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33112.  Mon Nov 21, 2005 1:38 am Reply with quote

Q. Given that you have four feet, how many hands do you have?

Forfeit. None
Forfeit. Four feet of what?
A. 12

4 feet = 48 inches = 12 hands, one hand = 4 inches

Or, I suppose, is a hand better than 4 inches? Are two hands better than 8 inches?


<Edit> This link doesn't (!) work now, if it ever did. The quotes below can no longer be found there. The link for dozen is now at

But it now is largely indistinguishable from that at



c.1300, from O.Fr. dozeine "a dozen," from douze "twelve," from L. duodecim, from duo "two" + decem "ten." The O.Fr. fem. suffix -aine is characteristically added to cardinals to form collectives in a precise sense ("exactly 12," not "about 12").

The dozens

"invective contest" (1928) originated in slave culture, the custom probably African, the word probably from bulldoze (q.v.) in its original sense of "a whipping, a thrashing."

Q. What could you measure by degrees of Twaddle?

Forfeit. This post
Forfeit. Duck walks
A. The specific gravity of liquids denser than water

There are about thirty distinct units of measurement which are 'degrees' of some variety. Fully one in ten of them is a method of measuring the acidity of milk, these in particular are

degree Dornic (°D)
degree Soxhlet-Henkel (°SH)
and degree Therner (°Th)

Bit misleading this but bear with me briefly

Q. How much louder is three bells than one bell?

A. One hundred times

One bel is 10 decibels and and difference of 1 decibel correspends to a ten-fold noise level increase. Since it is a logarithmic scale a difference of 20 decibels or 2 bels is one hundred times louder.

The beginning of the scale, 0 decibels, can be set in different ways, depending on exactly which aspect of sound is being measured. For sound intensity (the power of the sound waves per unit of area) 0 decibels is equal 1 picowatt per square meter; this corresponds approximately to the faintest sound that can be detected by a person who has good hearing. A quiet room has a normal sound intensity of around 40 decibels, ten thousand times louder than the faintest perceptible sound, and a thunderclap may have an intensity of 120 decibels, a trillion times louder than the faintest sound.

And again with the misleading homophones

Q. What would be considered as a din?

A. Film speed (ASA/DIN)

DIN are the the initials of Deutsches Institut für Normung, the German standards agency. ASA are the initials of the American Standards Association.

Outside the U.S., film was generally marked with a DIN speed rating such as DIN 24 (corresponding to ASA 200). A difference of 3 in the DIN rating corresponds to a doubling of the film speed; that is, DIN 27 film (ASA 400) is twice as fast as DIN 24. The ASA and DIN ratings are now combined, with a degree symbol on the DIN number, and marked with ISO (the initials of the International Organization for Standardization). Thus DIN 27 film is now marked ISO 400/27°.

And so to Daltons. Or to Daltons weakly perhaps. Commissary James Langley Dalton (1841-1887) was awarded the Victoria Cross for the action at Rourkes Drift during the Zulu wars (22nd and 23rd January 1879) and John Dalton (1766-1844) was responsible for the illucidation of Atomic Theory (1803) and the unit of atomic mass is named for him (1 Dalton ≈ 1.66053886 x 10-27 kg, slightly less than the mass of a proton) but why was John considerably less well suited to serving with the British Army of the 19th century than his namesake James?

Not only was John Dalton a Quaker he was also colourblind and could have had difficulty in distinguishing his own troops from those of a european enemy or in spotting them against the background of a green field.

The first paper he delivered before the society was on color blindness, which afflicted him and is sometimes still called "Daltonism."

Besides the blue and purple of the spectrum he was able to recognize only one colour, yellow, or, as he says in his paper, that part of the image which others call red appears to me little more than a shade or defect of light. After that the orange, yellow and green seem one colour which descends pretty uniformly from an intense to a rare yellow, making what I should call different shades of yellow.

Last edited by Celebaelin on Wed Nov 23, 2005 8:40 am; edited 1 time in total

33184.  Mon Nov 21, 2005 10:38 am Reply with quote

why is there a bakers dozen?

33189.  Mon Nov 21, 2005 10:43 am Reply with quote

Brewer's Phrase and Fable claims that bakers used to give an extra number of loaves, called the inbread, to avoid incurring the heavy fines once payable for short weight.

33284.  Mon Nov 21, 2005 5:01 pm Reply with quote

Poulters used to deal in 'dozens' of twelve and fourteen. I've no idea why, but I do know that is why a fourteen-syllable line of poetry is called 'poulter's measure'.

33289.  Mon Nov 21, 2005 5:09 pm Reply with quote

I've never heard that term for a fourteen-syllable line, so thanks for that samivel.

33310.  Mon Nov 21, 2005 5:43 pm Reply with quote

I believe, although it could be one of those pesky urban myths, that the bakers' dozen relates to making twelve buns or loaves, with the leftover mixture being made into another, usually smaller loaf or bun.
Bakers would estimate the amount needed to make the twelve loaves and would use what was left over for another one. The more you handle dough, the worse it is to use in baking, so rather than waste it, it would be used.

I think.


33344.  Tue Nov 22, 2005 3:50 am Reply with quote


Woh! A rich gallimaufry of brain-food there. Wonderful stuff, thank you.

Last edited by JumpingJack on Tue Nov 22, 2005 3:51 am; edited 1 time in total

33345.  Tue Nov 22, 2005 3:51 am Reply with quote

Got a bit lost with 'Twaddle' though. Sounds good, but can you elucidate?

33351.  Tue Nov 22, 2005 4:18 am Reply with quote

Absolutely, but I'm not sure what you want me to elucidate about. The link to the Dictionary of Units of Measurement D page is included, but here it is again

and it's under degree Twaddle, the last entry under degree. If you want an explanation of the explanation I can do that (no probably here, no sir) but it's not a unit I've used so you'd likely have to take my word for it unless I can track down other references. I'll have a bash if you like. Saying that for milk 1[sup]o[/sup] Twaddle = 5[sup]o[/sup] Quevenne isn't very helpful I'll grant you.

Twaddle means, er, piffle, I think would be my choice from the list given here

but top of the page comes "foolish, trivial or idle chatter", which seems to apply quite well

Thanks for gallimaufry, I thought you were talking about where Dr. Who came from for a moment.

33353.  Tue Nov 22, 2005 4:25 am Reply with quote


Sorry, should have read the post more carefully – just trying to get an overview of what's going on. There's just so much now! Go out for the afternoon and you can never catch up... {:o)

33419.  Tue Nov 22, 2005 6:45 am Reply with quote

come on-pay attention!

33477.  Tue Nov 22, 2005 8:25 am Reply with quote

I was always told a baker's dozen referred to the dishonest practise of adding an extra loaf or bun or whatever to the bag when weighing (and, therefore, calculating the price of) the purchase, but then removing this extra item before handing the bag over to the customer, thus fiddling the customer out of the cost of one item of whetever they were buying.

Though I can't find any internet sites that agree with this. I'm beginning to suspect everything my parents told me :)

33502.  Tue Nov 22, 2005 9:07 am Reply with quote

Were your parents disgruntled customers of a baker?

33507.  Tue Nov 22, 2005 9:59 am Reply with quote

I was taught what 96aelw quotes above, but, infuriatingly, no source seems to nail this one decisively, thereby being less successful than the authorities who would apparently nail a baker's ear to a door for selling short weight.

It isn't specified whether it was still attached to the baker at the time.

33669.  Wed Nov 23, 2005 3:12 am Reply with quote

England have won 12 Grand Slams over the History of the Rugby Union 4,5 and 6 Nation Tournaments. Three more than their nearest rivals, Wales. The first winners of a Six Nations Grand Slam (England, Wales, Ireland, France, Scotland, Italy) were France, in 2002.

The competition has been held since 1883 (1915-19 and 1940-46 excepted).


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