Re: Metric Time (was Re: Why not 13 months? (Was La Systeme Metrique))

DaveHatunen (
Wed, 11 Oct 1995 14:35:45 GMT

In article <45g945$>, MacFAQ <> wrote:
>In article <>,
>(DaveHatunen) wrote:
>>In article <45eag9$>, MacFAQ <>
>>>The person I was responding to said, and I quoted, "Your problem here
>>>converting from
>>>a volumetric measurement to a weight measurement, which would have been
>>>just as hard in a metric system", which is complete bullshit.
>>>Weight-volume conversions are much easier in the metric system. Quick:
>>>many weight ounces of water are in 100 fluid ounces of distilled water?
>>>Answer: I'd have to look it up and do some conversions. Now, how many
>>>grams of water are in 1 liter of distilled water? Answer: 1000 grams.
>>That's water. It's a special case. Pick some other substance.
>OK. For any substance with density X, as measured in grams/mililiter, one
>mililiter weighs X grams. One liter of the same substance would weigh
>1,000 times X grams. I don't have to use a calculator, and I could easily
>adjust the units to deciliters, kilograms, or whatever you like.
>Contrast that with the Imperial system. For any substance with density X,
>as measured in ounces/fluid ounce, one fliud ounce would weigh one ounce.
>One gallon of the same substance would weigh 128 times X ounces. If you
>start with quarts, multiply by 32. If you want the result in pounds,
>divide it by 16. The math starts requiring a calculator, because you can't
>simply move the decimal point the way you can with the metric system.

Do you carry density tables around with you? I don't. So the whole
cacluclation in any system is moot, usually. OTOH, if I'm in a lab
setting or other such scientific/technical setting, I probably would be
using metric units.

The point is that it is arrogant to decalim about commonly used and
accepted units unless they actually cause a problem of some kind. You
don't use ounces/gallons, etc. So what's YOUR problem?

>Here's the insidious part.

"Insidious"? Isn't that a bit melodramatic? I don't think it's the
right word either, but I'm not going to bother looking it up.

>What happens if you're given the volume in
>terms of cubic dimensions? If I start with 100 cubic meters of the
>subtance, the math is still easy, because one cubic centimeter is one
>mililiter. If you start with 100 cubic yards of the substance, you've got
>to do a lot more math, because the Imperial units of volume and weight are
>in base 16, while linear dimensions are in base 12.

You mean some guy is likely to walk up to me on the street and ask me
stuff like this?

>Another reason the metric system is better: the main units of volumetric
>measure span a small range of volumes. Measuring tiny volumes requires
>small fractions. Measuring large volumes requires using a large number of
>digits. The metric system has things like microliters and megaliters to
>deal with the extremes.

Ever heard of a dram?


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