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rgwr
286566.  Thu Feb 28, 2008 9:56 am Reply with quote

Has this book been written for the US market? It uses imperial units, which haven't been taught to children in the UK since the mid-sixties, or in the rest of the EU for even longer it at all. I've no idea what 400 feet amount to, and have to convert it to metres to make any sense of it. Am I an obsessive pedant, is QI stuck in a time warp, or are US readers the most important?

 
PDR
286610.  Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:48 am Reply with quote

rgwr wrote:
Has this book been written for the US market? It uses imperial units, which haven't been taught to children in the UK since the mid-sixties, or in the rest of the EU for even longer it at all. I've no idea what 400 feet amount to, and have to convert it to metres to make any sense of it. Am I an obsessive pedant, is QI stuck in a time warp, or are US readers the most important?


[mode = pedant]
The UK only formally metricated when we joined the EEC in 1973, and imperial units were still taught in our schools up to (and after) this date, not the "mid 60s". In some fields of engineering (aerodymanics, aeronautical eng and structures especially) the imperial units are still in current use, so the universities are still teaching them.
[/mode]

400 feet will always amount to either more than or less than 4 centipedes, but will never equal four centipedes.

PDR


Last edited by PDR on Thu Feb 28, 2008 2:53 pm; edited 1 time in total

 
samivel
286626.  Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:21 am Reply with quote

400 feet could equal four centipedes, just not as four lots of 100.

;)

 
rgwr
286673.  Thu Feb 28, 2008 12:26 pm Reply with quote

PDR wrote:

The UK only formally metricated when we joined the EEC in 1873, and imperial units were still taught in our schools up to (and after) this date, not the "mid 60s".
PDR


I know it's hard to remember much about the sixties but I had the distinct impression that by the time I did the 11+ we'd gone metric. Perhaps all those spliffs behind the bike sheds confused me. My father would have maintained that 400 feet are 1 furlong, 8 chains, 1 yard, and 1 foot. What could be simpler?

 
smiley_face
286692.  Thu Feb 28, 2008 1:04 pm Reply with quote

I'm one of the younger members around here and have no problem with imperial measurements. I actually quite like the old feet and inches method of measuring - Most people still refer to their height and weight in imperial units. The Maximum Height Clearance signs for bridges are still in imperial. Distances on road signs are measured in miles. Television and computer monitor screen sizes are measure in inches. Need I go on?

 
PDR
286701.  Thu Feb 28, 2008 1:40 pm Reply with quote

samivel wrote:
400 feet could equal four centipedes, just not as four lots of 100.

;)


Ouch! It's a fair cop Guv - I forgot to say "four *identical* centipedes".

PDR

 
suze
286703.  Thu Feb 28, 2008 1:44 pm Reply with quote

rgwr wrote:
My father would have maintained that 400 feet are 1 furlong, 8 chains, 1 yard, and 1 foot. What could be simpler?


He'd have been horribly wrong if he had.

400 feet is in fact 6 chains, a yard, and a foot. Which is a shame, because I wanted to get a rod, pole, or perch in, but none is required.

 
PDR
286705.  Thu Feb 28, 2008 1:50 pm Reply with quote

rgwr wrote:
PDR wrote:

The UK only formally metricated when we joined the EEC in 1873, and imperial units were still taught in our schools up to (and after) this date, not the "mid 60s".
PDR


I know it's hard to remember much about the sixties but I had the distinct impression that by the time I did the 11+ we'd gone metric. Perhaps all those spliffs behind the bike sheds confused me.


Well I was the last year to take 11+ in my area, and that was in 1972 (why we did was a moot point, because the grammar schools had already gone, but then I just did what I was told). We did imperial and metric measurements at the 11+, only switching to the "teachers version" of the metric system (with strange units like centimetres and decilitres) at the secondary school. I did O and A level physics & chemistry in metric units (for which I was very grateful), but used both systems for various aspects of engineering at university. I can still remember things like a mile being 1760 yards, 5280 feet, or 63,360 inches, a Pickle bottle being a thrird of a pint, a gallon of water weighing ten pounds and a horsepower being 550 ft-lbs/sec. Some of these I still use today because, as I said earlier, large parts of aeronautical engineering are still dne in imperial units. Never mind strange units like slugs/sec, aircraft speeds are measured in knots or feet/sec, altitudes are measured in feet and stores weights & fuel quantities are largely still measured in lbs. Sometimes people try to use both systems and the consequences can be rather dire - for an example google "gimli glider"...

PDR

 
PDR
286708.  Thu Feb 28, 2008 1:55 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
rgwr wrote:
My father would have maintained that 400 feet are 1 furlong, 8 chains, 1 yard, and 1 foot. What could be simpler?


He'd have been horribly wrong if he had.

400 feet is in fact 6 chains, a yard, and a foot. Which is a shame, because I wanted to get a rod, pole, or perch in, but none is required.


We have some dynamic modelling tools which have selectable units. Amongst the available units for velocity (aside from the usual mph, kts, m/sec, ft/sec etc) are furlongs/fortnight and chains/week. The weight and thrust parameters also offer grains and troy ounces as options. I guess the original software team got a bit bored.

But then we're just as sad - it sometimes amuses us to deliver a report showing a peak normal acceleration in furlongs per square fortnight.

PDR

 
96aelw
286712.  Thu Feb 28, 2008 2:00 pm Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
The UK only formally metricated when we joined the EEC in 1873


Well, since you were in pedant mode, I may as well ask if you have any sources for this intriguing new interpretation of European political history, or if you in fact meant 1973.

 
PDR
286734.  Thu Feb 28, 2008 2:54 pm Reply with quote

96aelw wrote:
PDR wrote:
The UK only formally metricated when we joined the EEC in 1873


Well, since you were in pedant mode, I may as well ask if you have any sources for this intriguing new interpretation of European political history, or if you in fact meant 1973.


Well it's 1973 in metric units, obviously...

:0)

Yep, damned typos! Apologies,

PDR

 
rgwr
287055.  Fri Feb 29, 2008 4:50 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
rgwr wrote:
My father would have maintained that 400 feet are 1 furlong, 8 chains, 1 yard, and 1 foot. What could be simpler?


He'd have been horribly wrong if he had.

400 feet is in fact 6 chains, a yard, and a foot. Which is a shame, because I wanted to get a rod, pole, or perch in, but none is required.


Good point. Perhaps that was 400 yards. It's been 40 years...

Is there a QI thingy about things named after animals? Your perch reminds me, and I'd suggest gudgeon (pin). I think I've got one of those on my boat though I'm not sure what it does or where to find it. I hope it doesn't break.

 
PDR
287073.  Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:03 am Reply with quote

[quote="rgwr"]
suze wrote:
Your perch reminds me, and I'd suggest gudgeon (pin). I think I've got one of those on my boat though I'm not sure what it does or where to find it. I hope it doesn't break.


A Gudgeon Pin (called "Wrist Pin" in the colonies) is most usually found inside piston engines. It's the pin which joins the small end of the connecting rod to the piston (obviously not found in rigid designs like Salzman engines, or rotary designs like Wankels). They come in "solid" and "floating" varieties, as well as "hollow" or "blind", but that's more detail than really necessary.

Anyway - so you would probably have between four and sixteen in your car as well (depending on whether you drive a Mini or a Bugatti Veyron).

PDR

 
3cheeseshigh
287121.  Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:51 am Reply with quote

As far as I can remember, we still did an awful lot of stuff at school in Imperial measurements, as late as 1977 (my 5th Form year). The maths exams were all in new-fangled units, but up to O-Level (1977) we still had some questions that referred to foot-pounds and the like (mostly Physics lessons, as I recall). I still know that a hand is 4 inches, and a miss is as good as a mile.

 
Sadurian Mike
288519.  Sun Mar 02, 2008 1:33 am Reply with quote

3cheeseshigh wrote:
I still know that a hand is 4 inches, and a miss is as good as a mile.

Give him 2.54cm and he'll take 1.6km.

I really put my 30.48cm in my mouth when I said that.

 

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