0526: "Converting to Metric"

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Taot
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Re: Converting to Metric

Postby Taot » Thu Jan 08, 2009 8:37 am UTC

linguistic wrote:
Taot wrote:I'll deflect that accusation back with pointing out that if you're buying a hard drive or, say, mp3 player, One megabyte is 1 000 000 bytes... ;)

Be careful bringing up the Mebi vs Mega (et al) is 1000 vs 1024 etc etc Holy War. :-P

Ups, I'll think I'll hide my trying-to-be-witty-deflector-shield.

I didn't mean that I agree with the marketing. I generally seldom appreciate it when marketing people assume I'm stupid. I remember hazily the time when the marketing changed. I guess whoever started it got about, what, 6 months of so-called advance from that tactic, until everyone else followed. Thanks guys.

I wont touch the kibi-kilo issue with a ten-foot pole. Other than to say that I always treated it more as a name instead of a prefix+base unit (because it was always 2^10 in my mind to me) and did not even realize that there was a problem until recently.

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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby Monika » Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:22 am UTC

I think it's okay to go on _speaking_ of kilobytes and megabytes even though meaning 2^10, 2^20 bytes, but in print, e.g. when a program outputs the size of a file or the free disk space, it should say kiB and MiB, not kB and MB. Because when speaking, one can just say that it's coloquial, exactly like one says that this bar of chocolate has 500 calories, while it of course has 500 kilocalories, and the packaging needs to say 500 kcal, not 500 cal (plus the Joule value ;)). Also when it's in a conversation, if the other person isn't sure, he or she can just ask if you meant 2^10 or 10^3, but you can't ask a program what it meant (or sometimes you can look it up in the man page, but that's cumbersome).
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Re: Converting to Metric

Postby theoretical_cat » Thu Jan 08, 2009 3:23 pm UTC

Mythx wrote:
Marleen wrote:Well, I'm living in a metric country, and Randall's just posted the system I've been using since childhood :D

joee wrote:Some people live in countries that use metric measurements. Anyone care to make an imperial version of this comic?


Yes please... that'd be handy...

I'd love to see one too. I can convert them, but as this comic says, it's harder to calculate what it should be in the other system than have some points of reference.


I don't think anyone has done this, so I'll get on it. I'll be a few, though, I've got class in about half an hour and I don't think I'll be done by then. I probably won't use the same references, just to use nicer numbers.

Also, I live in the South, so I think anything below 50 (ie, today, it's 41--that's 5 C) is "fuckfuckfuckCOLD", so I'll try to make it Northerner-friendly and reserve that rating for something that's actually negative on the Celsius scale.
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Ari
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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby Ari » Thu Jan 08, 2009 5:10 pm UTC

I'd like to quickly mention that 10°C is round about the point where breath becomes visible. Useful to know ;)

yohanleafheart wrote:
martin878 wrote:No, he has it right. One newton (lower case initial) accelerates one kilogram at 1m/s/s.


Hmmm I may be wrong here, long time since I last had any Physics class, but isn't the convention on SI that every unit based on a real person name (Newton, Pascal, Hertz etc) is upper case and the rest lower case?


Screw case, you're all screwing up ms-2. (or, if you must, m/s2)

Stranger... wrote:This comic demonstrates what I have said for a long time. The problem with Metric is that it has no easy reference points. Most of the base units are not a useful size. A meter is too big, a gram is too small, etc. The other problem is that powers of ten get big and small too fast. Metric should have been designed with a base unit with an easier conversion and allow non-base 10 label points.

(Why don't we ever use decimeter anyway? it seems much more preferable to meters and centimeters. I'm 6'3, but I don't want to be 1.90 meters or 190cm. 19dm would be better. In fact, when it comes to height, almost everyone would run between 1.5 and 2.0 meters (or around 1 meter with 1 significant digit.))

Anyway, I propose a new standard. 1 footmeter = 1 foot, 1 decifootmeter = 1.2 inches. 5k ftmeter = 5000 ft or nearly a mile. Then we can add some non-10 based prefixes and groupings. Like a milemeter (or pkfm) = 5000 fm.

As you can see, this would make it easier to have simple reference points. (A foot is nearly a foot, etc.) Hmm... in reference to the other main discussion taking place here, perhaps we should use another body part?? ;)


It doesn't matter what the base sizes are as they're so easily scaled with the appropriate prefixes. Decimetres certainly make some sense in context of medium-length measures like human height.

Your proposed measurements are merely applying SI prefixes to imperial/customary US measures. The problem with that is that you don't have the easy conversion from one set of measures to another that metric affords.
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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby phillipsjk » Thu Jan 08, 2009 5:43 pm UTC

Dr_Rent wrote: If it ever reaches freezing, cars start crashing into one another ...


To tell you the truth, that happens up here as well: for the first 3 days. About the second day of snow last fall there was something like 230 collisions in a city that normally gets a dozen or so. Nothing quite like applying the brakes to realize you are in a braking skid. The trick is to drive slower, and apply the brakes more gently.
Last edited by phillipsjk on Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:24 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Converting to Metric

Postby socialist » Thu Jan 08, 2009 9:03 pm UTC

Bartimaeus wrote:Anyone thing there a is reason lightsaber blade (1m) is b4 Summer Glau (170cm) and Darth Vader (200cm) on length?

Being at work and not really having the time to see if this has been addressed or not, I'm a go ahead and point out that 100 cm is 1 meter; hence the reason for it being before 170cm and 200 cm.
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Re: Converting to Metric

Postby slashme » Thu Jan 08, 2009 9:06 pm UTC

Random832 wrote:
Hmmm I may be wrong here, long time since I last had any Physics class, but isn't the convention on SI that every unit based on a real person name (Newton, Pascal, Hertz etc) is upper case and the rest lower case?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_%C3 ... iste_Litre

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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby scikidus » Fri Jan 09, 2009 12:59 am UTC

Has anyone made an imperial version yet? I'm American, but I've started building an imperial version for all you terrorists foreigners out there. :D
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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby tahrey » Fri Jan 09, 2009 1:06 pm UTC

Hmmm seems I made some cock-ups so I'll address them first.
Disclaimer before all of it that I'm not really having the best week mentally - the lack of any much sunlight (working indoors with fluorescent lights between sunrise & sunset mon-fri then sleeping half the daylight away at the weekend trying to recover) plus the jetlag coming back from a drifted bodyclock over the holidays has really got to me. Worn out and somewhat fuzzy in the head. So I might make as much of a mess of this again ;)
EDIT: evidence - making a hash of the first quote of the whole post.

myrddin wrote:An inch has only been defined as exactly 25.4 mm since 1958; before that it was closer to 25.4008 mm. While this has very little effect on penis length conversion, it can have significant impact on things like the calibration of machine tools built using the 'old' inch - oftentimes it is not the metric/imperial conversions which present problems, but the 'old' imperial/'new' imperial ones. Yet another reason for junking this outmoded crap and dragging the US into the late nineteenth century.

(& other posts making correction to 25.40mm)

OK, that, and the checking up I did on it out of disbelief kind of broke my head, and now I'm trying to work out where the hell I got 25.41 from, which I have been using as my 4sf inch->mm ready reckoner for YEARS. Presumably some list of conversions that I based my knowledge off must have used the old 25.4008 standard but misread it as 25.408 then rounded off. Or I took their 25.401 as 25.41. Argh.

Anyway I very much stand corrected, my apologies. Now I've gotta go fix any other things I've done based on that standard. CD inlays, print resolution conversions, wheel + tyre rolling diameter calculations, etc are all going to be about 1/20th of a % out. :-/ Which I guess isn't much but may make the difference between something fitting or not fitting.

faranya wrote:*detailed calculation of the speed of something falling from 10m height, being nowhere near either of my estimates*


Thanks for doing that for me :) So, being hit by a vehicle at 30mph is the same as falling from a 4th storey window. Ouch. Sobering stuff.
Again no idea why my estimates were so wide of the mark, but probably my half-remembered highschool physics "simple method" of working it out/estimating it actually being a complete crock, particularly with the current mental impairment/too tired/not enough time before I had to leave the building to bother looking up the method and firing up calc.exe. (I'm only being this "eloquent" thanks to a recent cup of coffee). There was something like the final speed over a unit distance of acceleration being half of the average or ............ yeah. Kaboom. Did kind of realise it was wrong anyway, because hitting the ground at 18-35 km/h would hurt, maybe injure, but not cause massive trauma like you'd expect a drop of that distance to do, but wasn't sure how to fix it.

chishm wrote:(argument against kg = 9.8N, correction on pascals)

(plus benson's further update)

Yeah, wasn't really meaning to get all THAT deep into it, just put a little bit of what I could remember of the background into it to stop it being a dry list of figures. Children's factbook style you could say (because ... though I know I'm on the xkcd forum and should be braced for such stuff, if we were going to be that hardline scientific all the way thru anyway there'd be no need for this poster in the first place, as everyone would know the theory quite well, always have a calculator with them and would have committed the conversion factors to 6sf to memory)... let me try putting my point clearer:

The intent was for it to be 10N / kg on earth, as gravity was assumed to be 1.0G, and density of water at 0.0001oC to be 1.0kg / dm3, just as it was initially thought that equator <-> pole via paris was exactly 10000km. But they made slight errors in the initial measurements, which is why the modern units don't exactly line up to powers of 10, but are fairly close.
(Even if this one ultimately proves to be wrong, it WAS what I was taught :))
And there's a correlation onwards from this in terms of the Joule (1N.m) etc.

The air pressure thing I may just be pulling out of my ass, but I was reasonably convinced - same as inch = 25.41mm - that the original kilopascal was supposed to be representative of atmospheric pressure at sea level somehow. Like 1kpa is functionally equivalent to 1.0 bar. But when you put it your way (it's a force of 1N per m2 isn't it?) it does make a lot more sense that it's merely a happy coincidence. Particularly as it would be a bit odd to try and fix a standard to something that's locally very variable (but the pressure over the earth could be thought to average out to a certain value, couldn't it? as the total volume of air in the atmosphere and the total area upon which it acts isn't likely to be changing by any significant amount?).

EDIT: no, wait... now I've woken up some I've spotted the flaw in the 1.0G = 10N/kg thing. Because it's based off 10N = 1.0kg/ms-2, right? (Quite why they thought that was needed rather than 1N = 1.0kg/ms-2, confusing schoolchildren forevermore, is anyone's guess) ... gravity is neither here nor there.
No. Sorry. Still not getting that right. I formally give up for today as it's not something I actually need to know. Correct me if you feel a need but don't go out of your way. I'll just pick up a physics book from the library later on and re-learn everything I didn't until now realise I'd forgotten.

Right back to normal service

SocialSceneRepairman wrote:The standard US width for a twin bed is 39 inches, or 99.06 cm.


Oooo kay. And for a single, and a double? Is that supposed to be a standard for twin children to sleep in or something?
(never come across that size in my own life, just curious)
Or is it a euphemism for "you've got a fat ass, you need a bigger bed"? :D

yurkyurk wrote:
faranya wrote:14 cm does sound right for an average erect penis.

I hope, for your sake, that you are being sarcastic.

I hope for my sake it's fairly accurate :D
From previous studies I've seen it holds water. Generalised average is a little UNDER six inches. Therefore under 15cm. 14cm without digging the calculator back out to refer it to my newly relearnt conversion standard is about 5.5"

elithrion wrote:On a random note, perhaps the most nightmarish conversion is for fuel efficiency: miles per gallon to litres per 100 km is no fun at all.

This is the sort of thing I think we still need to employ slide rules for. Or come up with some little nomogram ready reckoner that can be carried about if you have to try and figure it out in a foreign country for some inexplicable reason. It still takes me a few moments jigging the numbers back and forth on a calculator to get a suitable answer. (turning it into km/litre, then dividing by 100 and inverting the figure). In japan it's more sensible, they just use km/L.

faranya wrote:(1) I disagree. Just because it isn't arbitrarily modeled off of approximations of anatomy doesn't mean that there are no easy reference points.
(2) How exactly are Quebec tourists going to inadvertently kill you by reading mph as km/h? By getting in your way?
(3) Divisibility has nothing to do with ease of use, as far as I am concerned.


1/ The point of the whole comic, and thread, in fact. You just have to learn what the reference points are. The ones you use for imperial reference are only familiar because, well, they're familiar. A few times round the block using the new ones and you'll get used to it. Also it helps if you have the full set of units at your disposal - I'll swap you our Yard (~1m) for your US Quart (~1L) (see end of 3/)

2/ Travelling at 45mph (about 70km/h - fearful of cops picking on foreigners so not speeding) on a road where the posted limit is 70 and many people will be assuming some leeway OVER that is likely to cause difficulty, yes. Unless there's steep grades most trucks can sustain better speeds than that - and are more visible and will be expected to be going slower (also, round here, any outsize bit of wheeled equipment that's likely to be travelling much slower than expected is festooned with flashing orange lights - e.g. mobile cranes, which are noticable on the motorway as being the only things regularly going slower than 50~55). When I last experimented with cruising at that speed on a British motorway - OFF PEAK! - for economy purposes, it was terrifying as I was nearly rear ended SO often... the 70mpg (UK) that my car pulled down on that run (vs mid 30s to ~40 in normal use) was SO not worth the risk of getting in an accident, never mind the vastly increased journey time. And that's with staying in the "slow" lane because I knew I would be a rolling obstruction; ignorant tourists might not realise and could potentially end up in any lane, with closing traffic doing upto twice their speed. (Don't let matters of morality that "people shouldn't speed" come into this - they DO, and reality is what we're considering for this exercise).
But that's only the minor example, on a multi lane divided highway. They'll also be going a similar proportion below the limit on piddly 2-lane blacktop roads, and whilst they won't be alone in causing low speed obstruction in this case, they're pretty much going to be the slowest thing except for farm traffic and abnormal-load road trains (35mph in a 60 limit, for example, or 27mph in a 45), with the difference that they won't occasionally pull over in a passing spot like those vehicles do, because they think they're travelling at a normal speed. There's maybe less of a risk of rear-ending them as the closing speeds require less energy to disspate through braking, and they'll quickly build up a visible-from-a-distance train of traffic stuck behind them, but they will cause considerable obstruction, lateness and frustration to those behind - appointments will be missed (for the purposes of this example: doctors' and therapy appointments, say), planes missed, and ambulances/other emergency vehicles will have a time getting through as well. And of course, people will be having to pass them, which is the main difference. Even on a 2-lane-each-way freeway, someone going quite slowly won't cause massive disruption - if you're tanking along at 75, there'll be a few minutes where you have to slow to 50~60 as there'll be a series of slower vehicles having to pull out past them, but you won't be slowed to 45, be kept at 55 for a very long time, or encounter any danger in finally passing the slow driver. (The cranes do have an effect on my local 3x2 road, as trucks have to pass them, and people who would have been cruising past the trucks at 60-65 end up in the fast lane, but it's not a massive problem, and the time can be made up once you're on the emptier patch in front of them). On the 2-lane road, you have to overtake them. IE wait ages for a safe gap in the oncoming traffic, then accelerate around them hoping you've judged it right, your motor doesn't suddenly give up, and that the person you're overtaking (or people behind you/between you and them, people out of sight on side roads) don't do anything stupid that causes a collision, particularly a head-on which is almost invariably instantly fatal at these speeds.
(at least, that's how getting past a crawler goes on busy, twisty, hilly, narrow british roads. It's a little easier on the newer improved sections where they're actually wide enough for 3 or even 4 cars to be side-by-side in comfort and there's long straight sections, but even so I was stuck behind someone doing 25~30 on a 60mph road for a protracted period recently because it was a little foggy, and though I could see well past my safe 60mph braking distance, I certainly couldn't see to a safe 25 -> 60mph overtaking distance even in the powerful loan car I was driving. Presumably it's less of an issue on archetypal US roads which in the movies are all wide, flat, straight and practically deserted, but I have it on good authority that many of them can be just as bad as ours, merely with the dimensions adjusted for the slightly larger average vehicle size).
So to put it more briefly: yes, by them travelling significantly slower than everyone else's typical cruising speed - and doing so without warning lights or a police escort - they are creating a hazard that could, highly infrequently but within the realms of realism and actual happenstance, get someone killed.

3/ Depends what your usual usage circumstances are. Imperial units were easily usable and thrived "back in the day" because the difficulty encountered in cleanly dividing/multiplying them by 10 was a minor point compared to the consummate ease one could divide a figure by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 12 etc and often arrive at a whole figure, without needing a calculator or often even anything to write on. For some of them, e.g. if you wanted to subdivide a bulk delivery of some fluid between 8 clients, you just took however many gallons you had received, and doled out that number of pints. (Which is probably also why there were so many different units, and you'd get volume/weight measuring sets featuring a variety of them). For the same reasons the old pre-1973 British Pound-Shilling-Pence(-Farthing(-something else?)) system wasn't as crazy as it seemed... just out of date in the computer / calculator age. (Plus it helped keep small-value transactions sensible in an age where a pound was an awful lot of cash - there's 960 farthings in each one).
Nowadays calculators are ubiquitous, can be had for less than the price of a cup of coffee, so working with units that easily adapt to an inherently decimal-only device is a far more sensible option. Plus it's a fair bit easier to remember with less free time in your education to learn them all. I don't even reliably know how many feet in a mile (though that may be something to do with living in Britain, where we find the metre-like Yard, or 3ft, to be a far more convenient measure for most things other than people, low railway bridges and floodwater... 1760 yds, btw, or 440 yd / ~400m (if we inaccurately rule-of-thumb it to 1.1yd/m) for a 1/4 mile)

mavrisa wrote:(4) And as far as I'm concerned, a multi-radix system makes no sense in practice (Having 12 inches to a foot and then 5280 of those in a mile? wtf?).
(5) Just a thought: I don't know about anyone else, but I find it humorous that the British, who invented the Imperial system of measurement have (or are trying to) abandoned it, and yet the United States, who fought rather hard to separate from Britain still uses it.


4/ That inch-foot-mile conversion makes a little more sense if you realise that you actually step up through a few more units between ft and mi... as above, there's the Yard first (optional, though), then links, chains, furlongs... the divisions are actually reasonably small between each, except there being 100 links to 1 chain. Some of them are difficult however. Best to stick to yards (1760 to a mile) and furlongs? (220 yd, 1/8th mile)
No, actually, I give up also. The longer distance ones are a mess. But didn't really have much relevance to daily life except for land surveying, which had the luxury of the executor of the calculations having some extra time and equipment to do it with.
5/ Hey... we're not really giving up on it. We're having it imposed on us as well, by the EU, Gov't and education. We're just finding that it's not actually that bad, depite the occasional high profile case of a greengrocer winning the legal right to continue selling with their old lb & oz equipment (hey, scales are expensive, and most of them can show both units anyway so whats the problem?). Though it doesn't have that quaint kind of ring that describing something as "x foot y inches" does, most things become kind of easier. The only sticking point is that speeds tend to refer back to hours, minutes and seconds, that are all still imperial-type divisions. Too bad any attempt so far at metric time has been laughable and generally not very well thought out or promoted. Oh, by the way, you're not only hanging onto them with terrier-like tenacity, but have got some of them wrong ;) (16 floz to the pint? even though the dry volume is the equivalent of 20, like both of ours? short and long tons? wha?) :mrgreen: :roll:

csam wrote:Oh, and the tip someone gave me for thinking about weather in metric? It's stupid, but it works for me: "30's hot, 20's nice, 10 is cool, and 0's ice" (try coming up with such a nice rhyme for your climate-preferences, Northern Canadians!)

That's pretty good, I think you just won the thread with that little ditty :)
Now can we have a similar one for farenheit? I really can't get my head around it much as I try.


martin878 wrote:Yea that's so true. We get a "heat wave" of 35 C, a "cold spell" of -10 C, earthquakes that don't wake you up, spiders that don't bite, and so on. Maybe we should do a poster comparing all our different lands with respect to extremes.


I'd drink a (568mL) pint to that, mate :)
Just to see how awful the rest of the world is :D I think they're being boastful at us just because this is such a nice place to live when you look at the figures. No real fatal extremes of temperature or climate conditions, at least not on a prolonged, frequent, nationwide basis (there's the odd freak storm, cold/hot time, localised drought/flood, but that's just what they are: freak and often localised occurrences). No major geological upsets, no really dangerous wildlife. Overall a bit cool and damp, but not actually "cold and wet" on average, so condusive to comfortable and lush growth in plants and animals. Britain, and the nearby northwestern parts of europe, is/are like a big ol' nursery so long as you keep a jumper and raincoat to hand and don't go out of your way to get killed. EG by finding your local Hoodie and insulting his mum and choice of flick-knife. (Even our thugs aren't often that threatening unless provoked...)

({troll}Seriously, why do some of you choose to continue to live in places where for significant portions of the year if you go outside with the wrong type of glove/sunhat on, you lose all your fingers/die of scalp cancer, or have a random chance of buildings falling on you/being poisioned by a small arthropod? Employ a real estate agent, find a home and job somewhere temperate, stable and welcoming, unplug your car's block heater / auxiliary air conditioner, and go there{/troll})

And still our powers that be wish to wrap everything up even further in cotton wool so that we can't possibly hurt ourselves, even if that small risk of hurt we willingly took meant that everything actually worked a lot better 99.99% of the time... We should pack them off for a junket somewhere inherently inhospitable and see how badly they freak out.

...and now, just to take the mickey, some further replies to monika's similarly backbreaking post.

monika wrote:
rwald wrote:One neat trick I learned for converting from miles to kilometers: because 1 mile is approximate Phi kilometers, you can just take the number of miles, find the closest member of the Fibonacci sequence, and then the next consecutive Fibonacci number is the distance in kilometers. So you can know that 50 miles is approximately 80 kilometers without having to do any complex math, for example.

Awesomest conversion method, ever!

I'm not so sure. Not all of us have instant access to a handy dandy fibonacci sequence table... seems a bit easier to just remember your 8 and 5 times tables and accept you may have to put some decimal points in and that it'll be about as inaccurate. It's certainly innovative, however :)

Besides, if you then end up operating on the basis that 1 mile = 2 kilometres, and 2 mi = 3km even though 3mi = 5km, there's going to be terrible, Mars-Lander-impact-crater trouble.

monika wrote:
psa wrote:Or, we have things like km/h-mph buttons on our cars which are just a huge waste of engineering time.

You have a button for this? We just have km/h on the outside of the scale and mph on the inside.

Or as it is this side of La Manche, MPH on the outside, km/h on the inside. Unless you're driving something with an EU standard tachograph of course, when it's Monika's way, which is why we sometimes get newbie bus drivers pulling the Canadian Driver In America trick. (Luckily on city roads doing 25 and 18 instead of 40 and 30 just makes you and many others late for work, rather than killing anyone). The button comes because an awful lot of american cars, it would seem, have digital speedometers (see them a lot on TV, anyhow); not many european ones do. Don't know why, but it's a good thing, they update too slowly and take longer to read at-a-glance than a simple positional needle (and a lot of them only go up to 99, or 199 :), plus you don't get that subtle hint that the car/cruise control isn't coping properly with the hill as it starts to slide by a fractional mph amount each second. The number display can only show one set of figures at a time, of course, same as a trip-computer economy readout, so it needs a switchover button. (my hire car's computer has FOUR different settings for said economy readout, covering three distinct continental groupings. the mind boggles).

monika wrote:
polarette wrote:Ooh, here's one for speed:
160 kph: the speed at wich the asshat in the Mercedes behind you will STILL give you light signal to make you move over on a German Autobahn.

Mercedes = Auto mit eingebautem Zielfernrohr.
BMW drivers are just the same, though. "My car can go 210 km/h, get out of my way!" I sure hope they finally implement a 120 or 130 km/h speed limit this year.


Hmm, suddenly I'm not liking you two as much :) 120/130 is a terribly arbitary speed to set, you'd only be doing that to harmonise with other european countries rather than being all too scientific about it. My alternate definition:
Too slow: Any speed at which you're in the overtaking lane of a multi-lane road, at or below the posted limit, without yourself following someone doing a similar pace, which causes you to end up with someone on your tail flashing you to get out of the way.

Seriously, pull over. That person has somewhere to be, quickly, and it's not to you to judge whether they need to do it, because you have no information. Nip over to the next lane and ease off (IF needed) momentarily for the 5 seconds or less it takes for them to rocket past, then resume your prior position.

This PSA brought to you by some sick and fucking tired of being held up for miles on end at 63mph in the outside lane of a motorway in a tail of similarly frustrated drivers who are travelling because they have a requirement to go from one place to another place within a certain timeframe rather than they just fancied a day out, or are going to see Aunt Mabel with no particular constraint on their arrival time. Said tail caused by the Mabel-visitor having cruised happily down the middle lane at 60-ish for the last half hour (even when the inside lane is free), suddenly finding themselves faced by two or three trucks in their way passing slightly slower trucks, and opting to blunder into the 70-75-80mph overtaking lane without altering their speed or paying any much attention to every other road user, then taking about five minutes to slowly get past the trucks (at less of a closing speed than the two lines of trucks have on each other), ignoring horns, lights, tailgating, waved fists, the occasional under-taker and the growing tailback in their mirror until they finally resume the middle lane about a 100 metres in front of the last truck. Rather than sitting behind the trucks in the high-50s mph for a similar period and being the only person held up. Or accelerating to match the going rate when they pull out.
I know 160km/h is a fair bit quicker, but it's the same principle. The feeling expressed by the Merc / BMW driver is endemic in anyone faced with a deadline and a needless holdup. I quite often experienced it in my little 1.05 litre VW Polo that couldn't even attain such speeds without a considerable ski-slope downhill section (though there was the added stress that every mph gained above 55 was sacrosanct so such meandering drivers were actively stealing potential future speed from me on the big uphills). You could maybe call it "my car can go 140km/h, yours can do 180 but you're still choosing to get in the way at 110, move it!". When I am king, such behaviour will be actively punished with you being put in the stocks. On the back of a truck. :twisted: :mrgreen:


Now to a happier mood.

monika wrote:
alkatmsu wrote:Also: POSTER. As a teacher, I'd love this (although I'd have to mark out 'penis' to make it classroom safe).

Your students would stand really close to the poster, trying to figure out what was written under the black marking, and will find out eventually, giggling "it says penis on the poster". Put it up anyway ;) .


Wouldn't the simple solution to just load it up in Paint or an image editor of your choice beforehand and erase the offending, ahem, part with full-opacity all-black/all-white digital ink, or even move the lower lines up over it / replace the descriptive text with something tamer (extra credit for keeping some kind of joke comparison between 14 and 15cm)? No need for subvertable marker-pen strikeouts then.

monika wrote:
PhatPhungus wrote:In any case, I have no idea how much force a newton is ... Anyone care to enlighten me?

In physics class we used bars of chocolate. They pull down a Newtonmeter (device for measuring force, with a metal feather spring) with the force of 1 Newton. But this won't work in the US, because your bars of chocolate aren't standardized to be 100 g. It also won't work on the moon.

Where do I find these mythical 100g bars, they sound just about my ideal size. Mostly I only see smaller ones (20~45g), or larger (200, 227g (1/2lb)...) 8)

monika wrote:
nightlina wrote:Do you mean like how someone will say 'it takes half an hour to get to such and such' ? 'Cos I think everyone does that...

I think that, too. For example I need 20 minutes from home to work and 30 minutes from work to home (by bike). No idea how many kilometers (miles, inches, whatever) it is, though.

Hell, I have to drive to work (cycling it would be insane, public transport provision between there and home is practically unusable, even though I used to use the train when working somewhere within a few miles of here)... and I'm still not sure on really how far it is in actual distance terms. It's about 40 minutes in typical traffic, an hour if super heavy, 25 when clear (and that's without speeding). And a tank of fuel that's just had it's reserve light turn on will get me through 1 1/2 round trips before I have to stutter into a filling station. :roll:
Miles/km mean little unless you're walking, or are doing quite a long trip on either decent roads, or ones that are consistently bad so you know roughly what your average speed and economy will be.

Last ones!
(yeah ok ... its super big ... but i'm only doing one every two or three days :D)
monika wrote:Lazy English-speaking people! Just because your language has dropped most of the grammatical suffixes over time, you think all words have to be short, preferably one syllable long.

I don't see what's wrong with that :D ... just because your mind has grown up with sufficient training to deal with words that originally started out as like four seperate ones and then ended up as three because someone employed the paper-saving practice of leavingoutthespaces sometime back in history... Short, easily understood words ease, and most of all, speed up language both in writing and speaking. Obviously it hasn't really worked for me, but I like detail too :D

monika wrote:Oh well, we abbreviate kilograms to kilos and km/h are typically pronounced ka-em-ha (like kay em aytsh spelled out).

Kilos, yes. And mils for mL/mm (mg?) depending on context. I think we'd typically go for the latter k-m-h pronunciation, or even k-p-h (i know it's wrong but it happens). There's a lot of "spelt out acronyms" in English now I think of it (dpi, ppm, etc), the letter forms seem to suit it quite well. Pronunciation of different letters can be quite different in certain countries of course (learning you say € as Oi-row was confusing at first, but made a lot of other words suddenly more understandable).
But, no-one seems to have suggested for this one: "Klick", for kilometre. Whenever you hear soldiers talking about distances in klicks, that's what they mean. I like it, it's kind of accepting the new measurements but still giving them an arbitary and nonstandard colloquial name that's only vaguely related to the root, like all the traditional ones now are. And as mph is commonly just said as miles-p'r'hour, it should work ok as klix-p'r'hour.

monika wrote:
dennisw wrote:On my US English keyboard that key (shifted) is a tilde (~). Here is a superscripted "o" and one of your degrees for comparison: (o °). On my screen, with the font used here, the o is more readable.

Yes, it is. But it's not right ;)


True ... but if there wasn't the two of them for comparison, would you have noticed it? I'll admit to having used the same further up this monster post, as it was so much easier to hit the "sup" button and insert an "o", than to try and remember whatever the Alt+numpad code was for degree (i always find I have to take two or three tries for any of those, except ™, © and ÿ) or open up character map then copy & paste it. For some reason UK keyboards lack the degree symbol as well (wouldn't it be similarly useful for Farenheit degrees and geometry? I guess it's only on there in the first instance so it can be used as a vowel accent in conjunction with Alt-Gr/Compose...), though we do have ¬ and | and ¦, whatever good they're supposed to be. And the other accentables (", ', `, ~, ^ ... and , itself), just not the circle.
And some allowance for readability may be necessary with this font, and particularly with cleartype turned on - the symbol's vertical line almost disappear into nothing leaving it as a tiny = instead. And that's with good eyes (no reading glasses needed ... yet) about 1m from a 17" screen.

Anyhoo. I really should do some work today. There's plenty left over and I'm sort of awake now. The sun's come out and it shining through the window. This is probably a good sign mental-prowess-wise.

Peace :p

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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby tahrey » Fri Jan 09, 2009 1:24 pm UTC

Finally:

scikidus wrote:Has anyone made an imperial version yet? I'm American, but I've started building an imperial version for all you terrorists foreigners out there. :D


I did kick it off with Imperial speed reference points a couple pages back (basically using the reference point names from my km/h one but substituting likely mph speeds), but having already done one monster post that day I got bored once I reached roughly concorde speeds... fancy taking that and building on it?

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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby Monika » Fri Jan 09, 2009 4:10 pm UTC

tahrey wrote:
yurkyurk wrote:
faranya wrote:14 cm does sound right for an average erect penis.

I hope, for your sake, that you are being sarcastic.

I hope for my sake it's fairly accurate :D
From previous studies I've seen it holds water. Generalised average is a little UNDER six inches. Therefore under 15cm. 14cm without digging the calculator back out to refer it to my newly relearnt conversion standard is about 5.5"

Who needs a calculator? Ask Google: 6 inches in cm and it tells you: 6 inches = 15.24 centimeters. Or 5.5 inches = 13.97 centimeters (this remind me that when googling for this two days ago one study said the world-wide average is 13.97 centimeters ... I suppose the study was done in inches and then converted).


I'm not so sure. Not all of us have instant access to a handy dandy fibonacci sequence table

Why would you need a table?

Hmm, suddenly I'm not liking you two as much :) 120/130 is a terribly arbitary speed to set, you'd only be doing that to harmonise with other european countries rather than being all too scientific about it.

No need to be scientific. Unlimited speed is dangerous and a waste of gasoline, there needs to be some limit, even though you and must Germans disagree. And most German Autobahns are already limited to 120 or 130 km/h, depending on the state. As most other countries have 110 or 120 km/h limits, setting 130 km/h as a maximum will certainly not be unreasonable.

My alternate definition:
Too slow: Any speed at which you're in the overtaking lane of a multi-lane road, at or below the posted limit, without yourself following someone doing a similar pace, which causes you to end up with someone on your tail flashing you to get out of the way.

Seriously, pull over. That person has somewhere to be, quickly, and it's not to you to judge whether they need to do it, because you have no information. Nip over to the next lane and ease off (IF needed) momentarily for the 5 seconds or less it takes for them to rocket past, then resume your prior position.

Sorry, but where do you get the completely idiotic idea from that I would be driving on the left lane because I want to force you to drive slower? Obviously I am driving on the left lane because on the right lane there are the trucks that go at 80 km/h, which is the maximum speed they are allowed. And 5 seconds? Good joke! Reality is: Right lane: trucks at 80 km/h. Me on the left lane: 130 km/h. You: flashing behind me. I go to the right, braking by 50 effing km/h, so that you can increase your speed by 30 effing km/h (or whatever), and squeeze in between two trucks. I never ever get back into the left lane because of Rasers like you. Because I now drive at 80 km/h behind a truck. So when other normal people come at 130 km/h or other Rasers at 160 km/h ("when" being always), there is no way to get into the left lane - with the 80 km/h I have now, I would definitely be in everybody's way and cause a crash. THIS is reality. So get out of your fantasy world where everybody is driving in your way to annoy you.

UK, South Africa, India etc.: left <--> right.

This PSA brought to you by some sick and fucking tired of being held up for miles on end at 63mph in the outside lane of a motorway in a tail of similarly frustrated drivers who are travelling because they have a requirement to go from one place to another place within a certain timeframe rather than they just fancied a day out, or are going to see Aunt Mabel with no particular constraint on their arrival time

*I* also have to get some place in a certain timeframe, which will be difficult to achieve at 80 km/h in the right line. If *you* cannot get to your target below 160 km/h, 180 km/h or 210 km/h (speeds seen daily on German Autobahns), you need to start earlier - just like all the other people in all those countries that do have speed limits.

BTW you do realize that 130 km/h = 80 mph, while the 63 mph you mention would be 101 km/h.

I hope this speed limit is coming rather sooner than later. Then nobody will be able to claim that stupid argument that they need to drive 200, flash, honk, tailgate to get to their goal in time, because they knew from the beginning they would not be allowed to go faster than 130 km/h and thus should have planned accordingly. I'd also vote for cars (except police etc.) being physically limited to a similar speed not too high above that one.

ignoring horns, lights, tailgating, waved fists

Which are all illegal to varying degrees, as you certainly know, but will nevertheless not refrain from using, right?

the occasional under-taker

Undertaker? Someone who puts dead people into the ground?

I know 160km/h is a fair bit quicker, but it's the same principle. The feeling expressed by the Merc / BMW driver is endemic in anyone faced with a deadline and a needless holdup.

Exactly why there needs to be a speed limit at 120 or 130. Or a physical limit to the cars.

When I am king, such behaviour will be actively punished with you being put in the stocks. On the back of a truck.

When I am queen, Rasers like you will lose their driver's permit on the second offense of speeding. On the first offense of tailgating.
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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby scikidus » Fri Jan 09, 2009 5:11 pm UTC

tahrey wrote:Finally:

scikidus wrote:Has anyone made an imperial version yet? I'm American, but I've started building an imperial version for all you terrorists foreigners out there. :D


I did kick it off with Imperial speed reference points a couple pages back (basically using the reference point names from my km/h one but substituting likely mph speeds), but having already done one monster post that day I got bored once I reached roughly concorde speeds... fancy taking that and building on it?

Whoops, didn't see that post. Oh well. I generated my own values for the conversions.

Anyway, I've finished it. It took a while (I had to find old comics about code to get the lowercase letters for things like "lb") but I've finished the imperial version. I also managed to fix a few things, like the speed of a raptor on a hoverboard. After all, it should have been 142kph, not 140. (BTTF reference).

Enjoy!

convertingtoimperialxkcd.jpg
Teaspoon: fix'd.
convertingtoimperialxkcd.jpg (189.52 KiB) Viewed 6041 times


Time-traveling raptors! :shock:
Last edited by scikidus on Fri Jan 09, 2009 9:19 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby Kadzar » Fri Jan 09, 2009 5:16 pm UTC

Monika wrote:
Spoiler:
tahrey wrote:
yurkyurk wrote:
faranya wrote:14 cm does sound right for an average erect penis.

I hope, for your sake, that you are being sarcastic.

I hope for my sake it's fairly accurate :D
From previous studies I've seen it holds water. Generalised average is a little UNDER six inches. Therefore under 15cm. 14cm without digging the calculator back out to refer it to my newly relearnt conversion standard is about 5.5"

Who needs a calculator? Ask Google: 6 inches in cm and it tells you: 6 inches = 15.24 centimeters. Or 5.5 inches = 13.97 centimeters (this remind me that when googling for this two days ago one study said the world-wide average is 13.97 centimeters ... I suppose the study was done in inches and then converted).


I'm not so sure. Not all of us have instant access to a handy dandy fibonacci sequence table

Why would you need a table?

Hmm, suddenly I'm not liking you two as much :) 120/130 is a terribly arbitary speed to set, you'd only be doing that to harmonise with other european countries rather than being all too scientific about it.

No need to be scientific. Unlimited speed is dangerous and a waste of gasoline, there needs to be some limit, even though you and must Germans disagree. And most German Autobahns are already limited to 120 or 130 km/h, depending on the state. As most other countries have 110 or 120 km/h limits, setting 130 km/h as a maximum will certainly not be unreasonable.

My alternate definition:
Too slow: Any speed at which you're in the overtaking lane of a multi-lane road, at or below the posted limit, without yourself following someone doing a similar pace, which causes you to end up with someone on your tail flashing you to get out of the way.

Seriously, pull over. That person has somewhere to be, quickly, and it's not to you to judge whether they need to do it, because you have no information. Nip over to the next lane and ease off (IF needed) momentarily for the 5 seconds or less it takes for them to rocket past, then resume your prior position.

Sorry, but where do you get the completely idiotic idea from that I would be driving on the left lane because I want to force you to drive slower? Obviously I am driving on the left lane because on the right lane there are the trucks that go at 80 km/h, which is the maximum speed they are allowed. And 5 seconds? Good joke! Reality is: Right lane: trucks at 80 km/h. Me on the left lane: 130 km/h. You: flashing behind me. I go to the right, braking by 50 effing km/h, so that you can increase your speed by 30 effing km/h (or whatever), and squeeze in between two trucks. I never ever get back into the left lane because of Rasers like you. Because I now drive at 80 km/h behind a truck. So when other normal people come at 130 km/h or other Rasers at 160 km/h ("when" being always), there is no way to get into the left lane - with the 80 km/h I have now, I would definitely be in everybody's way and cause a crash. THIS is reality. So get out of your fantasy world where everybody is driving in your way to annoy you.

UK, South Africa, India etc.: left <--> right.

This PSA brought to you by some sick and fucking tired of being held up for miles on end at 63mph in the outside lane of a motorway in a tail of similarly frustrated drivers who are travelling because they have a requirement to go from one place to another place within a certain timeframe rather than they just fancied a day out, or are going to see Aunt Mabel with no particular constraint on their arrival time

*I* also have to get some place in a certain timeframe, which will be difficult to achieve at 80 km/h in the right line. If *you* cannot get to your target below 160 km/h, 180 km/h or 210 km/h (speeds seen daily on German Autobahns), you need to start earlier - just like all the other people in all those countries that do have speed limits.

BTW you do realize that 130 km/h = 80 mph, while the 63 mph you mention would be 101 km/h.

I hope this speed limit is coming rather sooner than later. Then nobody will be able to claim that stupid argument that they need to drive 200, flash, honk, tailgate to get to their goal in time, because they knew from the beginning they would not be allowed to go faster than 130 km/h and thus should have planned accordingly. I'd also vote for cars (except police etc.) being physically limited to a similar speed not too high above that one.

ignoring horns, lights, tailgating, waved fists

Which are all illegal to varying degrees, as you certainly know, but will nevertheless not refrain from using, right?

the occasional under-taker

Undertaker? Someone who puts dead people into the ground?

I know 160km/h is a fair bit quicker, but it's the same principle. The feeling expressed by the Merc / BMW driver is endemic in anyone faced with a deadline and a needless holdup.

Exactly why there needs to be a speed limit at 120 or 130. Or a physical limit to the cars.

When I am king, such behaviour will be actively punished with you being put in the stocks. On the back of a truck.

When I am queen, Rasers like you will lose their driver's permit on the second offense of speeding. On the first offense of tailgating.
It's nice to know that there are other people in this world who care about safe driving (too bad none of them live in the US :| ). It's gotten to the point where I actually like road construction on the highway because it gives me the excuse to drive at a reasonable speed. I wish I could drive at the legal posted speed limit on the far lane, because it is my opinion that we should leave the lane nearest the exit ramps open for people who are trying to get on or off an exit ramp. But the assholes (when you're driving in the US, everyone around you is an asshole in some way or another) need to have their "passing" lane, which is what they use the far lane for, and a "driving" lane, the lane closest to the exit ramps. :evil: I almost think that my idea is what the highway designers or whoever had in mind when they put up those "slower traffic keep right" signs. Seriously, can't we all just travel between 65-70mph on the left lane, no slower, no faster?
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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby Monika » Fri Jan 09, 2009 5:18 pm UTC

scikidus wrote:
tahrey wrote:Finally:

scikidus wrote:Has anyone made an imperial version yet? I'm American, but I've started building an imperial version for all you terrorists foreigners out there. :D


I did kick it off with Imperial speed reference points a couple pages back (basically using the reference point names from my km/h one but substituting likely mph speeds), but having already done one monster post that day I got bored once I reached roughly concorde speeds... fancy taking that and building on it?

Whoops, didn't see that post. Oh well. I generated my own values for the conversions.

Anyway, I've finished it. It took a while (I had to find old comics about code to get the lowercase letters for things like "lb") but I've finished the imperial version. I also managed to fix a few things, like the speed of a raptor on a hoverboard. After all, it should have been 142kph, not 140. (BTTF reference).

Enjoy!
convertingtoimperialxkcd.jpg


Time-traveling raptors! :shock:

Thank you lots, scikidus! :)
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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby scikidus » Fri Jan 09, 2009 5:32 pm UTC

*bows*

No problem. :P
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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby dennisw » Fri Jan 09, 2009 8:51 pm UTC

scikidus wrote:Whoops, didn't see that post. Oh well. I generated my own values for the conversions.

Anyway, I've finished it. It took a while (I had to find old comics about code to get the lowercase letters for things like "lb") but I've finished the imperial version. I also managed to fix a few things, like the speed of a raptor on a hoverboard. After all, it should have been 142kph, not 140. (BTTF reference).

Enjoy!
convertingtoimperialxkcd.jpg


Time-traveling raptors! :shock:


Good job - nice work. However...

teaspoon: .166... oz. You know, for precision baking.

Except for vanilla. When the recipe says "1t" I usually use somewhere between 2t and 1T (that's 2 teaspoons/10ml to 1 Tablespoon/20ml for the Imperially Impaired) - to say nothing of the "solvent" that goes into the cook!

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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby scikidus » Fri Jan 09, 2009 9:20 pm UTC

Image fix'd. Now teaspoon reads 1.6 [bar]
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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby dennisw » Sat Jan 10, 2009 12:11 am UTC

scikidus wrote:Image fix'd. Now teaspoon reads 1.6 .16 [bar]

Fix'd. Now you owe me a dime.

Or, [imath]0.1\bar6[/imath]
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Re: Converting to Metric

Postby SpringLoaded12 » Sat Jan 10, 2009 12:52 am UTC

JRDK wrote:Hahahahahahahahahahhahahaha. I just love living in Europe. Our ladies are slim like in Asia, but with proper breasts, our penises are almost-as-big as in Africa, but our economies are better and nobody bothers us because of skin color. We have puny little militaries so nobody expects us to fix the world, or blames us for screwing it up. We have the metric system, so math, physics etc. are a lot easier for us to learn. And then we have French people, which kinda sucks, but it's cool because we get to use them as handy frog-eating scapegoats whenever we screw up, and everyone buys it just because the French sound snooty when they speak ;-P


PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me you live in Switzerland. I'm looking for reasons to go there/live there, years from now.
So far, I have only the stereotypes: chocolate, pocket knives, Swiss cheese, no war, and everyone keeps a machine gun in their house (which, incidentally, is why there is no war). If you live in Switzerland, that adds everything you just said. Now I just have to take a look at their laws, type of government, climate, economic status, environmental status, and the food they have there, and I'll be all set.
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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby kvaks » Sat Jan 10, 2009 12:53 am UTC

This has probably already been said, but it doesn't hurt to say it again: Dennis Kucinich and the Ronpaul are two lucky bastards. I'd love to be locked in a fridge with Summer Glau (sadly, we'd have to leave the two others outside to fit).

Randall, now that XKCD is a world wide megahit and you have become a celebrity of sorts, have you considered that Summer Glau possibly knows who you are and that you could conceivably get a date with her?

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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby scikidus » Sat Jan 10, 2009 1:30 am UTC

dennisw wrote:
scikidus wrote:Image fix'd. Now teaspoon reads 1.6 .16 [bar]

Fix'd. Now you owe me a dime.

Or, [imath]0.1\bar6[/imath]

I give you 0.1 dollars. .1 Zimbabwean third dollars, as they stood on November 18, 2008, to be exact. That's 1/6612293270465680000 US dollars, or about 0.00000000000000000015 US cents.

If, instead, you would like to have ten US cents, take that 0.00000000000000000015 cents, run to the nearest bank, and put it into a savings account with a locked-in rate. Assuming a 3% interest rate, you should have your 10 US cents in only 1467 interest cycles! Assuming your interest compunds monthly (as it does normally), you should have your die in a mere 122.25 years!
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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby Ann_xkcd » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:51 am UTC

scikidus wrote:If, instead, you would like to have ten US cents, take that 0.00000000000000000015 cents, run to the nearest bank, and put it into a savings account with a locked-in rate. Assuming a 3% interest rate, you should have your 10 US cents in only 1467 interest cycles! Assuming your interest compunds monthly (as it does normally), you should have your die in a mere 122.25 years!


Ignoring other practical issues... aren't interest rates usually quoted per annum? - In which case at your 3% interest rate, you would have to wait your original number of interest cycles - over a thousand years.

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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby josiahstevenson » Sat Jan 10, 2009 10:19 am UTC

Dr_Rent wrote:I can't help but marvel at the ludicrous temperatures posted here. In Houston, people are freaking out when it drops to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (about 4.5 Celsius) and all the coats and sweaters start coming out at 60 F (about 15.5 C). If it ever reaches freezing, cars start crashing into one another and people run around screaming in terror that the end of the world has come.


Finally, after all the Canadians and Danes, a fellow Houstonian!!

Really, how many Canadians have posted here solely to complain that the climate in their (nearly-uninhabitable) environment has given them an incredible tolerance for cold temperatures? A note to all of you: I don't care! I know Canada's cold. It's not Randall's fault you live there, and it sure isn't mine. Also, I find the implicit assumption in your comments that the Canadian temperature reference scale, while rather peculiar, should be the standard for the rest of Randall's worldwide audience arrogant and a bit insulting. You don't see me complaining that because Houston is much, much warmer than Massachusetts, Randall must be in error for not using Texan-friendly reference points!

And I like many others here am rather impatient for this comic to be made into a poster.

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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby dennisw » Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:41 am UTC

Ann_xkcd wrote:
scikidus wrote:If, instead, you would like to have ten US cents, take that 0.00000000000000000015 cents, run to the nearest bank, and put it into a savings account with a locked-in rate. Assuming a 3% interest rate, you should have your 10 US cents in only 1467 interest cycles! Assuming your interest compunds monthly (as it does normally), you should have your die in a mere 122.25 years!


Ignoring other practical issues... aren't interest rates usually quoted per annum? - In which case at your 3% interest rate, you would have to wait your original number of interest cycles - over a thousand years.

Ann_xkcd gets the nickel this time. :wink:

Thanks to bc (bc -l actually), here's the answer (there may be rounding errors):
[math]y \ = \ {\ln \left ({FV \over PV} \right ) \over \ln(1+i)} \ = \ {\ln \left ({10 \ \text{cents} \over 0.00000000000000000015 \ \text{cents} } \right ) \over \ln(1.03)} \ =\ {45.6462 \over 0.02956} \ =\ 1544.2519\ \text{years}[/math]

Compounding monthly only improves that to 1523.44 years.
[math]m \ = \ {\ln \left ({FV \over PV} \right ) \over \ln(1+i)} \ = \ {\ln \left ({10 \ \text{cents} \over 0.00000000000000000015 \ \text{cents} } \right ) \over \ln(1.0025)} \ =\ {45.6462 \over 0.002497} \ =\ 18281.3\ \text{months} \ =\ 1523.44\ \text{years}[/math]

It would only be with a monthly rate of 3% (where do I sign up?) that you'd get there in 115.7 years, as you implied.

I lifted the formula and LaTeX here.

It's somebody else's turn to verify the exchange rate. :wink:

By the way, I thoroughly enjoyed playing fast and loose with the significant digits, if anyone's watching!
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Re: Converting to Metric

Postby Monika » Sat Jan 10, 2009 1:08 pm UTC

SpringLoaded12 wrote:
JRDK wrote:Hahahahahahahahahahhahahaha. I just love living in Europe. Our ladies are slim like in Asia, but with proper breasts, our penises are almost-as-big as in Africa, but our economies are better ...

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me you live in Switzerland.

You are aware that he was being facetious?

I'm looking for reasons to go there/live there, years from now.
So far, I have only the stereotypes: chocolate, pocket knives, Swiss cheese, no war, and everyone keeps a machine gun in their house

As a foreigner you will not be keeping a semi-automatic weapon in your house. This is only for those who have served in the Swiss army.

(which, incidentally, is why there is no war)

It isn't. At all.

If you live in Switzerland, that adds everything you just said. Now I just have to take a look at their laws

Which laws seem most important to you? E.g. in Switzerland it's not so bad to get caught with some weed, there is no death penalty, ... which of your laws do you intend to break? ;) Not so different from laws in the surrounding countries. Speed limits are lower (and penalties very high), but you wouldn't really want to speed on roads that are narrow and it goes down the mountain on one side, anyway.

type of government

Democracy, but a little different from most other countries. They have a kind of agreement to split the positions up for the different parties / groups of population. Seems to work well for them. There are lots of population votes on controversial issues, kind of like in California. They have lots of tiny "counties" with different laws, even more so than with the states in the US or in Germany.

climate

Too cold. ;) All mountains, very snowy. Good if you like skiing. (Actually it gets warm in the summer, too, but what use is that without an ocean?)

economic status

Swiss earn more money but everything is more expensive there, too. Health insurance costs appear to be rising. Living with children seems to be more expensive than e.g. in Germany. Their currency is extremely stable.

environmental status

Clean.

and the food they have there

Good food. They combine all the best stuff from German, French and Italian cooking and additionally have their own stuff. And of course the chocolate! And the cheese, but I don't like cheese.
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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby tricky77puzzle » Sat Jan 10, 2009 3:24 pm UTC

trvsdrlng wrote:
tricky77puzzle wrote:Hold on a minute there... some fridges only hold 194 L. What if you don't have a 200-L fridge at your disposal? Then what? I mean, you can't just accidentally the Ronpaul's head...


The whole thing?


Yes, the whole thing. What did you expect, half of it? That would be cruel, disgusting, and unusual punishment.

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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby dennisw » Sat Jan 10, 2009 8:47 pm UTC

By the way, water does not boil at 100oC. :twisted:

<snickers, runs and hides>

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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby Faranya » Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:37 pm UTC

dennisw wrote:By the way, water does not boil at 100oC. :twisted:

<snickers, runs and hides>

If this isn't a forbidden topic, it may soon be!


It does if you define it with less than 4 significant figures.
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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby phillipsjk » Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:13 am UTC

Faranya wrote:
dennisw wrote:By the way, water does not boil at 100oC. :twisted:

<snickers, runs and hides>

If this isn't a forbidden topic, it may soon be!


It does if you define it with less than 4 significant figures.


I still remember the Jr. High science class where we were trying to measure the boiling point of water. We all got about 97C (due to the altitude) except the group that boiled their test tube over (I think they may have measured over 100 (steam temperature?)).

:arrow: I guess I'm saying, we all know water does not boil at exactly at 100oC (though perhaps for different reasons).
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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby Faranya » Sun Jan 11, 2009 4:57 am UTC

phillipsjk wrote:
Faranya wrote:
dennisw wrote:By the way, water does not boil at 100oC. :twisted:

<snickers, runs and hides>

If this isn't a forbidden topic, it may soon be!


It does if you define it with less than 4 significant figures.


I still remember the Jr. High science class where we were trying to measure the boiling point of water. We all got about 97C (due to the altitude) except the group that boiled their test tube over (I think they may have measured over 100 (steam temperature?)).

:arrow: I guess I'm saying, we all know water does not boil at exactly at 100oC (though perhaps for different reasons).


See, I've never had problems with the experimental temperatures being weird. It's always pH that screws me up. Tap water should not be 9, and distilled water most definitely should not be 4.7!
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Re: Converting to Metric

Postby Eugo » Sun Jan 11, 2009 6:41 am UTC

martin878 wrote:Significant digits fail. 1.5 and 2.0 are 2 to one sig fig. And besides, you used two sig fig in your original description of your height so why have you started using one? Also why don't you want to be 1.90 m? If you ask me, "one ninety" is just as easy to say as "six three" - you manage with small amounts of money don't you? That's decimal.


I wouldn't be surprised if the same people who say "one-fiftyfive is too long" are never saying "I got it for ten bucks", they quote "I got it for nine ninetynine" even though that's completely wrong, because that's the price without retail tax.
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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby exmark_tthp » Sun Jan 11, 2009 7:06 am UTC

First of all were in America we have no need for the metric system. We have always used the imperial system and that’s the way its going to stay and if you don’t like it you could get the get the hell out.

Second of all, I CANNOT STAND when I have to call an 800 number and get "Press One for English." Can we not have Spanish on xkcd? I could yack at you all day in French but it would get pretty annoying!!!!
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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby scikidus » Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:57 pm UTC

It's obvious that water doesn't always boil at 100ºC: think of pH levels, atmospheric pressure, gravitation fields, shae of container, etc.

Also:
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Whoops, wrong thread. :P
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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby dennisw » Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:03 pm UTC

scikidus wrote:It's obvious that water doesn't always boil at 100ºC: think of pH levels, atmospheric pressure, gravitation fields, shae of container, etc.

Also:
exmark_tthp wrote:om nom nom troll FEED ME

Whoops, wrong thread. :P

Even at standard pressure using standardized water - we're not talking about your kitchen.
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Re: Converting to Metric

Postby Monika » Sun Jan 11, 2009 6:08 pm UTC

Eugo wrote:I wouldn't be surprised if the same people who say "one-fiftyfive is too long" are never saying "I got it for ten bucks", they quote "I got it for nine ninetynine" even though that's completely wrong, because that's the price without retail tax.

Who else thinks it should be illegal to show the prices without tax?

It seems to be illegal in all European countries ... at least all I have been to.
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Re: Converting to Metric

Postby scikidus » Sun Jan 11, 2009 6:19 pm UTC

Monika wrote:Who else thinks it should be illegal to show the prices without tax?

It seems to be illegal in all European countries ... at least all I have been to.

At the very least, I am grateful to stores that price their merchandise so that when tax is applied, it comes out to a round value. Paying a ten-dollar bill for something is far easier than $9.82.
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Re: Converting to Metric

Postby bigglesworth » Sun Jan 11, 2009 6:32 pm UTC

Monika wrote:
Eugo wrote:I wouldn't be surprised if the same people who say "one-fiftyfive is too long" are never saying "I got it for ten bucks", they quote "I got it for nine ninetynine" even though that's completely wrong, because that's the price without retail tax.

Who else thinks it should be illegal to show the prices without tax?

It seems to be illegal in all European countries ... at least all I have been to.


Then again, when they decreased the tax in the UK, some things did not become cheaper because of this.
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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby Eugo » Sun Jan 11, 2009 7:54 pm UTC

Ann_xkcd wrote:Ignoring other practical issues... aren't interest rates usually quoted per annum? - In which case at your 3% interest rate, you would have to wait your original number of interest cycles - over a thousand years.


There's a difference between multiplying by 1.03 once and by 1.0025 twelve times, because the latter is equivalent to multiplying by 1.030416 once. The difference is there, but isn't that big - instead of the money growing by factor of 19.22 over a hundred years, it would grow by a factor of 20.01... not much.

Of course, someone would expect that this would have already happened by accident - that someone would have put a few bucks in a savings account a century or two ago at a fixed rate, then forgot about it, and by now the heirs would own the bank. This, of course, never happens, because the money is a fiction. The bank will vanish, the papers will get lost, a period of inflation will nullify the value of the saving (here! I said it! I used a savings in singular!)... anything but this imaginary endless growth.
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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby SocialSceneRepairman » Sun Jan 11, 2009 10:01 pm UTC

Kadzar wrote:It's nice to know that there are other people in this world who care about safe driving (too bad none of them live in the US :| ). It's gotten to the point where I actually like road construction on the highway because it gives me the excuse to drive at a reasonable speed. I wish I could drive at the legal posted speed limit on the far lane, because it is my opinion that we should leave the lane nearest the exit ramps open for people who are trying to get on or off an exit ramp. But the assholes (when you're driving in the US, everyone around you is an asshole in some way or another) need to have their "passing" lane, which is what they use the far lane for, and a "driving" lane, the lane closest to the exit ramps. :evil: I almost think that my idea is what the highway designers or whoever had in mind when they put up those "slower traffic keep right" signs. Seriously, can't we all just travel between 65-70mph on the left lane, no slower, no faster?


I was debating to myself whether to respond to this, since it's so absolutely, astoundingly, infuriatingly stupid that I thought it might have been a troll. And yet, here I go.

That is absolutely, positively not what they intended, you idiot. It is the exact opposite of what they intended. It says "slower," not "turning." You are SLOWER TRAFFIC; KEEP THE FUCK RIGHT. It is against the law to use the left lane except for passing or in preparation for a turn, so if you're going to break civil laws anyway, don't make the other lawbreakers late, ya crook. Granted, this law is about 100% ignored (one of the few situations in which it is enforced being to catch fuckwits like you) when there are three or more lanes, but unless you've been weaving to enforce your idiotic interdiction, your argument a moot point on such roads.

Also, since no one's said it yet:

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Re: "Converting to Metric" Discussion

Postby Kadzar » Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:22 pm UTC

SocialSceneRepairman wrote:
Spoiler:
Kadzar wrote:It's nice to know that there are other people in this world who care about safe driving (too bad none of them live in the US :| ). It's gotten to the point where I actually like road construction on the highway because it gives me the excuse to drive at a reasonable speed. I wish I could drive at the legal posted speed limit on the far lane, because it is my opinion that we should leave the lane nearest the exit ramps open for people who are trying to get on or off an exit ramp. But the assholes (when you're driving in the US, everyone around you is an asshole in some way or another) need to have their "passing" lane, which is what they use the far lane for, and a "driving" lane, the lane closest to the exit ramps. :evil: I almost think that my idea is what the highway designers or whoever had in mind when they put up those "slower traffic keep right" signs. Seriously, can't we all just travel between 65-70mph on the left lane, no slower, no faster?


I was debating to myself whether to respond to this, since it's so absolutely, astoundingly, infuriatingly stupid that I thought it might have been a troll. And yet, here I go.

That is absolutely, positively not what they intended, you idiot. It is the exact opposite of what they intended.
I will grant you that I am an idiot. And as an idiot, I have the right to voice strong opinions as fact without knowing what the hell I'm actually talking about. I just choose to exercise this right less frequently than you do.
SocialSceneRepairman wrote:It says "slower," not "turning." You are SLOWER TRAFFIC; KEEP THE FUCK RIGHT. It is against the law to use the left lane except for passing or in preparation for a turn, so if you're going to break civil laws anyway, don't make the other lawbreakers late, ya crook.
When did I say I did this? I only implied that I thought it would be a more efficient system. It was just a dumb idea I had; thinking it over, I was wrong. Maybe.
SocialSceneRepairman wrote:Granted, this law is about 100% ignored (one of the few situations in which it is enforced being to catch fuckwits like you) when there are three or more lanes, but unless you've been weaving to enforce your idiotic interdiction, your argument a [sic] moot point on such roads.

Also, since no one's said it yet:

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