Derek wrote:I certainly wouldn't call MHz and Hz the same unit. One is one million times the other. As far as I can tell your argument is based only on the names of the units, or possibly an underlying belief that multiplying by powers of 10's doesn't change a unit, but other factors do. Regardless, this is starting to feel more and more like semantics and I don't think it's contributing anything to the discussion.
I'm also not interested in the semantics, I'm interested in elegance and practicality. You can avoid the whole question by using scientific notation. Or engineering notation if you want to make it easier to communicate with someone who uses the usual prefixes.
The point is that sloppy everyday usage already works for fairly different scales, and it's easy to extend that. Powers of 10 are only relevant as far as that's what our number system uses anyway. Of course we could use hexadecimal notation and powers of 16 everywhere, but that'd actually be a pretty big change.
Well as you just pointed out, we already do this all the time in music
Do you think music notation would be better if all notes were given in hertz? Obviously music notation wouldn't be used to describe screen refresh rates, in the same way that we don't use the same units to describe distances between cities and font sizes.
Well, doing everything in Hertz (or Hertz-derived units if you prefer) would be transparent enough that the transition would be easy. And yes, I do play an instrument... badly.
Using consistent units for speed and pitch may well lead to better music because it makes it easier and more natural for theorists to play around with the concepts.
EDIT: Ok, I was apparently missing your point and only thinking of the tempo. The notes, same as the metric system, use extensible scaling with the optimal base for the job (2 instead of 10 here, as appropriate to our music conventions rather than our number notation).
Interesting that you'd mention font sizes. It makes no sense to me to use a special unit for such a narrow field. I'd prefer consistent and easily convertible units from atoms to galaxies unless serious practical considerations suggest otherwise.
Nautical miles are convenient for navigation with simple instruments, as long as we don't radically reform our ways of dealing with angles and time. For things relevant to computers, using the same base they do has advantages. There are many more obscure ones. Still, nm are falling out of use and a gigabyte actually means a gigabyte these days... so there is already a trend towards standardisation. Interestingly, the systems people hold on to most tightly are the absolutely pointless ones.
You think doing math with customary units is worse than doing math in Roman numerals? It's only a matter of using non-10 multiplication factors. I use those all the time anyways.
That actually came out wrong. Imperial/customary/whatever units are a similar affront to practicality and elegance, but the lesser one.
LEGO won't be ready for the average user until it comes pre-assembled, in a single unified theme, and glued together so it doesn't come apart.