Things that don't make much sense, but are hard to change now.

So I was thinking (because I actually do that sometimes :smiley: ), what are things that you think make little sense, but are hard (impossible)to change now, because we are all so accustomed to them?

I’ll give one example:
Time measuring. You know, 60 seconds to a minute, 60 minutes to an hour, and 24 hours to a day. WTF?
What were they smoking when that was decided? It would be a hell of a lot easier if it was 100 seconds to a minute, 100 minute to an hour, and perhaps 20 hours a day. For example.
So yeah, it’s extremely unlikely that we could ever change that now, but that’s just a shame.

More suggestions for things like this?

Drive on the left / Drive on the right.

Not so much which one was chosen in any given place, but the fact that both systems still exist – and I think it’s probably too late to standardize now.

Electronic circuit diagrams all show the current flowing the wrong way - from positive to negative. In fact, electrons flow from negative to positive, but electrons were unknown when the “negative” and “positive” labels were assigned. Too late to do anything about it now.

The base unit of mass being the kilogram, instead of a prefixless name of which what’s our gram would be a millisomething.

Standard mainline railway gauge being 1435 mm (or a still measly 1524 mm/1600 mm in some countries). Something like 3 m would be better suited to high-speed rail.

The qwerty keyboard.

The Electoral College. Probably a lot of the older details of the American government; the problem with being an early adopter of democracy is we got stuck with the beta version, it sometimes seems like.

And a powerful chief executive in the US system. It was put together in the late 18th century, before the current Westminster system had evolved, and when the English monarch still had some real power. So they put in checks and balances, including an separation of legislature and executive branch.

What they didn’t foresee was the big British check on executive power – having the de facto chief executive getting up in the legislature to defend the executive policies and actions, and always subject to instant dismissal through a no confidence vote. So you have a powerful executive always subject to control to popularly elected members of parliament.

Canada, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand borrowed the system, but the US didn’t, because the US became independent too early to know about it.

From what I understand, most countries where the standard is still to drive on the left are island nations–mainland countries which originally drove on the left switched due to sharing roadways with countries that drove on the right.

UK, Japan, Indonesia/Malaysia and Australia are all rather large islands, though.

And last I heard, India was not an Island! Nor were Pakistan, Thailand or South Africa for that matter…

I never said all of them were.


Things that have too much inertia behind them to change easily, even though they are comfusing or inefficient:[ul][]The US Customary System of Units.[]The Imperial system of units.[]English spelling.[]The horrible half-metric/half-Imperial mess of building design and construction in Canada.[/ul]Things where one has to choose one way or another, but every way works fairly well:[ul][]Drive on the left vs. drive on the right, as previously-mentioned.[]Screw threads. Rotate left to loosen, right to tighten. Except sometimes. (I remember some radio antennas that had an opposite-thread screw. And I believe that certain cars had left-hand thead on the wheel nuts (or some similar part) on one side and right-hand thread on the other side.[/ul]

Easier for what? I can recall few circumstances that have caused me to think “Boy, this clock thing is hard!”

After reading the most recent thread on “Why is there a letter K?” I have concluded that it’s not English spelling that’s the problem. It’s English pronunciation.

The impending switch in radio broadcasting from analog to digital. While it may be a technical advancement, the result will be poorer sound for the end user. All sound will be coded through a lossy compression algorithm. However much radio sound is now squashed in dynamics and frequency response, it’s only going to get worse, not better.

Satellite radio is so popular now. You get hundreds of channels of music and speech that sounds like crap, because it is - streaming, low-bitrate mp2 or mp3. Having heard both XM and Sirius, I have no use for a satellite receiver. The music channels sound so terrible, I couldn’t listen to them for an extended period without being annoyed at the poor sound. It won’t be long before everything sounds like that, except for live music and music played on old, obsolete media through obsolete equipment.

Maybe I’m crazy, but ever since I studyed jommetry, I assumed that the 60 seconds/60 minutes thing was one degree of rotation (360 degrees), broken down into minutes and seconds longitudinally. Or whatever.

Seven day weeks/5 day weekdays would be my vote. I’d like my weekends to be longer. :smiley:

Has a definite date been set for that? I know television goes digital in February of '09, but I haven’t as yet come across a set date for radio broadcasting going digital. When am I going to have to replace all my radios?

Well, they’re both derived from Ancient Mesopotamia, which used Base-60. So seeing as it’s around 4000 years old, I’d say it’s pretty hard to change :slight_smile:

I don’t know the answer to that question. I’d ask the station engineer, but he’s out of the building. When I see him again, I’ll ask if he’s heard anything about a date, and get back to you.

As someone recently learning electronics, this drove me insane! I kept asking, “Why is the resistor AFTER the trasnsistor - it’s not going to block any of the current!”

Of course, sticking with the OP, I have to point out the four-color band system for the ohm rating of resistors. Ok, so I have to remember a total of 10 different colors, which numerical value each one has, then I have to figure out what the four colors are on a tiny thing about the size of a grain of rice when red and orange and brown and purple look very similar, THEN I have to figure out the first two colors’ numbers and then multiply them by the third color’s number…why don’t we just write “1000 Ohm” on it in the first place??? :mad: