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(Telegraph)   British students no longer just learning about the tools of the devil, will now know how many rods cars get to the hogshead   (telegraph.co.uk) divider line 122
    More: Spiffy, metric systems, Department for Education, maths  
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6390 clicks; posted to Main » on 09 Jan 2013 at 12:05 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-01-09 03:02:49 AM  

Swiss Colony: I agree, but I think the argument is that it's too costly. All relevant road signs would have to be replaced. Do all cars have dual MPH/kph speedos?


Yes. For driving in Europe.
 
2013-01-09 03:09:18 AM  

opiumpoopy: Swiss Colony: I agree, but I think the argument is that it's too costly. All relevant road signs would have to be replaced. Do all cars have dual MPH/kph speedos?

In the UK, yes they do. EU law.


Cool, I knew my VW does, I wasn't sure if all cars did. It's just converting all the road signs then. I'm pretty sure the milk and beer in the supermarkets is marked as liters rather than pints
 
2013-01-09 03:10:37 AM  

bobtheallmighty: Fano: Well, that's two nonsensical responses as to why we don't have metric time so far...

Heres a better one for you. humans hate change and are willing to stick with a "good enough" solution to a problem as long as it works. Thats pretty much it .


I was more responding to your stilly statment about how we experience time. sicne the whole concept of time is a bit arbitray. not the mention the fact that the earth dident allways have a 24 hour day. that just happens to be what it roughly was/is when we decided to use it to mesure time.


not to mention the fact that an "hour" in that 24 hour day in it's self means nothing in relation to time. Its just the system our current society uses. What if the first guy to make a clock decided that it should be 10 hours in a day? Its all truely meaningless in that respect, and no one will change what allready works unless it is better or society crumbles and someone does something diffrent/new. after everyone forgets what used to work.


I am not usually that picky, but when you take a perfectly cromulent word like "itself", split it in two and add an apostrophe, even I start noticing the rest of the mistakes in there.
 
2013-01-09 03:12:43 AM  
Pert
Just saw your comment. Makes sense, but I've just spent two years living in Spain, the car I had there (Opal Zafira, also available in Blighty) only had Km/h on the speedo. Must be gnarly for Spanish, French etc who bring their cars over to England!
 
2013-01-09 03:19:37 AM  

Pert: bobtheallmighty: Fano: Well, that's two nonsensical responses as to why we don't have metric time so far...

Heres a better one for you. humans hate change and are willing to stick with a "good enough" solution to a problem as long as it works. Thats pretty much it .


I was more responding to your stilly statment about how we experience time. sicne the whole concept of time is a bit arbitray. not the mention the fact that the earth dident allways have a 24 hour day. that just happens to be what it roughly was/is when we decided to use it to mesure time.


not to mention the fact that an "hour" in that 24 hour day in it's self means nothing in relation to time. Its just the system our current society uses. What if the first guy to make a clock decided that it should be 10 hours in a day? Its all truely meaningless in that respect, and no one will change what allready works unless it is better or society crumbles and someone does something diffrent/new. after everyone forgets what used to work.

I am not usually that picky, but when you take a perfectly cromulent word like "itself", split it in two and add an apostrophe, even I start noticing the rest of the mistakes in there.


good for you, glad that keeps you entertained.
 
2013-01-09 03:29:46 AM  

Tatterdemalian: Everybody knows why the Imperial system works better outside the research lab.


Not everybody. Please explain for those who don't.
 
2013-01-09 03:31:08 AM  

Ilmarinen: Tatterdemalian: Everybody knows why the Imperial system works better outside the research lab.

Not everybody. Please explain for those who don't.


Familiarity. That is literally the *only* reason. If you were brought up on metric, you'd prefer metric. If you weren't, you wouldn't. People don't like recalibrating themselves.
 
2013-01-09 03:37:45 AM  

Ilmarinen: Tatterdemalian: Everybody knows why the Imperial system works better outside the research lab.

Not everybody. Please explain for those who don't.


What is 1/3 of a foot? 4 inches

Now, what is 1/3 of a meter? 3.3333... centimeters
 
2013-01-09 03:38:03 AM  

Ilmarinen: Tatterdemalian: Everybody knows why the Imperial system works better outside the research lab.

Not everybody. Please explain for those who don't.


I could be wrong, but you can use your body for approximations for imperial measurements. A man's foot is, well, roughly a foot. A single pace is roughly a yard (hence refs in football (soccer) pace the distance the wall has to be from a free kick). Isn't there a releationship between your thumb and an inch (width, or length from tip to first knuckle or something)?
 
2013-01-09 03:43:42 AM  

gweilo8888: Familiarity. That is literally the *only* reason. If you were brought up on metric, you'd prefer metric. If you weren't, you wouldn't. People don't like recalibrating themselves.


But surely everybody would agree that adding zeros is easier than multiplying by 5,280?
 
2013-01-09 03:52:59 AM  

nmemkha: What is 1/3 of a foot? 4 inches

Now, what is 1/3 of a meter? 3.3333... centimeters


Of course, using base 12 in everything (including counting) would be better than base 10. But changing that would be going through an incredible lot of trouble. Next best thing, let's just use the same base everywhere.

1/3 of a foot or a meter are both easy to determine if your measuring device is accurate enough.
 
2013-01-09 03:53:30 AM  

nmemkha: Ilmarinen: Tatterdemalian: Everybody knows why the Imperial system works better outside the research lab.

Not everybody. Please explain for those who don't.

What is 1/3 of a foot? 4 inches

Now, what is 1/3 of a meter? 3.3333... centimeters


what is one 10th of a foot?
 
2013-01-09 03:57:10 AM  

Swiss Colony: I could be wrong, but you can use your body for approximations for imperial measurements. A man's foot is, well, roughly a foot.


Oh so it's sexist also? Away with it!

/c'est une blague
 
2013-01-09 04:10:22 AM  

Ilmarinen: gweilo8888: Familiarity. That is literally the *only* reason. If you were brought up on metric, you'd prefer metric. If you weren't, you wouldn't. People don't like recalibrating themselves.

But surely everybody would agree that adding zeros is easier than multiplying by 5,280?


Yes, but it's not about math. Or maths, if you prefer. ;-) It's about visualization. Most people, in their daily lives, don't do a lot of multiplying, dividing, hell... a simple addition or subtraction is probably a stretch.

The only thing most people do in their daily lives with units, be they metric or imperial, is look at thing and estimate them, or occasionally measure them. They might guess how many feet it is from their car's fender (or bumper, if you prefer) to the garage wall. They might look at the trunk (or boot, if you prefer) and the box they're considering buying, and estimate them both in inches. They might even go hunt down the tape measure, and measure them both.

They might weigh themselves, and they'll want the measurement in what they're familiar with -- which is probably pounds (or stone, if you prefer. God, I hate stone -- and I'm a farking Brit by birth. But I digress.) Or maybe they'll guess how much an ounce is for a recipe. They might even make some Kool-Aid (or squash, if you prefer) and guess how much a liter is. But that's because we're funny about liters. The good folks at Coke persuaded us to understand those, somehow.

But by and large, units are about familiarity and recognition. If you were brought up with a system, you adore it and hate the other one. If you were brought up with the other one, the first one's evil instead. There's no middle ground, because it doesn't revolve around math (or maths) for most people. It revolves around simply being to visually estimate the units so you don't have to measure them properly, and do so at least vaguely accurately. And perhaps, around being able to visualize those units better in your head.

And then there's the folks like me, who were brought up on both systems, and ended up not being entirely confident visualizing either. I use both interchangeably, and I hate both. I love metric for its common-sense nature, but I can't estimate it as well. I hate imperial for its total lack of logic and neatness, but I find it slightly easier to estimate. But I despise both equally. And that's why I think this plan is a bad idea.
 
2013-01-09 04:43:53 AM  
My motorcycle (British) has the option to switch the digital speedo from mph to kph. Once, on accident, I left it on kilometers and I was terrified of getting a ticket and thought everyone else was just hauling more ass than I was. I mean, I knew something wasn't right (speed didn't match transmission), but it actually took me a while to figure it out. You know, because I'm an idiot.
 
2013-01-09 04:49:43 AM  
 
2013-01-09 04:53:01 AM  

dickfreckle: My motorcycle (British) has the option to switch the digital speedo from mph to kph. Once, on accident, I left it on kilometers and I was terrified of getting a ticket and thought everyone else was just hauling more ass than I was. I mean, I knew something wasn't right (speed didn't match transmission), but it actually took me a while to figure it out. You know, because I'm an idiot.


*looks at profile pic*

You know, I think they may have made your bike using centimeters when the directions said inches... ;-)
 
2013-01-09 05:00:59 AM  

nmemkha: They got bigger problems. All their crazy drivers are driving on the wrong side of the street!

[i.telegraph.co.uk image 620x387]


This.
I'll be driving in the UK in Feb. Anyone have any tips for this American?
 
2013-01-09 05:03:11 AM  

bobtheallmighty: nmemkha: Ilmarinen: Tatterdemalian: Everybody knows why the Imperial system works better outside the research lab.

Not everybody. Please explain for those who don't.

What is 1/3 of a foot? 4 inches

Now, what is 1/3 of a meter? 3.3333... centimeters

what is one 10th of a foot?


I don't want to be picky but 1/3 of a meter would be 33.333cm

How do you convert area measurements to fluid to weight in imperial? (water weight)

1L = 1,000mL = 100cL = 1Kg = 1,000g = 1,000cc = 1,000cm3
 
2013-01-09 05:05:16 AM  
i've got your hogs head right here...

/i am pointing at my penis
 
2013-01-09 05:10:26 AM  

punkwrestler: This.
I'll be driving in the UK in Feb. Anyone have any tips for this American?


Yes. Don't do it.

Seriously, Americans can barely drive on their own roads, let alone on unfamiliar roads, the wrong side of the road, with signposting that makes sense, with less than one acre between lanes, and with roundabouts.

But if you do try it, film it. And put it on YouTube. It'll be good. :-)
 
2013-01-09 05:18:51 AM  

gweilo8888: punkwrestler: This.
I'll be driving in the UK in Feb. Anyone have any tips for this American?

Yes. Don't do it.

Seriously, Americans can barely drive on their own roads, let alone on unfamiliar roads, the wrong side of the road, with signposting that makes sense, with less than one acre between lanes, and with roundabouts.

But if you do try it, film it. And put it on YouTube. It'll be good. :-)



They put a new roundabout in just outside where I live. It has tons of signage warning people about it, and telling them how to use it. Its so very fun to watch people atempt to use a roundabout without knowing anyhting about it though; and once everyone got used to it, it was miles better then the stop sign that was there.


csb
 
2013-01-09 05:22:37 AM  

gweilo8888: You know, I think they may have made your bike using centimeters when the directions said inches... ;-)


Those mini-bikes are hilarious to ride. It's basically a more dangerous lawnmower. Sometimes I knock neighborhood kids over the head and steal theirs, which is where the pic comes from...
 
2013-01-09 05:25:31 AM  

bobtheallmighty: They put a new roundabout in just outside where I live.


Insert obligatory unoriginal Yes reference here.
 
2013-01-09 05:27:49 AM  

gweilo8888: punkwrestler: This.
I'll be driving in the UK in Feb. Anyone have any tips for this American?

Yes. Don't do it.

Seriously, Americans can barely drive on their own roads, let alone on unfamiliar roads, the wrong side of the road, with signposting that makes sense, with less than one acre between lanes, and with roundabouts.

But if you do try it, film it. And put it on YouTube. It'll be good. :-)


Have no choice really got to goto a lot of places in different parts of England and don't want to haul my stuff everywhere I go on trains and buses. Just some of the places I have to travel to Trowbridge, Luton, Crewe, Warminster, Oxford, Wiggan, Lancaster and Kent....
 
2013-01-09 05:31:23 AM  

bobtheallmighty: gweilo8888: punkwrestler: This.
I'll be driving in the UK in Feb. Anyone have any tips for this American?

Yes. Don't do it.

Seriously, Americans can barely drive on their own roads, let alone on unfamiliar roads, the wrong side of the road, with signposting that makes sense, with less than one acre between lanes, and with roundabouts.

But if you do try it, film it. And put it on YouTube. It'll be good. :-)


They put a new roundabout in just outside where I live. It has tons of signage warning people about it, and telling them how to use it. Its so very fun to watch people atempt to use a roundabout without knowing anyhting about it though; and once everyone got used to it, it was miles better then the stop sign that was there.


csb


Roundabouts don't bother me driving on the wrong side of the road...Wellllll
 
2013-01-09 05:42:00 AM  

dickfreckle: gweilo8888: You know, I think they may have made your bike using centimeters when the directions said inches... ;-)

Those mini-bikes are hilarious to ride. It's basically a more dangerous lawnmower. Sometimes I knock neighborhood kids over the head and steal theirs, which is where the pic comes from...


A friend when I was a kid had one, but the b*&^* never let me ride it.
 
2013-01-09 05:50:29 AM  

dickfreckle: bobtheallmighty: They put a new roundabout in just outside where I live.

Insert obligatory unoriginal Yes reference here.


unless you can find something better to kill time at work (well other then working anyways, who does that?) I'm gonna be here being unoriginal just for you. that is my goal in life after all.
 
2013-01-09 06:14:59 AM  

Fano: Well, that's two nonsensical responses as to why we don't have metric time so far...


Because the advantages aren't big enough to overcome the costs (political, economic, social) of changing it.
 
2013-01-09 06:20:05 AM  

bobtheallmighty: dickfreckle: bobtheallmighty: They put a new roundabout in just outside where I live.

Insert obligatory unoriginal Yes reference here.

unless you can find something better to kill time at work (well other then working anyways, who does that?) I'm gonna be here being unoriginal just for you. that is my goal in life after all.


Lol. As for killing time on the (presumed) graveyard shift, I suggest constant masturbation. I mean, you and I both know you're out of options for entertainment. Besides, rubbing one out at work in the middle of the night is an honored tradition, only passed to select people. Do not let this tradition die.
 
2013-01-09 06:27:11 AM  
I teach (mostly) 11th graders Chemistry in the US. Shockingly few of them have a strong grasp of the metric system so I pretty much have to teach it from the ground up. After the second day of doing conversions in the metric system I switch back and make them do conversions in the imperial system (How many inches in 2.6 miles?) The overwhelming response is "Why do we still use this stupid system?"

Just make the friggin' change already!
 
2013-01-09 06:51:20 AM  

harrydorcas: I am missing something. What is so devilish about taking measurements and using tools to do so?


That's science and you should just belieeeeeive instead.
 
2013-01-09 06:56:16 AM  
Pfft, I want one that will go 300 miles on a single tank of Kerosene
 
2013-01-09 06:57:30 AM  

Burr: Pfft, I want one that will go 300 miles hectares on a single tank of Kerosene

/damnit, should have put it in H
 
2013-01-09 07:00:36 AM  

Forbidden Doughnut: FormlessOne: Now, if we could just officially adopt the metric system here in the U.S. and get away from avoirdupois, I'd be happy. We're the only friggin' modern country on the planet that hasn't adopted it yet.

We tried.

I was taught in the 4th & 5th grades ( late 1970's) that we'd better learn metric because the US Government was going to "phase out" the old English system of measurements.

Obviously, that didn't go very far...

/ maybe the election in 1980 had something to do with that..
// almost every technical job I've had uses only SI units...


I'm just old enough to remember traffic signs with dual numbering - 55mph / 88km/h, distances measured both ways, etc.

Of course, as I like to point out, the US has been Metric since our very beginning. We just use Imperial measurement names as macros for more convenient numbers to work with. (No, really - US measurements are defined as mutiples of Metric units and have been since the 1700s) I'd rather worth with thousandths of an inch than tenths or hundredths of a millimeter.

Most people I know work with both systems fluently. Funny how people joke that Americans refuse to learn a second language but then they think nothing of refusing to learn a second measuring system...
 
2013-01-09 07:02:07 AM  

KrispyKritter: : My God, Joe is running us ragged!
: Yeah, I haven't been this exhausted since I had that job as Jackée Harry's personal grocery shopper.
[Cutaway to a grocery store with Peter and Jackée Harry. Peter is holding a clipboard with shopping items listed on it, which he is reading from]
: A palette? Am-am I readin' this right? Y-You need a palette of chocolate-covered pretzels? Wh-wh-where the hell am i supposed to - a-an-an-and wh-what is this, a drum of grape jam? Is that - wh-what is that - is that like a drum like, they ship oil in? Is that - a-a-an-and wh-wh-wha - look at this one: A desk of Cheez-its. A desk - wh-where are you gettin' these units of measurements from?
Jackée Harry: Mary.
: [laughs] That is still funny. Okay you stay right here, big funny gal, i'll be right back with...
[reads from the clipboard]
: a hammock of cake.


Holy crap. it's spilled over from the banking thread!
 
2013-01-09 07:04:19 AM  

nmemkha: They got bigger problems. All their crazy drivers are driving on the wrong side of the street!

[i.telegraph.co.uk image 620x387]


No, see, they're on the other side of the Atlantic, so the Coriolis effect means that everything is reversed there - left is right, and such.
 
2013-01-09 07:08:20 AM  

Ilmarinen: gweilo8888: Familiarity. That is literally the *only* reason. If you were brought up on metric, you'd prefer metric. If you weren't, you wouldn't. People don't like recalibrating themselves.

But surely everybody would agree that adding zeros is easier than multiplying by 5,280?


Except, in practice nobody actually does that. Long distances are measured in miles or tenths/hundredths of a mile, short distances are in feet or sometimes yards, and there's no mixing. I don't think that it's a million feet to get somewhere, I think it's ~200-odd miles.
 
2013-01-09 07:10:06 AM  

Mister Peejay: nmemkha: They got bigger problems. All their crazy drivers are driving on the wrong side of the street!

[i.telegraph.co.uk image 620x387]

No, see, they're on the other side of the Atlantic, so the Coriolis effect means that everything is reversed there - left is right, and such.



yeah thats alos why your hard drive has a hemisphear jumper. if its set wrong your computer will read it slower becasue its spinning in the wrong direction.
 
2013-01-09 08:39:23 AM  

bobtheallmighty: Mister Peejay: nmemkha: They got bigger problems. All their crazy drivers are driving on the wrong side of the street!

[i.telegraph.co.uk image 620x387]

No, see, they're on the other side of the Atlantic, so the Coriolis effect means that everything is reversed there - left is right, and such.


yeah thats alos why your hard drive has a hemisphear jumper. if its set wrong your computer will read it slower becasue its spinning in the wrong direction.


The token fell out of my Token Ring Network! What do I do?!!
 
2013-01-09 08:42:12 AM  
My car's spedometer is lableled in attoparsecs per microfortnight.
 
2013-01-09 08:49:30 AM  

DeadGeek: Not the most precise units of measurement....


But how many ells is that?

PirateKing: My car's spedometer is lableled in attoparsecs per microfortnight.


I thought parsec was a unit of time! After all, Han did the kessel run in under 12 parsecs...
 
2013-01-09 08:54:43 AM  

maddogdelta:
PirateKing: My car's spedometer is lableled in attoparsecs per microfortnight.

I thought parsec was a unit of time! After all, Han did the kessel run in under 12 parsecs...


No you see, the kessel run passes near a group of black holes...

Ow. I sprained my wrist handwaving that.
 
2013-01-09 09:03:04 AM  
Well, my car gets 960 furlongs per Hubble-Barn, so I'm getting a kick out out of this thread.

/Hubble-Barns are the best volumetric measure ever!
 
2013-01-09 09:18:31 AM  

Ilmarinen: Tatterdemalian: Everybody knows why the Imperial system works better outside the research lab.

Not everybody. Please explain for those who don't.


Human neurology. Without the use of measuring tools, the vast majority of the human race can easily divide measurements by halves just by guessing. Better, with the application of a simple trick of integer mathematics, dividing by thirds is also as easy, but much more difficult if you don't know the trick to it. This allowed some people to do things their neighbors can't, particularly in the area of architecture and masonry, and thus charge extra money for their services that they wouldn't be able to otherwise. This in turn allowed class differences to exist, without becoming unique to any one small group, creating a "middle class" as a necessary first step toward developing a functional economic system.

The SI system is good for counting without measuring tools, as the decimal system is based on the number of conveniently available digits on our hands, but not so great for the equally important task of dividing portions of a larger whole, as dividing by halves quickly requires increasing numbers of non-intuitive digits, dividing by thirds always results in repeating decimals, and there's really very few people that are capable of dividing by fifths accurately without using measuring tools.

/in the real world you don't always have a perfectly calibrated caliper to take measurements with
//and outside strictly controlled laboratories, excessive measuring results in products that are overly sensitive to decay, let alone accidental damage
 
2013-01-09 09:55:42 AM  
In the 70s, I completely remember the Childrens Weekly Reader saying everybody in the U.S. would soon be measuring body weight without using pounds, filling up cars without using gallons, or measuring height without feet or inches. I'm still trying to figure out what period of time they imagined "soon" really meant.
 
2013-01-09 10:08:02 AM  

Ilmarinen: Tatterdemalian: Everybody knows why the Imperial system works better outside the research lab.

Not everybody. Please explain for those who don't.


If a cook needs a cup of beans for the soup, he can 'cup' his hands, and scoop them up. If someone walking down a road needs to measure a mile, the can take 1000 paces. A yard? Tip of nose to end of fingers. Etc.

Not to mention that Imperial measures are often halves of other measures. Gallon. Half-gallon. Quart (half-half gallon). Pint (half-quart). Cup (half pint). Halves are very easy to measure by eye, or with a simple balance. Try measuring out 1/10 of a given distance, versus half of it.

Yes, Metric is useful... in the laboratory. But Imperial measures are better in the real world.
 
2013-01-09 11:02:49 AM  

fredklein: If someone walking down a road needs to measure a mile, the can take 1000 paces.


Unless every one of those paces is taken at absolutely maximum leg extension (which would be a real treat to do consecutively 1000 times), he's gonna be off by a ridiculous margin.
 
2013-01-09 11:11:52 AM  

fredklein: Yes, Metric is useful... in the laboratory.


trinketsandtees.com
 
2013-01-09 12:24:57 PM  

fredklein: Ilmarinen: Tatterdemalian: Everybody knows why the Imperial system works better outside the research lab.

Not everybody. Please explain for those who don't.

If a cook needs a cup of beans for the soup, he can 'cup' his hands, and scoop them up. If someone walking down a road needs to measure a mile, the can take 1000 paces. A yard? Tip of nose to end of fingers. Etc.

Not to mention that Imperial measures are often halves of other measures. Gallon. Half-gallon. Quart (half-half gallon). Pint (half-quart). Cup (half pint). Halves are very easy to measure by eye, or with a simple balance. Try measuring out 1/10 of a given distance, versus half of it.

Yes, Metric is useful... in the laboratory. But Imperial measures are better in the real world.


That's probably one of the dumber things I've read recently.

Most folks can't hold one cup in even both hands.
To take 1000 paces to the mile, your stride would have to be 5.280 feet, or more than double the length of an average walking stride.
The yard is not "tip of nose to end of fingers", unless you're Henry I and you believe in historical mythology.

I'm surprised you didn't toss in some of the other "rules of thumb" regarding, say, the foot, or the inch, all of which are wildly inaccurate and actually cause more harm than good.

The fun part of the metric system is that you can actually get a much better idea of estimation in both volume and mass than you can with avoirdupois & Imperial measurements, once you start thinking in it.
 
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