Feeds

back to article Metric versus imperial: Reg readers weigh in

Our suggestion earlier this week that El Reg's Special Projects Bureau get with the program(me) and convert entirely to SI Units prompted the traditional lively debate among our beloved commentards. The consensus seems to be we should indeed kick imperial into touch, with a couple of exceptions, which we'll come to later. First …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Silver badge
FAIL

Henceforth, the SPB should use...

Linguine, elephants per second, etc.

For shame Reg. For shame!

4
1
Go

Re: Henceforth, the SPB should use...

... hmm ... should be change, to metric, definitely ... and while you're at it (US) go and change to the better traffic system as well ... left-side-driving that is (it's not a national thing, it's doing just better) ... Explanation: The default "give-way-to-the-right" rule is used in Continental Europe and the US. Which makes absolutely no sens when driving on the right side. Consider this, driving on the right means sitting on the left in your car ... which hampers your sight to the right ... driving on the left, on the other hand, means sitting on the right side in your vehicle ... which gives you an un"hampered" view to the right ... hence giving the one with a handicap (no free view to the left) the advantage and therefor "give-way-to-the-right". Even more impressive is the effect on roundabouts. Left-side-driving turns clockwise, left, around and hence traffic inside the roundabout has naturally way of right ... no special traffic rules, or signalling needed ... it's just beautiful ...

0
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Henceforth, the SPB should use...

I think you've just forfeited your right to use ellipses as punctuation.

1
0
Devil

Metric...

Because 13.2 cm sounds much more impressive than 6" when it comes to men boasting about the size of their peckers...

1
1
Bronze badge
FAIL

I hate to have to say this old chap...

...but you seem to be slicing almost an inch off your old chap with that conversion. It's 15.24cm for a six incher...

4
0
Silver badge
Devil

Re: I hate to have to say this old chap...

Well that's what Mondo's been calling 6 inches and he's sticking to it

6
0
Silver badge
Trollface

Doesn't matter if you call it six inches or fifteen centimetres women still won't be able to park cars based on the size of the gap their husband tells them exists.

2
0
Bronze badge

Actually, as an American...

It's kind of amusing to see others fuss sooooooo much about it. It should be really obvious, by now, that we really don't give two shits about it.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Actually, as an American...

its obvious that you don't give two shits, just look at your piddly little US Pint/Gallon in comparison with a proper imperial Pint/Gallon...

Imp Pint > 0.5L > US Pint

4
1

Re: Actually, as an American...

But the amount of actual beer you get in a Pint glass, in a British pub, after the foam has settled is normally less than all of the above!

0
3
Bronze badge

Re: Actually, as an American...

>But the amount of actual beer you get in a Pint glass, in a British pub, after the foam has settled is normally >less than all of the above!

Which is why if you get a pint that is noticeably short you simply ask for it to be topped up. And hope that they're not using metered pumps...

0
0
Bronze badge
Pint

"Oi!

If my girlfriend gave me that much head, I'd be a happy man!"

0
0

Re: Actually, as an American...

I tried that once and the girl said she thought the pint marks on the glass were in the wrong place. My raised eyebrow and stony silence eventually convinced her otherwise.

Needless to say I haven't been back to The Plough, Saint John's Hill, London SW11 since.

0
0
Silver badge
Unhappy

Re: Actually, as an American...

"But the amount of actual beer you get in a Pint glass, in a British pub, after the foam has settled is normally less than all of the above!"

I wish. Too many pubs these days seem to pour pints with no head what-so-ever.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Actually, as an American...

A UK Pint of beer can contain up to 12mm of head. (different glass shapes makes this a different volume).

0
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Actually, as an American...

> It's kind of amusing to see others fuss sooooooo much about it. It should be really obvious, by now, that we really don't give two shits about it.

Yeah; just don't mention manual vs automatic.....

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Actually, as an American...

No, it is 4% volume. I've really no idea where this 12mm but it's nonsense, probably spouted by someone in a pub. On the other side you are not allowed any margin at all to be over-served (because of the implications for drink-driving), so in effect in a British pub you are always underserved by law.

0
0
Meh

Re: Actually, as an American...

If you were in grade 6 - 8 in the mid to late 70's you had to learn the metric system in the USA. America was supposedly going to the metric system, but all we got out of it was a 2 liter Coke bottle. I know both systems, and can do the conversions. I've lived in Holland for 14 years and still have a tape measure in feet and inches.

So either is good, it's just a question of knowing a couple of conversions.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Actually, as an American...

"But the amount of actual beer you get in a Pint glass, in a British pub, after the foam has settled is normally less than all of the above!"

You must have gone to one of those pubs we reserve for Americans...

The worst bar I've ever been to for foam overdose was a in Salzburg, Austria. China mugs, not glasses, and the barmen had that special flick-o-the-wrist for the barrel's tap (yep, barrels) to ensure that you got nowt but foam. The pots are opaque and bloody heavy anyway, so you couldn't tell. Bloody rip off. Drinkers everywhere ***AVOID AUSTRIA***

0
0
Alert

Metric, yes! Imperial AND OTHERS, bye!

I'm a bit late to the debate, but I'd like to weigh in with something: maybe today it's "metric vs. imperial", but back in the day it was "metric vs. ALL OF THEM". There used to be a *lot* of distinct measuring systems, even within different regions of the same country (or even provinces, as in Spain). SI became the measuring system of choice because it's superior *and* it's unique: no more "french feet vs. english feet vs. Spanish feet (actually any of about 30 different "feet" in use there at the time) vs. Swedish feet".

Hell, SPAIN decided to use a measuring system invented by the *French*. It must be good, right?

America, get on with the 19th century and adopt SI once and for all, please.

4
2
Anonymous Coward

Wot no mention of miles per hour and miles, for distance.... Just like the UK Pint (560ml not the US one!) I can't see Brits welcoming signs in euro-kph.

0
0

Where's my 8ml?

AC, I think you'll find that should be 568ml. I'll have a topup, please, barman.

6
0

Which Imperial? UK or US?

The fact that there are two widely sets sets of imperial units, with distinctly different weights and volumes across the Atlantic, is precisely why unambiguous metric/SI units are to be preferred even before you get into the ease of mental arithmetic.

8
0
Silver badge

Re: Where's my 8ml?

568 is always how I remember it.

0
0
Pint

What's the problem with Brits welcoming signs in euro-kph. All cars have kph on the speedometer, if distances wre changed to km and limits to kph - where is the issue.

Biggest problem is people mixing up Metric and S.I.

A pint because it might not be a pint for long.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

They don't all have kph on. my old 56 plate merc had mph only on the dial (it could show kph on the digital display)

1
0
Pint

" I can't see Brits welcoming signs in euro-kph."

But what if you changed the actual speed limits at the same time, 70mph to 130kph on motorways for instance?

I'll have a pint but I don't care if it is actually 560ml.

0
0
Bronze badge

My '59 Volkswagen* has only mph on the dial, and all our speed limit signs** are in km/h. This has never caused me any problems because I have a brain and I know how to use it.

*yes it is my daily driver

**in Australia

0
0
Bronze badge

I think the EU pretty much get this right (after much controversy and prompting): I don't care what you use. Just put the SI next to it.

You can state it in badgers per field as far as I'm concerned, but the INTERNATIONAL STANDARD is SI, so putting that it alleviates any doubt in conversion (US vs UK gallons), lets the majority of people know what's going on, and doesn't stop people saying their beer is in pints (568ml), the kind of phrase that is inbuilt deeply into languages already.

Aircraft heights? Despite being able to comprehend imperial measurement, 50,000 feet means nothing to me (why use feet for such a huge distance when they are several suitably large equivalent measures in imperial already?). State it in SI too and I can at least work what that means, some kind of comparison, how long my car would take to drive up to it, etc.

Nobody cares what you measure in. Just put the SI next to it so we can at least have a decent comparison to a standardised unit that's universal (there are countries in the world that won't know what an inch/foot/yard/chain/furlong/mile is, but there aren't any countries in the world that won't know what a metre is - even if that's only by "it's about a yard").

5
1
Facepalm

I read this whole article, and down to this level of the comments, wracking my brains trying to remember when I'd ever heard anyone measure the height of an aeroplane in ANY units, let alone why imperial ones would be preferred. Not until Lee's comment did I realise that it meant the ALTITUDE of the aircraft. Thanks, Lee!

2
0
Joke

All this horsing around.

Indeed. Altitude is measured in feet and height is measured in hands.

0
0

just be consistent

when buying car tyres, the width and profile are measured in mm, but the diameter is measured in inches!

metric and imperial measurements on the same thing!

3
0
Facepalm

Re: just be consistent

Very yes. Cars are the worst. My favourite is car batteries, where you use a 10mm socket to hook up the battery, then secure it with a half-inch bolt.

0
0
Gold badge

Re: just be consistent

Yes, but with typical efficiency the Germans use metric rims too. Rather amusingly they went for nice round metric sizes, rather than just converting the standard inch sizes, so only those uniquely German metric tyres fit them.

Never buy a German car (as opposed to a car made in DE for export) you'll either be on special order tyres at eye-watering prices forever or you'll have to swallow hard and buy a new set of wheels.

Oh, Your post is incorrect. The profile is expressed as a percentage of the width, so on a 55 profile tyre the height is 55% of the width. e.g. Given a 195 / 60 profile tyre, the width is 195mm and the height is 60% of that, or 111mm.

0
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Anonymous Coward

Bragging, Huntsman?

21.59 cm would be pretty impressive

0
0
Silver badge

Sorry

the only measurements that should really be used are

Swimming pools for liquids

Elephants for weight/mass

Double decker buses for length

This new pump weighs 0.05E, is 0.01DD long and can pump at a rate of 0.1SP/hr

1
0
Happy

Re: Sorry

Surely you forgot "the size of Wales" for large areas?

1
0

Why drag hobbits into this? I live in the land that's apparently decided the only way to avoid bankruptcy is to let Peter Jackson milk Tolkien for all he's worth, and we've been all metric here for decades.Any furry-footed halflings here would be measured in in centimetres and their epic trek through carefully selected tourism sites would be counted off in kilometres while raking in the dollars - both regular, decimal systems.

2
0
Thumb Up

... and you drive on the left-side ... well done New Zealand ... this is paradise ...

1
0
Bronze badge
Thumb Up

Imperial, metric. Both please!

I'm quite happy to do engineering in SI units, but equally I only really grok bigger distances in miles, understand yards and can't be bothered with the left over bit when converting from metres, have no idea what someone's height is in metres and in particular want to drink in multiples of a pint because otherwise I get stiffed for the 68ml that aren't in far too many bottles of ale these days.

Mentally it's good to have all the different units, and to convert between them.

I've been doing it this way for half a century now and long may it continue!

4
0
Boffin

Why are IT readers complaining about hex?

I can't believe that an IT savvy readership are complaining about a nice hexadecimal system like ounces! As any fule kno, hexadecimal is extremely easy to halve, and halve again. There was a reason that dope dealers ran in fractions of an ounce (not to mention the handy fact that a half p coin was 1/16 oz, 1p was 1/8, and 2p was 1/4).

Everyone assumes that the old 12 pennies to a shilling doesn't make any sense as we have 10 fingers, so why count in 12s? Of course, 10 fingers requires two hands meaning it is difficult to hold things at the same time. Whereas 12s makes perfect sense when you look at your finger knuckles (12) whilst being able to use your thumb as the the pointer. And all on one hand. Oh, and easily divisible by 2,3 and 4.

Lets do away with all this decimal malarky, and move over to hex....

Oh, and if you want metric, mine's a 568ml glass, thanks.

2
1
Bronze badge

Re: Why are IT readers complaining about hex?

By that standard, binary is an infinitely better system.

Addition, multiplication, subtraction become a doddle and you can get up to 1024 on your fingers without even struggling with thumbs and knuckles.

I've always wondered when we'll start teaching kids in binary. So much easier to grasp if you've been born with it.

0
0
Pint

Re: Why are IT readers complaining about hex?

Sounds like a great idea. We already adapt our thinking to the ways our pooters work so why not? It would be an optimal format in terms of storage and speed. Think of all the wasted cycles spent converting binary to and from decimal.

There would be 256 pennies to a pound, or 100h as it would be known. 80h would be what we previously knew as ten-bob and so on.

Thousands or K would be 400h and be accomplished by the simpler and faster 0Ah bit shift rather than all that faffing with multiply. Or we might even agree that 1000h is the new thousand.

HDD makers would adopt the new units and there would be fewer complaints about apparent missing megabytes.

What could possibly go wrong...

1
0

Confused by all these people banging on about a French system

It was a Brit who invented the metric system, the French just named the units

1
0

Re: Confused by all these people banging on about a French system

So some folk want to avoid the Metric "French" system of weights by sticking with Imperial Avoirdupois?

Hmm

1
0
Silver badge
Boffin

Flight Level

Planes don't fly in feet - they fly at Flight Levels.

Flight Level Three Five Zero (FL350) being 35,000ft at a standard pressure datum of 1013.25 hPa (29.92 inHg)

3
0
Bronze badge

Re: Flight Level

Partially true, planes above the transition altitude fly at flight levels based on the standard pressure setting to allow for coordination by ATC. Below the transition altitude they fly at heights above mean sea level measured in feet based on the regional pressure setting, that way you can plan your flight not to bang into that hill that's 1680' high which is quite tricky to do using flight levels.

What's the transition altitude I don't hear anyone ask, well in most of the UK it's 3000', around London it's 6000' as it is in Scotland where the hills are a bit higher. But then in the USA it's 18000' as some of the hills are really big and they wanted it standardised across the country. God knows what the rest of Europe uses but I think they're trying to standardise it a bit more.

4
0
Bronze badge
Thumb Up

Re: Flight Level

Correct on flight levels and regional pressure heights above mean sea level (QNH), additional some air fields still use QFE which is height above the runway at the local pressure setting, which has the advantage of 0 being where the ground is.

0
0
Silver badge

Just because it's easier

doesn't mean it's better.

2
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.