The Greatest Battle of All: Metric or Imperial?

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Metric or Standard?

Metric!
176
88%
Imperial!
25
12%
 
Total votes: 201

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Postby space_raptor » Wed Aug 15, 2007 10:52 pm UTC

Dalenthas wrote:Ok, so weatherman says "High 70s" today for the forecast. What would the equivilent be on a celsius forecast? If he said "Low 30s" or "High 20s" it could be (IIRC, not doing conversions of the top of my head) anwhere between 65 F and 85 F... which is a huge difference! If anything, using Celsius forces the weatherman to be more precise just so he can be wrong just as much. Right.

You're missing the point, which is that the weatherman is always wrong to some degree anyway, so being precise with your temperature scale doesn't matter.

I don't care how the weatherman formats his weather report. I am fine with the weatherman saying "25 degree high today". I know that that's just a rough estimate, and that it's going to get colder at night, or when it rains, or is windy or cloudy or any of a dozen other things that affect local temperature. Fahrenheit being more precise is not an advantage in looking at the weather forecast.
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Postby Swordfish » Thu Aug 16, 2007 12:43 am UTC

zenten wrote:
Swordfish wrote:And zenten, your inability to feel temperature change of up to 2 degrees Celsius (I assume that's what you're referring to as the sensible system) makes me wonder if you have any feeling in your body what-so-ever, should you not be exaggerating.


I don't believe that you can tell the difference either.


If I'm paying attention I can feel a temperature difference of 1 degree Fahrenheit. A temperature change of 2-3 degrees Fahrenheit will get my attention.

Germany: Not where any of us live


So what if I don't live in Germany, it gets a bit warmer where I live than it does in Germany, but the scale still works pretty well.

A big argument here seems to be using is that 0-100 doesn't do a good job of covering air temperatures, but the examples you're presenting tend to be extremes. It can get to 120F in the U.S, but the highest average temperature in anywhere populated in the U.S., according to the National Weather Service, is a little more that 94F.

From what else I've found, in Ottawa, the lowest average temperature was something like 3F and in Calgary about 4F, both of those in January.

I did however get these averages from Google, is there a weather service in Canada someone could link me to so I could check those numbers?

Below Zero, keep as much skin covered as possible. Between O and 10, wear a jacket. 10-20, wear a long sleeve shirt. 20-30 is comfortable room temperature. 30-40 is time to go swimming. Anything above 40 is just scary.


All relative. I'm comfortable in shorts in the high teens, but I'll need something heavier for the low teens. My line is 15.5555555... degrees Celsius. You know, 60F woulda been easier to type :P .
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Postby zenten » Thu Aug 16, 2007 12:58 am UTC

Swordfish wrote:
zenten wrote:
Swordfish wrote:And zenten, your inability to feel temperature change of up to 2 degrees Celsius (I assume that's what you're referring to as the sensible system) makes me wonder if you have any feeling in your body what-so-ever, should you not be exaggerating.


I don't believe that you can tell the difference either.


If I'm paying attention I can feel a temperature difference of 1 degree Fahrenheit. A temperature change of 2-3 degrees Fahrenheit will get my attention.


Weird. I still don't think that's very common though.

Swordfish wrote:From what else I've found, in Ottawa, the lowest average temperature was something like 3F and in Calgary about 4F, both of those in January.


Average temperature being an average over 24 hours, then averaged for the month? Because there are rather large fluctuations in temperature throughout the day in winter here (I suspect due to the very low humidity of cold air), and it's not uncommon to go a week or two with lows in the -20, with a few days in the -30s. So it's less an issue with the accuracy of your data, and more with the interpretation of it.

Swordfish wrote:All relative. I'm comfortable in shorts in the high teens, but I'll need something heavier for the low teens. My line is 15.5555555... degrees Celsius. You know, 60F woulda been easier to type :P .


Well, yes, but the Fahrenheit is suffering the same subjectivity problem. Also, is your line at exactly 60F?

Also, Fahrenheit is really damn hard to spell ;)

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Postby VannA » Thu Aug 16, 2007 1:20 am UTC

Just on the temperature sensitivity,

We tested this in class, I can tell a half-degree or so, over a warmed ceramic plate. (about 30cm2)

The larger the emitting surface area, the easier to tell.
I could also feel the 1 degree difference between my partner's body heat and my own.
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Postby 22/7 » Thu Aug 16, 2007 1:43 am UTC

Yeah, most people will notice a temperature change of as few as 1.5-2 degrees Fahrenheit (or roughly 1 degree Centigrade).
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Postby Malice » Thu Aug 16, 2007 1:51 am UTC

When I am too hot or too cold in my house, I change the thermostat by 2 degrees F. I can most certainly feel the difference.

How much of a difference is two degrees F in celsius? Must be less than half a degree C.

So if I had a Celsius thermostat, I would have to change my temperature more than twice as much. And that stuff isn't free.

---

Any suggestion that metric is more logical or more elegant is absurd. It may or may not be true; but it doesn't matter at all. Both systems are equally arbitrary (as is math in general, really) ways of describing the world. Some may make better sense for certain people in certain situations.

Temperature makes more sense in Fahrenheit, because it more accurately conveys the information that most people need about the weather.

Celsuis makes more sense when being used scientifically, because it makes calculations easier. (Although, honestly, should scientists be doing calculations in their heads?)

Metric is better for specialized situations--such as the need for difficult calculation, or much more precision (decimal places and such), or constant conversion.

Fahrenheit is better for the everyday. Both systems are about as easy to learn and use (in most areas) for most people in most normal situations--like, how much milk goes into these mashed potatoes?

If we wiped everyone's memories and they had to relearn a system of measurement, I'd teach everyone both for different situations.

As of now, those in countries who use "imperial" (or whatever) who are in situations where they need metric (say, they're hammering a spaceship together) know it, and those who are in situations where they don't (say, they're hammering together a birdhouse) don't need to.

There is, therefore, no need for conversion (certainly not one which outweighs the detrimental effects of such an effort) outside of the minds of the obsessive-compulsive who detest that things in the world aren't neat and standard and exactly the same.

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Postby space_raptor » Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:14 am UTC

Swordfish wrote:A big argument here seems to be using is that 0-100 doesn't do a good job of covering air temperatures, but the examples you're presenting tend to be extremes. It can get to 120F in the U.S, but the highest average temperature in anywhere populated in the U.S., according to the National Weather Service, is a little more that 94F.

From what else I've found, in Ottawa, the lowest average temperature was something like 3F and in Calgary about 4F, both of those in January.

I did however get these averages from Google, is there a weather service in Canada someone could link me to so I could check those numbers?

Of course the temperatures at either end of the spectrum are extremes.

It can be -20 and below for weeks in the winter here. The average temperature in Calgary is useless, because in the winter we can swing between -25 and +10 (Celsius) in the span of a week, easy. Your 0-100 scale is not useful for most Canadians, and not useful for most Southern states.

Temperature makes more sense in Fahrenheit, because it more accurately conveys the information that most people need about the weather.

Not true. You don't need to be that precise, and even if you did, you could use decimals.

I think every country in the world uses Celsius, except for the US. That says more than I ever could.

Oh me yarm EDIT: Just to be clear, one degree Fahrenheit is 5/9 of a degree Celsius. 0.555555555555. A little over half. So you could just use 0.5 increments, and get just about the preciseness of Fahrenheit. If you really cared about 1 degree Fahrenheit variances in temperature when you are going outside, which I doubt. Most people don't have a "line", unlike Swordfish. :D
Last edited by space_raptor on Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:23 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Swordfish » Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:17 am UTC

zenten wrote:Average temperature being an average over 24 hours, then averaged for the month? Because there are rather large fluctuations in temperature throughout the day in winter here (I suspect due to the very low humidity of cold air), and it's not uncommon to go a week or two with lows in the -20, with a few days in the -30s. So it's less an issue with the accuracy of your data, and more with the interpretation of it.


The temperatures I gave were the average low temperatures over a month. January for both for Ottawa and Calgary. But I don't really like taking temperature data from anything but a government source, and my search yielded no such government meteorological organization for Canada.

Well, yes, but the Fahrenheit is suffering the same subjectivity problem. Also, is your line at exactly 60F?


That last part there was a joke, it's equally easy to find a temperature in Fahrenheit that translates poorly into Celsius. And about 90% of the time my line is 60F.

Also, Fahrenheit is really damn hard to spell


You'll get not argument from me there.

Also Malice pretty much did it for me there. I don't know what else to say.
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Postby space_raptor » Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:22 am UTC

Next argument: Whether we should switch to a base 16 numbering system
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Postby ifeedlions » Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:22 am UTC

Is F = 1.8C + 32 really that hard to understand? If one day all weather forecasts switched over to Celsius, the prepared would all point and laugh at the kids who dressed up for a blizzard in the middle of June... after about a week, people would adjust, and everyone would get used to the new system. I fail to see how Fahrenheit is more beneficial for "day to day" use.

@Malice: A change of 2 degrees F is 1.11111... degrees C. Rather than setting your thermostat between 68-77 F, comfortable room temps would be 20-25 C. Also, as to not overload your mashed potatoes with milk, you're going to want to add about 20 mL per liter of finished mashed potatoes, though I generally prefer sour cream and a touch of white pepper.
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Postby Malice » Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:48 am UTC

space_raptor wrote:Your 0-100 scale is not useful for most Canadians, and not useful for most Southern states.

Temperature makes more sense in Fahrenheit, because it more accurately conveys the information that most people need about the weather.

Not true. You don't need to be that precise, and even if you did, you could use decimals.

I think every country in the world uses Celsius, except for the US. That says more than I ever could.


I live in a southern state. The 0-100 scale is very useful. Temperatures rarely get over 100; they rarely go below 32.

As for temperature, you've made two different arguments in response to "Temperature makes more sense because it more accurately conveys the information most people need." Let's break them down.

1. That precision is not necessary.
I believe it is. Smaller, but still whole units, allow me to think easier in a more precise way. 83 feels different from 88, and I act accordingly.

2. You could use decimals.
The problem with that is twofold: A: apparently, weathermen working in Celsius don't use decimals; B: decimals are confusing and harder to deal with than whole numbers.

---

Most the world uses metric, yes. It's not a popularity contest. A plurality of people speak Chinese; that doesn't mean we all should.

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Postby zenten » Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:03 am UTC

space_raptor wrote:Next argument: Whether we should switch to a base 16 numbering system


Blasphemy, base 12 is the one true way.

Oh, and my air conditioner is stuck in Fahrenheit, and only goes in two degree increments.

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Postby Ketzerei » Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:04 am UTC

I like metric for science. Being able to convert things easily is very nice and all that. The problem, though, is that all the metric units are the wrong size.

Celcius degrees are just too damn big. You just can't be precise enough without going into decimals, which you really shouldn't have to do. Although actually, there's really not that much need to distinguish between, say, 87 and 88 fahrenheit. So I guess doing stuff in C would be fine if I were used to it.

But meters! A meter is too big. Nothing's a meter long. They're always way big or much less. And centimeters are too small. It's already inconvenient to use inches, and centimeters are even smaller. It seems like we ought to be able to say something better than "it's about 80 cm long."

That is, oddly enough, the exact opposite of my problem with temperatures. My real problem is probably just that I'm not used to metric, so I come up with flimsy excuses for why the one I use already is better. I'll let you guys with actual arguments get back to your discussion.

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Postby zenten » Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:14 am UTC

Ketzerei wrote:I like metric for science. Being able to convert things easily is very nice and all that. The problem, though, is that all the metric units are the wrong size.

Celcius degrees are just too damn big. You just can't be precise enough without going into decimals, which you really shouldn't have to do. Although actually, there's really not that much need to distinguish between, say, 87 and 88 fahrenheit. So I guess doing stuff in C would be fine if I were used to it.

But meters! A meter is too big. Nothing's a meter long. They're always way big or much less. And centimeters are too small. It's already inconvenient to use inches, and centimeters are even smaller. It seems like we ought to be able to say something better than "it's about 80 cm long."

That is, oddly enough, the exact opposite of my problem with temperatures. My real problem is probably just that I'm not used to metric, so I come up with flimsy excuses for why the one I use already is better. I'll let you guys with actual arguments get back to your discussion.


Actually, now that I think about it, most people I know measure themselves in the American system, and everything else in metric, even though the switch happened before I was born.

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Postby Swordfish » Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:16 am UTC

zenten wrote:Blasphemy, base 12 is the one true way.


Swordfish wrote:Zero was the temperature of an equal salt and ice mixture in equilibrium, and, using intervals of 12, set the warm point at body temperature (more specifically, the armpit temperature of his wife), which was 96 degrees.


What was your problem with Fahrenheit again?

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Postby Aetre » Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:35 am UTC

The current "Imperial" system is metric; most people just don't realize it.

The inch is now actually defined as 2.54 centimeters. So in America, we're basically measuring lengths in units of 0.0254 meters, etc.

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Postby Ketzerei » Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:48 am UTC

Aetre wrote:The current "Imperial" system is metric; most people just don't realize it.

The inch is now actually defined as 2.54 centimeters. So in America, we're basically measuring lengths in units of 0.0254 meters, etc.


Yeah, I thought that was pretty funny when I found out.

For all our vitriol, we're actually defined by the meter. Though we're really just defined by the speed of light, since that's where the meter comes from in the first place. But it's still amusing how we state that definition.

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Postby 4=5 » Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:16 am UTC

bbctol wrote:I love the metric system, but it would be not only ridiculously costly to adopt it, but extremely hard. Think about it. Houses are built with standard 2-by-4s in the US. You'd have to start selling .6096-by-1.2192s to repair old houses, and there are all kinds of things like this.
.
and rafters are often on 16 inch centers and plywood comes iin 4 foot by 8 foot sheets, it's very useful and convienaint

a solution would be to geniticaly engineer people to have 12 fingers, and swich the number system to base twelve, and then you have a much better world with easly divisible numbers

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Postby e946 » Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:48 am UTC

Better yet, chop all but 2 of everyone's fingers off and use binary from now on.

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Postby Bondolon » Thu Aug 16, 2007 9:40 am UTC

It would be nice not to have to mentally convert everything when I go overseas. Metric goes by tens, and that is also nice. Metric is easy, whereas I know Imperial. Both are easy, but metric's easier. Any system of measurement is arbitrary, Metric, Imperial or otherwise (I mean, srsly, have you seen what a meter means?). Arbitration doesn't enter into ease, and it wouldn't really take much to standardize any system into any other system.

Scenario:

American school-grade children use imperial standard now. If we teach American school children only metric, they will learn metric educationally and imp. standard practically. That doesn't require any extra cost (any significant, anyway), and school children are taught units anyway. Now, we're at generation 2. Former school children use both metric and imperial (hint: I'm of this generation, as the only imperial training I've ever gotten is in wood-shop). Implement generation three. Generation three learns, scholastically, only in metric. Their parents understand metric to a degree, and vaguely support the notion (there are outliers, but they are extremely significantly smaller). A couple more generations of percentage degradation, and you have a generation that is fluent in metric, with a traditional understanding of imperial. I'm fairly sure that the U.S. is headed in this direction even now, and that it's probably not going to be too long before we're not only measuring soda in liters.[/url]

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Postby skeptical scientist » Thu Aug 16, 2007 10:51 am UTC

I still don't understand imperial units. I think switching to metric would make a lot of sense - it's such an easy system to learn, and is already used for things like wine and other imported foods.
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Postby Bondolon » Thu Aug 16, 2007 11:03 am UTC

skeptical scientist wrote:I still don't understand imperial units. I think switching to metric would make a lot of sense - it's such an easy system to learn, and is already used for things like wine and other imported foods.

You also weren't taught them, I was. French also doesn't make much sense, whereas Esperando is perfect. For that matter, almost nothing organically derived is of scientific simplicity, but it worked very well for our ancestors who, while almost always, unequivocally ignorant, could almost never be accused of not being smart. What one is taught and what is simplest might be different, but they are almost no different once instilled.

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Postby TheTankengine » Thu Aug 16, 2007 1:06 pm UTC

Dalenthas wrote:Kelvin is a great deal less arbitrary


Hardly. dK = dC How is that less arbitrary?

Aetre wrote:The current "Imperial" system is metric; most people just don't realize it.


See here:

I wrote:While we use USCS units in everyday happenings, the pound mass is defined as 453.59237 grams.


Interestingly enough, US code Title 31, 5112 defines our currency in inches for the diameter but grams for mass for the normal coins in circulation, but for the the gold coins (no longer in circulation) the diameter is defined in millimeters and the mass in troy oz.

Also, I'd like to point out this approximation from WP:
For a rough conversion formula that is easier to perform in one's head, American travelers to regions that use Celsius may prefer F = 2C + 30, which is identical to the real formula when F=50 and is accurate to within 5 degrees Fahrenheit when 5 <= F <= 95.
Last edited by TheTankengine on Thu Aug 16, 2007 1:17 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby zenten » Thu Aug 16, 2007 1:13 pm UTC

TheTankengine wrote:
Dalenthas wrote:Kelvin is a great deal less arbitrary


Hardly. dK = dC How is that less arbitrary?



The definition of 0 is less arbitrary.

I have an idea. Lets use a system where 0 is absolute 0, and 1000 is infinite temperature. Sure it wouldn't be linear, but that just gives more of an incentive to learn math. It also is not any more arbitrary than our number system.

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Postby gmalivuk » Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:00 pm UTC

space_raptor wrote:0 degrees: temperature of salt, water, and ice in equilibrium

Intervals of 12: Why the hell not, they use it for feet and inches

96 degrees: body temperature, which has nothing to do with the temperature of salt, water, and ice in equilibrium

Germany: Not where any of us live

Do you see? Come on!


The meter was originally defined as one ten-millionth of the distance between the equator and the north pole, through Paris. None of us live there, either. Also, it's worth noting that Celsius himself put 0º at the boiling point and 100º at the freezing point.

Another funny thing is how arbitrary the actual definition looks: Celsius is defined so the triple point of water is at 0.01º, and the size of a degree is 1/273.16 of the difference between this temperature and absolute zero.

zenten wrote:Below Zero, keep as much skin covered as possible. Between O and 10, wear a jacket. 10-20, wear a long sleeve shirt. 20-30 is comfortable room temperature. 30-40 is time to go swimming. Anything above 40 is just scary.


20-30 is not comfortable room temperature. 30ºC (86ºF) is time to do something to cool yourself down. Especially if it's humid. And besides, I can again use the precision argument for Farenheit's superiority:
<10, better keep pretty bundled up
10-20, pretty cold, but exposed skin isn't going to start hurting too soon
20-30, perfect winter day, snow isn't too powdery or too watery
30-40, temperature for some of the least pleasant weather, but also a pretty nice temperature to arrive at after a much colder winter
40-50, in the spring, it's time to break out the light jackets, in the fall, time to break out the winter coats
50-60, temperature of a nice spring or fall day, "crisp"
60-70, cool room temperature, probably need long sleeves
70-80, warm room temperature, short sleeves should do
80-90, temperature of a nice summer day: too hot inside, swimming looks good
90-100, swimming is definitely the thing to do now
100+, damn, it's getting hot

space_raptor wrote:You're missing the point, which is that the weatherman is always wrong to some degree anyway, so being precise with your temperature scale doesn't matter.


You keep talking about forecasts as if they're the only thing the weather report includes. But they also mention current temperature, which is known far more precisely than 1ºC, and some of us like a bit of that precision. (Maybe you Celsius folks have had your heat sensitivity deadened, because I can also feel 1ºF difference, especially in the 55-80 range. This actually caused discomfort trying to set the AC temperature for sleeping in Playa del Carmen, where all I had was a sheet. One (C) temperature would feel too cold, but then a single degree higher for much time felt too warm.

zenten wrote:Also, Fahrenheit is really damn hard to spell ;)


Yet another example of how the metric system weakens men's minds. If you kept yourself nimble remembering that there are 57.75 cubic inches in a US liquid quart, you could probably spell Farenheit more easily. :-)

zenten wrote:
TheTankengine wrote:
Dalenthas wrote:Kelvin is a great deal less arbitrary


Hardly. dK = dC How is that less arbitrary?



The definition of 0 is less arbitrary.


Fine. Let's use Rankine then. Same less arbitrary zero point as Kelvin, same extra precision as Farenheit. Best of both worlds.
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Postby space_raptor » Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:39 pm UTC

Malice wrote:I live in a southern state. The 0-100 scale is very useful. Temperatures rarely get over 100; they rarely go below 32.

So the bottom 32 degrees are useless! Let's come up with a new temperature system, not based on science, but on how hot or cold it sometimes gets, only where Malice lives. Wait, what?

Then you go on to say that decimals are too confusing for you to use. And it's not just you, it's apparently Swordfish, e946, and gmalivuk as well. I blame the public schools.

Anyways, I'm kind of just repeating myself now, so I guess that's it for me. Agree to disagree, fellas.

Malice wrote:Most the world uses metric, yes. It's not a popularity contest. A plurality of people speak Chinese; that doesn't mean we all should.

Ah, America, the country which just has to be different.

I think that if you guys had any experience with using Celsius, you'd see it's not so scary. I have seen Fahrenheit used. I never understood the need for that many degrees. Perhaps this all stems from the fact that I really wouldn't care if the temperature was 1 F hotter or colder than the current temperature. I am impressed that you guys can tell the changes in ambient temperature so well. Still, I think that this is boiling down to your personal preference in terms of preciseness. In fact some of you Fahrenheitites are fine with Celsius being used for science, and Fahrenheit for your daily lives. For shame, I say.

Celsius is the same, degree-wise, as Kelvin, which is great, and it is based on water, the most abundant substance on earth, and the basis for many other SI units. And the range makes sense. 0 for freezing, 100 for boiling, for pure water at sea level. Don't you see how nice that is? How scientific? And how not originally based on Fahrenheit's wife's armpit temperature?

gmalivuk wrote:Yet another example of how the metric system weakens men's minds.

Yet the proponents of Fahrenheit fear decimals!
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Postby 22/7 » Thu Aug 16, 2007 4:06 pm UTC

space_raptor wrote:So the bottom 32 degrees are useless! Let's come up with a new temperature system, not based on science, but on how hot or cold it sometimes gets, only where Malice lives. Wait, what?


I grew up in Indiana and it regularly got down to 0F in the winter and rose up to nearly 100F in the summer. For weather I honestly do think that Fahrenheit has a bit of an advantage for the aforementioned reasons of 0-100 being common and extra precision. That said...

space_raptor wrote:Ah, America, the country which just has to be different.


Tell me raptor, are you able to look at a temperature in Fahrenheit and, without doing a calculation, know what it'll feel like outside? Because I certainly can between about -10C and about 40C, and yet I've been raised on the USCS.

space_raptor wrote:In fact some of you Fahrenheitites are fine with Celsius being used for science, and Fahrenheit for your daily lives. For shame, I say.


If I give you a wrench and tell you to drive a nail with it when I'm holding a perfectly good hammer, would you do it? Would you ask for the hammer? How about the same situation but reversed, asking you to tighten a bolt with a hammer? Why not use the tool that best fits the purpose?

Oh, and no one's afraid of decimals, we just don't use them when they're unnecessary.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Postby gmalivuk » Thu Aug 16, 2007 4:13 pm UTC

space_raptor wrote:Celsius is the same, degree-wise, as Kelvin, which is great, and it is based on water, the most abundant substance on earth, and the basis for many other SI units.


It's based on pure water, which is by far not the most abundant substance on (the surface of) the earth, at one atmosphere of pressure, which is by far not the most common air pressure on earth.

Also, what does the fact that 1L of pure water (at 101325 Pa at 277.15K) has 1kg of mass have to do with the fact that pure water at that same pressure will freeze four degrees lower? Water is convenient, sure, and was relatively even moreso when the system was devised. But an argument from that fact doesn't hold any more water, so to speak, than one from the fact that it's practically easier to multiply and divide by 2 and 3 than by 10.

gmalivuk wrote:Yet another example of how the metric system weakens men's minds.

Yet the proponents of Fahrenheit fear decimals!


Quit being an ass. We don't fear decimals. We pointed out that the average person seeing a weather report probably doesn't want them mucking up the screen.
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Postby Vaniver » Thu Aug 16, 2007 4:20 pm UTC

e946 wrote:Read the rest of my post. I'm saying that we don't use that level of precision, much in the same way that they don't use the level of precision involved in tenths of a degree.
I did before I posted the first time, and I'm afraid it didn't illuminate why him saying the same thing in two different ways is a contradiction.

Dalenthas wrote:Ok, so weatherman says "High 70s" today for the forecast. What would the equivilent be on a celsius forecast? If he said "Low 30s" or "High 20s" it could be (IIRC, not doing conversions of the top of my head) anwhere between 65 F and 85 F... which is a huge difference! If anything, using Celsius forces the weatherman to be more precise just so he can be wrong just as much. Right.
Each degree Celsius is a shift of 1.8 F. If "High 70s" really means 77+-2 F, then that's almost exactly the same range as saying 25+-1 C.

Swordfish wrote:A temperature change of 2-3 degrees Fahrenheit will get my attention.
And a change of 2 degrees Fahrenheit is very close to a change of a degree Celsius. If it takes you 2 degrees of F to feel a shift, and 1 degree of C, C is closer to the granularity of your senses (and thus, generally, more useful).

Malice wrote:How much of a difference is two degrees F in celsius? Must be less than half a degree C.
You need a new source of conversion rates.
°F = (°C × 1.8) + 32
°C = (°F − 32) /1.8

22/7 wrote:How about the same situation but reversed, asking you to tighten a bolt with a hammer? Why not use the tool that best fits the purpose?
Because it's like insisting that no hammer have the hook on the back to pull out nails, and instead requiring everyone to get a hammer and a crowbar. Tools can have more than one purpose.
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Postby space_raptor » Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:29 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:If I give you a wrench and tell you to drive a nail with it when I'm holding a perfectly good hammer, would you do it? Would you ask for the hammer? How about the same situation but reversed, asking you to tighten a bolt with a hammer? Why not use the tool that best fits the purpose?

Oh, and no one's afraid of decimals, we just don't use them when they're unnecessary.

They're not necessary for Celsius. 5.7 billion people agree.

Your analogy is poor. They perform the same task. More like the difference between claw hammer and a ball peen hammer, when the ball is really not useful to you, why not buy the claw hammer?

gmalivuk wrote:Quit being an ass. We don't fear decimals. We pointed out that the average person seeing a weather report probably doesn't want them mucking up the screen.

Maybe you should re-read what you wrote, chief.
Yet another example of how the metric system weakens men's minds. If you kept yourself nimble remembering that there are 57.75 cubic inches in a US liquid quart, you could probably spell Farenheit more easily.

I know you were being a bit light-toned, but right there you're talking about using a measure with decimals in it, in order to keep yourself nimble. HMMMMM
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Postby TheTankengine » Thu Aug 16, 2007 6:35 pm UTC

This discussion has been reduced to pointless drivel about how much we can feel temperature changes. There hasn't been outright flaming, but it's getting there. If the conversation continues in this ridiculous manner, I'm going to lock the thread.

I do commend 22/7 on using USCS instead of the horribly ambiguous imperial, though!
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Postby Swordfish » Thu Aug 16, 2007 6:54 pm UTC

space_raptor wrote:Then you go on to say that decimals are too confusing for you to use. And it's not just you, it's apparently Swordfish, e946, and gmalivuk as well. I blame the public schools.


You basically just called us all idiots there. Way to take the high road, man.

space_raptor wrote:I think that if you guys had any experience with using Celsius, you'd see it's not so scary.


I've worked with Celsius, Fahrenheit, and Kelvin extensively in the last three years of my life. Celsius isn't scary, Fahrenheit is better for reports.

space_raptor wrote:Celsius is the same, degree-wise, as Kelvin, which is great, and it is based on water, the most abundant substance on earth, and the basis for many other SI units. And the range makes sense. 0 for freezing, 100 for boiling, for pure water at sea level.


That's the second time you've said that, maybe you read what gmalivuk said about how most of the water on Earth doesn't freeze or boil at those temperatures, cause you must have missed it when I said it.

space_raptor wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Yet another example of how the metric system weakens men's minds.

Yet the proponents of Fahrenheit fear decimals!


...*Sigh*

Vaniver wrote:
Swordfish wrote:A temperature change of 2-3 degrees Fahrenheit will get my attention.
And a change of 2 degrees Fahrenheit is very close to a change of a degree Celsius. If it takes you 2 degrees of F to feel a shift, and 1 degree of C, C is closer to the granularity of your senses (and thus, generally, more useful).


You left out the part where I said I am capable of feeling a temperature change of 1F.
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Postby lukewarm » Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:00 pm UTC

Imperial is so... weird. I am in the metric part of the world and I occasionally use feet/inches just to a{nnoy|muse} people.

- ... those mountains are not that high, just about eleven thousand.
- WHAT?!?! :shock:
- feet, of course

I vote for imperial

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Postby Vaniver » Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:35 pm UTC

Swordfish wrote:You left out the part where I said I am capable of feeling a temperature change of 1F.
If you were paying attention, which I'm guessing means it's a perceptible, but unimportant, change.

Saying we should have two systems is like saying we should have two languages; one for the workplace, one for the home. It may be true that each language is slightly more suited for its particular circumstance, but that doesn't mean it justifies the cost of having two languages. Metric simply makes more sense for scientific measurements, and works well enough for everything else. It may be true that the increase in quality doesn't seem to justify the switching costs, but it seems to be something that must happen sometime, and the sooner we do it, the easier the conversion will be.
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Postby dreamcatcher » Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:38 pm UTC

Well, I believe since metric is the standard in most countries, US and others should switch to it. I also live in the metric part of the world and whenever I encounter something in imperial units on the web I have to use google's calculator and other stuff to convert things. It's simply a waste of time.

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Postby space_raptor » Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:53 pm UTC

Swordfish wrote:You basically just called us all idiots there. Way to take the high road, man.

I did no such thing. I apologize for nothing.
Mod wrote:This discussion has been reduced to pointless drivel about how much we can feel temperature changes. There hasn't been outright flaming, but it's getting there. If the conversation continues in this ridiculous manner, I'm going to lock the thread.

Well. Perhaps the Fahrenheit/Celsius/Kelvin battle is at a stalemate. Maybe a change is in order.

Oddly enough, I kinda like feet and inches. They're easier to work with. Less decimals.

Ok, that one I apologize for. Really, I'm sorry. A small joke, as a peace offering.

Anybody know the real story behind where the foot measurement came from? All I can find is that apparently some historical rulers foot was that size. Surely there's a better reason than that?

Otherwise it would seem that the only reason to keep feet and inches is for practical considerations, like, it's what's used everywhere in the USA. Heck, those are used for most construction materials even in Canada. It's annoying to have to use all these numbers like 305 mm, when I just want one foot.
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Postby Dibley » Thu Aug 16, 2007 8:04 pm UTC

GMontag wrote:
Dibley wrote:
solarchem wrote:
VannA wrote:There is nothing arbitary about it..

Can you use the weight of a bottle of water to tell you how much volume is in it? Or vice versa, using Imperial Measurements?



Of course I can. A gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds and contains 128 fluid ounces or 16 cups. It's pretty basic math from there. I use specific gravity cups all the time based on these measurements.


I'm not sure what system of measurement you're using, but where I come from, 1 fluid ounce of water weighs 1 ounce, ergo 1 gallon weighs exactly 8 pound.

That said, metric is way better.


If you really think that, I suggest you fill up a 5 gallon bucket with water and tell yourself it only weighs 5 pounds. You see, there are 128 fluid ounces in a gallon, and only 16 ounces in a pound. Also, fluid ounces are a measure of volume, not of weight. One fluid ounce of water weighs close to, but not exactly, one ounce.


I now feel very stupid. I have been told all my life that 1 pint = 1 pound. I suppose my dad was wrong. In that case imperial sucks a lot more than I thought it did, having no easy conversion between volume and weight.

Oh, and I meant 8, not one. Not only should I verify what I post, I should get better at typing. :oops:

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Postby Rasputin » Thu Aug 16, 2007 8:29 pm UTC

metric... powers of 10. easy conversions like 1 mL = 1 g/(cm^3)

Hands down metric.
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Postby gmalivuk » Fri Aug 17, 2007 1:38 am UTC

Rasputin wrote:metric... powers of 10. easy conversions like water is 1 g/(cm^3) at 101325 Pa pressure and a temperature of 277.15K (since it's less dense at other temperatures)


fix'd

Regarding the original definition of a foot:
This handy site wrote:Almost every culture has used the human foot as a unit of measurement. The natural foot (pes naturalis in Latin), an ancient unit based on the length of actual feet, is about 25 centimeters (9.8 inches). This unit was replaced in early civilizations of the Middle East by a longer foot, roughly 30 centimeters or the size of the modern unit, because this longer length was conveniently expressed in terms of other natural units:
1 foot = 3 hands = 4 palms = 12 inches (thumb widths) = 16 digits (finger widths)


dreamcatcher wrote:whenever I encounter something in imperial units on the web I have to use google's calculator


More evidence of the mind-weakening effects of metric. :-)

(space_raptor, I agree with Swordfish that you basically called us idiots, but I'm kind of doing it too so I'm not going to complain about that aspect of your "argument")

Vaniver wrote:
Swordfish wrote:You left out the part where I said I am capable of feeling a temperature change of 1F.

If you were paying attention, which I'm guessing means it's a perceptible, but unimportant, change.


Perhaps for him, but I previously pointed out how one Celsius temp felt too cold and the next degree up was too warm (for sleeping in an air-conditioned room). Meaning that the comfortable temperature would have been about in the middle of those two, or about 1ºF from each one. In other words, for me it was both perceptible and important.
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Postby Malice » Fri Aug 17, 2007 3:51 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:Saying we should have two systems is like saying we should have two languages; one for the workplace, one for the home. It may be true that each language is slightly more suited for its particular circumstance, but that doesn't mean it justifies the cost of having two languages. Metric simply makes more sense for scientific measurements, and works well enough for everything else. It may be true that the increase in quality doesn't seem to justify the switching costs, but it seems to be something that must happen sometime, and the sooner we do it, the easier the conversion will be.


I know this forum is, like, geek central; and I know science is important and all.

But it honestly makes more sense for me to say, USCS works best for whenever I'm not doing scientific experiments. Metric works best for whenever I'm doing scientific experiements.

However, I don't do any scientific experiments. If you are not actually employed as a scientist, there is no actual need for Metric in your life. Metric might work well enough; but it is not the best system for non-scientific usage. USCS is better for many everyday things.

Consider the language example. Imagine you had one language--English, for example--which was used in everyday communication and conversation. But high society required the use of a very different, more "logical" but more "stiff" language--Latin, for example. One could very well conclude that it's silly to have to learn two languages. In this case, Latin would work okay for everyday speech; but most people wouldn't ever be in a situation where they actually need it; so it would be better for everyone to speak English and for those who needed it to speak Latin.

I expect scientists to be smart enough to learn metric. For people who aren't scientists, USCS will work fine.

But I don't expect anybody to convert to either system, because no possible benefit which could result is worth the time and money and effort it would take to change the way entire countries percieve and label the world around them.


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