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'[OT]: "standard" measurements, etc (was Re: What d'
2003\09\11@194753 by Sabachka

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Don't forget that the United States of American is pretty much the ONLY
country that still uses the "English" Measurement system rather than the
Metric (and, IMHO, far easier to use) System, now called SI I believe. I
have my own theories as to why, and it has nothing to do with
profitability. We *ALMOST* had a law that would provide a 10-year period
over which to convert from the American measuring system (English, but
they don't use it) to SI in 1975 but it was made optional,
unfourtunately.

Everything I have seen demonstrates a laziness or something similiar on
our parts in refusing to switch over to the effectively world-wide
standard measurement system.

Bleah. Sorry for the rant,
Sabachka

On Thu, Sep 11, 2003 at 01:01:36PM -0400, M. Adam Davis wrote:
<some content removed>
> It is easier to reach profitability with a new technology if you don't
> force the consumer to throw away their old technology and re-buy working
> tools and methods than it is to develop a completely new way of doing
> something which denies them the use of their current tools and experience.
<some content removed>

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2003\09\11@202042 by D. Jay Newman

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> Don't forget that the United States of American is pretty much the ONLY
> country that still uses the "English" Measurement system rather than the
> Metric (and, IMHO, far easier to use) System, now called SI I believe. I
> have my own theories as to why, and it has nothing to do with
> profitability. We *ALMOST* had a law that would provide a 10-year period
> over which to convert from the American measuring system (English, but
> they don't use it) to SI in 1975 but it was made optional,
> unfourtunately.

The US is "officially" a metric country. You'll notice metric measurments
on food.

Unfortunately, as you said, it was made too optional.

My favorite road sign was in New England: "Metric Signs Next 20 Miles".  :)

> Everything I have seen demonstrates a laziness or something similiar on
> our parts in refusing to switch over to the effectively world-wide
> standard measurement system.

Well, it would make it harder for me to get 0.1" headers...

But yes, I would much prefer to deal in metric than in the English system.
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2003\09\11@203501 by Bob Barr

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On Thu, 11 Sep 2003 16:47:33 -0700, Sabachka wrote:

>Don't forget that the United States of American is pretty much the ONLY
>country that still uses the "English" Measurement system rather than the
>Metric (and, IMHO, far easier to use) System, now called SI I believe. I
>have my own theories as to why, and it has nothing to do with
>profitability. We *ALMOST* had a law that would provide a 10-year period
>over which to convert from the American measuring system (English, but
>they don't use it) to SI in 1975 but it was made optional,
>unfourtunately.
>

Oh, c'mon. We're inching towards the metric system. It's just that
we've got miles to go. :=)


Regards, Bob

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2003\09\11@221816 by John Ferrell

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And to think, by now we could have metric clocks and metric calendars.
Lets see, would a ten day week or ten day month be more "natural"?

John Ferrell
6241 Phillippi Rd
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2003\09\11@225307 by Sean Alcorn - PIC Stuff
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On Friday, Sep 12, 2003, at 15:19 Australia/Sydney, John Ferrell wrote:

> And to think, by now we could have metric clocks and metric calendars.
> Lets see, would a ten day week or ten day month be more "natural"?

It's this type of thinking that explains why America will never go
metric.

It always amuses me that while America was quick to embrace a decimal
currency system - they steadfastly refuse to go metric.

My father was educated in imperial currency and imperial measurements
and was the first to embrace the new system in Australia. We have 10
fingers and 10 toes, he'd say! :-)

Can't imagine too many Americans pining for an imperial currency system
such as Australia discarded 37 years ago! Pounds, Pence, Shillings,
Florrings and Guineas. 12 pence to a shilling and 20 shillings to a
pound. Now that made - er cents! :-)

Cheers,

Sean

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2003\09\12@044213 by Howard Winter

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On Fri, 12 Sep 2003 12:52:07 +1000, Sean Alcorn - PIC Stuff wrote:

> On Friday, Sep 12, 2003, at 15:19 Australia/Sydney, John Ferrell wrote:
>
> > And to think, by now we could have metric clocks and metric calendars.
> > Lets see, would a ten day week or ten day month be more "natural"?
>
> It's this type of thinking that explains why America will never go
> metric.

> It always amuses me that while America was quick to embrace a decimal
> currency system - they steadfastly refuse to go metric.
>
> My father was educated in imperial currency and imperial measurements
> and was the first to embrace the new system in Australia. We have 10
> fingers and 10 toes, he'd say! :-)

That's the thing, the "Imperial" measurement system (it was never called English) was much more practical,
whereas the metric system is more "logical" when you grow up using decimal counting.  The only thing really in
favour of decimal (if we hadn't any history and could pick a system from scratch) is that we have 10 digits.
It's even, but otherwise it doesn't divide by anything.

> Can't imagine too many Americans pining for an imperial currency system
> such as Australia discarded 37 years ago! Pounds, Pence, Shillings,
> Florrings and Guineas. 12 pence to a shilling and 20 shillings to a
> pound. Now that made - er cents! :-)

Well in Britain we decimalised the pound in 1971, and shillings and pence are actually much more useful except
when you're using computers to calculate (I'm rather glad I got into computing just after decimalisation, but
I saw other peoples' code that dealt with £sd and it was horrible!).  But if you want to divide up £1 it's
very much easier if there are 240 pence (20 shillings to the pound, 12 pence to the shilling).  How do you
split a decimal £1 (or £10 or £1,000,000) into three?  You can't!  240 divides by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12,
15, 16, 20, 30, 40, 60, 80, 120.  100 divides by 2, 5, 10, 20, 25 and 50, and that's your lot.  I believe
there's a culture somewhere that counts on their fingers using their thumb against the fingers of the same
hand, using top, middle, bottom of each finger, so you can count to 12 on one hand, then carry to the other
hand in 12's, so with both hands you can count to 144.  By just counting digits, we only manage 10...
Practically speaking, duodecimal is much more useful, if only we'd come up with characters for 10 and 11!

Weights and measures are also more practical in Imperial - 0.1" spacing of component leads is a very useful
size for hand-soldered stuff and for those across the pond it doesn't die out when you go metric - parts are
nowadays specified as having 2.54mm spacing!  :-)  A pint of beer is just the right amount as a drink, whereas
a litre would be far too much.  Incidentally, a mile originated as decimal - it was a Roman measurement and it
was 1,000 ("mille") marching paces (both feet).

There are lots of ways to "go metric" and Britain has used all of them!  :-)  Plumbing, for example, uses 15mm
and 22mm pipes instead of 1/2" and 3/4" and the difference is minimal (Imperial is the internal, metric the
external measurement) and the smaller pipe is close enough that you can use the same fittings.  There are
adaptors for the transition from 3/4" to 22mm when an existing system needs to be modified or repaired and by
careful design some fittings can use either size pipe.

We still use pints for draught beer, and miles for distances and speed limits on roads.  Wood dimensions are
now in mm, with the actual numbers chosen to give the equivalent of the old sizes, but show the finished
sizes, so planed 2" x 2" has become 44 x 44mm, and you'd buy 1.8m, 2.1m, 2.4m or 3m lengths (practically 6',
7', 8', 10').  I don't know if other European countries use 2.5m as they don't have the 8' heritage - anyone
know?  Temperatures are now officially in Celsius, but they usually give the Farenheit equivalent as well in
weather forcasts: "...with a high of 20, that's 68 Farenheit...".

Aviation is the best example of different units coexisting - in Britain we use heights in feet, distances in
nautical miles and speed in knots, visibility in km.  And if you ditch, depth is in fathoms, of course :-)  We
use Hectopascals (=millibars) for air pressure - I've never understood why the USA uses inches of mercury, as
I've never seen a Piper or Cesana fitted with a mercury barometer!  :-)

Anyway, that's probably more than enough for an OT posting...

Cheers,

Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

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2003\09\12@045251 by Howard Winter

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John,

On Thu, 11 Sep 2003 22:19:21 -0700, John Ferrell wrote:

> And to think, by now we could have metric clocks and metric calendars.
> Lets see, would a ten day week or ten day month be more "natural"?

There's nothing "natural" about the metric system (see my other post) - the metre was supposed to be a
millionth of the distance from Paris to the North Pole, but I believe they got it wrong anyway.  A year is
what it is, and it refuses to be divisible by any easy number, regardless of what number system you use!  It
would make more sense to use months that alternated between 31 and 30 days (5 and 7 respectively) but poor
February was robbed by Julius and Augustus Ceasars, so "their" months could be longer.  Note that they also
put themselves in the Summer, so they'd have the best weather!  Just goes to show that politics will always
try to get in the way of common sense...

And whatever we do we'd still need leap years.

Personally I don't mind how many hours there are in a day, but I'd rather the day started at dawn, so the
whole night belongs to the day before, but I don't suppose anyone would listen if I tried to get it changed...

Cheers,

Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

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2003\09\12@100937 by Daniel Serpell

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El Fri, Sep 12, 2003 at 09:51:12AM +0100, Howard Winter escribio:
>
> There's nothing "natural" about the metric system (see my other post) - the metre was supposed to be a
> millionth of the distance from Paris to the North Pole, but I believe they got it wrong anyway.  A year is

No, it isn't, it's the 10000ave part of the distance from the equator to
the poles. And was selected that way to be about the size of the former
French unit of measure.

Personaly, the metric system has much more sense than the imperial
units. A cup is 1/4 liter, a long step is a meter, the mass of a liter
of water is a kilogram, also here (in Chile, as many places in South
America), the difference in numbers of adresses is in meters (so, my
work is at 2247, my departament is at 924, so there is 1300 meters
in between), the streets are separated by 100 meters (on average),
etc.

And here, half a liter of beer (or two glasses of 1/4 liter) is the
right quantity!

   Daniel.

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2003\09\12@114037 by Lyle Killough

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I prefer using metric, but can work in imperial if truly pressed, with
one exception - pounds (force) and pounds (mass), and the difference is
a slug.  Arrrrrrgggggg!  I'm old enough that I had to answer physics
problems in both systems, but I always converted imperial problems to
metric to avoid the force/mass confusion, and converted the answer back
at the end.

Canada officially converted to metric in the late 1970's.  I don't know
my weight and height in kg and cm, but in pounds, feet and inches.  I
know how many km I pedal my bike to work, but not miles.  I know how
cold it is in C when I cross country ski 10 km at the x-c area,
elevation 1500 feet.  Maybe my children will get this sorted out.

Lyle Killough

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2003\09\12@163422 by jsand

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Hello PIC.ers,

>
>And to think, by now we could have metric clocks and metric calendars.
>Lets see, would a ten day week or ten day month be more "natural"?
>
>John Ferrell

This is *real* OT.., but whatever gave rise to the worldwide recognition
of the 7 day week in the first place?

Hired a car in the US once, drove it north to New Brunswick, Canada.
South of the border, the speed limits were boringly low, north of it they
were nigh impossible to keep up with.
...wait.. a..minute... they measure distance by `miles' in the US,,, but
use `kilometers'  in ...             duh.
:(|)

           bestos,   John

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2003\09\12@164839 by David VanHorn

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At 10:25 PM 9/12/2003 +0200, jsand wrote:

>Hello PIC.ers,
>
>>
>>And to think, by now we could have metric clocks and metric calendars.
>>Lets see, would a ten day week or ten day month be more "natural"?
>>
>>John Ferrell
>
>This is *real* OT.., but whatever gave rise to the worldwide recognition
>of the 7 day week in the first place?

heavy judaeo-xtian roots, i'd be interested to see what the oriental history of calendars looks like.

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2003\09\12@190600 by Bob Barr

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On Fri, 12 Sep 2003 22:25:37 +0200, jsand wrote:

>This is *real* OT.., but whatever gave rise to the worldwide recognition
>of the 7 day week in the first place?
>
>Hired a car in the US once, drove it north to New Brunswick, Canada.
>South of the border, the speed limits were boringly low, north of it they
>were nigh impossible to keep up with.
>...wait.. a..minute... they measure distance by `miles' in the US,,, but
>use `kilometers'  in ...             duh.
>:(|)
>

A long time ago on a family vacation to Canada, my father was amazed
how expensive the gas was. It was about 25% higher than in the US.
Fortunately, the gas mileage was so incredible (about 25% higher) that
it made the miracle gas up in Canada worth it. :=)


Regards, Bob

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2003\09\13@150628 by Peter L. Peres

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> And to think, by now we could have metric clocks and metric calendars.
> Lets see, would a ten day week or ten day month be more "natural"?

How convenient not to notice that there was only one attempt at decimal
time/date calculations and it was aborted rapidly (after the French
Revolution). Nobody uses decimal dates but some use hexadecimal ;-). The
nautical miles are probably going to stay for a while, they are practical
(1naut.mile = 1second's worth of earth rotation at the equator - very
useful for navigation calculations - especially if you use a sextant).

The problem I see with the imperial system is there are too many
conversion constants and they are not consistent. On the way from
measuring a pcb drill to the area of your property there are enough
conversions to allow for rounding errors several times over imho, even if
you punch the right keys on the calculator every time. Not to mention for
the same on the distance from earth to mars.

Or the fact that a 3/16 drill is actually 0.1875 inches in diameter (wow,
that's accurate) but is specified to within +/-1/32 inches by this
notation (wow, that's inaccurate, it's anything between 0.21875 and
0.15625 inches diameter). That's an impressively accurate way to specify
imprecision (down to 50 nanometers - 1/32in = 0.03125in -> mm = 0.79375
exactly, which is 793.75 micrometers - and good luck with the rounding
errors if you need to multiply this a decent number of times and then
divide back in a DRO or CNC system that cannot do fractions, or, worse,
take a sine or cosine or log or two and then do the opposite operation on
a calculator with fixed precision). I admit that if you grew up
calculating with fractions it is probably natural to use them.

By contrast a metric drill will be specified to 4.8 mm which implies it is
between 4.75 and 4.85 mm diameter. And a propery would be say 30x20 meters
square which is 30,000x20,000 mm^2. Somehow I find this easier to work
with.

The metric constants are all very simple and easy to remember if you do
not need precision. Eg. 1 liter of H2O = 1kg. 1 hectare = 10^10 mm^2 (1ha
= 0.40468726 acre according to my conversion program).  Pressure at 10
meters depth in water is nominally 2at, at 20m 3at, etc, (pressure at sea
level is nominal 1at), 1 metric ton = 1000 kg = 1000000 grams = nominal
weight of 1000 liters of water, which nominally occupies a cubic volume of
1m^3 at stp (?) and so on and so on.

Peter

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2003\09\13@201530 by John Ferrell

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A most interesting topic!
I offer that at times 1 liter IS a satisfying unit of measurement for beer.
Twist drills don't drill round holes anyway.
I have always assumed that the Bible originated the 7 day cycle?

I thought the Romans originated the current calendar with a serious
adjustment of a couple of missing weeks by a Pope (Gregory?) in the 1700's?

Any one standard unit of measurement is insufficient in modern society. The
appropriate standard depends on what you are measuring and for what purpose.
Would you deny mathematicians and scientists the use of radians because
degrees are more popular?

The only time the "proper" standard is in question is when more than one
standard will works equally well.

BTW, I thought there was a full day correction scheduled for the year 2000
between December 31 & January 1. It would be required to correct an
accumulated error had the effect moving the seasons forward(backwards?) one
day. Was it my imagination? I know it never happened. Perhaps I read too
many science fiction novels?

John Ferrell
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Julian NC 27283
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2003\09\14@032937 by Russell McMahon

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> Would you deny mathematicians and scientists the use of radians because
> degrees are more popular?

Actually the same system but with a constant of "about" 57.296 between the
two :-)
Radians are just a way of allowing scientists (and engineers) to be lazy.

The 360 degree circle was introduced along with the 360 day year by the
Babylonians. The latter was also used by numerous ancient culytures,
prsumably because it reflected reality. I'm told by people who genrerally
get it right that they ALL changed to a 365 day year some time around 1400
BC. Suggestions are that there may have been a major interplanetary
resonance with Mars involved and a consequent transfer of energy. (Like
slingshotting space probes elsewards but gets a bit iffy when the
protagonosts have vaguely similar masses). Suggested dates for closest
interaction, depending on who you listen to, are October 25th  1404 BC or
July 22nd 1443 BC.
While most of these ancients were less informed than we, they were largely
not stupid - especially the Babylonians. If they thought the year was 360
days long they may well have had a reason :-). (Warning: If going loking for
any material on this subject be most wary of Erich Von Daniken's musings).

> BTW, I thought there was a full day correction scheduled for the year 2000
> between December 31 & January 1. It would be required to correct an
> accumulated error had the effect moving the seasons forward(backwards?)
one
> day. Was it my imagination? I know it never happened. Perhaps I read too
> many science fiction novels?

Too much Sci Fi :-)
2000 was a leap year because it is divisible by 4
BUT not a leap year because it was a centennial year
BUT a leap year because it was a millennial year
AFAIR.
So that made it a leap year.


       Russell McMahon

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2003\09\14@095823 by Howard Winter

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On Sun, 14 Sep 2003 19:02:27 +1200, Russell McMahon wrote:

> > Would you deny mathematicians and scientists the use of radians because
> > degrees are more popular?
>
> Actually the same system but with a constant of "about" 57.296 between the
> two :-)

Yes, in the same way that inches and millimetres are the same system but with a constant of about 25.4 between
them!  :-)

> Radians are just a way of allowing scientists (and engineers) to be lazy.

Not necessarily a Bad Thing if it means they have one less thing to get wrong!  :-)

{Quote hidden}

Errr - how about a week or so ago?  That was the closest Mars and Earth have come to each other for the past
60,000 years, I believe.  I'm pretty sure we didn't just gain or lose 5 days a year!  :-)

> While most of these ancients were less informed than we, they were largely
> not stupid - especially the Babylonians. If they thought the year was 360
> days long they may well have had a reason :-). (Warning: If going loking for
> any material on this subject be most wary of Erich Von Daniken's musings).

I think the Balylonians just had it wrong, and corrected it when they realised, as Pope Gregory did when it
became clear that 365 wasn't quite right, either.  I wonder what the builders of Stonehenge used as their year
length?

> > BTW, I thought there was a full day correction scheduled for the year 2000
> > between December 31 & January 1. It would be required to correct an
> > accumulated error had the effect moving the seasons forward(backwards?)
> one
> > day. Was it my imagination? I know it never happened. Perhaps I read too
> > many science fiction novels?
>
> Too much Sci Fi :-)

I concur!  :-)  We in Britain did have an extra days' holiday (31st Dec) though.

> 2000 was a leap year because it is divisible by 4
> BUT not a leap year because it was a centennial year
> BUT a leap year because it was a millennial year
> AFAIR.
> So that made it a leap year.

Yup!  As someone who had to code this in Javascript (why on *Earth* doesn't Javascript have a function that
says "is this a valid date?" ?) I found you have to incude all the above elements to avoid a "Millenium Bug",
but I seem to remember the last one should be "because it's divisible by 400", but it was a while ago now and
a tad hazy.  Looking up the exact length of a year in days would solve it, of course.

Cheers,

Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

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2003\09\14@150839 by Peter L. Peres

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> I offer that at times 1 liter IS a satisfying unit of measurement for
> beer.

1 liter ~= 2 pints ? ;-)

> Twist drills don't drill round holes anyway.

No but their un-roundness is less than the drill bit diameter tolerance.

> I have always assumed that the Bible originated the 7 day cycle?

Apparently it is arbitrary (read: conveniently divides 28 which is more or
less the lunar period). Almost everyone uses 7 day weeks, regardless of
the calendar:

http://astro.nmsu.edu/~lhuber/leaphist.html

> I thought the Romans originated the current calendar with a serious

The Romans were in the stone age at the time Babylon flourished, and the
ancient Egyptians and their astronomy predated the Babylonians (there is a
reference on Enoch telling the Hebrews that the year has 365 days and 52
weeks, at a time when no-one else seemed to know this - the Hebrews did
not listen).

> Any one standard unit of measurement is insufficient in modern society.
> The appropriate standard depends on what you are measuring and for what
> purpose.

http://www.physics.nist.gov/cuu/Units/current.html

the current imperial length units are defined with reference to the meter
base unit:

http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/0,,sid9_gci526213,00.html

I particularly like the three barleycorn trick. Almost as neat as the cow
trick for the Fahrenheit temperature scale. If I would be a farmer out
there these measures would be *perfect* for me. But I am not a farmer.

> Would you deny mathematicians and scientists the use of radians because
> degrees are more popular?

No, but I'd like to be able to drill the holes for mounting an item I have
ordered by mail without having to use an infinite precision calculator
that also does fractions, and watching fractional inches tumble by on a
metric dro really makes me ill. I'd rather read the phonebook backwards.

For a taste on consistency in the imperial system try this table from
NIST (all the footnotes and references on 'alternate' miles, tons etc):

http://ts.nist.gov/ts/htdocs/230/235/appxc/appxc.htm

and for some headache-causing rounding rules (see bottom of page):

http://physics.nist.gov/Pubs/SP811/appenB.html

Peter

PS: I am not heckling anybody, least of all a system of measures that is
traceable to the William the Conqueror and maybe ancient Egypt (cubits
etc). It's just that there are some problems when applying this nowadays.

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2003\09\14@182959 by Russell McMahon

face
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> > > Would you deny mathematicians and scientists the use of radians
because
> > > degrees are more popular?
> > Actually the same system but with a constant of "about" 57.296 between
the
> > two :-)

> Yes, in the same way that inches and millimetres are the same system but
with a constant of about 25.4 between
> them!  :-)

Yes. But inches also have a change in scaling constant when you change to
feet, and another when you change to yards. (Arguably degrees have too when
you change to minutes and seconds but in practice fractional degrees are
used as an essential part of using them in calculations).

> > .... I'm told by people who genrerally
> > get it right that they ALL changed to a 365 day year some time around
1400
> > BC. Suggestions are that there may have been a major interplanetary
> > resonance with Mars involved and a consequent transfer of energy.
> >  ....Suggested dates for closest
> > interaction, depending on who you listen to, are October 25th  1404 BC
or
> > July 22nd 1443 BC.
>
> Errr - how about a week or so ago?  That was the closest Mars and Earth
have come to each other for the past
> 60,000 years, I believe.  I'm pretty sure we didn't just gain or lose 5
days a year!  :-)

Different issues. Interbody orbital resonances can do REALLY strange things
to apparently stable solar systems, even throwing away the odd planet or two
in extreme cases. The closeness of approach is important but not the only
factor. I'm aware of Mars recent proximity - very pretty!

> > While most of these ancients were less informed than we, they were
largely
> > not stupid - especially the Babylonians.
> I think the Balylonians just had it wrong, and corrected it when they
realised, ..

Perhaps. But they had the 360 day year for a long time and it would have
been totally obvious to them within a decade if they had it worong and a
nmber of geographically isolated civilisations (apparently) changed their
calendars at the same time. The Babylonians and similar were extremely well
aware of sun and star and (some) planet movement.

Re Stonehenge - it still works they tell me (although when I saw it recently
it just seemed to sit there) - which strongly suggests equal year lengths
then and now.




           Russell McMahon

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2003\09\15@055428 by Howard Winter

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On Sun, 14 Sep 2003 22:08:29 +0300, Peter L. Peres wrote:

> > I offer that at times 1 liter IS a satisfying unit of measurement for
> > beer.
>
> 1 liter ~= 2 pints ? ;-)

"A litre of water's a pint and threequarters"  :-)

> > Twist drills don't drill round holes anyway.
>
> No but their un-roundness is less than the drill bit diameter tolerance.

You obviously haven't seen my drilling!  I can end up with a oval hole that's almost 2:1 in aspect ratio...

>...<

> > Any one standard unit of measurement is insufficient in modern society.
> > The appropriate standard depends on what you are measuring and for what
> > purpose.

I'll drink to that!  :-)

> > Would you deny mathematicians and scientists the use of radians because
> > degrees are more popular?
>
> No, but I'd like to be able to drill the holes for mounting an item I have
> ordered by mail without having to use an infinite precision calculator
> that also does fractions, and watching fractional inches tumble by on a
> metric dro really makes me ill. I'd rather read the phonebook backwards.

Ah, but that's not a problem with Imperial measurements /per se/, but the use of them by different parts of
society.  There's nothing saying that inches have to be expressed in 1/32nds as opposed to "thou" (0.001").
It wouldn't be a problem if drills were made in increments of say 0.01" instead of the various ways that they
are: by 1/32", the "number" and the "letter" sets.  But these have come about because engineering started
without any standards.  Similarly the differing types of screw thread: Metric had the advantage of being
defined from the start, but the others, BSF, UNF, UNC, BA, Whitworth, BSP and all the rest, were developed
individually to solve a particular problem at hand.

> PS: I am not heckling anybody, least of all a system of measures that is
> traceable to the William the Conqueror and maybe ancient Egypt (cubits
> etc). It's just that there are some problems when applying this nowadays.

Only because there's a mixture of ways to use it.  If you want precision engineering you use "thou", if you're
measuring a plot of land you use acres, but they are accurately convertible should you want to - just not in
powers of ten!  :-)  Oh, and some of it goes back to the Romans (miles, for a start) - William the Conqueror
(formerly "William the Bastard" :-) just used what had been in place for a thousand years or so.

Cheers,

Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

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2003\09\15@061542 by Vasile Surducan

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On Mon, 15 Sep 2003, Howard Winter wrote:

> On Sun, 14 Sep 2003 22:08:29 +0300, Peter L. Peres wrote:
>
>
> You obviously haven't seen my drilling!  I can end up with a oval hole that's almost 2:1 in aspect ratio...
>

 That's probably because you haven't the right cutting shape to your
drill :)
 For thin sheet (as PCB) drilling it must be different than a normal
angle drill. Also it has a nodal apex to center quickly on the steel
(or PCB) sheet surface.
 When I was a young boy, at some practical clases, a good sharpened
drill was marked always with an "A" by my old teacher ... :)

top 10 wishes,
Vasile
http://www.geocities.com/vsurducan

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2003\09\15@062620 by Howard Winter

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On Mon, 15 Sep 2003 10:19:22 +1200, Russell McMahon wrote:

<snip!>

> > Yes, in the same way that inches and millimetres are the same system but
> with a constant of about 25.4 between
> > them!  :-)
>
> Yes. But inches also have a change in scaling constant when you change to
> feet, and another when you change to yards. (Arguably degrees have too when
> you change to minutes and seconds but in practice fractional degrees are
> used as an essential part of using them in calculations).

But there's no need to change to feet or yards - I can say that a thing is two yards, six feet, or 72 inches
long, without losing precision, in the same way as I can say that something is two metres or 2000mm - it's
just that the Imperial measures aren't related by powers of ten.  I don't see that it makes them different!

> > > .... I'm told by people who genrerally
> > > get it right that they ALL changed to a 365 day year some time around
> 1400
> > > BC. Suggestions are that there may have been a major interplanetary
> > > resonance with Mars involved and a consequent transfer of energy.
> > >  ....Suggested dates for closest
> > > interaction, depending on who you listen to, are October 25th  1404 BC
> > >  or July 22nd 1443 BC.

I find it very hard to believe that a change this drastic (about 1.4%) would happen in one event when nothing
has happened since, not even recently when we've had several-planet alignment, plus Mars' closest approach,
and nothing whatsoever seems to have changed.  Not to mention the enormous strain on the structure of Earth,
which ought to have caused all sorts of seismic upsets that (as far as I know) haven't been recorded.  Not to
mention that it would have needed a change in Earth's orbital radius of about 2.6million miles (about
4.1million km!)... unless you're saying that the spin speed increased rather than the orbit slowed?

<snip>

{Quote hidden}

Well if it didn't just sit there it wouldn't work!  :-)  (Apparently someone did make a wrist-sundial - it had
a compass built in so you could orient it properly when you wanted to know the time :-)

>- which strongly suggests equal year lengths then and now.

Indeed, which rather clobbers the physical-change theory - Stonehenge is reckoned to be 5,000 years old, well
before the 1400BC that you say the year length may have changed...

Cheers,

Howard Winter
St.Albans, England (site of the Romans' third largest city in Britain, Verulamium).

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2003\09\15@064937 by Howard Winter

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On Fri, 12 Sep 2003 10:09:24 -0400, Daniel Serpell wrote:

> El Fri, Sep 12, 2003 at 09:51:12AM +0100, Howard Winter escribio:
> >
> > There's nothing "natural" about the metric system (see my other post) - the metre was supposed to be a
> > millionth of the distance from Paris to the North Pole, but I believe they got it wrong anyway.  A year is
>
> No, it isn't, it's the 10000ave part of the distance from the equator to
> the poles. And was selected that way to be about the size of the former
> French unit of measure.

OK, I misremembered the actual measurement (surely it must be a million metres, 10,000km?) but I knew it was
devised by the French.

> Personaly, the metric system has much more sense than the imperial
> units. A cup is 1/4 liter, a long step is a meter, the mass of a liter
> of water is a kilogram, also here (in Chile, as many places in South
> America), the difference in numbers of adresses is in meters (so, my
> work is at 2247, my departament is at 924, so there is 1300 meters
> in between), the streets are separated by 100 meters (on average),
> etc.

Sorry, I have to disagree here.  I just meausured cups in my house and they vary from 200 to 400ml, and by
your own logic, a cup could be said to be half a pint...  I don't know *anyone* who's pace is a metre - pace
is usually about the same as inside-leg measurement so they'd have to be pretty darned tall (certainly much
taller than Napoloen, who I believe was responsible for it)!  And an Imperial Gallon is 10lbs of water,
although that's not widely known.  Here in England we number houses serially, with no distance involved, and
certainly no consistent distance between them, or between streets.  (Incidentally, if your streets are 100m
apart, does that imply that where you are each property is 50m deep?).  I find that metric measurements
(especially of weight) are too "big".  Food here is old in grams, and I find that most prepacked foodstuffs
are in odd amounts, a quick check in the kitchen reveals weights of 200, 300, 310, 320, 410, 420, 600g.
Nothing is 250 or 500g, let alone 1kg!

> And here, half a liter of beer (or two glasses of 1/4 liter) is the
> right quantity!

A pint is better, IMHO - it's more than half a litre - you're being sold short!  ;-)

Cheers,

Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

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2003\09\15@065146 by Hulatt, Jon

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>>
>> Yes. But inches also have a change in scaling constant when you change
>> to feet, and another when you change to yards. (Arguably degrees have
>> too when you change to minutes and seconds but in practice fractional
>> degrees are used as an essential part of using them in calculations).

>But there's no need to change to feet or yards - I can say that a thing is
two yards, six feet, or 72 inches long, without losing precision, in the
same way as I can say >that something is two metres or 2000mm - it's just
that the Imperial measures aren't related by powers of ten.  I don't see
that it makes them different!


Someone earlier mentioned  mathematicans being "lazy" for not wanted to
factor their angles to degrees- an entirely arbitrary unit that isn't even
correct (the 360 days/ 360 degrees in a year thing). 2pi is much neater and
more appropriate for maths.

But it's this same laziness, IMHO, that makes the majority of people assume
base 10 is always best, hence metric. We're drilled into working mentally in
base 10, but other bases are often "better" - base 2 and base 16 being
obvious examples for this community.

But the imperial system has one great advantage over metric- more factors.
12 has the factors 1,2,3,4,6 ; wheras 10 has 1,2,5. These factors are often
handy when working with high precision.

And frankly, I find it annoying that all my components and libraries stock
parts with a 2.54mm pitch. Why not quote .1" ? It's more accurate, cos
that's what they actually are.

On a separate note, I rather like the imperial system: it requires more
intelligence to use, and I'm an intellectual snob. Also, I think a pint is a
far better measure than it's closest metric equivalent (because it's bigger-
more beer). And yes, I'm talking imperial, not american, where a pint is
20oz ("a pint of water weighs a pound and a quarter"). I was most
dissapointed the first time I went to america to discover how small their
pints of beer were.

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2003\09\15@065807 by Alan B. Pearce

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>And frankly, I find it annoying that all my components and
>libraries stock parts with a 2.54mm pitch. Why not quote .1" ?
>It's more accurate, cos that's what they actually are.

except that there are more and more components, especially connectors,
coming out on 2.5mm pitch. In the case of connectors, especially short ones,
they can often be used interchangeably on the PCB without modifying the PCB
because the hole size is large enough to fit the slightly smaller pitch
connector.

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2003\09\15@081637 by Russell McMahon

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> There's nothing saying that inches have to be expressed in 1/32nds as
opposed to "thou" (0.001").

No. But usage says that you don't usually use eg 234.45 inches. Whereas you
can happily shift up a gear in a metric system by using a larger unit name
that is really just a way of expressing a power of 10. eg if the base unit
is metre then all units are a power of ten factor and the word metre. In cgs
units you COULD use eg kilometres for length which would be naughty in the
extreme but still entirely understandable as a wrong way of expressing
deca-kilo-centimetres :-)


RM

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2003\09\15@081639 by Russell McMahon

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> But it's this same laziness, IMHO, that makes the majority of people
assume
> base 10 is always best, hence metric. We're drilled into working mentally
in
> base 10, but other bases are often "better" - base 2 and base 16 being
> obvious examples for this community.


Different issues. It's not the base that matters but the fact that ALL
measurements are expressed in terms of the same base. You could have a
measurement system using, say, base 60 ("better" because it has more factors
:-) (2,3,4,5,6,10,12,20,30))  as the Babylonians did and, as long as all
sub-units scaled down in base 60 as well, the system would be fine. It's
when you start changing the base at different arbitrary points along the way
so that you cannot perform consistent computations with the units, that you
have problems.

Inconsistent:
   (Farthing, halfpenny), penny, shilling, pound, guinea.
   Ounce, pound, hundredweight, ton.

Consistent:
   (Angstrom), nanometre, micrometre, millimetre, (centimetre),
(decimetre), metre, kilometre, ...
   Srob, bleck, glurb, tchum        (I made these up)

   All base 10:
   1 bleck = 60 Srob,
   1 glurb = 3600 Srob = 60 bleck
   1 tchum = 216,000...

   Units in brackets do not really belong in each series per se.

Now if a hundredweight had been 125 pounds it may have made some sense :-)
Or somewhere about 128 pounds so that it was the force from something that
massed 4 slugs.
But 112 pounds is useful mainly to terrorise students.

A guinea is an affectation :-)



       Russell McMahon

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2003\09\15@083949 by Dave Tweed

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"Hulatt, Jon" <EraseMEjhulattspamMONSTEREUROPE.COM> wrote:
> And frankly, I find it annoying that all my components and libraries stock
> parts with a 2.54mm pitch. Why not quote .1" ? It's more accurate, cos
> that's what they actually are.

2.54mm = 0.1" exactly, by definition

-- Dave Tweed

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2003\09\15@102220 by John Ferrell

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Metric conversion in the machine shop has been easy. A lathe includes a pair
of drive gears in a 100/127 ratio.

John Ferrell
6241 Phillippi Rd
Julian NC 27283
Phone: (336)685-9606
RemoveMEjohnferrellEraseMEspamEraseMEearthlink.net
Dixie Competition Products
NSRCA 479 AMA 4190  W8CCW
"My Competition is Not My Enemy"


{Original Message removed}

2003\09\15@104056 by John Ferrell

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RE:
"I find it very hard to believe that a change this drastic (about 1.4%)
would happen in one event when nothing has happened since, not even recently
when we've had several-planet alignment, plus Mars' closest approach, and
nothing whatsoever seems to have changed.  Not to mention the enormous
strain on the structure of Earth, which ought to have caused all sorts of
seismic upsets that (as far as I know) haven't been recorded. "

There was a small tremor in Reidsville North Carolina the other night. This
unusual, but not unheard of. No damage, too small to bother the rest of the
world news.

John Ferrell
6241 Phillippi Rd
Julian NC 27283
Phone: (336)685-9606
RemoveMEjohnferrellspam_OUTspamKILLspamearthlink.net
Dixie Competition Products
NSRCA 479 AMA 4190  W8CCW
"My Competition is Not My Enemy"

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2003\09\15@104307 by Daniel Serpell

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El Mon, Sep 15, 2003 at 11:49:32AM +0100, Howard Winter escribio:
>
> OK, I misremembered the actual measurement (surely it must be a million metres, 10,000km?) but I knew it was
> devised by the French.

Yes, it's 10000Km from equator to poles, or 10.000.000 meters. :-)

> Sorry, I have to disagree here.  I just meausured cups in my house and they vary from 200 to 400ml, and by
> your own logic, a cup could be said to be half a pint...  I don't know *anyone* who's pace is a metre - pace

I was talking about a big step, here we are educated in meters,
so you learn to take big-steps to measure things in meters.

> taller than Napoloen, who I believe was responsible for it)!  And an Imperial Gallon is 10lbs of water,
> although that's not widely known.  Here in England we number houses serially, with no distance involved, and

Yes, I visited London and learned that... to someone accustomed to how
the house numbers are here, it's very confusing !

> certainly no consistent distance between them, or between streets.  (Incidentally, if your streets are 100m
> apart, does that imply that where you are each property is 50m deep?).

No, there are 4 sides in each square, so the distribution isn't as
simple. In the old downtowns, originally each square had one big house,
with a central garden inside. Remember that the spanish build our cities
all with the same blueprints :-)

Now, you usually see streets of 50m, so each "square" is actually 50x100
meters.

> I find that metric measurements
> (especially of weight) are too "big".  Food here is old in grams, and I find that most prepacked foodstuffs
> are in odd amounts, a quick check in the kitchen reveals weights of 200, 300, 310, 320, 410, 420, 600g.
> Nothing is 250 or 500g, let alone 1kg!

Well, here we have the duality: when you buy fresh fruits, vegetables,
etc, you buy at kg (so, you usually buy 1kg of apples, etc.). But
packaged food is sometimes in "imperial-converted units". Beberages
are sell in liters when the quantity is large (ie, 2, 2.5 or 3 liters
of cola), but in odd numbers when it's small (the little bottle of
cola is 385cc).

   Daniel.

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2003\09\16@072834 by Howard Winter

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On Tue, 16 Sep 2003 00:11:55 +1200, Russell McMahon wrote:

{Quote hidden}

Now this is an interesting point - what you have above is two things combined, a unit (metre) and scale
(milli, deci, etc) and we use them as if they are a single entity.  The same happens with inches, but new
names have been made up for brevity.  Instead of saying a "dozeninch" we say "foot".  So as I see it, the two
things making metric measurement easier to handle are its use of base-10 for all scaling, and its use of
standard scaling factor names across the board.  So we know that if a millimetre is 1 metre/1000, we know
without being told that a millilitre is 1 litre/1000.  The Imperial system is harder because it uses different
scaling factors and different names for the scaled measurements, or at least it usually does...

You would have liked the scheme used in a firm I used to work for, which made stationery.  Books were counted
like this:

1 Book = 1 Twelfth
12 Twelfths = 1 Dozen
12 Dozen = 1 Gross
12 Gross = 1 Great Gross

When they did physical stock checks they would write on the sheets something like:  0 / 4 / 2 / 6 and someone
sat at a computer keyboard would convert it using mental arithmetic or a calculator, into numbers that they
could enter into the system.  The warehouse system that I designed dealt with *all sorts* of units of measure,
but I drew the line at having base-12 multiple units like this, especially as they never had packs of less
than three books anyway, so they entered it in dozens with up to 2 decimal places.

(By the way the total of the above is 606 books, or 50.5 dozen!  :-)

> Now if a hundredweight had been 125 pounds it may have made some sense :-)
> Or somewhere about 128 pounds so that it was the force from something that
> massed 4 slugs.
> But 112 pounds is useful mainly to terrorise students.

Well it came from 8 Stone to the hundredweight, but quite why a Stone is 14lbs I really can't fathom!  :-)  A
half-hundredweight is very close to 25kg though, so it's handy for sacks of potatoes...

> A guinea is an affectation :-)

Indeed, it was used for auctions where the seller got the £ and the auctioneer got the shilling, so it was
basically an easy way to express a 5% premium.  It was probably decimalised to £1.10 - almost everything else
went up as a result of going to £1 = 100 New Pence  :(

Cheers,

Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

Who was it who said "Gross indecency = 144 times worse than normal indecency" ?  :-)

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2003\09\20@054413 by Howard Winter

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On Tue, 16 Sep 2003 00:11:55 +1200, Russell McMahon wrote:

{Quote hidden}

Now this is an interesting point - what you have above is two things combined, a unit (metre) and scale
(milli, deci, etc) and we use them as if they are a single entity.  The same happens with inches, but new
names have been made up for brevity.  Instead of saying a "dozeninch" we say "foot".  So as I see it, the two
things making metric measurement easier to handle are its use of base-10 for all scaling, and its use of
standard scaling factor names across the board.  So we know that if a millimetre is 1 metre/1000, we know
without being told that a millilitre is 1 litre/1000.  The Imperial system is harder because it uses different
scaling factors and different names for the scaled measurements, or at least it usually does...

You would have liked the scheme used in a firm I used to work for, which made stationery.  Books were counted
like this:

1 Book = 1 Twelfth
12 Twelfths = 1 Dozen
12 Dozen = 1 Gross
12 Gross = 1 Great Gross

When they did physical stock checks they would write on the sheets something like:  0 / 4 / 2 / 6 and someone
sat at a computer keyboard would convert it using mental arithmetic or a calculator, into numbers that they
could enter into the system.  The warehouse system that I designed dealt with *all sorts* of units of measure,
but I drew the line at having base-12 multiple units like this, especially as they never had packs of less
than three books anyway, so they entered it in dozens with up to 2 decimal places.

(By the way the total of the above is 606 books, or 50.5 dozen!  :-)

> Now if a hundredweight had been 125 pounds it may have made some sense :-)
> Or somewhere about 128 pounds so that it was the force from something that
> massed 4 slugs.
> But 112 pounds is useful mainly to terrorise students.

Well it came from 8 Stone to the hundredweight, but quite why a Stone is 14lbs I really can't fathom!  :-)  A
half-hundredweight is very close to 25kg though, so it's handy for sacks of potatoes...

> A guinea is an affectation :-)

Indeed, it was used for auctions where the seller got the £ and the auctioneer got the shilling, so it was
basically an easy way to express a 5% premium.  It was probably decimalised to £1.10 - almost everything else
went up as a result of going to £1 = 100 New Pence  :(

Cheers,

Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

Who was it who said "Gross indecency = 144 times worse than normal indecency" ?  :-)

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2003\09\20@065652 by Russell McMahon

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> You could have a
> measurement system using, say, base 60 ("better" because it has more
factors
> :-) (2,3,4,5,6,10,12,20,30))

Hmm - everyone was kind enough to ignore the fact that I didn't consider 15
to be a factor of 60 :-)


       RM

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2003\09\20@080041 by Howard Winter

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Russell,

On Sat, 20 Sep 2003 22:56:58 +1200, Russell McMahon
wrote:

> > You could have a
> > measurement system using, say, base 60 ("better"
because it has more
> factors
> > :-) (2,3,4,5,6,10,12,20,30))
>
> Hmm - everyone was kind enough to ignore the fact that
I didn't consider 15
> to be a factor of 60 :-)

I never did like 15 - a nothingy, awkward sort of
number.  A bit like February - better off without it...
:-)

Cheers,

Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

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