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Old 6th January 2018, 04:15 PM   #161
Craig B
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Originally Posted by Senex View Post
You don't understand what it's like to grow up abused because us non-metric people deigned to save your asses.
If that is a reference to WW2 you should be reminded that at that time and for the next several decades the UK was non metric too.

But perhaps it isn't a reference to WW2. It looks very discourteous, and is hard to understand.
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Old 6th January 2018, 05:36 PM   #162
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Originally Posted by Octavo View Post
Agreed. It depends on what you grew up with. You have heuristics in your head that you know from experience (I can walk about 4km in an hour at a leisurely pace and a warm day is 27°) . I have no easily accessible idea of how far a mile is or how hot 97F is. I would have to convert to metric before I'd be able to appreciate the significance of that same number to someone who grew up abused (taught non-metric units)

I was one such abused and was delighted when Australia became metric.

Gone were the 12 inches to a foot, 3 feet to the yard, 1760 yards to the mile, which is not to mention chains (66 ft), furlongs, fathoms, and so on - and this is just linear length measurements.

Interesting that the calorie, used for the measurement of energy in foods previously in Australia and I think in the US now, is actually a metric unit.
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Old 6th January 2018, 05:40 PM   #163
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
If that is a reference to WW2 you should be reminded that at that time and for the next several decades the UK was non metric too.

But perhaps it isn't a reference to WW2. It looks very discourteous, and is hard to understand.

Yes and as I understand it, people who do serious calculations like scientists, use the metric system in the USA now.
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Old 6th January 2018, 05:58 PM   #164
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The calorie is a sort-of metric unit in that it's the energy required to heat one cubic centimetre of pure water by one degree Celsius. But the calories used to label food are actually so-called "grand calories" or kilocalories - so the energy needed to raise a whole litre ( or kilogram - same thing ) of water by one degree.

The real SI unit for energy is the Joule ( a Watt second ) so really food should be labelled in joules instead of kilocalories. I think this is starting to happen now, with both kilocalories and joules shown on some food packaging.
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Old 6th January 2018, 06:22 PM   #165
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Interesting that the calorie, used for the measurement of energy in foods previously in Australia and I think in the US now, is actually a metric unit.
Calorie = energy required to heat 1 cc of water 1 degree Centigrade under atmospheric pressure of "1" ... but in nutrition when we say "calorie" we really mean "kilocalorie."

In print media we used picas: 12 points to a pica, 6 picas to an inch. Therefore 72-point type would be 1 inch tall. The newspaper where I worked is long gone but I still have my pica pole.

I can do km to mile pretty fluently but temperature is harder for some reason.

ETA: See above; I'm sure it's more precise.
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Old 6th January 2018, 07:12 PM   #166
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I hate the fact that in America (and maybe other countries I'm not sure) we call a Kilocalorie a calorie but still use the same measurements. It's weird and I don't know if there's a reason for it.
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Old 6th January 2018, 10:32 PM   #167
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
I hate the fact that in America (and maybe other countries I'm not sure) we call a Kilocalorie a calorie but still use the same measurements. It's weird and I don't know if there's a reason for it.
That seems to happen here in ZA as well. It's very confusing and I don't get the reason for it either.
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Old 6th January 2018, 10:59 PM   #168
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Originally Posted by fagin View Post
No it would be 73 and a bit cm.
No it would be 29"

That's the problem with French units. They were chosen to relate to the real world (in this case one ten thousand's of the distance from the Pole to the Equator) and not ordinary life.

Buy this HD TV with a GIANT 73 cm screen! Big number, sounds impressive, because human brains can't image metric dimensions.
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Old 6th January 2018, 11:05 PM   #169
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Originally Posted by Noztradamus View Post
No it would be 29"

That's the problem with French units. They were chosen to relate to the real world (in this case one ten thousand's of the distance from the Pole to the Equator) and not ordinary life.

Buy this HD TV with a GIANT 73 cm screen! Big number, sounds impressive, because human brains can't image metric dimensions.
Umm... No. Have you just not been reading the thread?

If you grow up with metric, you think in metric. I know exactly how long 73cm is and have no problem accurately holding my hands near as dammit to 73cm apart.

This whole imperial makes sense in human scales is arrogant bunk, disapproved several times over in this very thread if you just bothered to read.
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Old 6th January 2018, 11:13 PM   #170
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
I was one such abused and was delighted when Australia became metric.

Gone were the 12 inches to a foot, 3 feet to the yard, 1760 yards to the mile, which is not to mention chains (66 ft), furlongs, fathoms, and so on - and this is just linear length measurements.

Interesting that the calorie, used for the measurement of energy in foods previously in Australia and I think in the US now, is actually a metric unit.
Do you still refer to people's heights in feet and inches? Because I do, and when I ask even young people their height they invariable say 5 ft 10 ins or whatever.
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Old 6th January 2018, 11:45 PM   #171
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Jesus Christ I just opined as to the possibility of a minor emotional bias in some contexts due to human conceptualizing of base 10 preferences and the scale at which the Imperial vs Metric systems have their base units at. I openly stated that it was a minor thing at best massively offset by the precision and logical scaling by 10 of the Metric System.

I though Metric was a measuring system not the one true religion. I'm sorry I didn't mean to start a schism in the church.
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Old 6th January 2018, 11:49 PM   #172
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
Jesus Christ I just opined as to the possibility of a minor emotional bias in some contexts due to human conceptualizing of base 10 preferences and the scale at which the Imperial vs Metric systems have their base units at. I openly stated that it was a minor thing at best massively offset by the precision and logical scaling by 10 of the Metric System.

I though Metric was a measuring system not the one true religion. I'm sorry I didn't mean to start a schism in the church.
Don't apologize, Joe! Just ask them their shoe size!!! Bwahahahahahahahaha!!!
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Old 7th January 2018, 12:01 AM   #173
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Do you still refer to people's heights in feet and inches? Because I do, and when I ask even young people their height they invariable say 5 ft 10 ins or whatever.
What units are used where you are for the weight of newborn babies?
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Old 7th January 2018, 12:27 AM   #174
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
Jesus Christ I just opined as to the possibility of a minor emotional bias in some contexts due to human conceptualizing of base 10 preferences and the scale at which the Imperial vs Metric systems have their base units at. I openly stated that it was a minor thing at best massively offset by the precision and logical scaling by 10 of the Metric System.

I though Metric was a measuring system not the one true religion. I'm sorry I didn't mean to start a schism in the church.
Well there's the problem. Those still clinging to the last vestiges of the imperial system shall be swept aside by the power of this fully functional and operating measuring system! Watch now as your precious imperial system is finally destroyed!! Mwahahaha!
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Old 7th January 2018, 12:31 AM   #175
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
What units are used where you are for the weight of newborn babies?
I still convert it back to pounds and ounces, but for some reason weights in kilograms have become the norm where meters for heights have not.
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Old 7th January 2018, 01:55 AM   #176
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
What units are used where you are for the weight of newborn babies?
What gets me is people seem to measure babies by length, not height.

Perhaps it's sensible.

"How tall is that writhing mass of pukey poo?" kind of seems wrong.
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Old 7th January 2018, 03:23 AM   #177
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
I still convert it back to pounds and ounces, but for some reason weights in kilograms have become the norm where meters for heights have not.

It sort of proves the point that either is good if that's what you are used to. However if you want to do sums with less chance of error and be able to check them, then metric wins.
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Old 7th January 2018, 03:48 AM   #178
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Originally Posted by Noztradamus View Post
No it would be 29"

That's the problem with French units. They were chosen to relate to the real world (in this case one ten thousand's of the distance from the Pole to the Equator) and not ordinary life.

Buy this HD TV with a GIANT 73 cm screen! Big number, sounds impressive, because human brains can't image metric dimensions.
What's 'ordinary life' about pounds? Is 154lbs somehow easier to visualise than 70 kilos, or is that larger number of pounds meant to sound impressive?

Miles? Gallons? Or maybe you were being ironic.
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Old 7th January 2018, 03:58 AM   #179
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Originally Posted by Noztradamus View Post
No it would be 29"

That's the problem with French units. They were chosen to relate to the real world (in this case one ten thousand's of the distance from the Pole to the Equator) and not ordinary life.
Do you live on some asteroid with a quarter circumference ten kilometres in length?
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Old 7th January 2018, 04:18 AM   #180
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
What's 'ordinary life' about pounds? Is 154lbs somehow easier to visualise than 70 kilos, or is that larger number of pounds meant to sound impressive?
That's why we have the stone in the UK; I don't know how the US came to drop them. The range of weights for a normal adult is, very roughly, 8 - 16 stone.


ETA: A bit of googling suggests that the stone was not standardised in the UK until 1824, so that might be a factor, so the differing values might have worked against its adoption (though I don't see any reason in principle why the intermediate weight could not have been used with a local definition, as happened with pints (though, again, I don't know the history of that)).
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Old 7th January 2018, 04:28 AM   #181
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Originally Posted by Noztradamus View Post
No it would be 29"

That's the problem with French units. They were chosen to relate to the real world (in this case one ten thousand's of the distance from the Pole to the Equator) and not ordinary life.

Buy this HD TV with a GIANT 73 cm screen! Big number, sounds impressive, because human brains can't image metric dimensions.
What on Earth are you talking about? I think pretty much everyone using the metric system will be able to estimate a length of 73 cm. What makes 29 inches superior in that regard?
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Old 7th January 2018, 07:32 AM   #182
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
That's why we have the stone in the UK; I don't know how the US came to drop them. The range of weights for a normal adult is, very roughly, 8 - 16 stone.
One curiosity I noticed when watching programs like Mythbusters is the American attachment to pounds, even when dealing with large numbers. The show might mention the weight of a hefty bulldozer, say, as 100,000 lbs and that means absolutely nothing to me, whereas 'about 50 tons/tonnes' does. Nobody says that they have a 18,000 yard journey to work as they would naturally switch to the next larger unit, i.e. about 10 miles, so why go for large numbers of pounds?
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Old 7th January 2018, 07:44 AM   #183
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It sounds more impressive.

Like measuring your obvious in mm. Or Trump measuring his hands in Planck lengths.
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Old 7th January 2018, 08:12 AM   #184
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Originally Posted by Noztradamus View Post
No it would be 29"

That's the problem with French units. They were chosen to relate to the real world (in this case one ten thousand's of the distance from the Pole to the Equator) and not ordinary life.

Buy this HD TV with a GIANT 73 cm screen! Big number, sounds impressive, because human brains can't image metric dimensions.
But I can, because I grew up with the metric system. In the CRT era, a standard TV was 55cm, a big one 66cm. Computer monitors, OTOH, have always been measured in inches over here as well, so "42 cm" would be really confusing, as opposed to 17"

Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
What units are used where you are for the weight of newborn babies?
My mom always used "pond", which in Dutch parlance is 500g, i.e., a metricized pound. Likewise, the Dutch word "ons" (cf. ounce) has been reused to mean 100g. They're both still in common use (but unofficial) as they're useful.

As others have said, it boils down to what you grew up with. And with the metric prefixes, it's always possible tot express some measure in a conveniently small number.
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Old 7th January 2018, 08:15 AM   #185
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
One curiosity I noticed when watching programs like Mythbusters is the American attachment to pounds, even when dealing with large numbers. The show might mention the weight of a hefty bulldozer, say, as 100,000 lbs and that means absolutely nothing to me, whereas 'about 50 tons/tonnes' does. Nobody says that they have a 18,000 yard journey to work as they would naturally switch to the next larger unit, i.e. about 10 miles, so why go for large numbers of pounds?
Sometimes, big numbers are just impressive for the hell of it.

In the 1950s, France introduced the "new franc" with the value of 100 "old franc". Even today, French people, even young people, express the prices of houses and cars in old francs.
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Old 7th January 2018, 08:21 AM   #186
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What confuses the hell out of me is that for some Imperial measures, the Americans have other definitions. When I was 9 and for the first time in the UK, I knew a gallon was approx. 4.5 litres - and otherwise, you could deduce it, as at the time, metrication was in full swing and gas stations advertized their prices both in GBP/litre and GBP/gallon. It was only much much later that I learned that Americans have a substantially smaller gallon, approx. 3.8 litres. It confuses the hell out of me in, e.g., discussions about fuel efficiency of cars. Nobody bothers to mention what gallon they mean.
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Old 7th January 2018, 08:23 AM   #187
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
Sometimes, big numbers are just impressive for the hell of it.

In the 1950s, France introduced the "new franc" with the value of 100 "old franc". Even today, French people, even young people, express the prices of houses and cars in old francs.
Although Trump's hand size in terms of Plank lengths (thanks fagin) might be taking it a step too far.
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Old 7th January 2018, 09:18 AM   #188
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Working in electronics, small arms, and scale modeling I find I can switch from between metric and Imperial with no difficulty for small things, and work with conventional fractions of an inch, or tenths, hundredths and mills. For anything larger than a foot I still think in feet, yards and miles. For range I keep a few rules for converting to yards from meters or arshins.
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Old 7th January 2018, 09:57 AM   #189
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
What confuses the hell out of me is that for some Imperial measures, the Americans have other definitions. When I was 9 and for the first time in the UK, I knew a gallon was approx. 4.5 litres - and otherwise, you could deduce it, as at the time, metrication was in full swing and gas stations advertized their prices both in GBP/litre and GBP/gallon. It was only much much later that I learned that Americans have a substantially smaller gallon, approx. 3.8 litres. It confuses the hell out of me in, e.g., discussions about fuel efficiency of cars. Nobody bothers to mention what gallon they mean.
That's because the UK standardized the Imperial Gallon in 1824, choosing one of several previous versions. We in the US were already using one of the others.
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Old 7th January 2018, 10:25 AM   #190
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
That's because the UK standardized the Imperial Gallon in 1824, choosing one of several previous versions. We in the US were already using one of the others.
Thank you!
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Old 7th January 2018, 10:45 AM   #191
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
I was one such abused and was delighted when Australia became metric.

Gone were the 12 inches to a foot, 3 feet to the yard, 1760 yards to the mile, which is not to mention chains (66 ft), furlongs, fathoms, and so on - and this is just linear length measurements.

Interesting that the calorie, used for the measurement of energy in foods previously in Australia and I think in the US now, is actually a metric unit.

Was a metric unit. Since the adoption of SI units the unit of energy is a joule (~4.2 joules = 1 calorie.)

And to add to the fun the calorie when referring to food energy is actually a kilocalorie of that old metric standard. Two different "calories".
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The first, the small calorie, or gram calorie (symbol: cal), is defined as the approximate amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius at a pressure of one atmosphere.[1] The second is the large calorie or kilogram calorie (symbol: Cal), also known as the food calorie and similar names,[2] is defined in terms of the kilogram rather than the gram. It is equal to 1000 small calories or 1 kilocalorie (symbol: kcal).[1]
Nothing in measurement history is ever simple.
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Old 7th January 2018, 10:48 AM   #192
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
What units are used where you are for the weight of newborn babies?

Fractions of a stone? (Unless it's a really big baby? Ouch. )
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Old 7th January 2018, 10:51 AM   #193
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
One curiosity I noticed when watching programs like Mythbusters is the American attachment to pounds, even when dealing with large numbers. The show might mention the weight of a hefty bulldozer, say, as 100,000 lbs and that means absolutely nothing to me, whereas 'about 50 tons/tonnes' does.

Sure, but which ton?

Quote:
Nobody says that they have a 18,000 yard journey to work as they would naturally switch to the next larger unit, i.e. about 10 miles, so why go for large numbers of pounds?

It sounds bigger?
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Old 7th January 2018, 10:57 AM   #194
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
That's because the UK standardized the Imperial Gallon in 1824, choosing one of several previous versions. We in the US were already using one of the others.
That Act affected Scotland too.
The Scots units of length were technically replaced by the English system by an Act of the Parliament of Scotland in 1685, and the other units by the Treaty of Union with England in 1706 However many continued to be used locally during the 18th century. The introduction of the Imperial system by the Weights and Measures Act 1824 saw the end of any formal use in trade and commerce.
Example
Scots
Metric
1 gill
0.53 litres
1 mutchkin = 4 gills
0.212 litres
1 chopin = 2 mutchkins
0.848 litres
1 pint (or joug) = 2 chopins
1.696 litres
1 gallon = 8 pints
13.638 litres
The Scots pint was, notoriously, much more capacious than its Imperial equivalent.
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Old 7th January 2018, 10:57 AM   #195
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Originally Posted by Pope130 View Post
Working in electronics, small arms, and scale modeling I find I can switch from between metric and Imperial with no difficulty for small things, and work with conventional fractions of an inch, or tenths, hundredths and mills. For anything larger than a foot I still think in feet, yards and miles. For range I keep a few rules for converting to yards from meters or arshins.

Don't forget the ever popular "smoot" (developed by engineers and scientists), which Google Earth wisely includes in its conversion list.
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Old 7th January 2018, 11:27 AM   #196
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Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
Fractions of a stone? (Unless it's a really big baby? Ouch. )
In the UK, while the officially recorded weight on the medical record will be in metric, the figure that gets shared with the family and friends is in pounds and ounces, at least in my experience. It could be a generational thing, and maybe new parents these days actually tell their friends of the same age the weight in kilograms, and it's just for the older generation that it gets converted; I must remember to ask my kids when I next see them.
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Old 7th January 2018, 01:12 PM   #197
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Originally Posted by Senex View Post
My people got to the moon.
You people set back the Hubble.
We built Concorde, which some in NASA claim was a greater acheivement than Apollo missions. Concorde was built using both metric & imperial.
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Old 7th January 2018, 01:20 PM   #198
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
In the UK, while the officially recorded weight on the medical record will be in metric, the figure that gets shared with the family and friends is in pounds and ounces, at least in my experience. It could be a generational thing, and maybe new parents these days actually tell their friends of the same age the weight in kilograms, and it's just for the older generation that it gets converted; I must remember to ask my kids when I next see them.
We sometimes talk about losing a few pounds, but when we weigh ourselves we think in stones. I was talking to a friend the other night who has lost 9 1/2 st!

New borns are spoken of in lbs, although this might be because one is often talking to grandparents.

There is much metric units in my life, and I used to be able to go between mm and inches in my head.
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Old 7th January 2018, 01:40 PM   #199
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Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
Sure, but which ton?
The Imperial and metric ton(ne)s are very nearly the same.

Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
It [100,00lbs] sounds bigger?
So does the 18,000 yard trip to work, yet nobody says that. It's the specific attachment to "lots of pounds" that intrigues me.
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Old 7th January 2018, 02:03 PM   #200
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And this what I was getting at when I made the (apparently carnal sin level) mere suggestion that there might be an emotional and "perspective" angle to some use of some measurement in some contexts, a statement I wasn't aware was me declaring all out war on the very concept of the Metric system.

Little weird specific measurement that just pop in certain situations or an older measuring system still being used in certain situations because it just "feels" right is an interesting phenomenon worthy of looking at.

You still order your beer in pints, still measure your horses by hands, your Navy still uses fathoms and nautical miles.
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