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Old 10-11-2015, 14:15   #406
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Re: Convenience of the metric system

[QUOTE=Ribbit;1958963]I wasn't bothered either way (metric vs imperial, other than considering that metric was far from a panacea, and am aware that it can be positively dangerous to rely on it in many applications - and not just in heavy engineering either) until I went I went back to College again a few years back. There were two others of my generation on the IT Course I was doing, and we all came to the conclusion that metric has been nothing but an absolute disaster, for the maths capabilities of what are otherwise, extremely bright youngsters. It would appear that metric is far too easy, and doesn't help young minds to develop properly with maths, because it doesn't stretch them. I can't imagine people taught in metric, being able to do long division, like I was at the age of 5 for example (in my rural village school, all my fellow 5 year olds were also doing long division)
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Old 10-11-2015, 14:20   #407
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Re: Convenience of the metric system

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I wasn't bothered either way (metric vs imperial, other than considering that metric was far from a panacea, and am aware that it can be positively dangerous to rely on it in many applications - and not just in heavy engineering either) until I went I went back to College again a few years back. There were two others of my generation on the IT Course I was doing, and we all came to the conclusion that metric has been nothing but an absolute disaster, for the maths capabilities of what are otherwise, extremely bright youngsters. It would appear that metric is far too easy, and doesn't help young minds to develop properly with maths, because it doesn't stretch them. I can't imagine people taught in metric, being able to do long division, like I was at the age of 5 for example (in my rural village school, all my fellow 5 year olds were also doing long division)

For background, each of us three had been outside of Education, for 30 years plus. So very, very rusty, and frankly, none of us should have been able to compete with the youngsters that hadn't left Education, as a result. None of us three were maths 'geniuses' when at school or at College/Uni from school.

Now the best insight into the differences between us, was the maths testing that comprised 10 x 2 hours exams, prior to even starting the Java programming Course.

These 10 exams ranged from simple, starter maths, to Scientific. Like the other two of my generation, I had finished the first test 'twice' within 3 minutes. Finished and checked once.

Almost all of the youngsters were still scribbling away, at the end of the two hour period. The lecturer told us if we were finished and happy with what we had done, with future tests we could hand our papers in and leave the exam room at any time.

Most of the rest of the tests, the three of us were finished in under 5 minutes and exiting the room, and most of the youngsters were leaving the exam room at the end of the two hours.

The last exam took under 12 minutes for the three of us. The final results, out of a maximum of 1,000 (10 tests at 100 marks per test), we each got 999/1,000. We dropped a point because we forgot that even if requested NOT to put down your method in the question, you always put down your method (we each gave correct answers otherwise). None of the youngsters came remotely close to us, the best had just under 900/1,000.

Now I cannot emphasise strongly enough, how bright these youngsters were, and what an absolute privilege it was to be on a Course with them.

But the three of us were absolutely disgusted at how badly Education is letting them down (and this is now true across the whole of the EU, and pretty much the rest of the World, because the same techniques and format are being used, from school entry, with the exact same Higher Education Courses, pretty much World wide).

The youngsters deserve far, far better, and to me we need to go back to pre-WW1 Education principles and standards (Education was already proving to be on the wrong Course by the late 1920's, because Buckminster Fuller was already noticing a substantial drop in standards by then, and he was railing about it in one of his books - and things have become much, much worse, since then).

So for the benefit of the kids, I think we should have the two systems side by side, but especially during the school years, and in Society at large, priority should be given to Imperial.

12d to the shilling, 20 shillings to the ; 16ozs to the pound, 112lb to the cwt, 20 cwt to the ton; 3ft to the yd, 1,760 yds to the mile; pints, gallons, etc., are a maths education all on their own, and NOBODY used to struggle to work out change at a cash register, and NOBODY was in the position of not knowing the answer on a pocket calculator wasn't 'ballpark', until we went metric.

The lie sold to us was that computers needed metric, when the reality is, they don't.

We need to undo this inexcusable mess we have created, otherwise I tell you this, we are now getting in the position of being unable to do anything at all, with the loss of expertise, we are presently experiencing (Worldwide). There are no free lunches with this, and the final bill could well turn out to be one we find that is unpayable.

Sorry Ribbit, but that's the biggest crock of **** I've seen to date.

Jacques
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Old 10-11-2015, 14:47   #408
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Re: Convenience of the metric system

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No a meter is not the length of your stride (unless you are like 7' tall). I'm also a civil engineer and pace off distances. When pacing, I use an exagerated stride and it's only 3' and I'm 6'2".

The mile is defined as thousand paces (left foot, right foot). That was the original definition (again based on the human body). The Romans found that stride is around 2.64'. Not even close to the meter which is 3.28'. That's a 25% error.
Back when I was in the military (many years ago), the standard "pace" was 30 inches (0.762 m).
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Old 10-11-2015, 16:33   #409
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Re: Convenience of the metric system

What about the nautical mile, gold standard for navigation.
US auto makers have designed in metric for a long time.
One meter = 39 3/8 inches exactly.


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Old 10-11-2015, 17:08   #410
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Re: Convenience of the metric system

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What about the nautical mile, gold standard for navigation.
US auto makers have designed in metric for a long time.
One meter = 39 3/8 inches exactly.


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Incorrect.

One meter = 39.3701 inches
39 3/8 = 39.375 inches.
So one meter = 39 3/8 inches to the nearest ten thou. (Or to four significant figures)
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Old 10-11-2015, 17:27   #411
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Re: Convenience of the metric system

You are right too many years of over engineering. My boats is 0.0541376 inches longer than I thought, that is almost a sixteenth of a inch.


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Old 10-11-2015, 18:19   #412
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Re: Convenience of the metric system

On average, Mars is 225 million KM from the Earth. That little discrepancy between 39.3701 and 39.375 will mean that NASA's next landing craft will be 28,000 km out when it thinks it is touching down if they take you at your word

But then, they would never make mistakes with mixing up units would they
CNN - Metric mishap caused loss of NASA orbiter - September 30, 1999

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Old 10-11-2015, 18:28   #413
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Re: Convenience of the metric system

Or a Hubble mirror.



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Old 11-11-2015, 00:13   #414
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Re: Convenience of the metric system

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
I also remembered my slide rule, but suspect that kind of decimal error to be rare these days. Oh wait, perhaps North Korean Hackers are distributing a "randomly move the decimal point" in bootleg spreadsheet software?(VBG)


My physics professor used to yell at me for providing four decimal places on answers, insisting the slide rule was only good for three with interpolation. I said no, if you used the inverted scales and just kept going, you only had to interpolate once, at the very end, and that made the extra digit very simple to carry. He left me alone after that.


But then again, we didn't have any North Koreans in the class. Or Chinese communists, Iraqi's, or ISIS.


Debugging a slide rule usually just required a screwdriver.

The issue for most is that they simply have stopped doing math in their heads and therefore don't recognize an order of magnitude difference.

Some years ago, when I was still active in the work environment, new employees in my finance department (including those with MBA in accounting) were amazed when I would look an income statement or balance sheet for one of our businesses and say:

"Something is wrong in there - those numbers aren't right. You've either got an order of mangitude error or you've got a minus instead of a plus somewhere".

A few of them actually argued that I didn't know what I was talking about (not in those words - I was the boss). Usually the problem was that they were so used to using their calculator or Excel that they simply trusted the results. A keypunching error didn't register. And because they never did math in their heads - they didn't "see" that the answer simply couldn't be right.

Try this experiment next time you go to the supermarket. When you pay with cash, wait until the clerk has keyed in that you are paying, say, a total of $38.45 with a $50 dollar bill. Then say, "Oh wait, I happen to have the 45 cents here"

This will perplex a lot of clerks who are unable to simply add the 45 cents to the "total change - $11.55" showed on the cash register and give you back $12.

They just can't do simple math in their heads.


Another rant from an ancient dinosaur (as my daughters tell me)
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Old 11-11-2015, 01:43   #415
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Re: Convenience of the metric system

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"and the US itself has two definitions of what a "feet" is "
Uh-huh, sure we do. And somehow, after all these years, I've only found one definition and our National Bureau of Standards seems to have missed the same memo.
By all means, please, tell us all what "feet" is.


As to an engineering firm "commonly" making one or two decimal point mistakes in their renderings...that would be a tremendous liability issue and reason to terminate the contract unless some quality control group was brought in to assume the liability.


Or perhaps, some optometrists and a drug testing lab.
I'm not sure what other "feet" he is refering to.

As far as the engineering firm. If it was our decision, they would be gone but our role in the project is to review thier work and advise the client. We've made it very clear to the client and so far the client has not choosen to follow our advice (we are keeping a paper trail in case something does slip by us).

The frequent part is an issue that shouldn't happen but an occasional slip of the decimal point is very easy to have happen.
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Old 11-11-2015, 01:46   #416
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Re: Convenience of the metric system

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Back when I was in the military (many years ago), the standard "pace" was 30 inches (0.762 m).
2.5' or pretty close to what the Romans found 2000+ yrs ago when their military developed the "mile" 2.64'.

Oddly, I would have thought the pace would have grown by an inch or two since we are always told people were shorter back then.

Regardless, it's no where close to 3.28'
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Old 11-11-2015, 01:51   #417
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Re: Convenience of the metric system

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What about the nautical mile, gold standard for navigation.



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The nautical mile was an attempt to correlate miles to degrees of latitude. I believe the original definition was 1 min of latitude.

Since most people can't walk on water, the length of a pace didn't have much intuitive use for navigation but since charts usually show latitude and longitude, a distance that correlates to one of those is very intuitive for a navigator.
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Old 11-11-2015, 02:06   #418
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Re: Convenience of the metric system

There is one metric unit that wins out on the intuitive side.

Temperature.

I don't see anything intuitive to F:
- Room temp = 72
- Body temp = 98.6 (come on you could adjust it to 100 even?)
- Water freezes at 32.
- 100F is hot but so is 95 or a 105.
- Water boils at 212 (again, couldn't round it 200 when setting up the scale?)

If I remember correctly, 0F was the coldest temperature he could produce reliably but obviously it's not the coldest.

Of course that leaves the debate between C and K. In a purist sense, K makes more sense as absolute zero is not dependent on a particular material as a frame of reference but in an intuitive sense C makes more sense for normal use as it's largely based on the properties of water and we live in a water intensive world.
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Old 11-11-2015, 03:26   #419
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Re: Convenience of the metric system

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2.5' or pretty close to what the Romans found 2000+ yrs ago when their military developed the "mile" 2.64'.

Oddly, I would have thought the pace would have grown by an inch or two since we are always told people were shorter back then.

Regardless, it's no where close to 3.28'
Nerdish obsessive fact finding follows:

The military is slow to change traditions. The pace and marching formations etc are still the same as they were in the Crimea and possible quite a bit before that. A couple of hundred years ago, I'd guess the average sojer was still pretty small and scrawny

And it really still needs to be set to the normal stride of the shorter ones; it's easier and less tiring to "step short" than to "step long"

....

Just used a bit of Google Fu and it seems my assumptions above were correct.
Romans: "Imperial regulations, though not entirely unambiguous, suggest that the minimum height for new recruits was five Roman feet, seven inches (165 cm., 5'5") ... for the army as a whole a reasonable estimate of a soldier's average height is around 170 cm (5'7")"
and

18th Century: "According to a study by economist John Komlos and Francesco Cinnirella, in the first half of the 18th century, the average height of an English male was 165 cm (5 ft 5 in), ...The estimated mean height of English, German, and Scottish soldiers was 163.6 cm 165.9 cm (5 ft 4.4 in 5 ft 5.3 in) for the period as a whole,""

So the average Roman soldier was actually a couple of inches taller than the 18th Century soldier - which may be why the pace went from the Roman 2.64' down to the current 2.5'


(I did warn you! )
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Old 11-11-2015, 03:45   #420
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Re: Convenience of the metric system

For someone like me that suffers from dyslexia and a dreadful set of maths teachers and 'progressive education techniques'. The advantages of operating in base 10 are tremendous.

I blame the Babylonians. 360 degrees in a circle, 24 hours in a day FFS!
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