## Kilogram Conflict Resolved At Last (nature.com) 278

An anonymous reader writes:

*As the capabilities of science and engineering expand, they rely more on the precision of measurements. It's vitally important, then, to make sure the standard units underpinning those measurements don't change. This is a problem for the kilogram. For years, it has remained the only SI unit based on a physical object — a small cylinder of platinum and iridium. Scientists have been arguing about how to replace it for decades, but now it looks like their efforts are finally reaching fruition. They finally have all the data they need to define the kilogram with mathematical constants, which solves the problem of the variability of physical objects. "One method, pioneered by an international team known as the Avogadro Project, involves counting the atoms in two silicon-28 spheres that each weigh the same as the reference kilogram. This allows them to calculate a value for Avogadro's constant, which the researchers convert into a value for Planck's constant. Another method uses a device called a watt balance to produce a value for Planck's constant by weighing a test mass calibrated according to the reference kilogram against an eletromagnetic force." Further research has narrowed down the value of Planck's constant, and experimental data from standards bodies is finally matching up. "If they are proved right, in 2018, Le Grand K will join the meter as a museum piece."*
## A weight has been lifted. (Score:5, Funny)

## Indeed, they have solved a massive problem. (Score:4, Funny)

Keep it rolling...

## Re: Indeed, they have solved a massive problem. (Score:4, Funny)

Now this is stuff that matter.

## My Dealer (Score:3)

When I go to my dealer and ask for a kilo, I know I get a kilo.

## Re:A weight has been lifted. (Score:5, Funny)

I support the metric system every inch of the way.

## Re: (Score:2)

Personally, I measure everything using chi, bu, and li. It's easier to convert from myriad and avoirdupois quartiers that way.

It all goes to hell when I'm baking, though. :)

## Re: (Score:3)

Personally, I measure everything using chi, bu, and li. It's easier to convert from myriad and avoirdupois quartiers that way.

It all goes to hell when I'm baking, though. :)

Heh, I once printed out a recipe for my girlfriend that listed all the ingredients in micro-grams.

"120 million micro-grams of flour"

"56 million micro-grams of Nestles chocolate drops"

She never did bake that cake for me. :(

## Re:A weight has been lifted. (Score:4, Funny)

I support the metric system every inch of the way.

You've just put your foot in your mouth

## Re: (Score:2)

Damn punsters. Get off my yard!

## Re: (Score:3)

## are we still in the quagmire? (Score:5, Interesting)

## Re: are we still in the quagmire? (Score:5, Funny)

Giggity giggity...

## Re: (Score:2)

In all honesty, why would the American people want to change?

## Re: (Score:2)

So the next joint-venture probe doesn't crash?

## Re: (Score:2)

People in the USA who want to use metric generally use it.

## Re: (Score:2)

In all honesty, why would the American people want to change?

How about for no other reason than to realign our measurements with the rest of the world? NASA has a document with a few incidents that were caused by using the incorrect units.

## Re: (Score:3, Funny)

## constructs of interest (Score:2)

Yeah! Pretty soon you'll have to have a set of reference carbon nanotubes around just to build a doghouse!

## Re: (Score:2)

Does this mean the US can now join the rest of the metric world, or are we still in the quagmire?

What? Look I LIKE having two set's of tools when I'm working on my cars... SAE/Metric Rules!

Can you imagine how many tool makers would suffer if we stop using SAE? PLEASE, there is no way they will let this happen...

(/sarcasm)

## Re: (Score:3)

You don't see Americans arguing over the size of a pint or a pound. "A pint is a pound the world around." So there.

I'm laughing at the superior measuring system.

I am pretty sure that the "American" units have all been defined in relationship to the SI units. All the refinements of definition happen on the SI side of things and just get passed over to the US customary units side. Basically the US has been completely metric for a long time, and just divides all the lengths by (2.54 cm/inch) - which totally makes sense.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

## Re: (Score:3)

"In the US system the goal is to make dealing with the physical objects easy -- to get from one size to the next larger one most of the time you double something."

I get it, I get it!

So that explains why a foot is two inches, a yard two feet, a mile two yards and, then, two fluid ounces make a cup, two pints a quart and two quarts a gallon.

How cute, isnt' it?

"To go from one meter to one centimeter you need to cut the length into 100 equally sized pieces...this is hard!"

Yeah, well, and to go from a mile to a

## Re: are we still in the quagmire? (Score:5, Informative)

If that were true, it'd be nice. But, no, I have to figure fractions of inches, 12 inches to the foot, 3 feet to the yard, and 1760 yards to the mile. Not to mention that the US survey foot is different than the standard foot in some states and not in others. And pressures get measured in pounds per square foot, pounds per square inch, feet of water, inches of water, inches of mercury, atmospheres, etc., none of which relate by multiples of two. And a gallon is the volume of a cylinder 6 inches high by 7 inches in diameter if you assume pi to be exactly 22/7 - no factors of 2 between cubic feet and gallons. Don't even get me started about viscosity, where we have wonderful measures like Saybolt Seconds Universal, which doesn't even relate linearly to the standard measures that you need if you're doing any calculations. (ASTM had to issue a standard - ASTM-D-2161 - for converting between useful measures of viscosity and SSU or SFU in order to minimize discrepancies between measures.)

The good thing about SI units is that they're mostly consistent. No need to convert pounds to slugs and miles per hour to feet per second before plugging the numbers into the formula. Fundamental measures relate directly to derived quantities.

## My sugar-free vanilla latte haven't kicked in... (Score:5, Funny)

## Re: (Score:3)

Don't be daft, that'll never happen. It does however raise an interesting point - which will end first, Klingon conflicts or the Metric vs Imperial debate?

## Re: (Score:3)

The Klingons will settle the Imperial v. Metric debate.

Because "Klingon Empire".

## Re: (Score:2)

Klingons use kellicams as their unit of distance, and it appears to be decimal.

## Re: (Score:2)

I thought the title read: "Klingon Conflict Resolved At Last"

Same here. Even after I shook my head and re-read it.

Fuck lattes, it's quadruple espresso time and a bag of chocolate doughnuts.

## Still confusing. (Score:2)

I am not sure *stable* is t

## Re:Still confusing. (Score:5, Informative)

Apparently more stable than a block of something which sheds some matter over time, yes.

So, your choices are: 1) measure according to a physical object which can change over time, or 2) measure according to a known set of physical properties which can be reproduced.

And there's nothing to say over time as the science gets better they don't tweak this.

But, in terms of defining in terms of a measure someone can reproduce, it's gotta be better than "1kg is this artifact we made".

I mean, this is what we have now [nationalgeographic.com]:

So, it's gotta be more stable than an artifact.

## Re: (Score:2)

Another poster here mentioned that the meter was originally intended to be 1/10,0

## Re: (Score:2)

What I don't get it, shouldn't the kilogram have been defined and redefined then as the weight of a cubic dm of water each of these times then too? Why is there an attempt to base this on Avogadro's or Plank's constant?

No, because when talking about fundamental units, the gram is a unit of mass, not weight. The weight of a cubic dm of water changes if you move it, since the force exerted by Earth's gravity would be different. For defining the fundamental unit of mass, you'd have to use the mass of a cubic dm of water at some given temperature and pressure. That's just the mass of X water molecules in that volume, though, so now you're back to counting atoms.

## Re: (Score:3)

What I don't get it, shouldn't the kilogram have been defined and redefined then as the weight of a cubic dm of water each of these times then too? Why is there an attempt to base this on Avogadro's or Plank's constant?

The difficulty at various times in the past was that the accuracy available using various deffinitions was different. If we defined the kilogram of mass as being equal to the mass of one litre of water, the uncertainties in that definition would have been much greater than the uncertainties in measuring a standard chunk of metal and replicating that. The uncertainties arries in the purity of water obtainable, the temperature, pressure, humidity effects that would come into play, the uncertainties in creatin

## Re: (Score:2)

All that said, the bigger failing of the metric system is that the "base" units in most measurements are equally inconvenient to all users.

It is not a failing of metric system, but it is due to pre-existing conventions. The benefits of metric system is not so much it could dislodge existing kings of the hill. It is the same reason why the weird keyboards from microsoft/Dvorak did not displace QWERTY. Same reason why linux struggled against windows. People who grew up with metric have no problem using kilometer or kilogram or meter. But in civil engineering, walls thickness and room widths are still in feet, but rebar rod dia are in mm, even in

## Re: (Score:2)

## Avogadro FTW! (Score:2)

The new definition involves counting exactly 60 200 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 hydrogen atoms.

## Re: (Score:3, Funny)

## Re: (Score:2)

Worst summer internship ever.

Ah no way! It was a gas!

## Video of the SI sphere (Score:3)

Veritasium did a visit to the facility where they were producing one of the spheres. You can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

## Should Not Break from Liter Equivalent (Score:2)

The relationship between the kilogram and the liter was the most elegant thing in the metric system, so why break it?

## Re: (Score:2)

What's elegant about it? The kilo is "the only SI unit based on a physical object." That's not elegant at all.

And there isn't a direct relationship between the two, anyway. The litre is a measure of volume, not mass of a particular substance. They were related through the definition of the metre:

One litre of liquid water has a mass of almost exactly one kilogram, due to the gram being defined in 1795 as one cubic centimetre of water at the temperature of melting ice. Subsequent redefinitions of the metre and kilogram mean that this relationship is no longer exact.

There. It was inaccurate already.

## Re: (Score:2)

At some point, the definition of the gram was refined to the mass of 1 cubic centimeter of water at water's maximum liquid density.

Was in some physics text I read in high school. A web search found several confirmations of that definition.

## Re: (Score:2)

In 1975 the gram was defined as 1/100 of a meter cubed of pure water from melted ice. Or in other words, a cubic centimeter of water. Within 4 years, they realized they screwed up and made the water's temp at it's maximum density measured then at 4 degrees C. Also at the same time they realized the impracticality of defining mass with a small size of a easily impure liquid that evaporates so they made the all-platinum prototype that was equivalent to one cubic decimeter of water at 4 degrees C and 1 atmosp

## Re: (Score:2)

The relationship between the kilogram and the liter was the most elegant thing in the metric system, so why break it?

This doesn't break it. Any changes to the precise value of the kilogram are going to be so small that you can safely continue to use the idea that one litre of water has a mass of one kilogram. Changing the definition of the metre from one based on the earth, to the reference piece of metal, to waveleghts of a particular type of light, to a distance light moves in one second did not change the litre-kilogram relationship because the litre-kilogram relationship in practice cannot be examined to the level of

## Thank goodness (Score:2)

The last kilo I bought was off by almost 0.00000000000002%, and I was cranky for days.

Got a refund though, so it all worked out in the end.

## Re:The kilogram is based on a chunk of metal? (Score:5, Informative)

You're not going to win this one. From the nice Wikipedia article concerning the definition of a foot:

Since 1959, both units have been defined by international agreement as equivalent to 0.3048 meters exactly. In both systems, the foot comprises 12 inches and three feet compose a yard.

It's cylinders all the way down.

## Re:The kilogram is based on a chunk of metal? (Score:5, Interesting)

## Re: (Score:2)

It's not as bad as the UK. We use a mixture of both, and the division is mainly by age. Ask two people what a "mil" is, the younger (say under 40) will probably say "millimetre" and the older will probably say "thousandth of an inch".

## Re: (Score:2)

## Re:The kilogram is based on a chunk of metal? (Score:5, Informative)

The metric zealots get mad at me for pointing out the points of weakness of the metric system. Here is one I forgot about. Their length unit is based on a physical cylinder of metal. Although it makes sense, since the original design spec apparently was "Make it a little longer than a yard, just to piss of those English bastards."

Perhaps your memory is failing you again..? A metre is defined as the distance light travels in 1/299792458 of a second. Originally, I believe in the 18th century, this was intended to be one ten-millionth of the distance from the pole to the equator. The former is obviously a better definition because Earth is not perfectly spherical.

In any case... Using the term 'metric zealot', apparently un-ironically, right out of the gate - doesn't do your credibility any favours (or it's a deliberate troll; in which case - well done).

If you're a genuine 'imperial zealot' then what, out of interest, is your best pro-imperial argument? I'm curious because as far as I can tell, imperial is shit. And I say that as someone who has had to deal with both systems.

## Re: (Score:2, Informative)

Well the full story of the meter is:

1. let's make something around 1 yard in length based on the Earth

2. choose one ten-millionth of the distance from the pole to the equator

3. define as the distance between two marks on a chunk of metal

4. define as the distance light travels in 1/299792458 of a second

He brought up 1 and 3. You brought up 2 and 4 but that doesn't mean he's wrong. All 4 points are correct.

## Re: (Score:3)

## Re:The kilogram is based on a chunk of metal? (Score:5, Insightful)

what, out of interest, is your best pro-imperial argument?Personally a fan of Metric, but Imperial

doeshave one major thing going for it - Easy divisibility by low prime numbers.In the modern world, almost no one "does" math anymore. We use a computer or a calculator, and just get the answer. Shifting up or down by powers of ten makes for convenient

readability, but otherwise doesn't matter in the least. Computers would actually work better if we switched to all binary, and wouldn't work anyworseif we still used Imperial.For most of human history, however, having units of measurement easily divisible into 2/3/4/5/6/8/9/10/12/etc parts meant that your average math-illiterate farmer or carpenter could still successfully figure out how to use a pair of oxen to spread four bushels of seed over a virgate (with a peck left over), or five cords of wood into 128 days of winter, and so on. No one cared about the weight of supper in terms of the speed of light in a vacuum, they cared about having enough to heat and eat through the winter.

## Re:The kilogram is based on a chunk of metal? (Score:5, Interesting)

The (to me dubious) advantage of dividing by low primes pales utterly when you need to quickly calculate how much water you need in your dam to last through winter, or any other quick conversion between dimensions involving volume, area or anything else which is not in discrete units - and since you don't measure oxen or days in meters or kilos I fail to even see how your examples apply.

Plus, plug SI into Metric and quickly, in your head, with only moving zeros calculate how much energy is required to heat some water, from that how long it will take given a specific wattage, or how much a given volume of water weighs (and if you can recall its density, thus how much something else weighs) and from that how much force it will exert on the surface it sits on, and how hard it will hit an object if it falls a certain distance, or pretty much any other physics calculation - with no constants involved for moving in SI (except for material conversion, such as density).

It's simply astonishing how difficult such calculations are in Imperial, and how simple they are in Metric and SI.

## Re: (Score:2)

Plus, plug SI into Metric and quickly, in your head, with only moving zeros calculate how much energy is required to heat some water, from that how long it will take given a specific wattage, or how much a given volume of water weighs (and if you can recall its density, thus how much something else weighs) and from that how much force it will exert on the surface it sits on,

No one calculates that outside of the science world. And in the science world, everyone uses metric (even in the USA).

## Re: (Score:2)

## Fyngyrzians (Score:2)

Everything should be in hexadecimal. Divisible by 2, 4, and 8 just fine. We divide things into halves, quarters and eighths more than we do anything else. Base ten gives us divisible by 2 and that's it. Pah.

As for the other direction, hex is replete with useful multipliers. Just as your computer will show you. :)

And of course binary folds perfectly into hex, and vice-versa. Base ten? Oy. That's why floats don't do an accurate job when you try to do something as mundane as represent one tenth accurately. Bu

## Re: (Score:2)

Everything should be in hexadecimal. Divisible by 2, 4, and 8 just fine.

Fail at thirds, though. Base 12 is better.

## Re: (Score:2)

How is that not also an advantage for the metric system? If you want divisibility by low primes, just use multiples of 12 metric units. If you are going to use decimal inches anyway (because going to feet breaks your divisibility) you might as well just use decimal millimetres or centimetres in multiples of 12 "blocks". It even scales effortlessly.

## Re: (Score:2)

you might as well just use decimal millimetres or centimetres in multiples of 12 "blocks"

The base unit isn't the issue. The problem is the prefixes, which are based on powers of 10, not 12. For example, if you pick centimeters or millimeters as your base, dealing with meters (10^2 or 10^3 units, rather than 12^2 or 12^3) becomes very awkward. If you just ignore the SI prefixes then you're not really using the metric system, even if you happen to have an SI unit as your base. After all, even the traditional Imperial units are defined in terms of SI base units these days—that doesn't mean y

## Re: (Score:2)

That makes no sense. If you pick inches then dealing with feet, yards, miles, furlongs and all other imperial measurements is very awkward. Converting to volume etc. is even more difficult.

There is nothing wrong with ignoring SI suffixes. Engineers do it all the time. They usually just do everything in mm or M.

## Re: (Score:2)

If you pick inches then dealing with feet, yards, miles, furlongs and all other imperial measurements is very awkward.

First, those units do not form a consistent base-12 or base-60 unit system—I wasn't trying to hold up Imperial units a some kind of gold standard. Yards fit into the system naturally enough, as a divisor of 12, though they wouldn't be a base-12 unit. Miles and furlongs, on the other hand, are fairly arbitrary. Second, I think we have different ideas about what is "awkward". Measuring feet in terms of inches in base-12 is not awkward at all; it just means multiplying by the base. In base 12, 1 foot = 1

## Re: (Score:2)

Personally a fan of Metric, but Imperial does have one major thing going for it - Easy divisibility by low prime numbers.

And you've just realised why the standard kitchen module in the metric, i.e. European world, is 60cm wide... Much better than twelve...

## Re: (Score:2)

could still successfully figure out how to use a pair of oxen to spread four bushels of seed over a virgate (with a peck left over)

It's an interesting note on the history of muscle-based farming that the standard amount of land one guy and his animals would farm in a season gradually increased from 30 acres (a virgate) to 40 acres, and along with that the amount of food you'd expect a family to live on.

You also see "blocks" (as in city blocks or neighborhood blocks) commonly as 1 furlong in medium population density areas in the US (city blocks tend to be smaller).

## Re: (Score:3)

That's why I do all my measurements in base 174,636,000 (2^5 * 3^4 * 5^3 * 7^2 * 11)

## Re: (Score:2)

Honestly, if you want to understand why imperial is around, I think the best example is the AU. 1 AU = distance from earth to the sun, a completely arbitrary number that doesn't fit exactly on any base-10 or base-12 unit scale but serves as a frame of reference while measuring things of similar nature. Measuring something in AU in space does nothing different than measuring it in km or m would, but seeing something represented in AU allows us to approximate references much easier.

What I'm getting at is th

## Re: (Score:2)

"People" don't do that.

Americans do that.

Countries with the metric system use metric as natural units because its what they're familiar with.

## Re: (Score:2)

## Re: (Score:2)

I think you missed the point. People in France speak and think in French because that's what they're used to. Force them to adopt English as their national language and you'd have riots and pandemonium. Even if it held officially, people would use French over English anyway. That's what it's like for the common man to change their language of measurement.

Very true, but every other country in the world has switched, going through some pain in the process, but comming out of it eventually. Let us spare our great-grandchildren the pain and do it now quickly rather than continue to spread it out over the next dozen decades.

We have already lost this fight. Bit by bit, parts of every industry that interacts with the rest of the world has slowly moved to metric. The relatively small pain of this slow transition integrated over the huge time it is occuring is much

## Re: (Score:2)

"Force them to adopt English as their national language and you'd have riots and pandemonium."

But we are talking here about simple measures, nothing as complex as a natural language.

And regarding numbers, even French went not so long ago from Francs to Euros, having to change all their money-related devices, as did much of Europe, without too many riots and pandemonium. So no, forcing a language is not like to change their language of measurement for the common man.

Now, you are right in that being familiar

## Re:The kilogram is based on a chunk of metal? (Score:5, Informative)

Through Paris.

The metre was officially defined as 1/10,000,000th the straight line distance between the North Pole and the Equator, through Paris, France.

It's why everything's in French (why the official term for "metric" is SI, or Systeme Internationale... French!).

Anyhow, the kilogram is the only unit of measure still based on a physical object, something they've been trying to change for decades now. The importance of this is if you can derive all the fundamental units of measure from physical constants, then it becomes a universal system of measurement.

And the reference kilogram has been losing weight, which means all of us have steadily started weighing more and more as time goes on.

## Re: (Score:2)

And the reference kilogram has been losing weight, which means all of us have steadily started weighing more and more as time goes on.

I've heard a lot of creative excuses for the spread of obesity, but that was a new one. Of course blaming the French is not exactly new, but I think Fre... sorry, freedom fries have more to do with it..

## Re: (Score:2)

I believe in the 18th century, this was intended to be one ten-millionth of the distance from the pole to the equator.I maintain that if Gunther, in 1620, made his chain 1/100'th of a nautical mile (1 minute of longitude at the equator) rather than 1/80th of a statute mile, we would have never ever heard of the metric system.

1 nautical mile is 92.0624 chains

If he had adjusted his chain a mere 8 percent smaller, to make it 100 chains, it would have been adopted widely by navies and merchant marines around t

## Re:base 12 is better than base 10 (Score:5, Interesting)

so base 210 (7*5*3*2) would be an even better one

This is why the mile is 32*3*5*11 feet. OK, so the 11 is actually in there for different reasons than divisibility: there was a tradition of measuring any goods with 10-20% slop built in for spoilage. For land, a furlong (220 yards) gives you a 200 yard field with room to build a fence or road, and still have room to turn the oxen for the next furrow over. (An acre, BTW, is a rectangle a furlong by a surveyor's chain - a very handy unit for land measurement at the time.)

It's not entirely a coincidence that a furlong is very close to 200 meters. That was a strong influence in making the meter somewhat larger than the yard.

## Re: (Score:2)

Makes 1023 the largest unsigned integer in the world because that's as high as you can count on your fingers...

## Re: (Score:2)

As an electrical engineer too, the SI system is great....

However, I've done some construction work in my day and I much prefer SAE measurements when doing that. 4' = 121.92 cm and putting studs on 24" = 60.96 cm centers to match up to that plywood that covers the wall? Yea, I'll do that in feet and inches.

It depends on what you are doing...

## Re: (Score:2)

As an American, that is a silly argument. Just throw the SAE crap out the window, and use measurements that actually make sense. Stop using 2"x4" lumber, which isn't actually 2"x4", and start using 5cm x 10cm instead. Feel free to actually make it 4cm x 8cm and call it 5cm x10cm if you want.

## Re: (Score:3, Informative)

Their length unit is based on a physical cylinder of metal.

Nope, it's based on the speed of light in a vacuum. You are thinking of the unit of weight.

Anyway, how is that stupid? The imperial version, the pound, is based on a physical quantity as well because it is officially defined as 0.45359237kg. In fact most (all?) imperial measures are defined as precise metric values now, so any criticism you have of metric standards apply equally to imperial ones.

Metric is far superior. You get easy decimal maths, easy conversions, SI units of magnitude and naming convention

## Re: (Score:2)

When I see drill bit sizes defined like 3/64" I always say ... WTF?

When I see 1.2mm I know exactly how big it is.

## Re: (Score:2)

## Meter definition (Score:2)

Their length unit is based on a physical cylinder of metal.

Not it is not and has not been since the 1960s. The metre is currently defined as the length of the path traveled by light in vacuum during a time interval of 1/299792458 of a second.

## Re: (Score:2)

Length is based on light. Mass is based on this unit, before it was the weight of 1L water at sea level.

## Re: (Score:2)

No. Kilogram isn't based on a chunk of metal. A chunk of metal was just a convenient way of checking your etalons.

First they defined a meter. It is based on the length of the line from equator to the pole going through Paris. They measured the line and divided it by 10 million.

Since it is difficult to calibrate your 1m etalon by lying a ten million of them in a row, they made a standard example in a form of metal rod.

Then they defined the Kilogram. They took a liter of pure water, with the defined temperatu

## Re: (Score:2)

No. First they defined a gram, realized the temperature they defined it at was at it's most stable temperature point and not most stable density point. They also realized that 1 gram wasn't very practical for measuring things due to it's small size. So they made a object out of a stable piece of metal as close to 1000 times their original definition at it's most stable density and 1 atmosphere.

At that point of ratification, they declared that the piece of metal that was made to equal 1000 times the correct

## originally a volume of water (Score:2)

## Re: (Score:2)

## Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

It is now. It was originally based on the distance from the equator to the North Pole. You had precisely 10,000 KM from that and with 1,000 M in a KM, that gave you 10,000,000 M from the Equator to the North Pole. Like most measures they've redefined it so that it was more constant, but it was a completely arbitrary measure that makes no sense outside of science.

The meter is a rather awkward unit to use. It's too long for practical use in daily living and it's too short to be of much use otherwise. You can'

## Re: (Score:2)

Actually, the cm is a very handy unit. It's about the width of a finger (or thumb if you have slim fingers). You don't use fractions in the metric system. For good reason, it's base10 all the way down. For lengths/areas/volumes you usually use meters (for things like giving the area of your flat or the distance between two things that are nearby), centimeters (for things like the size of your TV or distances on your desk) and millimeters (for tiny things). And there is no need to work with fractions. Actual

## the Australian metric system abolishes cm (Score:2)

It does look a little weird at first to see blueprints entirely in millimeters.

I heard this system at Nerd Nite.

## Re: (Score:2)

## Re: (Score:2)

For that matter, 1/3 inch in 64ths, please.

21 1/3 64th, exactly. Now, 1/3 meter in millimeters, please?

333 1/3 mm; exactly.

See? Same thing.

The actual point here was that shifting that value to meter or kilometer or femtometer is all just a matter of moving the decimal dot. No need to involve fractions; unless you already had fractions before or shift the value below 1.0 (why would you?).

Problem is, you can't do that with Imperial measurements because it has

differentunits of measurements forthe same thing, and they do not cleanly convert into each other, since their base is different. In metric the base is## Re: (Score:2)

## Re: (Score:3)

You missed the point, but I think you know it.

## Re: (Score:2)

Oh, my mistake. I read it as the length unit. Don't I look foolish.

Thanks for the correction.

## Re: (Score:2)

And the foot and inch in terms of meters... so...

## Re: (Score:2)

Yes, I misread the post. I saw kilograms and thought meters. Very bad mistake on my part.

## Re: (Score:2)

Celsius is just as arbitrary as Fahrenheit and both are base 10.

Kelvin is the only true logical temperature system given that 0 K is absolute zero but it might be impractical to use up to five digits for half (or quarter) degree increments on thermostats to handle the hundreds of degrees kelvin that room temperature is at.

Imperial is shit but metric isn't perfect either.

## Re: (Score:2)

The point is that the "benefit" people have from the metric system is that it's base 10. The Imperial system as used in the US is base 10 when it's actually useful to be base 10 and not base 10 the rest of the time.

The real "benefit" is that the system is used by more than 6 billion people (18%), while the US comprises only about a third of a billion people (. In an ecconomic comparison, the US GDP is about 17 Trillion, while the world GDP is around 77 Trillion (22%)

Unless you think your arguments are strong enough to convince everyone else to switch from SI to US, the argument for switching just to be like everyone else is pretty strong.

## Re: (Score:2, Funny)

## Re: (Score:3)

SPHERICAL metric cows. In a vacuum.

## Re: (Score:2)

And how fast is it moving?