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## Kilogram Gets Controversial; Why Not Split the Difference?520

gbrumfiel writes "As Slashdot has noted, the kilogram has a problem. The SI unit is officially defined as the weight of a 130-year-old platinum-iridium cylinder in France. But the physical object appears to be getting lighter. Scientists want to replace the cylinder with a new standard based on Planck's constant, but two experiments designed to facilitate the switch keep coming up with different results. Now one researcher is proposing a solution: just average the two diverging experiments and use that value as the official definition. Not everyone thinks that averaging the two amounts to sound research: 'Deciding to just average these two results would be perfectly proper mathematics, but it would not be science,' says Michael Hart, a physicist at the University of Manchester, UK."
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## Kilogram Gets Controversial; Why Not Split the Difference?

• #### Impossible (Score:5, Funny)

on Sunday January 30, 2011 @06:11PM (#35051532) Journal
The physical object cannot get lighter (less massive). By definition is 1kg no matter how much mass it has. The obvious conclusion is that the rest of the universe is getting heavier.
• #### Reminds me of the deer that got away (Score:5, Funny)

on Sunday January 30, 2011 @06:13PM (#35051564)

A physicist, engineer and a statistician are out hunting. Suddenly, a deer appears 50 yards away.

The physicist does some basic ballistic calculations, assuming a vacuum, lifts his rifle to a specific angle, and shoots. The bullet lands 5 yards short.

The engineer adds a fudge factor for air resistance, lifts his rifle slightly higher, and shoots. The bullet lands 5 yards long.

The statistician yells "We got him!"

• #### Bread not working? (Score:4, Funny)

on Sunday January 30, 2011 @06:16PM (#35051588)

Let them eat pounds!

• #### How it gets lighter (Score:5, Funny)

on Sunday January 30, 2011 @06:21PM (#35051634)

It turns out that France imposed a Mass Tax in the last few years which means the cylinder has to cough it up for the good of the state.

On the plus (or more like the non-plus) side, the people of France are now looking fit & trim.

• #### Well, duh. (Score:5, Funny)

on Sunday January 30, 2011 @06:23PM (#35051652)

Why don't they just take the weight of a gram and multiply it by 1024?

• #### Re:Well, duh. (Score:5, Funny)

on Sunday January 30, 2011 @06:36PM (#35051762)

I think that would be a kibigram.

Don't let the industry fool you. They introduced that distinction so they can put less in a box and still sell it to you as 1kg of Mac and Cheese.

• #### Re:Impossible (Score:5, Funny)

on Sunday January 30, 2011 @06:42PM (#35051804) Homepage

And what happens to water in a vacuum?

It gets the bag wet.

• #### Re:Reminds me of the deer that got away (Score:5, Funny)

on Sunday January 30, 2011 @06:47PM (#35051842) Journal
The statistician is right. Because if the deer has not moved between the first and the second shot, it is already dead. QED.
• #### Black Cows in Scotland. (Score:3, Funny)

on Sunday January 30, 2011 @06:49PM (#35051854) Journal
A mathematican, an astrophysicist and a statistician were walking along a road in Scotland. They saw a black cow. The astrophysicist said, "All the cows in Scotland are black". The statistician said, "No, there is at least one black cow in Scotland". The mathematician said, "All we now know is, this side of that cow is black."
• #### Re:How it gets lighter (Score:5, Funny)

on Sunday January 30, 2011 @06:56PM (#35051886) Journal

So, the French govt had to run a weigh?

• #### Re:Reminds me of the deer that got away (Score:2, Funny)

on Sunday January 30, 2011 @07:07PM (#35051954)
A physicist believes that it takes extremely high pressure to produce diamonds. An engineer knows it just takes a little suction.
• #### Metric System (Score:2, Funny)

on Sunday January 30, 2011 @07:40PM (#35052152)

I've always said this whole metric system has been a farce from the get go. First the unit of length is based on a fraction of the circumference of the earth, only measured WRONG, and now we get that the reference mass has been changing with time putting the amount of kippers in a kilogram in doubt.

I say we just scrap the whole thing and go to a more humanistic system based on things like the length of a man's stride etc. since obviously getting something accurate is just right out.

• #### They call that math? (Score:5, Funny)

on Sunday January 30, 2011 @08:37PM (#35052518)
Pff, that's not math.

Math is: When there's this room... with only one person in it... and then two people leave that room... now you have to wait until another person goes back in before it's actually empty.

• #### Re:Reminds me of the deer that got away (Score:5, Funny)

on Sunday January 30, 2011 @09:13PM (#35052754)

Not necessarily - everything is relative. For example, you have to also look at it from the deers frame of reference:

A deer is wandering through the forest. Suddenly, a physicist, engineer and a statistician appears 50 yards away holding guns.

The deer looks at them carefully and thinks - a physicist, an engineer and a statistician: I'd best just stand still.

• #### Re:Impossible (Score:4, Funny)

on Sunday January 30, 2011 @09:58PM (#35052946)

Then they should base it on the pound, which of course is 96 Roman drams, which of course is 96 * 32 / 25 Greek drachma, which is of course 96* 32 / 25 * 6 obols, which is of course 96 * 32 / 25 * 6 * 12 grains of barley.

Or maybe, since measurements were originally based on important items of trade, we should modernize that a bit and standardize based on a dozen iPhones.

• #### Re:How it gets lighter (Score:3, Funny)

on Sunday January 30, 2011 @10:02PM (#35052960)
It's obviously all those nukular reactors turning mass into energy. The only responsible action would be to go to a mass-neutral system like fossil fuels for energy.
• #### Re:Reminds me of the deer that got away (Score:4, Funny)

on Monday January 31, 2011 @01:16AM (#35053912) Journal

A deer is wandering through the forest. Suddenly, a physicist, engineer and a statistician appears 50 yards away holding guns.

The deer thinks about this carefully for a moment. The likelihood that a physicist, engineer and statistician being able to form a cohesive group is unlikely. Forming a cohesive group in a forest, even less likely, and forming a cohesive group with guns involved practically improbable, as they most likely would have killed each other arguing over some pointless aspect or theory that the deer had worked out ages ago.

The deer comes to the realization that the only way that this situation could be real is if some other being had concocted it as a piece of fiction in some alternate universe. The deer sighs and holds perfectly still as a shot goes long, and another goes short, and the third guy never shoots his gun, claiming the dear has been shot. The deer shakes its head sadly for the poor being who created this temporary reality, and for itself as he will have to endure this ritual for as many times as other beings invoke it. Eventually the deer will be allowed to return the ethereal pool of creation, where perhaps its next incarnation will be something more interesting, perhaps as the man from Nantucket or the woman from New Zealand.

• #### Re:Impossible (Score:5, Funny)

<bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Monday January 31, 2011 @02:03AM (#35054076) Journal

It just shows yet again America was right, and y'all should have listened to the good old US of frickin A and stuck with feet, pounds, and gallons like the good Lord intended! I mean y'all are listening to cheese eating surrender monkeys, didn't that give ya a clue?

Now y'all say you're sorry, and we'll be happy to generously send y'all a proper ruler along with a pound of the finest depleted uranium rounds, made right here in the USA by the finest craftsmen, and if someone don't like your measuring you can just pop one of those bad boys in the chamber and you'd be surprised how quick them pesky arguments go your way! I mean using platinum/iridium mix, bah! DU all the way baby!

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