back to article Brexit at the next junction: Verity's guide to key post-vote skills

Pay attention, campers. I have conducted an impartial analysis of the post-Brexit landscape and identified a list of concrete, must-have programming skills for your edification. Impartial? That's pretty rich, coming from you, Verity, considering what I have heard about your activities since Referendum Night. I don't know what …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The past was not always so good

    As overheard in a pub over the weekend

    "All that [redacted] metric stuff was forced on us by the [redacted] EU. Brexit means going back to feet, inches, pounds and ounces and even pounds shillings and pence."

    The three young people looked at the older man with amazement.

    TBH, anyone born since 1970 would be mad to want to go back to the old Imperial Units.

    The Daily Express and Daily Mail have a lot to answer for (IMHO).

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: The past was not always so good

      TBH, anyone would be mad to want to go back to the old Imperial Units.

      T,FTFY.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: The past was not always so good

        It is funny how an older English gentleman will bemoan the system of measurement created by an even older English gentleman because he believes Johnny Foreigner invented it.

    2. boltar Silver badge

      Re: The past was not always so good

      "The three young people looked at the older man with amazement."

      And after they got over their amazement, one of them went over to the bar to buy another 0.568 litres of beer.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: The past was not always so good

        It's exactly the risk to lose that 0.068 of beer that drives 'em mad...

        1. Paul Shirley

          Re: The past was not always so good

          A surprising number of youngsters seem to have no problem with their 568ml glass actually containing about 500ml of liquid when the head dies ;)

          1. Simon Harris Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: The past was not always so good

            That short-measure of beer is worth about 60p (sorry, 12 bob) at current prices!

  2. dajames Silver badge

    Slowly does it

    While I embrace proposal to return to using proper Imperial units wholeheartedly, I do think that any sudden switch from SI units to Imperial might prove disruptive.

    Instead, I propose a gradual change-over with a period of a few years using MKS units, and then another few years using cgs units, before finally returning to the stability of Imperial.

    Proper Imperial, of course -- 20 fluid ounces in a pint, 2240lbs in a Ton -- anything else would just be confusing.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Slowly does it

      You could do that... I'd rather pull my toenails out with a rusty pair of blacksmiths tongs than have to work in Imperial though. The process would be less painful.

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: Slowly does it

        "I'd rather pull my toenails out with a rusty pair of blacksmiths tongs than have to work in Imperial though. "

        As a child I spent about two years of maths lessons at school just learning how to use, add, subtract multiply and [sob] divide Imperial units. If a stone of apples costs 1s 51/2d, how much does a pound of apples cost to the nearest farthing? (Extra marks for writing apple's).

        This learning is nowadays as much use as knowing how to use log tables. Are we going to go back to them to and forget all this "computer" nonsense?

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: Slowly does it

          As a child I spent about two years of maths lessons at school just learning how to use, add, subtract multiply and [sob] divide Imperial units

          I once had a discussion with someone over the use of Imperial versus metric units in building (given that he was a Leftpondian he probably meant Colonial units, with their shrunken gallon and other abominations). He persisted in the notion that Imperial was easier to use, as it was divisible by 2. Demonstrating that one centimeter divided by 2 yielded 5mm which then could be added or subtracted or multiplied with whatever value yielding a new value which would again be equally divisible by 2 just didn't penetrate his two-plank thickness.

          Later it occurred to me that he might have meant Imperial timber sizes specifically, but given that a 2x4 is not at all 2 inches high and 4 inches wide, going from the nominal sizes instead of measuring will trip you up anyway, sooner or later.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge
            Flame

            Re: Slowly does it

            I'm sure old weights, measures, and currencies will be on the curriculum in May's grammar schools.

            You know, the new PM who on her first day talked about not leaving anyone behind and opportunities for all, goes on holiday, comes back, and announces she wants to bring back grammar schools.

            Obviously following in the footsteps of Cameron and his one nation conservatism, where the government keeps holding referendums* to divide the country.

            Rant over.

            * or referenda if you must.

        2. breakfast
          Coat

          Re: Slowly does it

          It would solve a lot of security problems.

          I mean, I never had to install any kind of A/V on a slide rule.

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Slowly does it

          " If a stone of apples"

          Is that a stone of 14lb or 15lb? Both were known.

  3. Blitheringeejit
    Pint

    The one imperial unit we must keep at all costs

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->

    That is all.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: The one imperial unit we must keep at all costs

      Better still - enforce it for bottled beer. Always looks stingy pooring a 500ml beer into a pint glass.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
        Pint

        Re: The one imperial unit we must keep at all costs

        One of the champagne companies (Pol Roger?) said they were going to bring back the pint bottle of bubbles - apparenlty it was Churchill's favourite.

        Perhaps the wine makers of Kent and Sussex can start claiming theirs is champagne as well now? Then get it behind the bar in pubs. "Mine's a pint of Bubbley ole Bishop please, and some pork scratchings."

        1. AMBxx Silver badge

          wine makers of Kent and Sussex can start claiming theirs is champagne as well now

          Nope, that's an international law. Hence, you can't buy California Champagne or Champinsky any more.

          What it could mean is that the UK has wine laws that separate from those of the EU (rose made from mix of red and white for example). Not likely to happen as the French-style wine laws are one of the few good things to come out of the EU.

  4. Mage Silver badge
    Happy

    Wonderful

    And far more believable than May or Corbyn.

    I'd bet a tanner she's right.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Wonderful

      I'll raise your tanner to a Florin

  5. Chris Miller

    Big numbers

    The Europeans have steadfastly hung onto a billion as 1012. There was (still is) a perfectly good word for 109 - milliard*, an ancient text book in my possession describes a light-year as "six thousand milliard miles". The French press describe Bill Gates as un milliardaire.

    * Would that make 1015 a billiard?

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Big numbers

      Would that make 1015 a billiard?

      Yes.

      However, I fear the best way to see whether you have the necessary post-Brexit skills may be to attempt to answer the question:

      Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Big numbers

        Aber natürlich spreche ich Deutsch.

    2. David Roberts Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Big numbers

      Come on down - if you're milliard enough?

      Mine's the one with the really big pockets.

    3. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Big numbers

      It's also the Italian name - "miliardo". Even if some bad translator tries to use "bilioni". But I still prefer the "five multiplujillion, nine impossibidillion, seven fantasticatrillion" of Scrooge McDuck...

    4. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Big numbers

      > The Europeans have steadfastly hung onto a billion as 10^12. ...

      There is a nice regularity in that: bi-, tri-, quad-, ... -illion respectively have 2*6, 3*6, 4*6 (etc.) zeros. Hence recalling which is which is trivial up to decillion (10*6 = 60 zeros). And that should be enough for most practical purposes.

      Mit besten Grüssen, GrumpenKraut

      1. Esme

        Re: Big numbers

        Ich sprechen deutsch, auch, ein bitschen (aber meine deutsch ist shrecklich). I've never given up on proper billions (10^12) due to my interest in the sciences. And also due to that interest, as soon as I learnt about metric units I stopped trying to get my head around the Imperial ones, which never made much sense to me,

        I can't recall ever using Imperial units to actually measure anything except short distances (up to a few feet), and then only because whomever I was communicatig with at the time demanded Imperial measure. Pounds and pints were more a visual approximation - that looks to be roughly a pint of liquid, this feels like roughly a couple of pounds of spuds. As for temperature, Centigrade is simply SO much easier in day to day life than Fahrenheit that I don't really understand why the latter ever took hold (except for a short period in the scietific community, oddly enough, when they were trying to get a grip on temperatures below the freezing point of water).

        Metric is so much easier you'd have to be braindead to want to return to it IMHO. And I'm 59. Oh,

        sure, retain some Imperial units in cases where a bit of tradition is involved, if you want - like the pint of beer - but in everday use?

  6. jfdidave

    c=1.8026×10^12 furlongs/fortnight.

    Yay! Lets go back to Imperial units!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FFF_system

  7. Squander Two
    Devil

    Killer fact!

    The Battle of the Boyne took place on the 1st of July, yet its anniversary is celebrated every year on the 12th of July, because of the move from Julian to Gregorian dates. THAT's how stubborn the Northern Irish are.

    1. Chris Miller

      Re: Killer fact!

      And that's also why the tax year ends on 5th April instead of the Feast of the Annuciation (Lady Day), as God intended.

    2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Killer fact!

      "THAT's how stubborn the Northern Irish are"

      About as stubborn as the Russians who still celebrate Christmas in what is now January - though that has the advantage that they can buy all their presents in the post-Christmas sales.

      1. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: Killer fact!

        and quite strangely, all the Romanians I know celebrate Christmas on 24/25 December, but Easter on the Orthodox (Julian based) calendar.

      2. Squander Two
        Devil

        Re: Killer fact!

        > About as stubborn as the Russians

        I hereby propose that as the Northern Irish Tourist Board's new slogan.

      3. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: Killer fact!

        Actual bonus is that Russians get to celebrate Christmas twice. And two New Year celebrations on top of that.

      4. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Killer fact!

        Well, what is fun is all of them follow a calendar no more aligned with the Sun and the stars just because it was a catholic pope to request to fix it. A good example how much stubborn religions could be...

      5. Captain Badmouth
        Holmes

        Re: Killer fact!

        "About as stubborn as the Russians who still celebrate Christmas in what is now January"

        In the Gwaun valley in Pembrokeshire they celebrate the new year on the 13th Jan. in accordance with the old Julian calendar.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Killer fact!

      "THAT's how stubborn the Northern Irish are."

      Some of them also celebrate the 1st which is known as the little twelfth.

    4. LionelB

      Re: Killer fact!

      Then there's Cuba. I celebrated the millenium there... at the end of the year 2000 (which is, of course, completely logical). So I got to celebrate the millenium twice, which was nice (need I say which nation parties harder?)

  8. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
    Devil

    Can we revisit another ancient tradition - sadly given up in pursuit of political correctness gorn mad?

    Henry V died in 1422 taking England's chance to rule France with him. Mary 1st lost our last bit, Calais, in 1558 - yet Kings of England were still crowned as King of France until George III gave the title up in 1800.

    I say we should bring it back. George III was literally mad to do it...

    Just because some bloke in a wig with blue wee-wee says we don't own the place, doesn't make it so!

    1. You aint sin me, roit
      Trollface

      Why stop there with Mad George's losses?

      Let's go back to pre 1776 and reclaim the colonies!

      Given the state of the presidential candidates, they'd probably thank us for it...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        they'd probably thank us for it

        Well, maybe not as long as Charles looms as the next king... or Boris Johnson as the PM... or a Corbyn...

    2. a pressbutton
      Pint

      also

      I am sure we owned bordeaux at some point as well

      beer - because no wine.

  9. Tony S

    "Yup. And my approach differs from that of our government in what respect?"

    This.

    I'd upvote a fathom length if I could

  10. Hollerithevo Silver badge

    I want Gregxit

    Just to be able to call myself a Gregxiteer. It has such a classy ring.

    BTW, I want status quo ante, i.e. ante 1066. Bring back Anglo-Saxon! I want housecarles! I want the old acre!! I want soc and sac, toll and team!

    1. Ejit

      Re: I want Gregxit

      In that case can I get the infangthief?

    2. Richard 81

      Re: I want Gregxit

      Gregxit? That would be the independence of a certain inexpensive baked goods shop?

    3. Squander Two
      Devil

      Re: I want Gregxit

      I think we could revolutionize our credit-based economy by going back to the system where a bad debt must be collected by a "bum" (or "push-arse") who has to touch you with a wooden stave. As long as he doesn't touch you with his stick, you are allowed to run away. And they may not chase you if you stay in the Savoy for some reason.

      We could combine payday loans with reality TV and LEAD THE WORLD.

  11. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Windows

    All this olde worlde unit stuff...

    ... does it have to be programmed in an olde worlde language like Delphi?

    I bet there's an off-the-shelf module for it somewhere.

    1. drand

      Re: All this olde worlde unit stuff...

      Yes. It hath been foretold: the Sons of Kahn shall ride out to reclaim England's green and pleasant land.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: All this olde worlde unit stuff...

      "I bet there's an off-the-shelf module for it somewhere."

      I'm not sure there is but you could always create your own type for it. Working with old maps, land valuations etc it's an irritant that spreadsheets don't have a type for acres, roods & perches. Metric measures, or at least only having metric, just complicates things..

  12. Pete 2 Silver badge

    While we're at it

    We might as well go the whole IT-protectionist route and reinstate the (british) EDSAC "standard" 18-bit word length for computers and, of course, the JANET style naming convention for domains - also known as back to front or uk.co.theregister.

    At least that would slow the spammers down a little.

    1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

      Re: While we're at it

      Wow, the 1st computers I either worked on (GEC.Elliot) were 18 bit and those 2 extra bits had confused me for years.

      Mystery solved...thanks for that

  13. Rich 11 Silver badge

    Guineas

    We can no longer tolerate the disadvantages of a currency unit that is not readily divisible by seven.

    The point of the guinea was that it was divisible by 3, and didn't actually exist as a coin in the Middle Ages (in later centuries the number of shillings assigned to a guinea varied according to the fluctuation in the values of gold and silver). The standard currency unit we should be returning to is the mark, worth 14 silver shillings. After all, when we return to the glorious past beloved of Brexiteers, without marks how else are we to pay a king's ransom?

    1. Simon Harris Silver badge

      Re: Guineas

      Would a £1.05 coin be known as a New Guinea?

    2. calmeilles

      Re: Guineas

      The mark was 13 shillings and 4 pence. Being 160 pence or ⅔ of a pound.

      Mine's the one with the duodecimal abacus....

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Guineas

      "the mark, worth 14 silver shillings"

      No, 13s 4d or xiijs iiijd if you prefer (not only do old documents use lower case Latin numerals but what would be the last of more than i i is always written j and iiij seems preferred to ix).

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Guineas

        "iiij seems preferred to ix"

        Dammit - iv

        1. Citizen99
          Linux

          Re: Guineas

          Many antique clocks have IIII instead of IV.

          But also IX instead of VIIII. To fit nicely on the dial, don't y'know.

    4. Martin

      Re: Guineas

      I thought the point of the guinea is that you paid for the services of your lawyer/accountant/whatever in guineas - he kept the pounds and paid the shillings to his clerk.

  14. Anonymous Blowhard

    Ungodly new-fangled units!

    Why go back to Imperial Units when we could revert all the way back to biblical times? Although this article is incomplete and doesn't give the Talmudic units for magnetic field strength...

  15. Joe Werner

    O'RLY?

    In the linked article it is written that the USA use the same system... except for the 1pint=16oz and the US gallon (ounce, quart,...) actually being quite smaller than the proper imperial one (right? too lazy to check w'pedia)...

    To be honest, I like my beer in the correct size (though the way it is done in Cologne also has its advantages, get a fresh one without asking all the time - but they are only 0.2l)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can I just point out that one million millions is the current French value of a billion?

    1. Squander Two
      Devil

      Can I just point out that "Napoleon won" is the current French value of Waterloo?

  17. JulieM Silver badge

    Dissenting voice

    I reckon we're actually more likely to finish the job of adopting SI, once we haven't got anybody breathing down our necks trying to make us.

    Almost nobody under 50 years old understands mediaeval measurements properly anyway.

    1. calmeilles

      Re: Dissenting voice

      I'm 53 and was taught both Imperial and metric at primary school. My sister is only four years younger but by the time she went there it was metric only so you're probably spot on with the 50 years demarcation.

  18. Mike 16 Silver badge

    Well, I'm prepared

    The IBM 1401 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View has the "Stirling Currency" option. Well _one_ of them does. The one from Germany.

    Of course, one can implement addition and subtraction of mixed radix numbers on "more normal" machines using essentially the same technique as for BCD arithmetic on binary machines. Mul/Div of mixed radix is left as an exercise to the insane.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Mul/Div of mixed radix is left as an exercise to the insane

      That might actually explain a lot about the current situation.

    2. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Well, I'm prepared

      The ICT 1301 had no binary arithmetic at all - it could do decimal or LSD. British computers for British values!

      And PL/I (which was developed in Hursley) had "sterling fixed point constants" - you could write 1.4.6L which would be converted to the number of pennies in one pound four shillings and sixpence.

  19. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Let's just settle for binary, or at least hexadecimal. Ooh look, 16 oz in a lb.

  20. Herby Silver badge

    In settling for binary...

    Why didn't they make the silly inch 2.56 cm in stead of 2.54 cm which it is now.

    Note: This is the value of the "Canadian Inch" at the beginning of WW2, I believe that the US inch was smaller, and the UK inch was bigger. Oh, and the inch and imperial units WON that war.

    1. John Styles

      Re: In settling for binary...

      There is of course still in real use, the U.S. Survey Foot https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foot_(unit)#US_survey_foot

  21. veti Silver badge

    What's wrong with the Oxford comma?

    It avoids ambiguity, and more importantly it's named after a British city. (Oh, I understand there's some kind of school there too, but who cares.)

    I'm sure my parents, Boris Johnson and the Queen would agree.

    1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Re: What's wrong with the Oxford comma?

      I'm sure my parents, Boris Johnson and the Queen, would agree.

      TFTFY. :-P

    2. Trixr

      Re: What's wrong with the Oxford comma?

      Ah, but adding the Oxford comma in your example would have confused the issue if you hadn't used the word "parents".

      "I'm sure my father, Boris Johnson, and the Queen would agree."

      So your dad is Boris, eh?

    3. Squander Two
      Devil

      Re: What's wrong with the Oxford comma?

      Highlights of his global tour include encounters with Nelson Mandela, an 800-year-old demigod and a dildo collector.

      -- from a Times story about a documentary by Peter Ustinov.

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