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

MacFAQ (
11 Oct 1995 07:17:25 -0400

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.

Here's the insidious part. 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.

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.

Les "megathread" Jones