Feeds

back to article Register SPB hacks mull chopping off feet

Weary special-projects-bureau operatives at El Reg have decided the time has come to consider exclusively adopting the International System of Units (aka SI Units), and ditching the mile, pound and related measurements. It's a royal pain in the backside working with two systems, which results in sentences such as "Baumgartner …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Anonymous Coward

Re: Converting to old fashioned units

@m0rt: "How do you feel about PI?"

3 was good enough for God, so why man feels it needs decimals is beyond me.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Converting to old fashioned units

"Every fucking thing should be METRIC tons by now, or KKg's (Hey I just invented that - fancy that a new ISO standard - KKg's - I Said it Orrite.)"

Already exists - Mg :p

When God said to Moses "Take 2 tablets and call me in the morning", his pharmacist misread the prescription.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Converting to old fashioned units

"I like being an utter prick who spells the metric tonnes as tons - fuck them - it's easier."

From what I saw above, you need things as easy as possible ...

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Converting to old fashioned units

> How do you feel about PI?

Many answers depending on circumstances.

3 is generally good enough

sqrt(10) is often handy. Pi**2 comes up a lot in physics.

Also 78.5% is far more useful if you're working out areas (the percentage of the largest circle that fits in a given square)

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Converting to old fashioned units

Everyone knows that a temperature of 20 degrees centigrade is 68 Fahrenheit. But differences in temperature convert differently, though the average newspaper hack or subeditor is unaware of that. So deltaT of 20C is 36F, not 68F as often reported.

There is much to be said for a policy of euthanasia for anyone over 21 without O-level maths. Especially for those who judge railway company bidding.

1
0
Thumb Up

Re: Converting to old fashioned units

You mean 1 kWh.

Which brings a good point. SI units also come with standard abbreviations. 1000 is k, not K (which is Kelvin temperature). Similarly, h is hecto (100) while H is henry (an impedance unit). And so one. Please, no mix up.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Converting to old fashioned units

kWh actually, not KwH

0
0
Headmaster

Re: Converting to old fashioned units

Hear, hear.

"Baumgartner jumped from an altitude of 29,455m (96,640ft), hitting 586.92km/h (364.69mph)" and "in a pressurised 1,315kg (2,899lb) capsule".

No. Nobody measured the height to a precision of a metre, or speed to a precision of .01 km/h. If you quote two significant figures for a number, you're within one percent. Stop there. Expressing a round number in one system of units as a number with many significant figures in another implies a level of precision that almost certainly wasn't there in the original measurement.

There's the old joke about the curator in the museum who was asked how old the dinosaur skeleton was, and said "66 million and 4 years". When the visitor expressed surprise they knew the age that precisely, the curator said, "Well, when I started here they said it was 66 million years old, and I've been working here four years now."

I am always amazed in debates about metrication in Britain and the US that nobody looks at what happened in Australia. The sky didn't fall in, people. Really it didn't.

1
0
Bronze badge

Re: Converting to old fashioned units

3 was good enough for God, so why man feels it needs decimals is beyond me.

Ah, was Hiram inspired when designing/building his tank, or was Satan whispering in his ear? Satan has a certain history of interfering in human history: eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge _should_ have settled the matter of the existence of the Higgs Boson once and for all. One also remembers the modern answer to Pope's complimentary couplet:

Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night;

God said "Let Newton be!" and all was light.

to which the response was:

This could not last, the Devil shouting "Ho!

Let Einstein be!" restored the status quo.

0
0

Simply use the correct unit for the subject

I've never understood why anyone bothers providing an amount in more than one unit. Just stick to a rule that says you can only use one unit and it should be appropriate to the subject. I.e.:

Beer - pints, obv.

Distance - KM, miles, light years, parsecs, etc. according to subject.

Length, height, girth, etc.: feet, metres, microns, linguine...

The most annoying use of dual units is when some imbecile provides a currency amount in the currency relevant to the story and then converted to a precise sterling amount - clearly the conversion will never be accurate.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Simply use the correct unit for the subject

"The most annoying use of dual units is when some imbecile provides a currency amount in the currency relevant to the story and then converted to a precise sterling amount - clearly the conversion will never be accurate."

Doesn't help that the conversion factor changes all the time.

0
0

Obviously

Obviously keep miles distance, and pints (for beer and milk only) and SI for everything else.

You know it makes sense!

1
0
Anonymous Coward

A change...

...is afoot

4
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: A change...

Yes, we are inching towards a consensus. Imperial units are SI lly.

0
0
Silver badge

SI units all the way

I'd like you to keep pints for beer, calories for food consumption and inches for measurements of physical attributes, but other than that, give me meters - cubic or otherwise, grams and Joules.

0
0
Facepalm

Re: SI units all the way

It's "METRES" not bloody "METERS" unless you are metering something....Arrggg! Yes, I know the merkins cannot spell.

2
1
Silver badge
Unhappy

Re: SI units all the way

Aye, sorry - I have a blind spot for things like that (and accomodation...I never get that one right) - it's a fifty-fifty choice I always get wrong.

0
0
Trollface

Re: SI units all the way

My spellcheck would disagree, and it is pronounced as METERS. is it not?

0
2
Silver badge
Pint

Re: SI units all the way

SI for me too, and Celsius.

Copied this from the Wikipedia.

"For example meter and liter are used in the United States whereas metre and litre are used in other English-speaking countries."

"The usage of the metric system varies around the world. According to the US Central Intelligence Agency's Factbook, the International System of Units has been adopted as the official system of weights and measures by all nations in the world except for Burma, Liberia and the United States,[55] while NIST has claimed that the United States is the only industrialized country where the metric system is not the official system of units.[56] Some sources, though, suggest that this information is out of date.[57] An Agence France-Presse report from 2010 stated that Sierra Leone, not Liberia, had continued to use the Imperial system, but had passed a law to enact metrication, in line with its Mano River Union (MRU) neighbours Guinea and Liberia.[58] Reports from Burma suggest that that country is planning to adopt the metric system also.[59]

In the United States, where the use of metric units was authorised by Congress in 1866,[60] such units are widely used in science, military, and partially in industry."

Still I would have nothing against a pint of beer right now, but I wonder if this glass is really a pint.

0
0
Bronze badge
Coat

Re: SI units all the way

It's sometimes useful to report food consumption in "KillerJoules!"

It's a white one.

0
0

I'm very much in favour of the idea, however I still think in feet, miles, acres, stone and lbs, so it may make it harder for us Brits to translate too. (short distances feet and m are fairly interchangeable depending on what gives the best round number)

3
0

Slight addition/change (after re-reading the article)

Why not do altitude in feet, air speed in knots, long distances and ground speed in the most convenient format with a translation to the nearest convenient figure. Short distances in m/cm/mm and area in m2 or whatever is convenient.

Volume should be done in litres (except drinks which should be done in pints)

0
0
Anonymous Coward

"I'm very much in favour of the idea, however I still think in feet, miles, acres, stone and lbs, so it may make it harder for us Brits to translate too(sic)"

Only the senile ones. I am forty, and was taught in SI units at school.

1
0
Bronze badge
Trollface

The Spirit of compromise ...

... would be to adopt c.g.s. units, which are almost as archaic and illogical as Imperial, while at the same time being just as metric as SI.

What could possibly go wrong?

0
1
Facepalm

Re: The Spirit of compromise ...

"... would be to adopt c.g.s. units, which are almost as archaic and illogical as Imperial, while at the same time being just as metric as SI.

What could possibly go wrong?"

As posted by AdamT ... we wouldn't just miss Mars, we'd hit Jupiter!

Colin

0
0

Re: The Spirit of compromise ...

Does it matter as long as it's not Uranus?

4
0
Childcatcher

Fond of Fahrenheit

While I agree about weights and measures, I've never liked Celsius as a scale for ambient temperature. Herr Fahrenheit was dead right about avoiding negative temperature values. What does Celsius give us except a 0 to 100 scale between freezing and boiling water? When was the last time anybody cared that there were exactly 100 degrees between those two points? It's not as if you ever need to divide by 10 to get some other temperature unit. Zero Fahrenheit is about as cold as you ever want it to get outside (trust me, we see that here upstate NY). Calling it -17C isn't the same. And 100 F is about as hot as you ever want it to get outside (rare here, not so rare in the nation's capital).

Sadly, the Celsius degree got adopted for the Kelvin scale, so science is on the side of big fat degrees with freezing point as zero. But there's really no reason for it to be in any way superior to good old deg F. Reet!

3
13
Bronze badge

Re: Fond of Fahrenheit

I couldn't disagree more. 20 degrees Celsius is room temperature. Anything from there up to 26 is pleasant. Anything 27 and above is too hot. The range 18 to 20 can be managed by adding layers of clothing and anything below 18 requires some form of room heating. Zero or below outside means watch out for ice on the roads and pavements (sidewalks to you Daedalus.) Fahrenheit is completely impenetrable.

3
0
Holmes

Re: Fond of Fahrenheit

Use Kelvin

Colin

1
0
Silver badge

Zero Fahrenheit is about as cold as you ever want it

Sounds like you didn't get out of the neighborhood very much. I fondly remember Canada where thermometers went from -50 to +50 °C (and they did so for a good reason). -18 °C, or 0 F was that kind of pleasant winter night with mini-skirted girls waiting in line at the club.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Fond of Fahrenheit

"anything below 18 requires some form of room heating"

I'd hate to see your gas (or electric, if you're using leccy heaters) bill.

Anything down to 10C can be managed without active heating or jumpers. 5-10 is jumper weather. Under 5, time to put the heating on.

1
0
Windows

Re: Fond of Fahrenheit

By eck lad, art tha a sissy?

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Fond of Fahrenheit

Actually, Fahrenheit just invented a scale so he use his name for marketing purposes. Everyone has a vague idea of how hot boiling water is (Ow! That f^%$ing hot!) and icy water is (Grr! Thats bloody freezing!) so I go with Celsius.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Anything down to 10C...

You forgot the fanboi (masochist) icon.

0
0

Re: Fond of Fahrenheit

Here in Blighty most folks I know use Celsius measurements in the winter and switch to Fahrenheit ones for the summer.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Fond of Fahrenheit

"Anything below 18 requires room heating" -- You're just nesh.

Anything over 20 degrees needs air conditioning ..... Or privacy.

1
0
Silver badge

SPB operates in Spain, no?

So I would have thought that Metric would be the way to go.

Personally, I use Imperial for estimates (the numbers suit it better) and I use SI for measurements and calculations. "So, we need a piece of wood about four inches wide by three foot. Exactly? Well, lets see... [gets out measure tape and pen] I make it 112 mil by 1027".

But that's just me.

Reg, I'm still waiting for your unit conversion App... though thought needs to be given on notation, since a Double Decker Bus can be a unit of length and of volume (I'm thinking DDBl, and DDBa, maybe)... likewise, brontosaurs.

But as reporting normal stories, just use the unit that the source provides.

0
0
(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: SPB operates in Spain, no?

Conversion app? http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/page/reg-standards-converter.html

2
0
Silver badge

Re: SPB operates in Spain, no?

Ta muchly. Who needs an app when you can have a bookmark? : D

0
0
Silver badge

Re: SPB operates in Spain, no?

>So I would have thought that Metric would be the way to go.

Sí SI señor

0
0
Anonymous Coward

A brilliant idea

Not only because proper units with a preponderance of base ten are neater and easier to work with, but it would really, really annoy the more eye-bulgy Americans. Win all round.

I do remember standing in the kitchen making soup to the dulcet tones of Gardener's Question Time (god damnit, I am so rock and roll), when one of the experts was trying to describe a pest to one of the questioners, saying it was "about 1.5mm long". The questioner replied smugly and self-righteously that "I don't do inches". The expert took a deep breath and very politely explained that it might be a good idea to do so, as measuring something like that in inches was a bit of a lost cause.

For me, that distilled the generational issues inherent in this sort of debate. Kids in this country have been taught proper SI units for years (I'm an old or at least middle-aged git, and I was). It's about time that people let it go. Yeah, ok, so the Colonials are cleaving firmly to what they fondly imagine that we also regard as useful units, but screw them, really.

The only proper units are double decker buses, princes of whales and the like, obviously, but failing that, SI units will do the trick nicely.

1
0
Boffin

Dynamic content

Surely one of your boffins can implement a dynamic filter so that readers can select between unit systems at will?

When they do, be sure to include the Furlong-Firkin-Fortnight unit system in the choices.

5
0
Silver badge

Re: Dynamic content

Sounds like the correct approach for a techie site like this. It'd be easy enough to implement site-wide, and people could choose their preferred units of measurement on demand, be they Imperial, US, Metric or (the correct system, of course) Register Standard Units.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Dynamic content

Agreed. Just use XHTML - define a namespace for the Reg, annotate all values, use Javascript to tweak the DOM as needed.

Give them <TheReg:distance value=".0254">an inch</TheReg:distance> and they'll take <TheReg:distance="1609.344">a mile</TheReg:distance>.

Then we can see SI, Imperial, TheReg, Planck, Potrzebie, or whatever.

0
0
Megaphone

Kill it with fire

Yes, god yes. Consign these unholy Imperial abominations to the darkest of the depths. Lead the way, and maybe, just maybe, we can drag the rest of the world kicking and screaming out of the mire and into the light.

And while we're at it changing the road signs from miles to km, let's drive on the right hand side of the road too.

2
2
Joke

Re: Kill it with fire

What does driving on the right have to do with going metric (sayth the Yank)?

0
1

Re: Kill it with fire

Nothing - just two birds, one stone, and all that. Both excercises (metric and lane change) need new signs. Let's do both at the same time.

0
0
Paris Hilton

SI units please, and sensible rounding to significant figures, i.e 70 degrees Fahrenheit = 0.1 Hiltons, not 0.1111 - after all it's not as if you are dealing with rocket science...

0
0
Headmaster

Miles, miles per hour, all else metric. Just like the good old UK itself. -- Well apart from gallons of course, but the yanks have messed up our liquid measures so much that we're probably best to stay away from that.

(I could understand making a pint a fluid pound, and keeping a gallon at eight pints is understandable pedance, but why change the size of a fluid ounce?)

...((and yes, the chances are that it was us that changed, in which case I'm sure there was a damned good reason.))

0
0
Silver badge

If it annoys the Americans

Do it.

Anyway on a more practical note, I assume it would be possible insert tags into whatever raw format articles are submitted in, e.g. @{s,20000,mph}, @{w,25,kg), @{v,100,usg} or similar and for the output to appear in whatever measurement a user chooses as their default. A !{} notation might force the output but still provide hover text which provides alternatives and so on. Combine it with a microformat tagging scheme and the conversion information could even be delegated to browser plugin.

3
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.