# Rant against unit of measure nazis, check your ignorance

This is not a pitting of dopers, as they tend to be kinder but the unit of measure nazis are just as frustrating as the prescriptive grammar nazis in general.

This is absolutely pervasive throughout both the general public and non-physics scientists where they obsess about the difference between weight and mass, typically while referencing pounds vs kilograms or ounces vs grams.

First, of all the pound has been defined based on the kilogram for over 50 years, and so unless someone is using pounds force or lbf they are the EXACT same measurement with just a change in the scale. <pdf>

Second, the kilogram is a measure of “inertial mass”, or the inertial resistance to acceleration. Weight, or a measure gravitational force experienced by the body when in a reference gravitational field is functionally the same measurement under the standard model. Einstein’s equivalence principle states that within sufficiently small regions of space-time, it is impossible to distinguish between a uniform acceleration and a uniform gravitational field.

But you say…but a kilogram is still a kilogram on Jupiter but a pound is not! This is only true if you set arbitrary limits to the accuracy and is not true out of the newtonian model which as we know, while useful, is not true!! Due to general relativity the pseudo-force(1) we call gravity is known to be an acceleration force in space time. This means that the total energy state will change when an object is subject to a change in gravitational force which will change it’s mass, just as the mass of a running clock is higher than a stopped clock, it may be a small change but it is there. The E=MC^2 that the same unit of measure nazis wear on teeshirts and coffee mugs makes this true.

So get over yourselves, mass and weight are useful constructs that are both only valid in within a reference frame, quit confusing the public and your peers with false absolutes which are as outdated as references to phlogiston.

*(1) Don’t get me started about how the pseudo-force of gravity is universally OK but people will kvetch if you mention the also useful pseudo-force called centrifugal force.
*

I gots my physics degree.

And I can’t be arsed to remember the difference between centripital and centrifugal force (see I can’t even fracking spell it right).

Yeah, the pedantic nazis of all stripes are getting on my last nerve too

Sure, point out your pedantic point if you must. But at the very least own your pedantricy (sp?) and note that is what you are doing when you are doing it. And much better, make it fucking funny or sumptin.

Act like you are God gift to correctness or you saved the world somehow?

Shove a cactus up your ass.

Can I still get grumpy when people (try to) measure energy with watts?

Only if they are using it to describe their “hot water” heater

Shouldn’t it be slug or lbm? You weren’t clear.

Yeah, about that…unless you’re some sort of crazy person who leaves his shower on 24/7, the appliance in question spends the vast majority of its useful life maintaining the temperature of water that’s already heated to the prescribed temperature, so “hot water heater” is a fine description.

Besides, there’s no such thing as cold anyway.

What the fuck is that comma doing there???

Sorry, I think I’m in the wrong thread. :smack:

The one with the F is the one trying to go into a fugue, to escape. A fugue estate is one in which the body is there but the mind has gone for walkies on its own; a musical fugue is one where the theme keeps going round and round and up and down, as if it was trying to evade the musicians.

Does it go for walkies, or does it pedal away?

Whatever mode of locomotion, it is away from its estate.

The part that gets me about all of this is that as logical as SI measurements are, why are so many of the arguments made about how superior they are argued so poorly.

For example, look at how confusing measurements are, there’s 3 barley corns in an inch, 12 inches in a foot, 3 fee in a yard, 1760 yards in a mile, 16.5 feet in a rod, 4 inches in a hand, 6 feet in a fathom, etc. Yes, all of that is true. But NO ONE any of the obscure measurements. We use feet, inches, miles for distance, none of the rest of those. It’s completely an argument making it seem way more complex than it is. Yes, Imperial is more complicated than SI. No reasonable person is going to argue that, but don’t misrepresent how it’s actually used to make it seem more complicated than it is because it undermines your argument.

Or the similar argument about how easy it is to convert units. Yes, it’s easy to figure out that if it’s 24km to work that it’s 24000m, but if it’s 15 miles it’s 79200 feet. But, seriously, in everyday life, why would I need to know either? The reasonable argument is in converting between feet and inches, because those are used in everyday life. Other than that though, conversion just isn’t a strong argument because we tend to compare things in like units. Sometimes that gets confusing because, for instance, I might buy soda in 12oz cans, 20oz bottles or 2 liter bottles. But again, I’m usually buying a can or small bottle for just me, and the 2 liter bottles if I’m buying for many people, so even that mixing isn’t a big deal.

And the argument that it’s easier. Meh. What’s easier is what we’re used to. If you grow up with feet, miles, gallons, and Fahrenheit that’s easier, if you grow up with meters, kilometers, liters, and Celsius, that’s easier. Hell, I could make an argument that commonly using negatives in Celsius makes that slightly more complicated for general use, but then that freezing is 32 counters that and it’s back to just being silly all around.

Finally, the last bad argument is that it’s used for science. The thing is, essentially every scientist uses SI for everything regardless of where they are. Yes, I know about that NASA disaster, everyone does. But the point is, there’s a lot of stuff scientists or other fields have standards on that aren’t used in everyday life. Various communities need to agree on standards that work for them and those may or may not make sense for everyday life. It really isn’t that hard when science stories are reported, to just give us the results and put the conversion into everyday measurements in the article.

The correct argument is that having an international standard is something that’s useful. I don’t love SI, not even the fact that I grow up with Imperial, I think some redesigning on a more modern system could be superior (ie, the second is inconsistent with the rest of the design but is kept for historical reasons). Nonetheless, it’s the international standard and it makes sense. It’s always confusing trying to communicate with friends in other countries. Still, it seems like even as stubborn as the US is, I’ve seen more and more common usage of SI units over my lifetime. I see milliliters and liters and kilograms fairly often, and while it’s not quite as intuitive for me as gallons and lbs, I can still communicate in them fluently. Maybe within a generation or two the conversion will be nearly complete. But we really don’t need to keep talking about how backwards the US is, all it does is cause people to dig in and resist conversion more.

a very musical place to live.

My pet-peeve is that “centripetal” only describes the direction of a force and not what the force is. If one says such-and-such is caused by the centripetal force, that still doesn’t answer the question of what is causing the force, just that the force is directed to the center.

Unless the context makes this clear, then we should be using “pound(force)” when we mean weight, and “pound(mass)” if we mean mass … pound can also mean to hit something and a place to put stray dogs …

Using Watts to mean energy is clearly wrong, Little Ed needs to work on his editing skills a bit.

As a general rule, any word that is derived from a capitalized proper noun is capitalized itself, eg Watt, Joule, Newton, Hertz, Maxwell, Telsa, Watchwolf, Gauss, Darwin etc etc …

A kilosecond is 16’40" … or about 827 microfortnights

Ah, I still don’t understand why they never use megameters. Or the deca/deci prefix. Though I do understand the Soviet/Russian air force used drop tanks with capacities in decalitres.

Hectopascal (1 hPa = 100 Pa = 1 mbar) is fairly common.

Umm, dude. About that bolded unit, there…

But a light year is still a very long time, right?

And “ton”, when used by interior designers, is a measure of volume. “The kitchen has tons of storage space!!”

But I like using millinazis to describe evil! It’s like millihelens–the amount of beauty needed to launch only one ship.

BTW, should “anal retentive” include a hyphen or not?

… barley corn is a thing?