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# What does that unit look like

not refering to male or female unit
 (+8, -7) [vote for, against]

There is and will always be a argument over units of measurement. I live in the states and was raised on US units. So when I do work with foreigners I spend a great deal of time explaining what a foot is or what a mile looks like. Since construction materials are sold in US units designs have to be made in the US system. Its a commonly aggravating world wide problem.

I realized that when people come to the United States for an education they have to take English and cultural classes.

I say (and this would work for students from the US going to other countries) that people who are being exposed to another unit take a "look like" class.

The room would be full of items from that system of measurement. 1/2 in bolts, 2 ton trucks, a 20 foot long trailer.

When I come up with a load of 22000 kips, I know what it looks like. When someone tells me its 200000 kN I have no clue what that looks or feels like.

 — Antegrity, Mar 31 2008

List of unusual units of measurement http://en.wikipedia...nits_of_measurement
(Yes, it includes "jiffy" and "Olympic-sized swimming pool") [Ander, Apr 03 2008]

No, I think the whole world should be persuaded to use the metric system. This would allow you to stick to your antiquated, inferior system.
 — zeno, Mar 31 2008

//2 ton trucks//
Would that be a short ton, a long ton, a British ton... ?
Remind me what the inch is defined as?
Bone for promoting an archaic confused system.
 — coprocephalous, Mar 31 2008

 No, the ability to think simultaneously in two or more systems of units is of immense value in any sort of design [+]. This is especially true when one has to deal with prior work, as when adding onto an historic building, for instance.

I hesitate to call educated anyone who does not know their 25.4 times table.
 — Ned_Ludd, Mar 31 2008

Why not just use the "Metron", the Universal Unit of Anything ?
 — 8th of 7, Mar 31 2008

I'm guessing I'm alone in feeling cheated out of the "heh heh... he said unit" joke by that summary line.
 — globaltourniquet, Mar 31 2008

I prefer the metric system because it's simpler, more logical and it makes sense. The imperial system is partly based on the human body, particularly with measures of length, and is therefore parochial. However, the metric system is also parochial because it was initially based on such things as the size of this planet, the length of the period of rotation (same as imperial in that sense actually), the density of the most common liquid on its surface and the fact that we have ten digits on our hands. Having said that, i still prefer the idea of the metric system being promoted over the imperial, but there's an interesting corollary here. If the US and the UK are expected to conform to the rest of the world in this way, and why not, we are asking Britons and Americans to adapt their culture to global preferences. Would that therefore mean that we should all learn Esperanto? That's a serious question.
 — nineteenthly, Mar 31 2008

Comparing units of measurement (including various foreign and iblical ones) was commonplace when I was in school. I guess either you or your subcontractors need to go in for some reeducation.
 — DrCurry, Mar 31 2008

 The idea is not promoting any particular system of measurement. It is suggesting a very good way to understand, viscerally, any system of measurement, by actually seeing and holding an everyday object that represents units within that measurement system.

I know that us Americans resist switching to the metric system because we were at first told to multiply and divide to convert from one system to the other. If, instead, someone had handed me a one-liter bottle of water, a meter-long walking stick, and taken me for a kilometer walk, I'd have had it sussed by the time we got back. [+]
 — baconbrain, Mar 31 2008

I'm just waiting for the day when timber yards stop measuring width in inches and length in metres.
 — wagster, Mar 31 2008

 Esperanto is indeed Eurocentric and rather inadequate, but rather surprisingly, speakers of languages of non-European origin, for example Japanese, Chinese and Arabic, are actually quite happy with it. I think a language based on shared Arabic vocabulary but with analytical grammar would be better.

 Anyway, the way i understand it, here in the largest island of the North Atlantic Archipelago the metric system was in the middle of being adopted when, in the 'eighties, the government stopped the process to convert, leaving us stranded forever between the two systems, which seems unsatisfactory to all.

Anyway, it would make sense for people to be introduced to cultural peculiarities such as not handling things with the left hand or not saying "no" directly, so maybe this makes sense too. I have changed my vote to neutral.
 — nineteenthly, Mar 31 2008

When did this go from weights and measures to ways and means?
 — DrCurry, Mar 31 2008

Just after the "largest island in the North Atlantic Archipelago" was rechristened "Airstrip One"
 — 8th of 7, Mar 31 2008

Could someone please measure a door width in a country that uses the metric system and tell me what it is. That has always confused me. I know what a pint of beer is.
 — Antegrity, Apr 01 2008

 [Antegrity] the standard door leaf widths available in South Africa are 813mm, 762mm, and 686mm. They are derived from 2'8", 2'6", and 2'3", respectively. The reason for the survival of these standards is that door leaves and door frames are made by different manufacturers, because they are made of different materials in all but the upper reaches of the market. Door leaves are therefore made to fit the available frames, and frames are made to receive the available leaves.

The 686 door is supposedly a standard but you'll have a tough time finding any in stock at a builders' supplier. By far the majority of doors you'll find are 813x2032x40mm.
 — Ned_Ludd, Apr 01 2008

 That is the one part of them metric system that has always bothered me. If the metric system going to claim power of ten greatness then why not have a .75 meter door. Cutting 813mm of wood makes no more sense than that a 2.5' door.

 To me. This idea was in no way intended to tout one system over another.

Here is is anyway. What have countries using the metric system done that the US has not? Explain that one to me. Now limit your arguments too before the attempted metric conversion in the States.
 — Antegrity, Apr 01 2008

//What have countries using the metric system done that the US has not?//
Ratified the Kyoto Protocol?
 — coprocephalous, Apr 01 2008

It's odd for a country which was proud to break away from the British Empire to keep the Imperial system.
 — nineteenthly, Apr 01 2008

 We do odder things than that. There is a strong conservative aspect to American culture that has affected more things than the metric system.

 Which is why I like this method of teaching metrics--folks won't realize they are being informed, they'll just feel. It's not as sneaky as all the metric beverage bottles, and the movies with kilo blocks of cocaine, but it should slide past the conservative blockheads' blockades.

On an annotation-related note: When I was in Indonesia, in a small town in Aceh, kilometers from nowhere, as far as could be from the U. S. of A., we bought plywood that was some odd decimal of meters long and across. I got suspicious one day, did the measurements and the math, and found that it was all, in feet, standard 4 by 8 sheets as found in any lumberyard in America.
 — baconbrain, Apr 01 2008

 Living room door: 827, hall door: 825, toilet door: 820. All three doors are the same design from the same company. The doorframes are probably made for 830 and the doors themselves adjusted as the doorframes were fitted. This is in holland.

 Standard doorwidths: 830, 880 and 930.Standard heights: 2420, 2450, 2470 and 2500. Other sizes can be ordered rounded of to ten millimeters.

 What have countries done that the us has not? Easier calculating in measurements and easier converting. One liter of water weighs one kilo and fits inside one cubic decimeter.

Well at least you americans had the good sence to put one hundred cents in a dollar and you don't mess about with huppence and tuppence.
 — zeno, Apr 02 2008

We don't have ha'pennies any more, and i'm the only person i know who still calls it tuppence. Then again, i also convert everything into LSD.
 — nineteenthly, Apr 02 2008

You're forgetting the thruppenny bit (or thruppence) - a wonderful shape that had. And yeah, that was ha'pence, not huppence!
 — DrCurry, Apr 02 2008

 Thropenny bits were indeed marvellous, and in a sense they live on as pennies. However, it would've been even cooler if they'd been dodecahedra rather than dodecagons, although they would have rolled away a lot.

By the way, my vote is now positive.
 — nineteenthly, Apr 02 2008

 /it was all, in feet, standard 4 by 8 sheets as found in any lumberyard in America/

So it was standard 2400x1200, as found all over the world? I think if you measure it, you'll find it is probably as close to one as it is to the other. Plywood sheets are not paragons of accuracy.
 — Texticle, Apr 02 2008

Board products around here are generally also nominally 2400x1200mm, but are often cursed by those who don't understand why when they arrive and are found to be a bit under 2440x1220mm and strips need to be cut off to get them to 2400x1200mm. On the other hand that leaves a margin in which to correct any dimensional inaccuracy: a board intended to be exactly 2400x1200 will probably be slightly too small half the time.
 — Ned_Ludd, Apr 03 2008

//We don't have ha'pennies any more, and i'm the only person i know who still calls it tuppence//
Q: Why are the planets Saturn and Jupiter only worth a ha'penny?

A: (you're going to kick yourself, or if you're more awake, you're going to kick me) Because they're two far-things!
 — coprocephalous, Apr 03 2008





<slow handclaps>
 — 8th of 7, Apr 03 2008

[nineteenthly] Can I come round to your house next time you're converting things into LSD?
 — BunsenHoneydew, Apr 04 2008

Pounds San Diego?
 — normzone, Apr 04 2008

 [annotate]

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