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'[OT]: US and Metric System: UK viewpoint'
2002\03\08@025422 by

Hello all,

As one who started learning the Imperial system at school, then suffered
three attempts at metrication (CGS, MKS, SI) I would like to add my
comments.

Metrication and decimalisation go hand-in-hand. Decimalisation is a VERY
BAD THING! As a base for a numbering system, only odd numbers could be
worse. It's a throwback to when we counted on fingers, and I stopped
doing that before I started school. (OK, I still do it sometimes, but
now it's in binary so I can count to 1023).

The usefulness of a numbering system depends upon its factors. We had a
wonderful currency system here in which 240 pennies made one pound. 240
has more factors than any smaller number, and we could divide our pound
equally by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 16, 20, 24, 30, 40, 48, 60, 80
and 120. Now we have 100 pennies to the pound so we can divide it
equally by 2, 4, 5, 10, 20, 50. See the difference?

The Imperial system was, as Sean said, based on human dimensions while
the metric system was based on a MIScalculation of the earth's
circumference.

History aside, I think the main advantage of the Imperial system is that
it teaches flexibility of the brain. Someone who has only learned the
metric system can count in base 10. Someone who studies digital
electronics can (I hope) also count in base 2 (binary), base 16
(hexadecimal) and maybe base 8 (octal). Someone who has learned the
Imperial system can count in base 3 (yards and feet), base 6 (fathoms
and feet), base 8 (gallons and pints), base 12 (pennies and shillings,
feet and inches), base 14 (stones and pounds), base 16 (pounds and
ounces) base 20 (pints and fluid ounces)... no wonder the people who
only know the decimal system think Imperial is difficult; their brains
weren't programmed for it at an early age. The decimal system is easy to
use if you only have ten digits (0 to 9) but is very restrictive. Throw
in another 6 (A to F or some new characters), learn to count in hex and
the folly of the decimal system becomes apparent.

I drive miles, drink pints, weigh stones and pounds. I weigh my mail in
grams and measure my radio waves in metres. When it comes to measuring,
say, a piece of metal I count myself lucky that I am equally familiar
with decimal inch, fractional inch and millimetre measurements. My brain
was programmed early enough for me to have learned flexibility. I thank
the Imperial system for that.

A circle is divided into 360 degrees. Anyone in favour of making that
100?

John
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And how would decimalisation of time works?  100 minutes per hour?

Chris A

----- Original Message -----
From: "John Fletcher" <PICKANGA.DEMON.CO.UK>
To: <PICLISTMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Friday, 08 March, 2002 09:52
Subject: [OT]: US and Metric System: UK viewpoint

Hello all,

As one who started learning the Imperial system at school, then
suffered
three attempts at metrication (CGS, MKS, SI) I would like to add my
comments.

Metrication and decimalisation go hand-in-hand. Decimalisation is a
VERY
BAD THING! As a base for a numbering system, only odd numbers could be
worse. It's a throwback to when we counted on fingers, and I stopped
doing that before I started school. (OK, I still do it sometimes, but
now it's in binary so I can count to 1023).

The usefulness of a numbering system depends upon its factors. We had
a
wonderful currency system here in which 240 pennies made one pound.
240
has more factors than any smaller number, and we could divide our
pound
equally by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 16, 20, 24, 30, 40, 48, 60,
80
and 120. Now we have 100 pennies to the pound so we can divide it
equally by 2, 4, 5, 10, 20, 50. See the difference?

The Imperial system was, as Sean said, based on human dimensions while
the metric system was based on a MIScalculation of the earth's
circumference.

History aside, I think the main advantage of the Imperial system is
that
it teaches flexibility of the brain. Someone who has only learned the
metric system can count in base 10. Someone who studies digital
electronics can (I hope) also count in base 2 (binary), base 16
(hexadecimal) and maybe base 8 (octal). Someone who has learned the
Imperial system can count in base 3 (yards and feet), base 6 (fathoms
and feet), base 8 (gallons and pints), base 12 (pennies and shillings,
feet and inches), base 14 (stones and pounds), base 16 (pounds and
ounces) base 20 (pints and fluid ounces)... no wonder the people who
only know the decimal system think Imperial is difficult; their brains

weren't programmed for it at an early age. The decimal system is easy
to
use if you only have ten digits (0 to 9) but is very restrictive.
Throw
in another 6 (A to F or some new characters), learn to count in hex
and
the folly of the decimal system becomes apparent.

I drive miles, drink pints, weigh stones and pounds. I weigh my mail
in
grams and measure my radio waves in metres. When it comes to
measuring,
say, a piece of metal I count myself lucky that I am equally familiar
with decimal inch, fractional inch and millimetre measurements. My
brain
was programmed early enough for me to have learned flexibility. I
thank
the Imperial system for that.

A circle is divided into 360 degrees. Anyone in favour of making that
100?

John
--
John Fletcher

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I like to drink in litres and I measure circles in 2pi radians ;-)

> I drive miles, drink pints, weigh stones and pounds. I weigh
> my mail in grams and measure my radio waves in metres. When
> it comes to measuring, say, a piece of metal I count myself
> lucky that I am equally familiar with decimal inch,
> fractional inch and millimetre measurements. My brain was
> programmed early enough for me to have learned flexibility. I
> thank the Imperial system for that.
>
> A circle is divided into 360 degrees. Anyone in favour of
> making that 100?
>
> John
> --
> John Fletcher

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> I drive miles, drink pints, weigh stones and pounds. I weigh
> my mail in
> grams and measure my radio waves in metres. When it comes to
> measuring,
> say, a piece of metal I count myself lucky that I am equally familiar
> with decimal inch, fractional inch and millimetre
> measurements. My brain
> was programmed early enough for me to have learned
> flexibility. I thank
> the Imperial system for that.

I'm not sure I was programmed as such - I just use the units that seem most
appropriate to me.

Apples - lbs.  Not that the EU agrees, but never mind.
Other masses - kgs.
My own weight - oddball - kgs rather than lbs & stone.
Length - Imperial or metric depending on what I'm doing.
Pressure in bar - translated to PSI for divers who don't use metric.
Depth in m - translated to fsw similarly.
Distance driving - miles
Distance walking - km
Bearings in degrees
Angles in radians (usually)

And none of the timber merchants I use think it odd that I ask for a 2m
length of 4x2...

> A circle is divided into 360 degrees. Anyone in favour of making that
> 100?

6400 always had more appeal to me <G>

Peter
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>I'm not sure I was programmed as such - I just use the
>units that seem most appropriate to me.

I used to confuse people by telling them the property I owned was an acre
plus 10 sq m ;)

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If the minutes are the same length, yes please. I could get 66.666666666
66666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666%
more done in a day. I mean, two thirds.

John

In message <0a8c01c1c67c\$ad59c370\$0100a8c0@demoina>, Jafta
<jaftaADEPT.CO.ZA> writes
>And how would decimalisation of time works?  100 minutes per hour?
>
>Chris A
>

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Hi,

Don't you mean *approximately*
66.66666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666%

more done in a day?

;-)

On this subject, I can never envisage drinking half-litres of beer. There
is just no incentive with litres....not like there is with hitting the
gallon mark(!)

Dan

To: PICLISTMITVMA.MIT.EDU
cc:
From: John Fletcher <PICKANGA.DEMON.CO.UK>
Subject: Re: [OT]: US and Metric System: UK viewpoint

If the minutes are the same length, yes please. I could get 66.666666666
66666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666%
more done in a day. I mean, two thirds.

John

In message <0a8c01c1c67c\$ad59c370\$0100a8c0@demoina>, Jafta
<jaftaADEPT.CO.ZA> writes
>And how would decimalisation of time works?  100 minutes per hour?
>
>Chris A
>

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Surlignage John Fletcher <PICKANGA.DEMON.CO.UK>:

> Hello all,

And we should all drive on the WRONG side of the road...

> A circle is divided into 360 degrees. Anyone in favour of making that
> 100?

Yes, there is such a unit, grades, for which a 1/4 of a circle is 100 units.

{Quote hidden}

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>On this subject, I can never envisage drinking half-litres of beer. There
>is just no incentive with litres....not like there is with hitting the
>gallon mark(!)

Or doing the ton in a car :)))) Somehow 161kph just doesn't have the same
ring to it.

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> A circle is divided into 360 degrees. Anyone in favour of making that
> 100?

In some instances, two times pi looks better!

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

>

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> And we should all drive on the WRONG side of the road...

OK, but we'll have to implement it in stages. First year, only trucks and
busses drive on the wrong side of the road.  Second year...

Colin

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> > A circle is divided into 360 degrees. Anyone in favour of making that
> > 100?

400 makes some kind of sense (100 per quadrant)

Bob Amemrman
RAm Systems

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On Fri, 8 Mar 2002 11:36:36 -0800 Bob Ammerman <rammermanADELPHIA.NET>
writes:
> > > A circle is divided into 360 degrees. Anyone in favour of making
> that
> > > 100?
>
> 400 makes some kind of sense (100 per quadrant)
>

Doesn't the 360 degree circle follow from some ancient civilization that
used a base 60 number system? And our 60 minutes per hour, 60 seconds per
minute, etc. Anyone remember the Saturday Night Live skit on the metric
day? Just like the current day, but it has 100 hours...  I've had days
like that...

Harold

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The Sumerians used base 60 which is convenient for dividing and
multiplying as it has factors of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 15, 20, and 30.
The Sumerians also divided the circle into 360 degrees as an echo of the
days of the year.  Fragments of this Sumerian legacy live on in our
modern expression of angles in 'degrees, minutes and seconds' and our
similar division of the day into 'hours, minutes and seconds' -all in
base 60.  The word dozen derives from a Sumerian word meaning 'A fifth
of 60'.

Babylonians took over the same system from the Sumerians. From there, I
think it passed to the Semites and then to the Phoenicians.

I always figured if man had two fingers, we'd all count in binary.

The Mayans had a base 20, used positional notation and knew about 0.

Egyptians used base 10 with an additive system (similar to Roman
notation) and had been using it since at least 1450BC.

Al Williams
AWC
* Easy RS-232 Prototyping
http://www.al-williams.com/awce/rs1.htm

> {Original Message removed}
Nice history! Your " I always figured if man had two fingers, we'd all
count in binary." reminds me that we DO count in binary, at least to the
right of the decimal (or is that binary) point? In the US, fractional
measurements are all done on powers of 2. Thus, we measure 1/2, 1/4, 1/8,
1/16, and 1/32 of an inch...  People use base 2 every day and don't
realize it...

Harold

On Fri, 8 Mar 2002 11:23:27 -0600 Al Williams <alwAL-WILLIAMS.COM>
writes:
{Quote hidden}

> > {Original Message removed}
After the French revolution they tried metric time.  The day was divided
into 10 hours, the hour into 100 minutes, and the minute into 100
seconds.  That made the second about 80% of our current second.  It
flopped, but there are some rare clocks that were built that way.

Sherpa Doug

> {Original Message removed}
Then we had to go mess it up by making our pin spacing 1/10 of an inch.  ;-)

-Adam

Harold M Hallikainen wrote:

{Quote hidden}

>>>{Original Message removed}
Hmmm... Never thought of that. I wrote in a book somewhere that if we
counted in binary, you could count to 1024 on your fingers.

Al Williams
AWC
* Floating point A/D
http://www.al-williams.com/awce/pak9.htm

> {Original Message removed}
Actually that would be 1023, assuming unsigned fixed point ;=)

David Koski
davidKosmosIsland.com

On Fri, 8 Mar 2002 13:01:17 -0600
Al Williams <alwAL-WILLIAMS.COM> wrote:

> Hmmm... Never thought of that. I wrote in a book somewhere that if we
> counted in binary, you could count to 1024 on your fingers.
>
> Al Williams
> AWC
> * Floating point A/D
> http://www.al-williams.com/awce/pak9.htm
>
>
>
> > {Original Message removed}
"I always figured if man had two fingers, we'd all count in binary."

So how come we didn't end up using base 21?  :-) :-) :-)

----- Original Message -----
From: "Al Williams" <alwAL-WILLIAMS.COM>
To: <PICLISTMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Friday, March 08, 2002 11:23 AM
Subject: Re: [OT]: US and Metric System: UK viewpoint

{Quote hidden}

> > {Original Message removed}
> And how would decimalisation of time works?  100 minutes per hour?

10 hours of 100 minutes with 100 seconds hour per "day"
(retaining the day as 1 revolution of the Earth).  I think
that breaking the light/dark relation would be going too far.

Each "decimal time" day would be 100,000 seconds.  So each
new decimal second would be 15% shorter than a current second
(86,400 / 100,000 = 0.864:1 is 15.7% shorter).

>> History aside, I think the main advantage of the Imperial system
>> is that it teaches flexibility of the brain.

I think that's a crock.  Most people try really hard not to
exercise their brains.

For example, children are still taught time in base 12, yet give
almost any of them an afternoon time in 24 hour format and you'll
get a blank stare (even after you explain it).

>> I weigh my mail in grams

I weigh my mail in megabytes.  And on a day with a busy PIC list...

Lee Jones

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Cause women couldn't figure out how to count on their toes.

Pic Dude wrote:
>
> "I always figured if man had two fingers, we'd all count in binary."
>
> So how come we didn't end up using base 21?  :-) :-) :-)
>

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At 01:29 PM 3/8/02 -0600, you wrote:
>"I always figured if man had two fingers, we'd all count in binary."
>
>So how come we didn't end up using base 21?  :-) :-) :-)

In cold climates counting on your nose is gross.

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
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> Actually that would be 1023, assuming unsigned fixed point ;=)
>
> David Koski

Your assuming that we would number the first item 0.  ;-)

michael

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No, you just hit the guy next to you.  It's called a 'carry' operation.

"Have a bit, chuck!"  **WHAP**

-Adam

David Koski wrote:

{Quote hidden}

>>>{Original Message removed}
>         Doesn't the 360 degree circle follow from some ancient
civilization that
> used a base 60 number system? And our 60 minutes per hour, 60 seconds per
> minute, etc. Anyone remember the Saturday Night Live skit on the metric
> day? Just like the current day, but it has 100 hours...  I've had days
> like that...

I vote that the sun/earth system must accept the metric system too. 1000
days per year! And what about computer engineers? 1000 bytes to the
kilobyte! And of course there must be 10 bits in a byte, and we might as
well start calling it a decabyte. Who has been stealing those 2 * 1000 /
1024 bits per kilobyte from me all those year?

Wouter van Ooijen
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On Fri, 8 Mar 2002 12:15:56 -0800 Lee Jones <leeFRUMBLE.CLAREMONT.EDU>
writes:
> > And how would decimalisation of time works?  100 minutes per hour?
>
> 10 hours of 100 minutes with 100 seconds hour per "day"
> (retaining the day as 1 revolution of the Earth).  I think
> that breaking the light/dark relation would be going too far.
>

I read (I think it was in The Discoverers) that originally, our time
system had a 12 hour DAY (that being the time when the sun was up). The
daylight time was broken into 12ths and people would schedule stuff based
on that. There was no telling time at night. The original mechanical
clocks had complicated mechanisms to change the length of an hour with
the seasons so it would stay in sync with the 12 hour DAY. This
eventually changed to our current 24 hour day with each hour being the
same amount of time, no matter what the season.

Harold

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