Re: Strange Maths (was Re: Why not 13 months?)
Wed, 19 Jul 1995 21:46:44 GMT

In article <>, (Reggie) writes:
>Mike ( wrote:
>: Even allowing for wide variations in body part sizes, as the number of
>: instances of use multiply (as with a structure the size of a pyramid) the
>: mean will come to appear as a "standard". This is the nature of statistics.
>I agree with your main argument, but your reference to the pyramids
>suggests that the eygptians didn't have a standardised measure. This
>I find hard to believe. To create a geometric object the size of the
>pyramids would end up as a total balls up if each craftsman was using
>their own measure.

One can have a measure that has been standardized for a specific project,
without having a standardized measure that's used country wide. It is easy to
imagine the foremen of the Egyptian stone cutters being issued a set of
measuring rods and being told "each block has to be the lenght of the longest
rod, the width of the middle one and the height of the shortest one", or
something to this effect. This way the project has "standard" measures but
they don't have to have anything to do with the measures used by the builders
of the previous pyramid, or the ones used by the Pharaoh tax collectors when
measuring acreage of fields.

Situations of this sort abound even today. Think for example about the
"railway gauge" or (experimental physicists should appreciate this one) the
standard "single module width" for a NIM bin or a CAMAC crate.

Mati Meron | "When you argue with a fool, | chances are he is doing just the same"