Re: Horsepower (was Re: Metric Time (was Re: Why not 1

Thomas M. Simms (
Mon, 16 Oct 1995 18:01:22 AST

On 14 Oct 1995 16:04:57 GMT, writes:
>In <45jpra$2l5@cnn.Princeton.EDU> davelee@davelee (David H. Lee)
>>: Methinks that any who advocates metric numbers is in the wrong
>>: business.
>>Okay, lets see *you* do classical mechanics and E&M using imperial

Boy, are you behind the times...numbers to base 10 are great for
counting, as both the Babylonians and the Egyptians knew, but for
calculating without slide rules and computers, the imperial system
was much easier to use than metric. I took my high school physics
in British units and my HS Chemistry in Metric. The difference in
work involved was tremendous. The British units, being commensurate,
could be reduced to the same unit and then factored. At that point,
all the common factors could be cancelled and the problem reduced to
something like 3 x 5 % 7 where the metric thing involved multiply all
numbers and dividing by all the numbers which were expressed in decimals
and not fractions ending in immense cascades of digits unless decisions
were made to making estimates and rounding off, a horrendous mess.
However, the specious precision of decimals forced mechanics to adopt
the decimal system so that every lathe or milling machine which worked
by ratio and proportion had to have a table of equivalent decimals for
the fractions the machines used hung above the work place so that
approxiamations could be made.

We still work that way, wasting no end of time.

However, the heavens prevailed, and so we have astronomical units in
sexagesimal. I haven't heard a thing about decimal days since the
French Revolution became ancient history.

Which reminds me. The US is officially metric but Canada, though it
uses metric, still is officially Imperial.

The revolutionary prestige of the guillotine led to Europe becoming
"moderne" and metric. Fortunately, Mother Nature was hard to suppress
so we still have hours, minutes and seconds.

Tom Simms

>>Hmmm lbs.. is that force or mass? hmm. whats a slug?
>>horsepower?! what does a horse have to do with power?
>Must be you never met a horse.
>1 Horsepower == 33,000 foot/pound/minutes
>Sounds about right to me.
>Admittedly I prefer metric, but let's not be snide about it.
>S. Taibi