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Author Topic:   Quick Questions, Short Answers - No Debate
nwr
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Posts: 5631
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 5.0


Message 601 of 623 (880502)
08-06-2020 11:22 PM
Reply to: Message 599 by dwise1
08-06-2020 10:01 PM


Re: What Was This Medieval Astronomical Instrument?
US Customary System of measurements (AKA "Imperial")

US Customary System and Imperial System are two different systems. That "AKA" is wrong.

Fundamentalism - the anti-American, anti-Christian branch of American Christianity

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dwise1
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Posts: 4365
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.6


Message 602 of 623 (880504)
08-06-2020 11:58 PM
Reply to: Message 600 by Pollux
08-06-2020 10:51 PM


Re: What Was This Medieval Astronomical Instrument?
Just lost all my work.

According to drilling down through Wikipedia, the Davis quadrant was a refinement of the back-staff, AKA "Jacob's staff". The illustrations I see (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob%27s_staff) show the main stick being graduated.

Thank you.


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dwise1
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Posts: 4365
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.6


Message 603 of 623 (880505)
08-07-2020 12:06 AM
Reply to: Message 601 by nwr
08-06-2020 11:22 PM


Re: What Was This Medieval Astronomical Instrument?
US Customary System and Imperial System are two different systems. That "AKA" is wrong.

True, true, true.

We split from the British Empire (was it an empire by that time?) around 1776. Perhaps in response to French attempts at standardization, around 1824 the UK standardized their measurements, especially the ones regarding volume. We Yanks wanted nothing to do with any of that.

So now there are still different standards regarding volume. Gee! Wouldn't everything just be so much better if everybody just switched to metric?


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nwr
Member
Posts: 5631
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 5.0


Message 604 of 623 (880507)
08-07-2020 12:53 AM
Reply to: Message 603 by dwise1
08-07-2020 12:06 AM


Re: What Was This Medieval Astronomical Instrument?
I grew up in Australia, where we used the imperial pint, imperial gallon. So I am more conscious of the distinction than most Americans.

And yes, we should all move to metric.

Edited by nwr, : No reason given.


Fundamentalism - the anti-American, anti-Christian branch of American Christianity

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dwise1
Member
Posts: 4365
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.6


Message 605 of 623 (880532)
08-07-2020 9:35 AM
Reply to: Message 604 by nwr
08-07-2020 12:53 AM


Re: What Was This Medieval Astronomical Instrument?
And yes, we should all move to metric.

I fully agree. However ...

My other metric web page -- and the original one -- will look into the failed history of the US going metric and examine the false reasons people give for rejecting the metric system. But at the same time, there are also a few valid reasons (following list is not complete):

  1. We have grown up learning to visualize measurements in our non-metric systems, so when we hear a metric measurement we have no idea how much that is. My second metric web page, which I'm working on now, is supposed to help solve that problem. A Canadian YouTube video talks about this situation in Canada which has nominally gone metric while at the same time has clung to the old Imperial system for personal every-day use (eg, one's height, in the kitchen). Food packaging in Canada makes things weird since all packaging is in metric while most kitchens still use Imperial -- at least in the USA our grocery packaging is in both systems (but have you ever tried to buy a fifth of booze in the past four decades? You cannot! HINT: a fifth of a gallon is 757 ml). Also in Canada, plumbing is still in inches.

    I also saw an Australian video talking about still using inches in construction.

  2. There are many standard measurements in many of the trades that would need to be relearned in metric. In high school and college, I worked for my master carpenter father. There are a great many standard measurements (eg, spacing between wall studs is 16 inches, door widths, plywood dimensions). One of the earliest reasons against going metric was the wide-spread use of English weaving machinery that would have had to be replaced if we went metric.

  3. The transition between systems can result in accidents. For example a 1999 Mars orbiter was lost because programmers used the one system while the specs or the rest of the program was in the other (Why the metric system matters - Matt Anticole). The infamous Gimli Glider, an Air Canada flight that ran out of fuel in mid-flight and had to glide to a safe landing at an abandoned RCAF airfield at Gimli, Man., was caused during the period of metrification by the ground crew using the wrong conversion formula to calculate how much fuel the plane had.

Still, metric is so much easier to use. I use a quote of Christoph Waltz from "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" (he's in a hardware store when Jerry Seinfeld calls him):
quote:




Waltz:I am trying to find something in centimeters.
Seinfeld:Why?
Waltz:Why? Because inches don't make sense.


There are also several videos on this question. The problem is that inches are divided into halves, quarters, eighths, sixteenths, 32nds, 64ths. Every single time you see a mark on a measuring tape, you have to perform fraction arithmetic to figure out what that measurement is -- yes, if you do that day after day then eventually you'll know that on sight, but I never worked at it regularly enough to ever get there. And if you have to add or subtract measurements or even divide a measurement then you're trapped into doing the most complicated form of fraction arithmetic in your head -- actually, we'd use a simpler method to find and mark a mid-point. Every time I had to do that, I'd have to relearn it. First day on the construction job in Germany, I was given a Meterstock and told to get a board of a given measurement and I could do it first time no problem. After that (since we were supposed to metric) I got a tape in both systems: inches for my father and metric for me.

Much earlier, right after going to Germany in 1973 I wanted to prepare a pitcher of Tang, but there wasn't enough for a full pitcher. Not knowing the necessary customary units conversion factors to figure out how much water to add, I converted it to metric and figured it out with no problem -- plus I had shipped back a Messbecher in metric, since we didn't have any metric measuring cups at that time.

A bit later, somebody's friend who was a farmer needed to figure out how much water a trough of given dimensions would contain and how much it would weigh. Having no idea what those special conversion factors would be, I converted the dimensions to metric and immediately figured it all out (1 cubic centimeter is one milliliter and one ml of water weighs one gram). Just that simple, just that quick.

Even earlier in elementary school, every math textbook had a page that listed all the conversion factors within the customary units system. I had to use that page constantly. Then in either 4th or 5th grade that page wasn't there. I was completely lost that entire year.

Which brings us to a quotation from John Quincy Adams' assessment of converting to the metric system, "Report Upon Weights and Measures" (22 February 1821):

quote:
"No one can easily forget his youthful attempts to memorize long and generally almost meaningless tables and to master the mysteries of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of 'compound numbers' . . . Conservative educators have estimated that the use of the metric system . . . would save one to two years of the school life of every
child."

Le plus ça change, le plus la même chose. (The more things change, the more they remain the same.)

Edited by dwise1, : Added translation of the French in the final line. For our unwashed.

Edited by dwise1, : Setting the scene of the Christoph Waltz quotation in a hardware store

Edited by dwise1, : The death of the fifth of booze, sacrificed on the altar of metrification


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nwr
Member
Posts: 5631
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 5.0


Message 606 of 623 (880574)
08-07-2020 6:06 PM
Reply to: Message 605 by dwise1
08-07-2020 9:35 AM


Re: What Was This Medieval Astronomical Instrument?
My other metric web page -- and the original one -- will look into the failed history of the US going metric and examine the false reasons people give for rejecting the metric system.

I just look at all of the people who are refusing to wear face masks during a pandemic.

There's no way that such people can be persuaded to switch to metric.

Yes, there are valid reasons. But they are reasons to phase in the change over a sufficiently extended period of time.


Fundamentalism - the anti-American, anti-Christian branch of American Christianity

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dwise1
Member
Posts: 4365
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.6


(1)
Message 607 of 623 (880587)
08-07-2020 8:02 PM
Reply to: Message 606 by nwr
08-07-2020 6:06 PM


Re: What Was This Medieval Astronomical Instrument?
The ultimate origin of my planned metric web pages was my page on Kent Hovind's bogus "solar mass loss" claim in which he was talking about tons of solar mass lost without ever specifying which kind of tons he was talking about. That turned out to not be important and indeed even astronomers are not very specific though it's obviously metric tonnes that they're talking about. BTW, Hovind's claim is bogus because he takes a valid enough rate (5 million tons per second) but then refuses to do the math (total mass lost at that rate over 5 billion (109) years amounts to a few hundredths of one percent of the sun's current mass, which is insignificant -- Hovind has even gone so far as to forbid his audience to ever do that math themselves).

I suspected that Kent Hovind has some kind of twisted ideological opposition to the metric system and indeed I found a remark from one of his "seminars" in which he referred to not using the metric systems as "being a patriot". So those "libertarian" types you described will think that it's "unpatriotic" to use the metric system. Somewhere else I read that one of the 19th Century objections to adopting the metric system was because it was "created by atheists."

When I started my research, I was convinced that all objections to adopting the metric system were false and invalid. As a result of my research, I learned that there are valid reasons. Which is something that we never see any creationist do: realize that you're wrong about something and making the necessary corrections.


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ringo
Member
Posts: 18809
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 608 of 623 (880629)
08-08-2020 12:31 PM
Reply to: Message 603 by dwise1
08-07-2020 12:06 AM


Re: What Was This Medieval Astronomical Instrument?
dwise1 writes:

Wouldn't everything just be so much better if everybody just switched to metric?


In Canada, we "switched to metric" in the 1970s and we still don't use it. Ask a 20-year-old how tall he is and he'll tell you in feet and inches.

"I've been to Moose Jaw, now I can die." -- John Wing

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dwise1
Member
Posts: 4365
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.6


Message 609 of 623 (880630)
08-08-2020 1:54 PM
Reply to: Message 608 by ringo
08-08-2020 12:31 PM


Re: What Was This Medieval Astronomical Instrument?
And yet we continue to inch towards the metric system.

The US has actually gone much further towards adopting the metric system than most of us realize. But that's mainly in industry and commerce, while in most individuals' personal lives they continue to use the old system.

For example, most beverages in the US are in liters and milliliters (no fifths of booze anymore; a fifth-gallon is 757 ml, which makes me feel like we're getting short-changed). Most food items are labeled in both systems in the US, but according to a Canadian video on the topic Canadian foods are only labeled in metric despite most households using Imperial in the kitchen. For myself, my kitchen scale can display either ounces or grams so no problem for me.

It will undoubtedly take a few generations to completely switch over.


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 4365
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.6


Message 610 of 623 (880657)
08-09-2020 2:26 AM
Reply to: Message 608 by ringo
08-08-2020 12:31 PM


Re: Metric System in the Kitchen
Ringo, quick culinary question, since I'm working right now on the grams section of my web page.

US recipes use volume measurements almost exclusively. Eg, one cup of rice to two cups of water. When we research recipes on the Internet, just about all the dry and sloppy (eg, butter) ingredients in European recipes are measured by weight -- eg, in a video by a US ex-pat living in Germany, she's baking a cake and there she is slicing room-warmed butter in length-wise slivers and adding each sliver to the kitchen scale until she gets the desired weight. Also, flour can compact, so volume measures of flour can vary while the scale never lies.

What is the recipe convention in Canada? BTW, British recipes I've looked at used weights.

Edited by dwise1, : changed sub-topic title


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Tangle
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Posts: 7987
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.7


Message 611 of 623 (880658)
08-09-2020 3:44 AM
Reply to: Message 610 by dwise1
08-09-2020 2:26 AM


Re: Metric System in the Kitchen
dwise1 writes:

BTW, British recipes I've looked at used weights.

Old British recipes measures use lbs and oz for dry stuff, unless in small quantities where teaspoons and tablespoons are used. (Plastic 'teaspoons' are sold as standard measures, though most don't bother.)

These days weights are more often g and Kg, but you'll often also see lbs and oz too.

We don't use cups - I guess they can be any size.

Liquids are mostly ml and L these days but you can still see fl oz. Recipes using a lot of water may still say pints.

It's a mixture of old and new but we're mostly metric in packaged goods in the supermarkets. If you buy meat and veg though it's still lbs and oz. Bizarre.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.I am Finland. Soy Barcelona

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


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PaulK
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Posts: 16624
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 612 of 623 (880659)
08-09-2020 4:22 AM
Reply to: Message 611 by Tangle
08-09-2020 3:44 AM


Re: Metric System in the Kitchen
I think I have to disagree with a lot of this.

Cups were used in older recipes.

The rest may be regional differences.

Pounds and ounces are usually only seen in market stalls, and even there they are going away (it’s becoming more common to have fixed price bowls of fruit and some veg, too).

In supermarkets meat and vegetables are exclusively metric. I haven’t even seen the equivalent cost for a pound on the pricing labels in the last few years.


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Tangle
Member
Posts: 7987
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.7


(1)
Message 613 of 623 (880660)
08-09-2020 6:01 AM
Reply to: Message 612 by PaulK
08-09-2020 4:22 AM


Re: Metric System in the Kitchen
PaulK writes:

I think I have to disagree with a lot of this.

Great, I'm bored :-)

Cups were used in older recipes.

Apart from my own experience I can quote from a couple of reliable sources, my wife's grandma - don't argue with her - who never used cups and an 'old' recipe book.

The Complete Illustrated Cookery Book, 1931. This book is 3” thick and contains about a dozen pictures. The recipes are all in lbs and oz.

It provides a list of weights and measures, mostly lbs, oz and fluid oz, but also some lovely anachronisms. Did you know that a stone of coal is 14lb but a stone of meat is 8lb? Gills are used for cream, quarts, pints and gallons for other liquids. There are 60 drops in a teaspoon and a firkin of butter weighs 56lb.

It does provide a list of weights for 'weighing without a weighing machine' but they're not used in the recipes.
A breakfastcupful (?) of pressed, moist sugar is 8oz, a breakfastcupful of tapioca is 1/2lb, dripping 7 oz.

Pounds and ounces are usually only seen in market stalls, and even there they are going away (it’s becoming more common to have fixed price bowls of fruit and some veg, too).

Yup. Pretty much all packaged stuff is metric now. But butchers still sell in lbs

In supermarkets meat and vegetables are exclusively metric. I haven’t even seen the equivalent cost for a pound on the pricing labels in the last few years.

Really? Now I have to out and check :-).


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.I am Finland. Soy Barcelona

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
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NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8949
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003


(1)
Message 614 of 623 (880668)
08-09-2020 8:45 AM
Reply to: Message 611 by Tangle
08-09-2020 3:44 AM


An Old Canuck's View
My view and only that since I am an odd duck.

I'd say that the governments have moderately screwed up the conversion. It's been decades now and we should all be done but they backed out of forcing supermarkets to go purely metric.
That means that things are measured metrically but labeled in both for things like meat. They tend to be advertised in lbs on signs since that makes the price look cheaper. This has kept people muddled up only partly converted.

For old guys like my friends (I will not say "and me") the conversion for speeds is mostly complete. That's because speedometers and speed signs converted totally. It's not exactly complete for us (actually for anyone) since the fools to our south are unable to handle the change so acceleration times in car mags and such are in seconds to 60 mph (with an admixture of seconds to 62 mph).

Most of what I read has metric with imperial in brackets which makes me crazy because I remember a number for a lot of things like distance, height, weight but then can't remember which system it was in.

Most people I know measure their size/weight in imperial but I only use metric.

Temperature was converted in the 70's and I'd say everyone is on Celsius for that. At this point I find F temperatures difficult even though I grew up with them. I know immediately how warn or cool or hot or col C is but have to make a rough conversion of a F temp to get a feel for it. That is other than around 100 F. That one I just know is hot.

Doing renovations back in the 80's I got slightly messed up by the conversion. Out 2x4's (and others) went metric in those dimensions. But they are cut extremely close to the metric size for 2 and 4 inches (which, of course they are not, more like 1.5 x 3.5 dry). But they are not exactly so when in the middle of a reno you mix old and new they don't line up precisely. That problem went away quickly enough.

Plywood thickness is the same ( I am almost 100 % ) sure, close to the old but in mm. However the other dimensions stayed in imperial so they fit in with old stuff (at least I think that is the case). I don't know if the building codes now call for metric in things like stud spacing.

To summarize:
speed, temp is pretty much totally converted.
liquid measure mostly but people use a mix in the kitchen depending on how old they are. I convert all recipes to metric if they aren't already.
most people still give their weight in lbs (I don't)
Things like building heights etc re mixed in many people's minds.


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ringo
Member
Posts: 18809
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 615 of 623 (880697)
08-09-2020 3:36 PM
Reply to: Message 610 by dwise1
08-09-2020 2:26 AM


Re: Metric System in the Kitchen
dwise1 writes:

What is the recipe convention in Canada?


I don't use recipes so I can't say for sure. But I don't know anybody who has a kitchen scale. Everybody has cups.

"I've been to Moose Jaw, now I can die." -- John Wing

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