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  #101  
Old 08-02-2019, 09:05 PM
Northern Piper is offline
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Originally Posted by FlikTheBlue View Post

I’d also like to know where the poster who mentioned 27 degrees lives. It might get that cool at 4 in the morning around here, but even that’s pushing it.
Gorsnak lives in Upper Dakota, as do I.

At the moment, 27 C would be a great relief here.
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Last edited by Northern Piper; 08-02-2019 at 09:07 PM.
  #102  
Old 08-02-2019, 11:08 PM
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Luckily or unluckily, it’s extremely easy for me to find people who are A) Chinese speakers and B) understand metric.

However, it’s my understanding that native Chinese speakers on international dating sites can understand people’s height in feet and inches.

Like anything, it just depends on context. I prefer to hear temperatures in C for discussing weather in Asia but in F for discussing weather in America with other Americans or people living in America.

I’ve got a chinese friend who lives in NYC, and it’s common to have a conversation such as “Damn, it’s hot. 35 today. Are you in the 90s?”

It’s a form of code switching (don’t ban me please;-) ) because it’s easier than doing the mental math.

For distances under 400 yards, I still think in yards because of golf. For small objects, then cm. For distances between km to 20 to 30 km then I think in terms of Salt Lake City blocks going so far as to actually memorizing the conversation ratio.

I didn’t answer to the thread concerning dick size but measuring in cm definitely makes me feel more manly. I may start referring to it in mm. Even better. Pro tip: Never in fractions of miles.
  #103  
Old 08-03-2019, 04:05 AM
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It is no coincidence that the most ardently anti-metric in the UK are right-wing Brexit wankers.
  #104  
Old 08-03-2019, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Balthisar View Post
Not sure what part of Canada you're in, but in Ontario, the use of non-metric units is still alive and well. I might confuse people with my US-sized gallons, but other than that, it would generally not be a problem.

FWIW, I'm pretty much metric in my daily life, just because it's convenient. Other than mile post markers, the USA is already pretty much metric, for those who want to be. I mean, what more do metric people want? Violate free speech by forcing publishers to ship only metric cook books?

We could mandate that auto speedometers are metric, and change our signs, but that doesn't really make us any more competitive with the rest of the world.

Every time there's a "we should become metric" thread, I always ask, "what does it mean to become metric"? No one ever really answers.

Oh, and to the OP, depending on context, yeah, using metric units sounds pretentious. For me, switching units is just part of the normal code-switching of my everyday language.
Yup I live in Ontarrriooooo. Was around when that twit trudeau switched us over to the metric system for no particular reason, but popular opinion then was that he and his cabal thought that Canada was becoming to Americanized. So to be contrary, I still use the previous system of weights and measurements , but updated to become standard with our southern neighbors and provide the voice of disecension when ever this topic comes up.
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  #105  
Old 08-03-2019, 05:07 PM
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"Metric" units are no better, or worse, than non-"metric" units, except for the small fact that they are of the same standard all over the world, and people understand what you are talking about. That's the point of an international system.

As for sounding funny to your compatriots that depends on context, of course. People still regularly use traditional units here and there and not only in America and the UK. (From the official anthem of North Korea: "the homeland of 3000 li")
  #106  
Old 08-03-2019, 08:15 PM
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A lot of Americans don't seem to have picked up on the easy conversion between time and distance that there is with metric highway distances. A good driving speed is 100 kph. The sign says that the next city is 90 km distant. It will then take 90% of an hour to get there. Well, no, that's not in minutes, but it's easy enough to figure that it's almost (a little short of) 60 minutes, and that's close enough for deciding whether to look for a rest area sooner, or maybe waiting until you get into town.

The metric system is just decimal numbers, and using it is as easy as spending decimal money. Or maybe the US should go back to stock prices quoted in 1/16 of a point.
  #107  
Old 08-04-2019, 12:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Civil Guy View Post
A lot of Americans don't seem to have picked up on the easy conversion between time and distance that there is with metric highway distances. A good driving speed is 100 kph. The sign says that the next city is 90 km distant. It will then take 90% of an hour to get there. Well, no, that's not in minutes, but it's easy enough to figure that it's almost (a little short of) 60 minutes, and that's close enough for deciding whether to look for a rest area sooner, or maybe waiting until you get into town.
I'm all for metric, but I'm not sure that's the best example. You can simply say, hey, with our system, 60 mph is a "good driving speed" and the sign says the next city is 90 miles distant, so you know, hey, that's about 90 minutes away without doing any sort of math like in your example.
  #108  
Old 08-04-2019, 01:23 AM
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Decimal time never caught on, whether fortunately or unfortunately. But that speaks to what I was getting at: sure, there are 60 minutes in an hour and not 100 as in the French (cf. also the Chinese) system, but that's totally OK since those units of time are used the world over. Anyway, 100 km/h is rather arbitrary; if you are driving at 120 km/h or 70 miles/h or some other speed you will be back to doing arithmetic. Also a "scientific" speedometer might be calibrated in metres per second
  #109  
Old 08-04-2019, 06:33 AM
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I just remembered. Back in high school, one of my friends decided to say everything in metric. A lot of people thought he was being pretentious. It was annoying as all hell.
  #110  
Old 08-04-2019, 08:33 AM
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Bar trivia question from last week:

Name one of the two other countries besides the U.S. that uses the imperial system of measurements.


SPOILER:
Liberia and Myanmar


I was the only one on our team who knew.


mmm
  #111  
Old 08-04-2019, 10:26 AM
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I think Myanmar has it's own uniquely local method of measurements.
  #112  
Old 08-04-2019, 11:31 AM
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I find Fahrenheit's 100 degrees meaning rather hot to make more sense because 100 of something is generally high. It also clearly means a fever. I wouldn't see much use for 50 - 100 when it comes to Celsius, save maybe in baking.

But I'm sure I'd get it if I grew up with it. But I didn't, and I can't help that converting to Fahrenheit makes me think "Oh, that's how hot it is," even with that toddler's rhyme. My hard drive is running at 48 degrees? I converted that to about 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and now I get how hot that is--too hot for hot water from the sink.

I can adjust lengths and stuff much easier, since it's just a factor, and I just remember that 5 cm is about 2 inches, or about 30 cm in a foot, or a kilometer is around 2/3s a mile, or a kilogram is 2.2 lbs. Or 5mL in a teaspoon, or a liter being barely more than a quart or meter barely more than a yard. Those let me do a direct conversion in my head. But the additional subtraction makes the math too much to work automatically for me.

I know they say you should try to not convert, but that doesn't seem to work for me. Likely, I just don't use them often enough for it not to be far more precise letting my brain handle the conversion.
  #113  
Old 08-04-2019, 11:39 AM
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I would actually argue that people asking about distances in the walkable or driveable range are usually more concerned it would take to get there. In day-to-day life, there just isn't much other reason to care about the distance other than the travel time.

Where I live, the raw distance is extremely lousy for estimating time, because some roads are more curvy and thus have lower speed limits--and while you can cheat them a bit, you can't cheat them too much. A two hour trip can be 75 miles. And, yes, that's the road distance (or displacement) not "as the crow flies." I don't know that number, but, given all the curves, I'm sure it's significantly lower.

Last edited by BigT; 08-04-2019 at 11:40 AM.
  #114  
Old 08-05-2019, 06:14 PM
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The other day I bought a package of biscuits, made in Brazil. The energy content was listed as 2000 kJ per 100 grams, which gave me pause for a second as I still see energy listed in kilocalories on almost everything. Which countries still require labelling in calories, which require only joules, and which require both?
  #115  
Old 08-05-2019, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mean Mr. Mustard View Post
Bar trivia question from last week:

Name one of the two other countries besides the U.S. that uses the imperial system of measurements.


SPOILER:
Liberia and Myanmar


I was the only one on our team who knew.


mmm
Well, when doing trivia, the correct answer is always the one that the host wants you to answer. But in this case, it's one of those rather false answers that gets spread as an urban legend.
  #116  
Old 08-06-2019, 08:41 PM
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Our system of measurement, which we insist on clinging to, isn't even a "system" at all. It is a hodgepodge based in large part on the old English system of measurement that even the English gave up on almost 200 years ago. So, if you use it, you don't sound like a twit, you sound like you are actually a modern, sophisticated person.
Have a look at Metric Standard Pipe sizes before you post that again....
  #117  
Old 08-17-2019, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Daylate View Post
There are two types of countries.

Those that use the metric system,

And those that have walked on the Moon.
And yet, even the country that walked on the Moon had to use the metric system to get there (NASA has always worked in metric)

Sure, the displays for the use of the astronauts were in American units, but the internal calculations for the computers? Everything in metric.

And let us not forget the unfortunate fate of the lost Mars Climate Orbiter probe, wherein Lockheed apparently decided to be 100% ‘murican and had its software provide outputs for rocket thrust in pounds-force instead of newtons, contrary to the specifications of the contract that they had signed with NASA...

There is one field, however, where most countries use American customary units: piloting airplanes. There are exceptions like Russia and China, but in most of the world flight altitudes are dealt with in feet, speeds are in knots, distances are given in nautical miles... (source: took some flying lessons in Holland).

In any case, when it comes to measurements, in the end what you grew up with is what feels natural to you. I grew up with and was taught the metric system in school; for me metric is the most natural and easiest thing in the world, whereas imperial (or American) measurements are an unholy, absurd, stupid mess. For the average American the opposite will likely be true.

As an additional thing: I stumbled by myself upon a trick (I hesitate to say “invented”, because I cannot believe that nobody else had thought of this before) to roughly convert between km and miles and viceversa very quickly, using Fibonacci sequences.

The idea is as follows: 1 mile = 1609 meters (or, 1.609 km, if you will). Now, this value happens to be in the ballpark of the golden ratio, φ = 1.618...

The ratio between 2 consecutive terms of a generalized Fibonacci sequence tends towards φ. If you start a Fibonacci sequence with 2 numbers that are a number of miles and its equivalent in km, you end up with a sequence that will allow you to roughly convert from miles to km if you go “up” the sequence, and from km to miles if you go “down”.

Let’s check it out. Suppose we start with 30 miles, and that we take as being about 50 km (in reality it would be 48.28 km, but let’s take a nice round number). If we generate the relevant Fibonacci sequence, we have:

30 - 50 - 80 - 130 - 210 ...

Let’s see... does this work?

30 miles ~ 50 km (= 48.28 km)

50 miles ~ 80 km (= 80.467 km)

80 miles ~ 130 km (= 128.748 km)

130 miles ~ 210 km (= 209.215 km)

It seems that it works... but in any case, it is only for a limited set of values, no? Well, we can always generate a different sequence starting from other numbers... let’s say, 40 miles and 65 km (again, 40 miles is in reality 64.374 km, but, meh, close enough). Let’s go:

40 miles ~ 65 km (= 64.374 km)

65 miles ~ 105 km (= 104.607 km)

105 miles ~ 170 km (= 168.981 km)

170 miles ~ 275 km (= 273.588 km)

The estimates tend to be a bit below the real value when converting into km, but always within a few % of it. Good enough for a quick estimation!

If you keep in your head a couple of these series (and it is very easy; let’s say you use three series, with 5 terms each - that’s just 15 numbers to remember; or you can just remember the three pairs of generators for each, which makes only 6 numbers) you can easily estimate many distance values, simply by adding or subtracting terms of different series, or multiplying/dividing a given pair of terms. For instance: how many km are 220 miles? Well, I know that 50 miles ~ 80 km and that 170 miles ~ 275 km, so 220 miles should be ~ 355 km (real value: 354.056 km).

Want to convert from km to miles? Go down the sequence from bigger to smaller numbers and you’re done!

I thought this would be a cool thing to share here
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Last edited by JoseB; 08-17-2019 at 12:08 AM.
  #118  
Old 08-17-2019, 01:00 AM
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Not as much of a pretentious twit as an American who uses the word "twit."
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  #119  
Old 08-17-2019, 01:15 AM
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Not as much of a pretentious twit as an American who uses the word "twit."
Is twit regional? It's a little dated or minced in the US, but not unknown. Twat maybe.
  #120  
Old 08-17-2019, 03:52 AM
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Iím an American mechanical engineer, and non-SI units are a real pain in the butt for me. A year ago, I started a job that uses US units exclusively, partly because the industry Iím in tends to use them.

Itís really annoying. Is a 1/4-28 bolt bigger or smaller than a #12-28? What about a .2160-28?
(The 1/4-28 is bigger, and the last two are identical to one another).

We use some outside parts that were designed using SI units, which means the mounting hole dimensions on our mating parts are never round numbers. I donít have a particular attachment to round numbers except that they make some errors (the drafting equivalent of typos) more obvious.

There are well-known costs to keeping our non-SI units, but Iím convinced that the hidden costs are much larger than most people appreciate. (I canít prove it, of course). Communication mixups, conversion errors and extra checking to prevent those errors really add up in my line of work.

I know I wonít live to see the US finally complete its adoption of the metric system, but it canít come soon enough.

After all that: I use the units appropriate for the context. And I am a pretentious twit, but even we have limits.
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