Irish road-signs are now metric

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Markus Kuhn

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Jan 30, 2005, 9:57:00 AM1/30/05
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Euric

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Jan 30, 2005, 11:10:54 PM1/30/05
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>From the articles that I read, the American and UK press seemed more
negative about the change. It seems that the more major things that
are metricated, the more the imperialists feel left behind. The
interesting aspect of the conversion will be the effects of
cross-border car sales. How long will it take for 50 % or more of cars
on Irish roads have metric only displays? Will metric cars with right
hand drive end up in the UK? Will the Irish experience help accelerate
the change in the UK?

Andreas Prilop

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Feb 1, 2005, 10:59:13 AM2/1/05
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On 30 Jan 2005, Markus Kuhn wrote:

> Anyone from Ireland here with a report on how the change
> of road signs to metric went on 20 January?
> Judging from the media reports, it sounds all mostly smooth.
>
> http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1394213,00.html

> http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/01/20/nmetr20.xml&sSheet=/portal/2005/01/20/ixportal.html

And now the bad news:
The silly "kph" is still alive.

--
Mars, unlike Earth, has no atmosphere.
The Chicago manual of style, 15th ed., p. 362

Steve MacGregor

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Feb 1, 2005, 12:37:12 PM2/1/05
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"Andreas Prilop" <nhtc...@rrzn-user.uni-hannover.de> wrote in message
news:Pine.GSO.4.44.0502011658030.13175-100000@s5b003...

> On 30 Jan 2005, Markus Kuhn wrote:

> And now the bad news:
> The silly "kph" is still alive.

In the picture in the second article, the sign itself had the proper
"km/h". The silly "kph" appeared in the article in the same sentence as
"mph".

The newspapers, of course, should be informed of the proper symbol so
that they can add that to their style guides.

--
Steve

tasty...@yahoo.com

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Feb 1, 2005, 1:20:02 PM2/1/05
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Under the News Telegraph story there was a link to an article "In
crisis we still think in feet and inches" by one Christopher Booker.
It was more-or-less an angry rant at the official use of metric versus
the unofficial (and widespread) use of customary. Booker closed it off
with a populist potshot that can be summarized as metric is for the
ruling class, and customary is for the masses. Hopefully in a
generation or so voices like this will be very much on the fringe of
the opinion spectrum.

ocon...@slr.orl.lmco.com

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Feb 3, 2005, 1:59:46 PM2/3/05
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Steve MacGregor wrote:
> "Andreas Prilop" <nhtc...@rrzn-user.uni-hannover.de> wrote in
message
> news:Pine.GSO.4.44.0502011658030.13175-100000@s5b003...
> > On 30 Jan 2005, Markus Kuhn wrote:
>
> > And now the bad news:
> > The silly "kph" is still alive.
>
> In the picture in the second article, the sign itself had the proper
> "km/h". The silly "kph" appeared in the article in the same sentence
as
> "mph".

fps is so common in my work that I'm not sure many folks would
particularly recognize f/s.


>
> The newspapers, of course, should be informed of the proper symbol so

> that they can add that to their style guides.

Who is the authority establishing "properness"?

Steve MacGregor

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Feb 3, 2005, 2:08:21 PM2/3/05
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<ocon...@slr.orl.lmco.com> wrote in message
news:1107457186.6...@c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...

>> The newspapers, of course, should be informed of the proper symbol so
>> that they can add that to their style guides.
>
> Who is the authority establishing "properness"?

I believe that's in the FAQ that shows up in this newsgroup about once a
month. Haven't you seen it lately?

Or was your question actually a statement: "I do not accept any
authority"?

--
Steve

Christoph Paeper

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Feb 3, 2005, 2:44:01 PM2/3/05
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<ocon...@slr.orl.lmco.com>:

>
> fps is so common in my work

In the meaning of "feet per second" or "frames per second"? Or even yet
another?

> that I'm not sure many folks would particularly recognize f/s.

It would be either "ft./s" or "Hz".

--
Useless Fact #1:
Barbie's measurements if she were life size: 39-23-33 [99-58-84].

Joona I Palaste

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Feb 3, 2005, 3:12:54 PM2/3/05
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tasty...@yahoo.com scribbled the following:

It's bound to happen some day. Back in the 17th century, Finland used
all sorts of obscure length units, such as the "virsta" and the
"vaaksa". However, not only do I understand metric units, I have to
convert lengths expressed in imperial to metric to have some idea of
how long they are.
If people had been "thinking in virstas and vaaksas" in Finland, this
would never have happened. So obviously there was a period somewhere
in Finnish history where metric permanently replaced the old system.
So why can't there be such a period in Irish, British and Merkin
history too?

--
/-- Joona Palaste (pal...@cc.helsinki.fi) ------------- Finland --------\
\-------------------------------------------------------- rules! --------/
"It sure is cool having money and chicks."
- Beavis and Butt-head

tasty...@yahoo.com

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Feb 3, 2005, 4:12:32 PM2/3/05
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> It's bound to happen some day. Back in the 17th century, Finland used
> all sorts of obscure length units, such as the "virsta" and the
> "vaaksa". However, not only do I understand metric units, I have to
> convert lengths expressed in imperial to metric to have some idea of
> how long they are.
> If people had been "thinking in virstas and vaaksas" in Finland, this
> would never have happened. So obviously there was a period somewhere
> in Finnish history where metric permanently replaced the old system.
> So why can't there be such a period in Irish, British and Merkin
> history too?

Sure, it's only natural for people who have grown up in an environment
that has used FFUs to think in these units. Reporting in metric is
their job, but once they go home, they think imperial. They're
obviously converting from imperial to metric on the job anyway.

Anyways, all you need is a generation to go by, before people will
speak metric. It may not seem natural to the Brits now, but if they're
getting their ambient temperature in centigrade, cook from metric
recipes, hear news in metric, they'll easily transition to the new
measurements.

Steve MacGregor

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Feb 3, 2005, 5:55:45 PM2/3/05
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"Christoph Paeper" <christop...@nurfuerspam.de> wrote in message
news:opslmzrnh5b8p244@crissov...

>> that I'm not sure many folks would particularly recognize f/s.
>
> It would be either "ft./s" or "Hz".

In any case, it would not be Hz, since equals 1/s. You might write
"ft廈z", but that would be mixing metric and conventional units, and is
as silly as floor loads of kilograms per square foot or pounds per
square meter.

--
Steve

Christoph Paeper

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Feb 3, 2005, 6:07:06 PM2/3/05
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*Steve MacGregor* <s_t_ma...@yahoo.com>:
> "Christoph Paeper" <christop...@nurfuerspam.de> wrote

>
>>> that I'm not sure many folks would particularly recognize f/s.
>>
>> It would be either "ft./s" or "Hz".
>
> In any case, it would not be Hz, since equals 1/s.

It would be, if he was talking about framerate. The sentence refers to my
question that you didn't quote.

--
Useless Facts #14:
There are 102,981,500 ways to combine six of the 8-studed LEGO bricks of one
color.
Since 1949, the LEGO company, based in Denmark, has produced more than
200,000,000,000 of the plastic elements that make up the Lego System.

Jim Riley

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Feb 5, 2005, 2:13:41 AM2/5/05
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On 3 Feb 2005 13:12:32 -0800, tasty...@yahoo.com wrote:

>Anyways, all you need is a generation to go by, before people will
>speak metric. It may not seem natural to the Brits now, but if they're
>getting their ambient temperature in centigrade, cook from metric
>recipes, hear news in metric, they'll easily transition to the new
>measurements.

What advantage is there for an ordinary American to use Celsius?

Their thermometers to measure the inside or outside temperature, body
temperature, and oven temperature would no longer would be useful.
They would risk heatstroke when the temperature is "only 40", their
food might be undercooked if they use a metric recipe with a
Fahrenheit oven. They might not know whether "39" was a fever or not.
Will people be able to maintain their weight if they can tie calories
into the temperature scale that they use?

Is Celsius even used for physics?

--
Jim Riley

Phil McKerracher

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Feb 5, 2005, 8:24:17 AM2/5/05
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"Jim Riley" <jim...@pipeline.com> wrote in message
news:Fm_Md.881$UX3...@newsread3.news.pas.earthlink.net...

> What advantage is there for an ordinary American to use Celsius?...

OK, I'll bite (having undergone the transition from Fahrenheit to Celsius
myself in Australia, so having some experience).

First and foremost, the advantage is that the rest of the world (and even
the scientific community within America) now uses Celsius. This means that
after the initial change to Celsius there is ultimately LESS need to do
conversions, have thermometers with dual scales, print specifications with
two temperature ranges and so on. It's an international standard, which is
important if you want to trade.

Second, Celsius ties in with other units in the metric system and removes
the need for conversion factors there as well. This ultimately makes life
easier for anyone who has to heat or cool something (do these count as
"ordinary" Americans?).

Third, it's much easier to remember what the freezing point and boiling
point of water are, it doesn't really have to be "taught". The freezing
point in particular is of great practical importance when driving or for
protecting plumbing or plants. Forgetting the magic number for the freezing
point can literally be fatal.

> Their thermometers to measure the inside or outside temperature, body

> temperature, and oven temperature would no longer would be useful...

True, you need new thermometers or conversion stickers or a conversion
chart. There's a cost, but it's CHEAPER in the long run.

> ...They would risk heatstroke when the temperature is "only 40", their


> food might be undercooked if they use a metric recipe with a

> Fahrenheit oven. They might not know whether "39" was a fever or not...

Again, I think these are arguments IN FAVOUR of changing to a single
standard scale.

> Is Celsius even used for physics?

Yes! Almost universally, including within North America.

--
Phil McKerracher
www.mckerracher.org


Jim Riley

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Feb 8, 2005, 12:04:13 AM2/8/05
to
On Sat, 05 Feb 2005 13:24:17 GMT, "Phil McKerracher"
<ph...@mckerracher.org> wrote:

>"Jim Riley" <jim...@pipeline.com> wrote in message
>news:Fm_Md.881$UX3...@newsread3.news.pas.earthlink.net...
>
>> What advantage is there for an ordinary American to use Celsius?...

>First and foremost, the advantage is that the rest of the world (and even


>the scientific community within America) now uses Celsius. This means that
>after the initial change to Celsius there is ultimately LESS need to do
>conversions, have thermometers with dual scales, print specifications with
>two temperature ranges and so on. It's an international standard, which is
>important if you want to trade.

What does it matter if scientists use different temperature scales,
from ordinary persons? Can you really relate the temperature of the
sun to the temperature of an oven?

>Second, Celsius ties in with other units in the metric system and removes
>the need for conversion factors there as well. This ultimately makes life
>easier for anyone who has to heat or cool something (do these count as
>"ordinary" Americans?).

Can you give me an example of such a calculation that an ordinary
American might perform?

>Third, it's much easier to remember what the freezing point and boiling
>point of water are, it doesn't really have to be "taught".

I know what the freezing point and boiling point of water are. If you
"knew" that the boiling point was some magic round number like "100"
wouldn't be harder to be untaught that water doesn't boil at that
temperature where you live?

> The freezing
>point in particular is of great practical importance when driving or for
>protecting plumbing or plants. Forgetting the magic number for the freezing
>point can literally be fatal.

Give me an example where forgetting the freezing point of water would
be fatal?

>> Their thermometers to measure the inside or outside temperature, body
>> temperature, and oven temperature would no longer would be useful...
>
>True, you need new thermometers or conversion stickers or a conversion
>chart. There's a cost, but it's CHEAPER in the long run.

>> ...They would risk heatstroke when the temperature is "only 40", their
>> food might be undercooked if they use a metric recipe with a
>> Fahrenheit oven. They might not know whether "39" was a fever or not...
>
>Again, I think these are arguments IN FAVOUR of changing to a single
>standard scale.

The US uses a single standard scale for ordinary everyday
applications.

>> Is Celsius even used for physics?
>
>Yes! Almost universally, including within North America.

Rather than Kelvin?

--
Jim Riley

tasty...@yahoo.com

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Feb 8, 2005, 12:22:08 PM2/8/05
to

Jim Riley wrote:

> Is Celsius even used for physics?
>

Yes. Same goes for chemistry, biology, geology, etc. There is
probably a wider use of Kelvin in low-temperature physics,
astrophysics, etc. but overall, what I've seen in the hard sciences,
Celsius is king.

tasty...@yahoo.com

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Feb 8, 2005, 1:34:06 PM2/8/05
to
> What does it matter if scientists use different temperature scales,
> from ordinary persons? Can you really relate the temperature of the
> sun to the temperature of an oven?

Organic chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, and all related sciences
are usually done at room or body temperatures. Not all science is
astrophysics of collapsing stars or cryogenics. Most of the science
funding these days is for medicinal purposes, so it'll likely be done
at 20-25ºC.

> >Second, Celsius ties in with other units in the metric system and
removes
> >the need for conversion factors there as well. This ultimately makes
life
> >easier for anyone who has to heat or cool something (do these count
as
> >"ordinary" Americans?).
>
> Can you give me an example of such a calculation that an ordinary
> American might perform?

OTC or prescription drugs: some, believe it or not, actually have
reccomended storage temperatures in Celsius only. This is also very
useful for imported food products that you get in ethnic markets on
which no imperial labeling is done whatsoever. Same can be said for
some Canadian products. Computer CPU temperatures are reported only in
centigrade; what if you need to corelate them to your room temperature
that's reported in Fº only?


> >Third, it's much easier to remember what the freezing point and
boiling
> >point of water are, it doesn't really have to be "taught".
>
> I know what the freezing point and boiling point of water are. If
you
> "knew" that the boiling point was some magic round number like "100"
> wouldn't be harder to be untaught that water doesn't boil at that
> temperature where you live?

Ask a random sample of Americans at what temperature water freezes and
boils and get back to us. And I mean a true random sample. Better
still, go watch your weatherman (or woman) around the time when the
temperatures head for 32ºF. They will never throw out the 32ºF
figure like it's nothing. It's always mentioned in the context of
freezing or freezing water. Americans have to be _reminded_ that this
is the freezing point. You don't have to do this with centigrade, and
I never remember the European weather reports making a big deal out of
it.

A telling example comes from the Late Night show w/Jay Leno. One of
the periodic features is the Battle of the Jaywalk All-Stars, a mock
quiz show where dumb people are asked simple questions. One time a
question was "What's the boiling temperature of water," to which one of
the dum-dums answered "100ºC" Needless to say, the "Wrong Answer"
buzzer rang immediately. After some confusion, Jay Leno actually
straigtened things out and the guy received credit for his answer.

> The US uses a single standard scale for ordinary everyday
> applications.

If medicine is not an ordinary everyday application, then your point is
well taken. Medicine, medical research, pharmacy--it's all metric in
the background, some forms of it are even acceptable publicly:
IV/injection dosages in mL (cc's), drugs in mg, cervical dilation in
cm, etc.

Christoph Paeper

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Feb 8, 2005, 6:08:37 PM2/8/05
to
<tasty...@yahoo.com>:
>
> at 20-25ºC.

What you are using there for a degree sign is infact the Spanish ordinal
masculine indicator (U+00BA instead of U+00B0), a superscript o. They look
very similar in many fonts, but in the one I'm using, for example, º and
the female counterpart ª have a line below. The degree sign is
Shift+AltGr+; on US International keyboard layout, AFAICS. For some
strange reason it seems to be missing from many other ones.

--
"The most exciting phrase to hear in science,
the one that heralds new discoveries,
is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny...'"
Isaac Asimov

Jim Riley

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Feb 9, 2005, 6:01:02 AM2/9/05
to
On 8 Feb 2005 10:34:06 -0800, tasty...@yahoo.com wrote:

>> What does it matter if scientists use different temperature scales,
>> from ordinary persons? Can you really relate the temperature of the
>> sun to the temperature of an oven?
>
>Organic chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, and all related sciences
>are usually done at room or body temperatures. Not all science is
>astrophysics of collapsing stars or cryogenics. Most of the science
>funding these days is for medicinal purposes, so it'll likely be done
>at 20-25ºC.

Does it matter that organic chemistry, biochemistry, and microbiology
are done with a different temperature scale than that used by the
layman?

>> Can you give me an example of such a calculation that an ordinary
>> American might perform?

>OTC or prescription drugs: some, believe it or not, actually have
>reccomended storage temperatures in Celsius only.

The question was about calculations that an ordinary American might
perform that take advantage of the relationships among various metric
units. Something like calculating the time it will take to heat a cup
of water in a 1200 W microwave.

> This is also very
>useful for imported food products that you get in ethnic markets on
>which no imperial labeling is done whatsoever. Same can be said for
>some Canadian products. Computer CPU temperatures are reported only in
>centigrade; what if you need to corelate them to your room temperature
>that's reported in Fº only?

>> I know what the freezing point and boiling point of water are. If
>> you "knew" that the boiling point was some magic round number like "100"
>> wouldn't be harder to be untaught that water doesn't boil at that
>> temperature where you live?

>Ask a random sample of Americans at what temperature water freezes and
>boils and get back to us. And I mean a true random sample. Better
>still, go watch your weatherman (or woman) around the time when the
>temperatures head for 32ºF. They will never throw out the 32ºF
>figure like it's nothing.

It is easier to say "freezing" rather than "thirty two". Where I
currently live, it is uncommon enough for the temperature to be below
freezing, that the weathermen are almost wishful that the temperature
will get down to freezing, when it is most likely that it will barely
get below 40.

> It's always mentioned in the context of
>freezing or freezing water. Americans have to be _reminded_ that this
>is the freezing point.

This is truly a bizarre claim. Can you give me an example of such
usage? Are you a native English speaker?

> You don't have to do this with centigrade, and
>I never remember the European weather reports making a big deal out of
>it.

>> The US uses a single standard scale for ordinary everyday


>> applications.
>
>If medicine is not an ordinary everyday application, then your point is
>well taken. Medicine, medical research, pharmacy--it's all metric in
>the background, some forms of it are even acceptable publicly:
>IV/injection dosages in mL (cc's), drugs in mg, cervical dilation in
>cm, etc.

Body temperature?

--
Jim Riley

Markus Kuhn

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Feb 9, 2005, 3:06:23 PM2/9/05
to
Jim Riley <jim...@pipeline.com> writes:
|> On 8 Feb 2005 10:34:06 -0800, tasty...@yahoo.com wrote:
|>
|> >> What does it matter if scientists use different temperature scales,
|> >> from ordinary persons? Can you really relate the temperature of the
|> >> sun to the temperature of an oven?
|> >
|> >Organic chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, and all related sciences
|> >are usually done at room or body temperatures. Not all science is
|> >astrophysics of collapsing stars or cryogenics. Most of the science
|> >funding these days is for medicinal purposes, so it'll likely be done
|> >at 20-25ºC.
|>
|> Does it matter that organic chemistry, biochemistry, and microbiology
|> are done with a different temperature scale than that used by the
|> layman?

If you have a fridge at home, you *are* in the microbiology business.
(If you have not, you are even more so ... ;-)

If you have an oven at home, you *are* in the organic chemisty business.

In modern live, layman experience and scientific practice go hand in
hand. I find that very welcome, useful, and an enrichment of our lives.
Cooking would be far less interesting without the physics and chemistry
I learned at school. (If you are interested in the subject, I recommend
reading the book http://www.curiouscook.com/onfoodandcooking.shtml)

It would be cruel, if I had to learn *all* the critical temperatures
(melting and evapolation temperatures of common ingredients, denaturation
temperatures of proteines, the water absorption curve of starch,
microbial activity temperatures curves for hygiene, yeast, yoghurt,
sourdough), backing curves, etc. *twice* in two randomly different
temperature scales, one to understand school classes, scientific
literature and any web page from outside my country, and the other
in the kitchen and to talk to fellow laypeople.

Why use two scales, if one would do as well? Why artificially separate
fields of knowledge and experience by using randomly different measures?

Why exclude the general population from scientific understanding
by clouding their understanding through the continued use of archaic
and less practical units that differ from what all scientists find
most convenient?

Sounds to me like a recipe^Wscam to keep the masses uneducated,
easier to control, indoctrinate, and manipulate. Sounds deeply
undemocratic and dangerous for the long-term benefit of society ...

Markus

Joona I Palaste

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Feb 9, 2005, 3:27:51 PM2/9/05
to
Markus Kuhn <n05W06...@viterbi.cl.cam.ac.uk> scribbled the following:

> Jim Riley <jim...@pipeline.com> writes:
> |> Does it matter that organic chemistry, biochemistry, and microbiology
> |> are done with a different temperature scale than that used by the
> |> layman?

(snip)

> Why use two scales, if one would do as well? Why artificially separate
> fields of knowledge and experience by using randomly different measures?

> Why exclude the general population from scientific understanding
> by clouding their understanding through the continued use of archaic
> and less practical units that differ from what all scientists find
> most convenient?

> Sounds to me like a recipe^Wscam to keep the masses uneducated,
> easier to control, indoctrinate, and manipulate. Sounds deeply
> undemocratic and dangerous for the long-term benefit of society ...

More like grasping at straws trying to find support for the "But I don't
want to learn metric! I want to keep my imperial! Waah!" argument.

--
/-- Joona Palaste (pal...@cc.helsinki.fi) ------------- Finland --------\
\-------------------------------------------------------- rules! --------/

"We're women. We've got double standards to live up to."
- Ally McBeal

ocon...@slr.orl.lmco.com

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Feb 9, 2005, 4:02:02 PM2/9/05
to

Phil McKerracher wrote:
> "Jim Riley" <jim...@pipeline.com> wrote in message
> news:Fm_Md.881$UX3...@newsread3.news.pas.earthlink.net...
>
> > What advantage is there for an ordinary American to use Celsius?...
>
> OK, I'll bite (having undergone the transition from Fahrenheit to
Celsius
> myself in Australia, so having some experience).
>
> First and foremost, the advantage is that the rest of the world (and
even
> the scientific community within America) now uses Celsius.

But where is the advantage in that? The vast majority of
Americans rarely converse with the rest of the world about
temperatures.

> This means that after the initial change

This is a canard. You're never "done". Old recipes, old
references, old tools, they hang around for decades.

> to Celsius there is ultimately LESS need to do
> conversions, have thermometers with dual scales, print specifications
with
> two temperature ranges and so on. It's an international standard,
which is
> important if you want to trade.

Which the vast majority of Americans don't do, so we are still
left wondering where the advantage is.

>
> Second, Celsius ties in with other units in the metric system and
removes
> the need for conversion factors there as well. This ultimately makes
life
> easier for anyone who has to heat or cool something (do these count
as
> "ordinary" Americans?).

No, not really. Average americans never do any calculations to
determine
heating or cooling rates. They don't even understand why their
AC unit is rated in BTU's.

>
> Third, it's much easier to remember what the freezing point and
boiling
> point of water are, it doesn't really have to be "taught". The
freezing
> point in particular is of great practical importance when driving or
for
> protecting plumbing or plants. Forgetting the magic number for the
freezing
> point can literally be fatal.

Fatality is a real risk well before freezing. And if water is
seriously involved, it can be WAY above freezing.

Furthermore, the vast majority of water doesn't freeze at the
same temperature. And water boils at a wide variety of temperatures
in the US.

>
> > Their thermometers to measure the inside or outside temperature,
body
> > temperature, and oven temperature would no longer would be
useful...
>
> True, you need new thermometers or conversion stickers or a
conversion
> chart. There's a cost, but it's CHEAPER in the long run.

For whom? If I never convert, can use old instruments forever.

>
> > ...They would risk heatstroke when the temperature is "only 40",
their
> > food might be undercooked if they use a metric recipe with a
> > Fahrenheit oven. They might not know whether "39" was a fever or
not...
>
> Again, I think these are arguments IN FAVOUR of changing to a single
> standard scale.
>

Actually, it's an argument (if majorities are the issue) of
not changing within a single culture.

> > Is Celsius even used for physics?
>
> Yes! Almost universally, including within North America.


Actually, I think his suggestion was that typically, in various
fields of physics, absolute temperature scales are typically used.
And this conversion isn't simple. And that lack of simplicity is
adverse to the argument for universal temperature systems.

Klaus von der Heyde

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Feb 10, 2005, 12:58:56 PM2/10/05
to
ocon...@slr.orl.lmco.com wrote:

> But where is the advantage in that? The vast majority of
> Americans rarely converse with the rest of the world about
> temperatures.

Thanks to usenet and www, conversation increased a lot in the last
10 years. Would be nice if everyone reading weather and travel
reports, and about anything including something measured, without
having to look up or convert units (or for the provider to supply
data in both, as weather report sites do). It is not only a business-
to-business thing to deal with measurements by others, but a very
person-to-person issue today.
Temperature scales are among the worst. With distances, one can at
least be sure that zero ist zero, but with a varying zero point,
one is lost. I can roughly convert between feet and metre now, but
I have no intention to learn the Fahrenheit scale. It is bad enough
to have °C and K.

> No, not really. Average americans never do any calculations to
> determine
> heating or cooling rates. They don't even understand why their
> AC unit is rated in BTU's.

"Average" germans do not calculate this, too, I think. But they can
compare the power rating of heaters, light bulbs, and other devices
(ACs are rarely found in private homes here). And most important, it
is easy for them to relate this to energy consumption and the bill
for electricity. To make this more convienient, energy is listed as
kWh, instead of MJ.
In what unit do americans get charged for their electric energy?

Klaus

Steve MacGregor

unread,
Feb 10, 2005, 2:24:38 PM2/10/05
to
"Klaus von der Heyde" <uzs...@uni-bonn.de> wrote in message
news:cug7eg$nju$2...@f1node01.rhrz.uni-bonn.de...

> In what unit do americans get charged for their electric energy?

In kWh, spelled out as "kilowatt-hours", usually, because we don't
understand the metric symbols.

It would be convenient, though, to be charged in MJ for both electricity
and natural gas, wouldn't it?

--
Steve

Jukka K. Korpela

unread,
Feb 10, 2005, 5:50:16 PM2/10/05
to
"Steve MacGregor" <s_t_ma...@yahoo.com> wrote:

> In kWh, spelled out as "kilowatt-hours", usually, because we don't
> understand the metric symbols.

Actually the appropriate symbol would be "kW h" or (better) "kW搬" (and
perhaps best using the DOT OPERATOR character instead of the MIDDLE DOT),
since multiplication of units should be indicated using a space or a dot.
This would make the unit even more inconvenient, and that's good. :-)

> It would be convenient, though, to be charged in MJ for both electricity
> and natural gas, wouldn't it?

The unit of energy is the joule (J), and MJ is just a symbol for a multiple
of the joule. I wonder why they don't express the prices per joule - they
would sound much smaller. Just as phone charges would sound smaller if
expressed in terms of an amount of money per second, the unit of time.

Seriously, we all know (I guess) that kilowatt-hours are used because
people are used to it and because it is intuitive in _some_ contexts.
It relates to the energy consumption of equipment with powers like
one or a few kilowatts, typically used for something that can be
conventiently expressed in hours. But I don't think that this should really
matter. After all, calculating the cost of using an electric equipment for
some amount of time requires some multiplications anyway

--
Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/

Markus Kuhn

unread,
Feb 12, 2005, 2:12:46 PM2/12/05
to
"Steve MacGregor" <s_t_ma...@yahoo.com> writes:
|> It would be convenient, though, to be charged in MJ for both electricity
|> and natural gas, wouldn't it?

Definitely. It would also be nice if terrorist bombs, nuclear weapons,
vulcanos, earthquakes and asteroid impacts were described in joules.
That would make it far more intuitive to compare these high-energy
catastrophes with my monthly gas bill or my bowl of breakfast cereals.
No more pound/kiloton TNT or Richter scales, please. And no more litres
or gallons at the gas station. Energy is energy! How can you
appreciate it if you can't even compare it? I want to see more
joules in the headlines ...

Markus

Jim Riley

unread,
Feb 12, 2005, 10:31:20 PM2/12/05
to
On 9 Feb 2005 20:06:23 GMT, n05W06...@viterbi.cl.cam.ac.uk (Markus
Kuhn) wrote:

>Why use two scales, if one would do as well? Why artificially separate
>fields of knowledge and experience by using randomly different measures?

Because the large mass of people do not have to change their
instruments, documentation, knowledge, and folklore to utilize
Fahrenheit in their everday lives. Those who need to utilize both
scales can easily convert between the two. In doing so they are
assisted by the fact that the two scales are in quite different ranges
for most temperatures that are of practical everyday use (exception,
temperatures in the sub-zero range where the scales coincide may be
useful if you are dead or Canadian).

>Why exclude the general population from scientific understanding
>by clouding their understanding through the continued use of archaic
>and less practical units that differ from what all scientists find
>most convenient?

I suspect that there are larger barriers to lay understanding of
science than the system of units that measurements are made in.

>Sounds to me like a recipe^Wscam to keep the masses uneducated,
>easier to control, indoctrinate, and manipulate. Sounds deeply
>undemocratic and dangerous for the long-term benefit of society ...

Use of deprecating terms such as "FFU" are attempts to manipulate and
control society by a scientific-priest class who would attempt to
marginalize and humiliate those not familiar with their terminology.

--
Jim Riley

Jim Riley

unread,
Feb 12, 2005, 10:40:18 PM2/12/05
to
On Thu, 10 Feb 2005 12:24:38 -0700, "Steve MacGregor"
<s_t_ma...@yahoo.com> wrote:

>"Klaus von der Heyde" <uzs...@uni-bonn.de> wrote in message
>news:cug7eg$nju$2...@f1node01.rhrz.uni-bonn.de...
>
>> In what unit do americans get charged for their electric energy?

Dollars.

>In kWh, spelled out as "kilowatt-hours", usually, because we don't
>understand the metric symbols.

>It would be convenient, though, to be charged in MJ for both electricity
>and natural gas, wouldn't it?

Doesn't conversion efficiency factor in? Would it be more convenient
if gasoline (Br: petrol) were sold by the MJ rather than the gallon or
liter?

--
Jim Riley

Michael Dahms

unread,
Feb 13, 2005, 5:31:37 AM2/13/05
to
Jim Riley wrote:
>
> On Thu, 10 Feb 2005 12:24:38 -0700, "Steve MacGregor"
> >
> > It would be convenient, though, to be charged in MJ for both electricity
> > and natural gas, wouldn't it?
>
> Doesn't conversion efficiency factor in?

You are right.

> Would it be more convenient
> if gasoline (Br: petrol) were sold by the MJ rather than the gallon or
> liter?

No.

Michael Dahms

Markus Kuhn

unread,
Feb 13, 2005, 3:18:55 PM2/13/05
to
Jim Riley <jim...@pipeline.com> writes:

|> Markus Kuhn wrote:
|>
|> >Why exclude the general population from scientific understanding
|> >by clouding their understanding through the continued use of archaic
|> >and less practical units that differ from what all scientists find
|> >most convenient?
|>
|> I suspect that there are larger barriers to lay understanding of
|> science than the system of units that measurements are made in.

This is no doubt true, but it is in itself no argument for
maintaining an additional and entire unnecessary barrier by
using different units in science and outside science.

There are admittedly a few cases where strictly scientific units are
perhaps too subtle and confusing for lay people. An example would be
using kN instead of kg to state the maximum capacity of a lift,
because people without physical training tend to treat mass and
weight force as equivalent quantities and therefore will not see
any need to learn a separate unit for force. Equally, the kelvin
temperature scale has its origin so far outside the range of
temperatures experienced in everyday life that I would not
recommend it for use in medicine and cake recipes.

Consequentely, neither the newton nor the kelvin have become a part
of daily non-scientific practice in metric countries, because lay
people can relate much more easily with the kilogram and degree
Celsius.

The globally established conventions for using international
standard units in daily life have been carefully chosen such that no
scientific understanding beyond average primary school knowledge
is needed to use and understand them.

|> >Sounds to me like a recipe^Wscam to keep the masses uneducated,
|> >easier to control, indoctrinate, and manipulate. Sounds deeply
|> >undemocratic and dangerous for the long-term benefit of society ...
|>
|> Use of deprecating terms such as "FFU" are attempts to manipulate and
|> control society by a scientific-priest class who would attempt to
|> marginalize and humiliate those not familiar with their terminology.

Terms like FFU are no doubt an expression of frustration. However,
I do not believe that the desire to see more widespread use of
metric units is an "attempt to marginalize and humiliate" anyone.
The metric proponents I know are only too happy to really help
people understand their measures and, where necessary, even the physical
concepts behind them. I doubt there is anyone here who wouldn't love
to see the wider public understand and appreciate even the most basic
physics concepts taught in secondary education much better. It would be
nice, but I don't believe it is a prerequisite for using metric units.

Markus

Markus Kuhn

unread,
Feb 13, 2005, 3:26:41 PM2/13/05
to
Michael Dahms <michae...@gkss.de> writes:
|> > Would it be more convenient
|> > if gasoline (Br: petrol) were sold by the MJ rather than the gallon or
|> > liter?
|>
|> No.

I quite like the thought. However, it would probably introduce
levels of physical detail (specific energy of the product, etc.)
that the average person might not fully appreciate. For a liquid,
a volume is something more tangible for most.

Curious:

Do gas station pumps take into consideration that gasoline/petrol
expands at higher temperature, and that you actually get more
energy and can drive further with a litre bought at -5 °C rather
than at 25 °C? I believe to remember that Formula 1 racing cars are
commonly filled with chilled petrol for exactly this reason.

Markus

skea...@accessbee.com

unread,
Feb 13, 2005, 5:07:15 PM2/13/05
to
Don't formula 1 cars use methanol? While taking up twice the volume of
gasoline it has a much higher ignition energy which makes it less of a
fire hazard and allows supercharging the cylinder to several times
atmospheric pressure. It is the ultimate high octane fuel.

Michael Dahms

unread,
Feb 14, 2005, 1:54:01 AM2/14/05
to
Markus Kuhn wrote:
>
> Do gas station pumps take into consideration that gasoline/petrol
> expands at higher temperature, and that you actually get more
> energy and can drive further with a litre bought at -5 °C rather
> than at 25 °C?

They don't, but gas is no stored at such low temperatures, generally.

Michael Dahms

ocon...@slr.orl.lmco.com

unread,
Feb 14, 2005, 8:49:41 AM2/14/05
to

Klaus von der Heyde wrote:
> ocon...@slr.orl.lmco.com wrote:
>
> > But where is the advantage in that? The vast majority of
> > Americans rarely converse with the rest of the world about
> > temperatures.
>
> Thanks to usenet and www, conversation increased a lot in the last
> 10 years. Would be nice if everyone reading weather and travel
> reports, and about anything including something measured, without
> having to look up or convert units (or for the provider to supply
> data in both, as weather report sites do).
[snip]

First we'll get a common language, then I'll worry about
having a singular temperature scale. Until then, the least
communication inconvienence on the web is temperature scales.
Currency fluctuations are a bigger issue. Heck, even folks
that supposedly all speak english can't decide what the heck
the "pavement" is, and that one could get ya killed.

Erik Naggum

unread,
Feb 14, 2005, 9:35:52 AM2/14/05
to
* Markus Kuhn @2005-02-13 20:18 -> Jim Riley

> There are admittedly a few cases where strictly scientific units are
> perhaps too subtle and confusing for lay people. An example would be
> using kN instead of kg to state the maximum capacity of a lift,
> because people without [physics] training tend to treat mass and
> weight force as equivalent quantities and therefore will not see any
> need to learn a separate unit for force.

This confusion is made worse by the incessant references to "kilogram
force" in British science programs (e.g., on Discovery channel) that
attempt to translate from American sources that used «pound force».

>> Use of deprecating terms such as "FFU" are attempts to manipulate
>> and control society by a scientific-priest class who would attempt
>> to marginalize and humiliate those not familiar with their
>> terminology.

Jim, if you really want not to be marginalized and humiliated, it would
serve you well to avoid such paranoid and conspiratorial nonsense. Such
"opinions" about the metric system from Americans is one reason Europe
has so much disdain for FFUs. Such disturbingly paranoid fears about
some force that is going to come into ordinary people's lives and alter
their minds against their will also existed in Europe several hundred
years ago, at about the time Harry Potter would have been a documentary.
If anything, such comments make more rational people dead certain that
to give in to the FFUs would be just as bad as to give in to the
peculiar religiousness that the U.S. displays as the foundation for its
actions.

> The metric proponents I know are only too happy to really help people
> understand their measures and, where necessary, even the physical
> concepts behind them. I doubt there is anyone here who wouldn't love
> to see the wider public understand and appreciate even the most basic
> physics concepts taught in secondary education much better. It would
> be nice, but I don't believe it is a prerequisite for using metric
> units.

But conversely, it is precisely lack of understanding of physics that
keeps the old units alive and well. I believe that U.S. units hold the
entire people down, as physics expressed with FFUs is much, much harder
than physics expressed with SI units, and the conceptual barrier is just
a little too high for the vast majority to forge, meaning that the clear
and present benefits of the SI are not within reach to this majority
until they have learned it. However, every other country on earth offers
proof positive that there is no superhuman feat to learne the SI units
and to relate to them in their everyday life. It is only when you are
used to FFUs that SI is difficult, but characteristically, FFUs are not
that hard for SI users to adapt to. This does not mean that FFUs are any
more "natural": It means that FFUs are conceptually simpler, as if they
were a language with fewer tenses, fewer genders, fewer inflections, and
fewer means to construct new words. Starting at such a disadvantaged
point means that learning a more normal language is very hard, but if
you already know a more normal language, learning the simpler language
is very easy. Since all natural languages spoken by human beings have to
be equally "natural", the differences are entirely cultural.

Erik Naggum @2005-045
--
Act from reason, and failure makes you rethink and study harder;
act from faith, and failure makes you blame someone and push harder.
In a fight against something, the fight has value, victory has none;
in a fight for something, the fight is a loss, victory merely relief.

Dr John Stockton

unread,
Feb 14, 2005, 1:50:24 PM2/14/05
to
JRS: In article <cuocnf$bk9$1...@gemini.csx.cam.ac.uk>, dated Sun, 13 Feb
2005 20:18:55, seen in news:misc.metric-system, Markus Kuhn <n05W06+mgk2
5...@viterbi.cl.cam.ac.uk> posted :

>
>There are admittedly a few cases where strictly scientific units are
>perhaps too subtle and confusing for lay people. An example would be
>using kN instead of kg to state the maximum capacity of a lift,
>because people without physical training tend to treat mass and
>weight force as equivalent quantities and therefore will not see
>any need to learn a separate unit for force.


FYI, in the UK "physical training" means exercise such as sport, and not
what one gets in the Cavendish.

Since all lifts operate in a gravitational field which is near enough
constant, fixed-ratio conversion between kN & kg introduces no
significant error; and, although people are often weighed on spring
balances, it is not the force on their feet which concerns them but
their true mass (or, for ladies, their volume and its distribution).

--
© John Stockton, Surrey, UK. *@merlyn.demon.co.uk / ??.Stoc...@physics.org ©
Web <URL:http://www.merlyn.demon.co.uk/> - FAQish topics, acronyms, & links.
Correct <= 4-line sig. separator as above, a line precisely "-- " (SoRFC1036)
Do not Mail News to me. Before a reply, quote with ">" or "> " (SoRFC1036)

Markus Kuhn

unread,
Feb 14, 2005, 4:17:31 PM2/14/05
to
Dr John Stockton <sp...@merlyn.demon.co.uk> writes:
|> >There are admittedly a few cases where strictly scientific units are
|> >perhaps too subtle and confusing for lay people. An example would be
|> >using kN instead of kg to state the maximum capacity of a lift,
|> >because people without physical training tend to treat mass and
|> >weight force as equivalent quantities and therefore will not see
|> >any need to learn a separate unit for force.
|>
|> FYI, in the UK "physical training" means exercise such as sport, and not
|> what one gets in the Cavendish.

Thanks. Having received my entire secondary education at a place
called "Emil-von-Behring Gymnasium", I regularly get confused
about the subtle difference between physical and physics education.

Markus

Gene Nygaard

unread,
Feb 15, 2005, 9:35:00 PM2/15/05
to
On 13 Feb 2005 20:18:55 GMT, n05W06...@viterbi.cl.cam.ac.uk (Markus
Kuhn) wrote:

>Jim Riley <jim...@pipeline.com> writes:
>|> Markus Kuhn wrote:
>|>
>|> >Why exclude the general population from scientific understanding
>|> >by clouding their understanding through the continued use of archaic
>|> >and less practical units that differ from what all scientists find
>|> >most convenient?
>|>
>|> I suspect that there are larger barriers to lay understanding of
>|> science than the system of units that measurements are made in.
>
>This is no doubt true, but it is in itself no argument for
>maintaining an additional and entire unnecessary barrier by
>using different units in science and outside science.
>
>There are admittedly a few cases where strictly scientific units are
>perhaps too subtle and confusing for lay people. An example would be
>using kN instead of kg to state the maximum capacity of a lift,

The maximum force experienced by the lift is not just the force due to
gravity on a stationary person. The lift itself accelerates; that
acceleration times the mass needs to be added to the static force due
to gravity.

In other words, it is much more sensible to do it the way we do it.
It's not a matter of "not confusing the lay people." Rather, it is
only screwballs in technical fields who might delude themselves into
seeing some error here.

>because people without physical training tend to treat mass and
>weight force as equivalent quantities and therefore will not see
>any need to learn a separate unit for force. Equally, the kelvin

Weight is not different from mass, when we talk about body weight of
humans, or of other animals, in the medical sciences and in sports and
in veterinary science and in biology and whatever. It isn't a matter
of "treating" them as the same; they are the same.

>temperature scale has its origin so far outside the range of
>temperatures experienced in everyday life that I would not
>recommend it for use in medicine and cake recipes.
>
>Consequentely, neither the newton nor the kelvin have become a part
>of daily non-scientific practice in metric countries, because lay
>people can relate much more easily with the kilogram and degree
>Celsius.

The general public rarely deals with measurements that should be
expressed in newtons, now that newtons per square meter have been
given their own name--pascals.

The "net weight" of a bag of sugar, for example, is expressed in
kilograms, not in newtons. It should be expressed in kilograms, not
in newtons.

There is nowhere in the world where newtons are legal units for the
sale of goods by weight--nor should there be.

If you weren't so confused about that yourself, you could better help
the general public to use newtons when they should be used. The
Russian space program finally, about a decade and a half ago, switched
to newtons for rocket thrust, for example.


--
Gene Nygaard
http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/Gene_Nygaard/
"It's not the things you don't know
what gets you into trouble.

"It's the things you do know
that just ain't so."
Will Rogers

Steve MacGregor

unread,
Feb 15, 2005, 10:03:21 PM2/15/05
to
"Gene Nygaard" <gnyg...@nccray.com> wrote in message
news:erb511h7prqtf1eqb...@4ax.com...

> Weight is not different from mass, when we talk about body weight of
> humans, or of other animals, in the medical sciences and in sports and
> in veterinary science and in biology and whatever. It isn't a matter
> of "treating" them as the same; they are the same.

Whoa! That means that what we've been told all our lives -- that on the
moon, we'd weight only one sixth as much as we do on the earth -- is
WRONG!

--
Steve

Jim Riley

unread,
Feb 15, 2005, 10:27:01 PM2/15/05
to
On Mon, 14 Feb 2005 14:35:52 +0000, Erik Naggum <er...@naggum.no>
wrote:

>* Markus Kuhn @2005-02-13 20:18 -> Jim Riley

>>> Use of deprecating terms such as "FFU" are attempts to manipulate

>>> and control society by a scientific-priest class who would attempt
>>> to marginalize and humiliate those not familiar with their
>>> terminology.
>
>Jim, if you really want not to be marginalized and humiliated, it would
>serve you well to avoid such paranoid and conspiratorial nonsense.

I did not suggest a conspiracy existed. But claims that Americanss do
not know enough to put a coat on because of the use of the Fahrenheit
scale suggest that some people would attempt to control through their
use of vocabulary.

>But conversely, it is precisely lack of understanding of physics that
>keeps the old units alive and well. I believe that U.S. units hold the
>entire people down, as physics expressed with FFUs is much, much harder
>than physics expressed with SI units,

How so? 32 is as easy to remember as 9.8, and since it is a multiple
of 2, it is easier to use in example problems using 2 and 4 seconds.

Use of the Celsius scale could lead to a belief that the boiling point
of water is a universal constant, when it isn't even true for millions
of Americans under the conditions found in their kitchen.

For most day to day activities, the flat earth model works.

--
Jim Riley

Gene Nygaard

unread,
Feb 16, 2005, 12:02:53 AM2/16/05
to

Naturally.

Not all of all of our lives, however.


Gene Nygaard

Klaus Wacker

unread,
Feb 16, 2005, 9:37:06 AM2/16/05
to
Gene Nygaard <gnyg...@nccray.com> wrote:
> On 13 Feb 2005 20:18:55 GMT, n05W06...@viterbi.cl.cam.ac.uk (Markus
> Kuhn) wrote:
>
[...]

>>because people without physical training tend to treat mass and
>>weight force as equivalent quantities and therefore will not see
>>any need to learn a separate unit for force. Equally, the kelvin
>
> Weight is not different from mass, when we talk about body weight of
> humans, or of other animals, in the medical sciences and in sports and
> in veterinary science and in biology and whatever. It isn't a matter
> of "treating" them as the same; they are the same.
>

Note that Markus wrote "weight force", not weight.

I still learned at school that weight is a force and that it is wrong
to use that word for a quantity measured in kg. I am glad that that
has changed. However, the force still exists and a force really is
something quite different from mass. Please leave us physicists (and
others who need it) a name for that force. Weight force is as good a
name as any.


--
Klaus Wacker wac...@Physik.Uni-Dortmund.DE
Experimentelle Physik V http://www.physik.uni-dortmund.de/~wacker
Universitaet Dortmund Tel.: +49 231 755 3587
D-44221 Dortmund Fax: +49 231 755 4547

Gene Nygaard

unread,
Feb 16, 2005, 10:23:33 AM2/16/05
to
On 16 Feb 2005 14:37:06 GMT, Klaus Wacker
<wac...@physik.uni-dortmund.de> wrote:

>Gene Nygaard <gnyg...@nccray.com> wrote:
>> On 13 Feb 2005 20:18:55 GMT, n05W06...@viterbi.cl.cam.ac.uk (Markus
>> Kuhn) wrote:
>>
>[...]
>>>because people without physical training tend to treat mass and
>>>weight force as equivalent quantities and therefore will not see
>>>any need to learn a separate unit for force. Equally, the kelvin
>>
>> Weight is not different from mass, when we talk about body weight of
>> humans, or of other animals, in the medical sciences and in sports and
>> in veterinary science and in biology and whatever. It isn't a matter
>> of "treating" them as the same; they are the same.
>>
>
>Note that Markus wrote "weight force", not weight.
>
>I still learned at school that weight is a force and that it is wrong
>to use that word for a quantity measured in kg. I am glad that that
>has changed. However, the force still exists and a force really is
>something quite different from mass. Please leave us physicists (and
>others who need it) a name for that force. Weight force is as good a
>name as any.

But when you are talking about the maximum capacity of a lift, you
should have people adding up the "weights" they know (and that is not
the "weight force" as distinguished from those weights). It would be
silly to have each lift list its maximum acceleration, then for people
to take their mass in kilograms and multiply that by the sum of the
acceleration of the lift and the local acceleration of gravity to get
force in newtons (or even worse, to take their mass in pounds and
multiply by the sum of that acceleration and the local acceleration
due to gravity to get poundals, then convert those poundals to pounds
force), just to see if the lift is overt its capacity. Then to factor
in a different acceleration when they ride on a faster lift. Better
to let the engineers who know that maximum acceleration factor
peculiar to that particular elevator into their determination of the
maximum capacity in kilograms.

BTW, if the ambiguities in the word "weight" bother those who recently
borrowed it and often use it with a different meaning, guess who
should be out shopping for a new word.


Gene Nygaard

Erik Naggum

unread,
Feb 16, 2005, 10:06:53 AM2/16/05
to
* Jim Riley @2005-02-16 03:27

>> Jim, if you really want not to be marginalized and humiliated, it
>> would serve you well to avoid such paranoid and conspiratorial
>> nonsense.
> I did not suggest a conspiracy existed. But claims that Americanss
> do not know enough to put a coat on because of the use of the
> Fahrenheit scale suggest that some people would attempt to control
> through their use of vocabulary.

And which actual claims would that be? Such wild exaggerations about an
opponent is precisely what people use when judging mental stability.

>> But conversely, it is precisely lack of understanding of physics
>> that keeps the old units alive and well. I believe that U.S. units
>> hold the entire people down, as physics expressed with FFUs is
>> much, much harder than physics expressed with SI units,
> How so? 32 is as easy to remember as 9.8, and since it is a multiple
> of 2, it is easier to use in example problems using 2 and 4 seconds.

/This/ is what you associate with physics?

> For most day to day activities, the flat earth model works.

I think you've just proven my point.

Erik Naggum @2005-047

ocon...@slr.orl.lmco.com

unread,
Feb 16, 2005, 3:46:59 PM2/16/05
to

Dr John Stockton wrote:
[snip]

> Since all lifts operate in a gravitational field which is near enough
> constant, fixed-ratio conversion between kN & kg introduces no
> significant error;

The error is in the conversion. A 1N lift won't lift a 1 kg mass.

Dr John Stockton

unread,
Feb 16, 2005, 6:48:12 PM2/16/05
to
JRS: In article <e54ce2-...@news.naggum.no>, dated Wed, 16 Feb 2005
15:06:53, seen in news:misc.metric-system, Erik Naggum <er...@naggum.no>
posted :

>* Jim Riley @2005-02-16 03:27

?? Surely no true loyal American would post in ISO dating? Though his
system does post in GMT, but the host adds something called PST.

>>> Jim, if you really want not to be marginalized and humiliated, it
>>> would serve you well to avoid such paranoid and conspiratorial
>>> nonsense.
>> I did not suggest a conspiracy existed. But claims that Americanss
>> do not know enough to put a coat on because of the use of the
>> Fahrenheit scale suggest that some people would attempt to control
>> through their use of vocabulary.
>
>And which actual claims would that be? Such wild exaggerations about an
>opponent is precisely what people use when judging mental stability.


It occurs to me to wonder what proportion of US residents are either
themselves immigrants from communities not then using the Imperial
system of measurement, or are descended from recent immigrants
satisfying that condition. Let's take "recent" as meaning that the
present resident's lifetime overlapped the immigrant's.

Pretty well all the Hispanics and those from Continental Europe will be
included, all the Asians except for sub-continentals, and many of the
Africans. So it must be a fairly large proportion, though it excludes
all but the newest Irish.

All those immigrants, except for the failures, will have adapted to the
Imperial system, generally from a more logical or simpler one. So the
present population must be sadly degenerated if they cannot learn a new,
simpler system which they need to know something of whenever travelling
to parts out of US control.

Still, perhaps we should accept Jim's view of the present capabilities
of his country-folk.


>>> But conversely, it is precisely lack of understanding of physics
>>> that keeps the old units alive and well. I believe that U.S. units
>>> hold the entire people down, as physics expressed with FFUs is
>>> much, much harder than physics expressed with SI units,

That is, of course, a competitive benefit to the majority of the world
population; they work in simpler units, and can charge the Americans
more for the extra trouble that they cause by wanting FFU.

>> How so? 32 is as easy to remember as 9.8, and since it is a multiple
>> of 2, it is easier to use in example problems using 2 and 4 seconds.
>
>/This/ is what you associate with physics?

It may be all that he knows of the subject.


>> For most day to day activities, the flat earth model works.
>
>I think you've just proven my point.
>
>Erik Naggum @2005-047

? Is that not unduly imprecise? Surely there should be a Z after the
047 - you'll just have something else to think of if posting soon after
local midnight.

--
© John Stockton, Surrey, UK. ?@merlyn.demon.co.uk Turnpike v4.00 MIME. ©
Web <URL:http://www.merlyn.demon.co.uk/> - w. FAQish topics, links, acronyms
PAS EXE etc : <URL:http://www.merlyn.demon.co.uk/programs/> - see 00index.htm
Dates - miscdate.htm moredate.htm js-dates.htm pas-time.htm critdate.htm etc.

Gene Nygaard

unread,
Feb 16, 2005, 7:48:40 PM2/16/05
to
On Wed, 16 Feb 2005 23:48:12 +0000, Dr John Stockton
<sp...@merlyn.demon.co.uk> wrote:

>JRS: In article <e54ce2-...@news.naggum.no>, dated Wed, 16 Feb 2005
>15:06:53, seen in news:misc.metric-system, Erik Naggum <er...@naggum.no>
>posted :
>>* Jim Riley @2005-02-16 03:27

That formatting is inserted by the newsreader of someone replying to
him, dummy.

Surely you have far too much time on your hands if you are trying to
guess at what time everybody posted their messages. But I don't
understand why you think there should be a Zulu after the 47th day of
the year in any case. Now, if you look at the headers, you will see
that Erik actually posted it at 15:06 Z, or most likely 16:06 in his
local time.

Once again, just material introducing the quoted material, inserted by
the browser of someone replying.

Gene Nygaard
Time flies like an arrow;
fruit flies like a banana.

Erik Naggum

unread,
Feb 16, 2005, 9:24:25 PM2/16/05
to
* Dr John Stockton @2005-02-16 23:48

>> * Jim Riley @2005-02-16 03:27
> ?? Surely no true loyal American would post in ISO dating? Though
> his system does post in GMT, but the host adds something called PST.

What on earth are you on?

>> Erik Naggum @2005-047
> ? Is that not unduly imprecise? Surely there should be a Z after the
> 047 - you'll just have something else to think of if posting soon after
> local midnight.

I tend to marvel at the behavior that Brits deem appropriate when they
encounter precision above their national maximum, but rest assured that
even if it is difficult for you to stomach precision, there are people
elsewhere on the planet who value precision -- even in English -- and
who are unlikely to dumb their language down to fit British mores.
ISO 8601 time formats have an optional time zone suffix. Date formats
do not. In case you wish to crack better jokes in the future.

Erik Naggum @2005-048

Dr John Stockton

unread,
Feb 17, 2005, 6:34:27 PM2/17/05
to
JRS: In article <prbde2-...@news.naggum.no>, dated Thu, 17 Feb 2005
02:24:25, seen in news:misc.metric-system, Erik Naggum <er...@naggum.no>
posted :

>* Dr John Stockton @2005-02-16 23:48
>>> * Jim Riley @2005-02-16 03:27
>> ?? Surely no true loyal American would post in ISO dating? Though
>> his system does post in GMT, but the host adds something called PST.
>
>What on earth are you on?

It is desirable that the Riley leg should be pulled from time to time,
to remind him not to take himself more seriously than anyone else does.

Europeans, however, are expected to be smart enough to realise that.

It's a pity that Usenet convention, presumably set in the USA with
inadequate consideration, seems to be that attribution times are given
without time zone.


>>> Erik Naggum @2005-047
>> ? Is that not unduly imprecise? Surely there should be a Z after the
>> 047 - you'll just have something else to think of if posting soon after
>> local midnight.
>
>I tend to marvel at the behavior that Brits deem appropriate when they
>encounter precision above their national maximum, but rest assured that
>even if it is difficult for you to stomach precision, there are people
>elsewhere on the planet who value precision -- even in English -- and
>who are unlikely to dumb their language down to fit British mores.

That paragraph appears to have no relevant meaning. Perhaps you are
unaware of the meaning, in UK English, of "imprecise"? or failed to read
with care that to which you were replying?

> ISO 8601 time formats have an optional time zone suffix. Date formats
>do not. In case you wish to crack better jokes in the future.

That is a date/time format with the time at fully-reduced precision and
the T omitted. Without the Z, it indicates a period of something over
48 hours, from 00:00h New Zealand Summer Time to 24:00 Aleutian Standard
Time, possibly extended by odd Pacific Islands; a local time of an
unspecified locality (after all, Norwegians get everywhere these days;
remember Thor Heyerdahl, and the "London Underground" song set to the
"Hall of the Mountain King"). With the Z, it indicates UTC.

Alternatively, if one is allowed to abut an @ to the left side of YYYY-
DDD (and in the draft 2000 standard, the only two instances of @ refer
to location, not to time), one must be allowed to abut a Z to the right
side, with the same meaning as in ISO 8601..

--

Gene Nygaard

unread,
Feb 17, 2005, 7:17:24 PM2/17/05
to
On Thu, 17 Feb 2005 23:34:27 +0000, Dr John Stockton
<sp...@merlyn.demon.co.uk> wrote:

>JRS: In article <prbde2-...@news.naggum.no>, dated Thu, 17 Feb 2005
>02:24:25, seen in news:misc.metric-system, Erik Naggum <er...@naggum.no>
>posted :
>>* Dr John Stockton @2005-02-16 23:48
>>>> * Jim Riley @2005-02-16 03:27
>>> ?? Surely no true loyal American would post in ISO dating? Though
>>> his system does post in GMT, but the host adds something called PST.
>>
>>What on earth are you on?
>
>It is desirable that the Riley leg should be pulled from time to time,
>to remind him not to take himself more seriously than anyone else does.

It was Erik Naggum's news reader, not Jim Riley's, which inserted that
information.

>Europeans, however, are expected to be smart enough to realise that.
>
>It's a pity that Usenet convention, presumably set in the USA with
>inadequate consideration, seems to be that attribution times are given
>without time zone.

Enough of the gratuitous America-bashing. As a matter of fact, Jim
Riley's browser does insert the time with time zone. For example, "On


Mon, 14 Feb 2005 14:35:52 +0000, Erik Naggum <er...@naggum.no>
wrote:"

So does mine: "On Wed, 16 Feb 2005 23:48:12 +0000, Dr John Stockton
<sp...@merlyn.demon.co.uk> wrote:"

Dr. John Stockton's browser, OTOH, is not configured to show the time
zone: "JRS: In article <e54ce2-...@news.naggum.no>, dated Wed,
16 Feb 2005 15:06:53, seen in news:misc.metric-system, Erik Naggum
<er...@naggum.no> posted :

Chalk two up on the American side. And one fool across the pond with
either an inferior news reader, or one which he can't figure out how
to configure (I didn't bother with mine; it just happens to be the
default--in fact, while that is shown in quoting earlier messages is
in Zulu time, the times on my listings on my news reader are U.S.
Central Time). BTW, you do realize that +0000 means the same as Z,
don't you?

--
Gene Nygaard
"There's no way to know for sure without finding
out what a "kg" is, and my belief, as an American,
is that if I have to start understanding the metric
system, then the terrorists have won."
--Dave Barry

Erik Naggum

unread,
Feb 18, 2005, 3:18:34 AM2/18/05
to
* Dr John Stockton @2005-02-17 23:34

> It's a pity that Usenet convention, presumably set in the USA with
> inadequate consideration, seems to be that attribution times are
> given without time zone.

You presume too much.

The rest of your pretentious nonsense is best ignored. Whatever problems
you clearly have with participating here on Usenet, please get help.
Derailing a discussion because you have a personal problem with date
notations is so insane that the rest of your «contributions» here must
be judged in the same light. Say, weren't you the nutjob who couldn't
use URL's unless they had /exactly/ the right format for you? I'm sorry
I forgot you -- such disturbances clearly deserve to be remembered.

Erik Naggum @2005-049

Dr John Stockton

unread,
Feb 18, 2005, 5:20:37 PM2/18/05
to
JRS: In article <qvkge2-...@news.naggum.no>, dated Fri, 18 Feb 2005
08:18:34, seen in news:misc.metric-system, Erik Naggum <er...@naggum.no>
posted :

>* Dr John Stockton @2005-02-17 23:34
>> It's a pity that Usenet convention, presumably set in the USA with
>> inadequate consideration, seems to be that attribution times are
>> given without time zone.
>
>You presume too much.

You should realise that a finite number of counter-examples, in an
unregulated medium, are inadequate to refute an assertion of the
existence of an established convention.


>The rest of your pretentious nonsense is best ignored.

You have failed to address your comprehension problem.

Read back, see where you have been unable to understand that imprecise
does not mean precise, but rather the opposite, and apologise
accordingly.

Before you try to write English, you should first learn to read it.

--
© John Stockton, Surrey, UK. ???@merlyn.demon.co.uk Turnpike v4.00 MIME. ©


Web <URL:http://www.merlyn.demon.co.uk/> - FAQish topics, acronyms, & links.

Check boilerplate spelling -- error is a public sign of incompetence.
Never fully trust an article from a poster who gives no full real name.

Erik Naggum

unread,
Feb 18, 2005, 7:52:55 PM2/18/05
to
* Dr John Stockton @2005-02-18 22:20Z

> You have failed to address your comprehension problem.
>
> Read back, see where you have been unable to understand that
> imprecise does not mean precise, but rather the opposite, and
> apologise accordingly.
>
> Before you try to write English, you should first learn to read it.

Ah, so your huffing and puffing is simply an inferiority complex. Well,
get over it: You do not achieve respect for your hard-earned title by
behaving the way you do and displaying your lack of self-confidence. You
are likely to get wounded if you parade such psychological problems in
public and try to get the upper hand as in some primitive simian power
struggle. Take good care of yourself in private, /then/ venture out in
public with a substantiated self-confidence that has no need to belittle
your superiors to feel a little less bad about yourself. I mean this.
So be a nice doctor and figure out what this newsgroup is for: It is
not for pompous Dr Blow Hards to try to belittle people who are clearly
better than him in all possible respects, but for discussions of the
metric system. So get with the program and /please/ try to get over your
personal hangups with the attribution line, the syntax for URL's, and
other irrelevant minutiae. Not everyone who has an interest in the
metric system has Asperger's syndrome, so your obsessive attention to
irrelevant detail is out of place. Try alt.support.aspergers, instead.
To test your moral fiber, I have made a small change to one of the
things you obsess about. If you notice it, will you realize that you
have gotten what you wanted, or will you keep ranting and raving and
look for more things to criticize because you still feel inferior to me?
I have used a different custom for enclosing quoted text than you are
used to, as well, just to see if you get all flummoxed about it.
In order to let you know just how utterly despicable I consider you to
be as a person (considering that you evidently fail to catch drifts the
size of tsunamis): Some actually believe that those who have been
awarded a prestigious title or degree like «Doctor» should abide by
professional codes of conduct, such as honoring the original meaning of
«doctor» («teacher», if you did not know) -- and should be stripped of
their degree if they bring disgrace to their peers. Something to think
about before you sacrifice your future just because you need to «win»
Usenet flamewars you /start/ by obsessing about irrelevantia?
If you can remember what I and others were saying here before your puny
little brain and sadly brief attention span got overloaded from
experiencing an unusual attribution line, it is still possible for you
to return to something at least marginally on-topic if you wish to show
the world how well you are able to behave if you concentrate. I am not
betting on your ability or willingness to behave better, however, so if
you fail to realize what an ass you have made of yourself and go on to
rant and rave even further, you will get the last word. If you should
surprise me by acting like a human being, you can be certain that I will
ignore your past misbehavior and discuss the /real/ topics you bring up.

Erik Naggum @2005-050

Brian Inglis

unread,
Feb 18, 2005, 9:50:12 PM2/18/05
to
On Thu, 10 Feb 2005 22:50:16 +0000 (UTC) in misc.metric-system, "Jukka
K. Korpela" <jkor...@cs.tut.fi> wrote:

>"Steve MacGregor" <s_t_ma...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
>> In kWh, spelled out as "kilowatt-hours", usually, because we don't
>> understand the metric symbols.
>
>Actually the appropriate symbol would be "kW h" or (better) "kW搬" (and
>perhaps best using the DOT OPERATOR character instead of the MIDDLE DOT),
>since multiplication of units should be indicated using a space or a dot.
>This would make the unit even more inconvenient, and that's good. :-)


>
>> It would be convenient, though, to be charged in MJ for both electricity
>> and natural gas, wouldn't it?
>

>The unit of energy is the joule (J), and MJ is just a symbol for a multiple
>of the joule. I wonder why they don't express the prices per joule - they
>would sound much smaller. Just as phone charges would sound smaller if
>expressed in terms of an amount of money per second, the unit of time.

In Canada, the industry uses the GJ, and consumers are charged for
those units, based on the volume metered (industry uses 1000 m3 ==
e3m3, and heat content factor ~40 MJ/m3 == GJ/e3m3); can't remember
now if my consumer metre measures m3 or ft3, and an average energy
content factor ~0.95: price is ~CA$6/GJ.
In the US, the industry uses the dekatherm Dth == MMBTU == millions of
BTUs (business MM, where M == 1000, not metric) == ~1.05GJ, don't know
how they charge the consumer, probably MMBTU.

--
Thanks. Take care, Brian Inglis Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Brian....@CSi.com (Brian[dot]Inglis{at}SystematicSW[dot]ab[dot]ca)
fake address use address above to reply

Brian Inglis

unread,
Feb 18, 2005, 10:01:42 PM2/18/05
to
On 13 Feb 2005 20:26:41 GMT in misc.metric-system,
n05W06...@viterbi.cl.cam.ac.uk (Markus Kuhn) wrote:

In Canada, we mainly pay for the energy content of gasoline.
Most gas/petrol pumps have a little sticker that says "this pump has
been volume corrected to 15 degrees Celsius", the industry standard
for ATC.
Normally beside a bigger sticker with a coloured pie chart showing how
much of the retail price goes to federal and provincial government
taxes, and how little goes to the retailer, distributor, and producer.
Check your gas/petrol pump the next time you fill up.

Brian Inglis

unread,
Feb 18, 2005, 10:04:29 PM2/18/05
to

You've got Canadian and a Finnish posts in this thread, care to guess
again what the delivery temperature range might be: certainly -30C to
+30C most years and most places in the country, perhaps -40C to +40C
some years and places in the country.

Jim Riley

unread,
Feb 18, 2005, 10:13:45 PM2/18/05
to
On Wed, 16 Feb 2005 15:06:53 +0000, Erik Naggum <er...@naggum.no>
wrote:

>* Jim Riley @2005-02-16 03:27

>> I did not suggest a conspiracy existed. But claims that Americanss

>> do not know enough to put a coat on because of the use of the
>> Fahrenheit scale suggest that some people would attempt to control
>> through their use of vocabulary.
>
>And which actual claims would that be?

<1107887646.6...@c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>

Ask a random sample of Americans at what temperature water freezes
and boils and get back to us. And I mean a true random sample.
Better still, go watch your weatherman (or woman) around the time
when the temperatures head for 32ºF. They will never throw out the
32ºF figure like it's nothing. It's always mentioned in the context
of freezing or freezing water. Americans have to be _reminded_ that
this is the freezing point. You don't have to do this with
centigrade, and

>>> But conversely, it is precisely lack of understanding of physics
>>> that keeps the old units alive and well. I believe that U.S. units
>>> hold the entire people down, as physics expressed with FFUs is
>>> much, much harder than physics expressed with SI units,

>> How so? 32 is as easy to remember as 9.8, and since it is a multiple
>> of 2, it is easier to use in example problems using 2 and 4 seconds.
>
>/This/ is what you associate with physics?

What do you associate with physics?

>> For most day to day activities, the flat earth model works.
>
>I think you've just proven my point.

You don't agree?

--
Jim Riley

Gene Nygaard

unread,
Feb 18, 2005, 11:23:22 PM2/18/05
to

They do--and gasoline temperatures are fairly often that low--or that
high.

http://ts.nist.gov/ts/htdocs/230/235/h44.htm
then click on
Section 3
3.30. Liquid-Measuring Devices
to take you to this pdf file

http://ts.nist.gov/ts/htdocs/230/235/h44/lmd.pdf
Note: In this section of Handbook 44, the reference temperature for
the temperature compensation of refined petroleum
products is shown as "15 °C (60 °F)." Although these values are not
exact equivalents, they reflect industry usage when the
SI and inch-pound units are used in measurements.

...

S.1.2.1. Retail Motor-Fuel Devices. - Deliveries
shall be indicated and recorded, if the device is
equipped to record, in liters or gallons and decimal
subdivisions or fractional equivalents thereof.

...

S.2.7. Wholesale Devices Equipped with Automatic
Temperature Compensators.
S.2.7.1. Automatic Temperature Compensation. -
A device may be equipped with an automatic means
for adjusting the indication and registration of the
measured volume of product to the volume at 15 °C
(60 °F).

<end quote>

There's more if you read the whole thing.

Gene Nygaard

Erik Naggum

unread,
Feb 18, 2005, 11:27:02 PM2/18/05