the only reason to put toilet paper down the back side is if you have children or pets that will make a mess of it the other way.

If you disagree feel free to post about it on your own blog.

Mutex wrote:In the UK, recipes using imperial will generally use ounces so there's no difference in measuring.
8 fl. oz of water doesn't quite weigh 8 oz., and anything significantly more or less dense than water is going to be way off.
---
Metric is obviously better than USCS because there's an agreed-upon set of derived units and everyone else in the world uses it.

But I will happily spend a whole afternoon arguing with people who think there's some kind of huge intrinsic superiority beyond that.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
bantler
Posts: 238
Joined: Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:23 pm UTC

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby bantler » Thu Apr 19, 2018 6:17 pm UTC

If you classically peel the stem in 3 parts, the skins dangle and rub your hand disgustingly while you're eating.
If you break the spine on the small end with your thumbs you can extract the meat without dangle.

fibonacci
Posts: 54
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 8:37 pm UTC

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby fibonacci » Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:25 pm UTC

bantler wrote:If you classically peel the stem in 3 parts, the skins dangle and rub your hand disgustingly while you're eating.
If you break the spine on the small end with your thumbs you can extract the meat without dangle.


The way that's worded, I feel like I've read something out of 50 Shades of Yellow.

rmsgrey
Posts: 3406
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:35 pm UTC

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby rmsgrey » Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:57 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:Imperial measures are generally extremely well designed for day-to-day purposes when measuring the things they are intended to measure.

Can you give an example of an everyday situation where using imperial is easier than metric?


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). I can measure the height of something in hands similarly readily. People still order their drinks in half pints and pints, rather than 600 or 300 ml (rounded to avoid spurious precision).

If you ever want to make a pound cake, guess how much of each ingredient you need? If you guessed 1lb, you're correct. Again, you can adjust the recipe to an approximate round number of grams, but you'll get a different size end product (and will need metric chickens to get the right size eggs :P )

User avatar
freezeblade
Posts: 1254
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:11 pm UTC
Location: Oakland

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby freezeblade » Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:20 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:If you ever want to make a pound cake, guess how much of each ingredient you need? If you guessed 1lb, you're correct. Again, you can adjust the recipe to an approximate round number of grams, but you'll get a different size end product (and will need metric chickens to get the right size eggs :P )


Except that most American homes don't have a food scale, so the average consumer will end up using approximate volume measurements anyway. There's a reason the baking industry in the US actually uses metric pretty regularly, it's much much easier to scale recipes when you're measuring in base 10. Chickens are already pretty much in metric: 1 "Large" egg (which is what most recipes are designed for) is equal to 50g without shell.
Belial wrote:I am not even in the same country code as "the mood for this shit."

User avatar
SDK
Posts: 619
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 7:40 pm UTC
Location: Canada

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby SDK » Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:21 pm UTC

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).

rmsgrey wrote:I can measure the height of something in hands similarly readily.

One hand is equal to 10 cm, so that's easy. Hell, keep using hands in the metric system for all I care, just define it to be exactly 10 cm and we're set!

rmsgrey wrote:People still order their drinks in half pints and pints, rather than 600 or 300 ml (rounded to avoid spurious precision).

I have no response to this because you're right that mL are pretty annoying. It would be useful to have a name for 1/4 liter and 1/2 liter (hence why we still use "cup" on a regular basis).

rmsgrey wrote:If you ever want to make a pound cake, guess how much of each ingredient you need? If you guessed 1lb, you're correct. Again, you can adjust the recipe to an approximate round number of grams, but you'll get a different size end product (and will need metric chickens to get the right size eggs :P )

Tradition and history is pretty much the only good argument for using imperial. "Half-kilo cake" just doesn't sound like something my grandmother would make.
The biggest number (63 quintillion googols in debt)

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26438
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:57 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:If you ever want to make a pound cake, guess how much of each ingredient you need? If you guessed 1lb, you're correct. Again, you can adjust the recipe to an approximate round number of grams, but you'll get a different size end product
Has anyone baking a pound cake put huge significance on the result being exactly four pounds, though?
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
Soupspoon
You have done something you shouldn't. Or are about to.
Posts: 3482
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2016 7:00 pm UTC
Location: 53-1

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:02 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:If you ever want to make a pound cake, guess how much of each ingredient you need? If you guessed 1lb, you're correct. Again, you can adjust the recipe to an approximate round number of grams, but you'll get a different size end product
Has anyone baking a pound cake put huge significance on the result being exactly four pounds, though?
That should be 5.63550 dollars, right now, anyway.

8-)

User avatar
freezeblade
Posts: 1254
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:11 pm UTC
Location: Oakland

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby freezeblade » Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:08 pm UTC

pound cake in metric:
450g Flour
450g Sugar
450g butter (4 sticks)
450g Eggs (9 eggs)

Comes out to almost exactly 4 pounds, likely even more accurately than if someone were to use approximate volume translations (which most Americans are like to do, lacking a food scale in their kitchen).

Interestingly enough, using a pound cake as an example of how imperial measurements are superior is silly, as the pound cake itself is likely based off the french quatre-quarts cake, which has exactly the same makeup, equal amounts of butter, eggs, flour, sugar. So the cake itself isn't even traditionally done with a "pound."
Belial wrote:I am not even in the same country code as "the mood for this shit."

Mutex
Posts: 1341
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:32 pm UTC

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Mutex » Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:17 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Mutex wrote:In the UK, recipes using imperial will generally use ounces so there's no difference in measuring.
8 fl. oz of water doesn't quite weigh 8 oz., and anything significantly more or less dense than water is going to be way off.
---
Metric is obviously better than USCS because there's an agreed-upon set of derived units and everyone else in the world uses it.

But I will happily spend a whole afternoon arguing with people who think there's some kind of huge intrinsic superiority beyond that.

Right, which is why it seems odd to use volume rather than weight to measure things like flour that can vary in density. I meant there's no difference in the act of measuring flour in oz or grams.

My argument is that metric isn't any worse than imperial or US units for everyday usage.

User avatar
Samik
Posts: 511
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 11:14 am UTC

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Samik » Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:32 pm UTC

Zinho wrote:
pkcommando wrote:How far to the right do you put those weirdos who insist on having their toilet paper hanging down on the back side of the roll, in the Under position?

Depends on who you ask. There's a poll running right now where the underhand folks are barely making a showing in the comment section, so they don't seem very publicly vocal. On the flip side, you've got Wikipedia saying that ~40 percent of people prefer the under orientation, and that married couples frequently argue about it. It seems to be one of those things that's a non-issue until someone does it WRONG in your presence; then it's ON.

I had a housemate who would never, ever, ever under any circumstances change the toilet paper. When one ran out, he would leave the empty cardboard roll on the dispenser, and simply place the new roll on the counter next to the toilet, and use it from there. If I did nothing, that's how it would stay, roll after roll. But the moment I removed the empty cardboard roll and fit a new one onto the dispenser, underhand-hanging as I prefer, he would immediately switch it to overhand. We never talked about it.

Sprocket wrote:I was just takling a few days ago about how I prefer Farenheit "Celsius degrees are just too big!" but would be cool with swtichign to Metric everywhere else.

Funny, I'm the opposite. I'd like us to make the switch to metric in general, but it's especially Celsius that I like. It's just so intuitive.

0 = freezing
10 = chilly
20 = spring
30 = summer
40 = hot
50+ = Death Valley
Last edited by Samik on Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:34 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
The Snide Sniper
Posts: 57
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:25 pm UTC
Location: UTC-6:00

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby The Snide Sniper » Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:33 pm UTC

This comic is missing "conspiracy theorists".
Also known as "RamenChef" on various other fora.
Me on: Drawception | Explain xkcd | NationStates | The Sluggite Zone | Stack Overflow

User avatar
Soupspoon
You have done something you shouldn't. Or are about to.
Posts: 3482
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2016 7:00 pm UTC
Location: 53-1

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:55 pm UTC

All the conspiracy theorists are missing? Could there possibly be a perfectly innocent explanation for this?

Mikeski
Posts: 1018
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2008 7:24 am UTC
Location: Minnesota, USA

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Mikeski » Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:32 am UTC

The Snide Sniper wrote:This comic is missing "conspiracy theorists".

They're a whole spectrum of their own, not a point on this chart. "Facebook is a front for the FBI" ... "9/11 was an inside job" ... "Jews control the weather" ... "The Illuminatic Tripartite Masonry Commission controls everything using a telepathic Gray Alien housed at Area 51" ... "The Hokey Pokey really is what it's all about" ...

rmsgrey
Posts: 3406
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:35 pm UTC

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:59 am UTC

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.

User avatar
serutan
Posts: 98
Joined: Mon May 17, 2010 2:18 pm UTC
Location: Baja Arizona

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby serutan » Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:41 am UTC

fibonacci wrote:If you point a telescope out to the right off the edge of the chart, on a clear night you can spot "Vegans".


Standing next to MacIntosh owners.
For a sentient herbivore, discretion is the only part of valor. - Larry Niven

User avatar
Wee Red Bird
Posts: 183
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:50 am UTC
Location: In a tree

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Wee Red Bird » Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:13 am 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 saw some dimmer compatible 100W equivalent LED bulbs in B&Q a while back. They were look like the old Edison style filament type too.
They have the dimable beside the non-dimable and cost an extra quid or two more to be dim compatible. You might find them in Tesco too as they have dumped fluorescent and normal filament bulbs for LED and halogen.

Edit: Not an nice Edison style one, but it is 100W equivalent and dimable.
https://www.tesco.com/direct/auraglow-1 ... 4-0708.prd

User avatar
da Doctah
Posts: 891
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:27 am UTC

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby da Doctah » Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:31 am UTC

Mikeski wrote:
The Snide Sniper wrote:This comic is missing "conspiracy theorists".

They're a whole spectrum of their own, not a point on this chart. "Facebook is a front for the FBI" ... "9/11 was an inside job" ... "Jews control the weather" ... "The Illuminatic Tripartite Masonry Commission controls everything using a telepathic Gray Alien housed at Area 51" ... "The Hokey Pokey really is what it's all about" ...


Time travel exists, but people attempting to develop it are thwarted by those from the future who already have it coming back and sabotaging their tests.

Showsni
Posts: 99
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:09 pm UTC

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Showsni » Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:38 am UTC

Does anyone snap their bananas in half in the middle, then eat down towards both ends separately?

User avatar
Wee Red Bird
Posts: 183
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:50 am UTC
Location: In a tree

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Wee Red Bird » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:32 am UTC

Showsni wrote:Does anyone snap their bananas in half in the middle, then eat down towards both ends separately?

That's how I do it when I have a handy knife.

Mutex
Posts: 1341
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:32 pm UTC

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Mutex » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:58 am 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.

I'm trying to think of a time I needed an accurate measurement of a distance, but not so accurate it would be worth my time getting a tape measure. And my feet are really not that close to 1ft long. So, I'm seeing zero benefit to using imperial here. I find it just as easy, if not easier, to visualise distance in metres than in feet.

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.

User avatar
cellocgw
Posts: 1913
Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 7:40 pm UTC

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby cellocgw » Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:16 am UTC

serutan wrote:
fibonacci wrote:If you point a telescope out to the right off the edge of the chart, on a clear night you can spot "Vegans".


Standing next to MacIntosh owners.

Hey, why you dissing people who use the world's best raincoat?
https://app.box.com/witthoftresume
Former OTTer
Vote cellocgw for President 2020. #ScienceintheWhiteHouse http://cellocgw.wordpress.com
"The Planck length is 3.81779e-33 picas." -- keithl
" Earth weighs almost exactly π milliJupiters" -- what-if #146, note 7

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26438
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:57 am UTC

Mutex wrote:
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.

I'm trying to think of a time I needed an accurate measurement of a distance, but not so accurate it would be worth my time getting a tape measure. And my feet are really not that close to 1ft long. So, I'm seeing zero benefit to using imperial here. I find it just as easy, if not easier, to visualise distance in metres than in feet.

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.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

Mutex
Posts: 1341
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:32 pm UTC

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby Mutex » Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:05 pm UTC

Yes because I was totally advocating not knowing anything and relying on machines. Rather than pointing out there doesn't seem to be any advantage to imperial whether or not you have a calculator.

And if one system is easier for people who aren't good with numbers, and requires less effort, that seems like a concrete advantage.

User avatar
zjxs
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2009 6:04 am UTC
Location: The Cloud

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby zjxs » Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:16 pm UTC

There is one thing separating us from the other primates, and I would like to maintain that.

Now that we've discussed the minor things, let me tell you about the importance of fresh socks. Throw out all your socks now, and buy a dozen of a reputable mid-range brand. You spend a third of your life wearing socks, more or less.

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.

User avatar
zjxs
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2009 6:04 am UTC
Location: The Cloud

Re: 1982: "Evangelism"

Postby zjxs » Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:19 pm UTC

Samik wrote:
Zinho wrote:
pkcommando wrote:How far to the right do you put those weirdos who insist on having their toilet paper hanging down on the back side of the roll, in the Under position?

Depends on who you ask. There's a poll running right now where the underhand folks are barely making a showing in the comment section, so they don't seem very publicly vocal. On the flip side, you've got Wikipedia saying that ~40 percent of people prefer the under orientation, and that married couples frequently argue about it. It seems to be one of those things that's a non-issue until someone does it WRONG in your presence; then it's ON.

I had a housemate who would never, ever, ever under any circumstances change the toilet paper. When one ran out, he would leave the empty cardboard roll on the dispenser, and simply place the new roll on the counter next to the toilet, and use it from there. If I did nothing, that's how it would stay, roll after roll. But the moment I removed the empty cardboard roll and fit a new one onto the dispenser, underhand-hanging as I prefer, he would immediately switch it to overhand. We never talked about it.

Sprocket wrote:I was just takling a few days ago about how I prefer Farenheit "Celsius degrees are just too big!" but would be cool with swtichign to Metric everywhere else.

Funny, I'm the opposite. I'd like us to make the switch to metric in general, but it's especially Celsius that I like. It's just so intuitive.

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


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


Return to “Individual XKCD Comic Threads”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 30 guests