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Author Topic: Bus meets bridge  (Read 3810 times)
Jeremy
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« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2009, 09:29:52 AM »

Modern bridge height signs actually have both imperial and metric:



For some reason road signage seems to be partially exempt from metrification - for instance distances are still shown just in miles (not even miles and kilometers), whilst other weights and measures are very strictly enforced - and it is true that shop keepers are still occasionally fined for selling in pounds and ounces (usually when their customers are elderly folk who have never got their head around kilograms). Never heard of anyone selling anything in 'bowls' though......

I did hear that an exemption (Europe wide I think) was granted just last year to allow manufacturers selling to the US to go back to refering to their products using imperial measurements - I guess after 40 years they finally got bored of waiting for you guys to catch up with the rest of the world.....

Although the metric system is obviously a fundamentally more logical and co-ordinated way of measuring things than the imperial system ever was, in normal use it is natural to use whichever system fits best in that situation - for example, I am 6' tall, drink pints of milk and beer, my bus does 15 miles to a (UK) gallon, and I buy plywood in 8' x 4' sheets. In each of those cases those are not the official measurements, and in some cases I would actually mix the measurements myself - for instance once I bought my 8' x 4' sheet of plywood (actually a 2440mm x 1220mm sheet) I would then mark it out and cut it up in centimeters and millimeters.

It completely boggles my mind that some engineers still have to do high precision work in fractions of an inch rather than the millimeters which make so much more sense. Having said that I'm sure there are many examples in the States where metric dimensions have been used for years, whether it be soliders talking about 'klicks' or Ford selling Mustang 5.0s, or yachtsmen sailing 'metre boats'.

Jeremy
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cody
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« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2009, 09:36:42 AM »

I don't think I've ever seen those sizes for plywood, normal would be 4ftx8ft, 6x4 sure would be hard to figure from a construction standpoint especially for any floor or roof that is on 16 inch centers.
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Busted Knuckle
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« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2009, 09:42:50 AM »

Quote from: cody
I don't think I've ever seen those sizes for plywood, normal would be 4ftx8ft, 6x4 sure would be hard to figure from a construction standpoint especially for any floor or roof that is on 16 inch centers.

Cody I think you misread his #'s and yes the diminsions are "quoted" backwards compared to what we are used too, but it still makes it the same doesn't it? Just wider than it is long? LOL!

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and I buy plywood in 8' x 4' sheets. In each of those cases those are not the official measurements, and in some cases I would actually mix the measurements myself - for instance once I bought my 8' x 4' sheet of plywood (actually a 2440mm x 1220mm sheet) I would then mark it out and cut it up in centimeters and millimeters.
Jeremy

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« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2009, 09:51:04 AM »

Jeremy may have edited that as cody was typing...?

happy coaching!
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cody
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« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2009, 09:58:33 AM »

I kept the original script for my responce it was listed at 6ft x 4ft, was probably a typo on jeremys part but i still have the original, it is now listed at 8x4 on the post tho so it has been corrected, I had a feeling it was a typo when i saw it, I'm not familer with british measurements so I was curious about it.
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Jeremy
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« Reply #20 on: January 01, 2009, 10:24:19 AM »

Jeremy may have edited that as cody was typing...?

happy coaching!
buswarrior

Yes I did, sorry. Oddly enough I know exactly why I originally said '6 x 4', and it's another imperial / metric thing - a standard length of (for example) a piece of planed softwood here is 2m, which I think of as being roughly 6 feet - and I usually try to buy stuff like steel box in 6 foot lengths as I know from previous experience that they will easily fit in my car!

It's interesting that you would say '4x8' rather than '8x4' because the Yanks also quote dates the wrong way round - ie month/day/year rather than day/month/year

Jeremy

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cody
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« Reply #21 on: January 01, 2009, 10:27:46 AM »

All right, now the gloves are off, I'm throwing my tea bag into the bay, crap, I just looked at the bay, can we wait for the ice to go out first? lol
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« Reply #22 on: January 01, 2009, 10:41:54 AM »

I did hear that an exemption (Europe wide I think) was granted just last year to allow manufacturers selling to the US to go back to refering to their products using imperial measurements - I guess after 40 years they finally got bored of waiting for you guys to catch up with the rest of the world.....

The real reason we've kept from going metric is that it was so poorly handled when the idea came up back about 1970.  It was seen as a government mandate, and a lot of people simply refused to play.  We have a system which works well, and it's not worth the expense and trouble to change it for a minor improvement in efficiency.

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It completely boggles my mind that some engineers still have to do high precision work in fractions of an inch rather than the millimeters which make so much more sense.

But DOES it make more sense?  Think about it a little.  In each case, the measurement is completely arbitrary, but in the case of metric, it ONLY divides by 10.  In the English system, we can evenly divide by pretty much any fraction we like.  Quick, cut something 5/8 of a centimeter long, with only a ruler to measure it by!  Wink

We can (and do) also divide inches into decimal, down to .0001 inch divisions.

Inches are more efficient than centimeters when you are measuring larger items, which is why so many common metric sizes are given a codified standard, instead of being referred to by measurement (such as "A4" copy paper).

Each system has advantages, but neither is the end-all, perfect system.

 
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« Reply #23 on: January 01, 2009, 10:42:24 AM »

Metrification is all tied up in politics over here. There was an effort in the 70's, which congress canceled in the 80's. Some congressmen even tried to ban using the metric system, although that didn't pass. It's taken pretty good root in the sciences and military, but for everyday use we're still doing it the hard way. We're too big to think we have to get along with the rest of the world, I guess.

And then there's stuff that seems crazy to the uninitated, like lumber being smaller than its stated size. For instance, these days a 2x4 is actually only 1.5 x 3.5 inches. Unless you're looking at an older house...then the 2x4's might actually be 2x4's. Ripping larger planks to size is sometimes required in repair work.
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cody
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« Reply #24 on: January 01, 2009, 10:50:51 AM »

2x4's are actually 2x4 until the wood is dressed, thats what brings it down to the finished size of 1.5x3.5, most rough sawn lumber is demensioned to the original specs.
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« Reply #25 on: January 01, 2009, 10:51:57 AM »

Already available in North America, and under 13' 6"...

45 feet long, 81 seats, Cummins ISX engine, the drivers love them, turn on a dime.

When they get down into the price range I paid for my 4903, give me a call!

Over 600 square feet of useful area would be a lot of fun.  Put the living room in the front 20 feet of the top, bedrooms behind (divided by bath) w/side corridor, kitchen and table the first 15 feet behind the driver, storage behind that.

For that matter, a little re-engineering of the basement and you could do this with an MCI or Eagle with raised roof.
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Slow Rider
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« Reply #26 on: January 01, 2009, 11:26:54 AM »

Actually Paul, CB is correct and not smoking crack ( okay well maybe just this one time).  The EU has gone ballistic on trying to make everyone comply with their wishes/rulings. 

In England it is illegal to use any other measurement in business other than the common metric system.  Some small shops and street vendors don't always go along with this.  One butcher shop had an antique scale that still measured in pounds, the compliance inspector told him to get rid of it or he would close the shop.  He explained he didn't use it for sales, it was strictly ornamental.  The guy said it didn't matter, get rid of it or else.

As I understand it there have been several street vendors arrested for something as selling items by the container ( fruit by the bowl). 

The laws in the UK have undergone a severe change from just 10 years ago.  And I don't see us too far behind them.

Frank

PS: I am sure if I have stated any thing untrue Jeremy will correct me, at least I hope he will
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Jeremy
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« Reply #27 on: January 01, 2009, 11:47:59 AM »

But DOES it make more sense?  Think about it a little.  In each case, the measurement is completely arbitrary, but in the case of metric, it ONLY divides by 10.  In the English system, we can evenly divide by pretty much any fraction we like.  Quick, cut something 5/8 of a centimeter long, with only a ruler to measure it by!  Wink

We can (and do) also divide inches into decimal, down to .0001 inch divisions.

Inches are more efficient than centimeters when you are measuring larger items, which is why so many common metric sizes are given a codified standard, instead of being referred to by measurement (such as "A4" copy paper).

Each system has advantages, but neither is the end-all, perfect system.

That's interesting - as someone who grew up in the metric era and have never been 'taught' how to use imperial I always assumed the whole point of metric was that it only divided by 10, so was fundamentally simpler than imperial where you have a number of discrete units that operate on different bases and need different conversion factors to move between them. Basing everything on 10 makes it mathematically and logically very easy to transpose between different units depending on the size of the thing you are measuring - and you can also move between weights, volumes and distances very easily (ie. 1 litre of water weighs 1kg etc). I suppose there are times when you would need to cut something 5/8 of a centimetre long, but normally 'you wouldn't start from there'.

I'm not sure about the size of 'A4' copy paper being originally anything to do with inches - in fact nowhere between A0 paper and A10 paper do both dimensions give a round number when measured in inches. I haven't worked out the areas though so possibily it is something to do with that.

I can see how being able to divide a dimension by different fractions gives you extra flexibility, but extra complexity too; unfortunately I've only got a small brain so I need things to be simple - in fact I reckon it's about time there were 100 minutes in an hour so I had more time to work on my bus.

Jeremy
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« Reply #28 on: January 01, 2009, 01:42:19 PM »


That's interesting - as someone who grew up in the metric era and have never been 'taught' how to use imperial I always assumed the whole point of metric was that it only divided by 10, so was fundamentally simpler than imperial where you have a number of discrete units that operate on different bases and need different conversion factors to move between them.

The English system is easier to work with than I found English money to be, back in the 1970s -- but then, OUR money has always been DECIMAL! 

Metric is more logical, and harder to use by the average person.  Thus, most people approximate.  There's no difference between a pint of beer and half a liter, from the tap.  The bartender grabs a mug, runs beer until it looks about right, then puts it in front of you.

But so many other things HAVE to be divided in fractions other than tenths.

Quote
Basing everything on 10 makes it mathematically and logically very easy to transpose between different units depending on the size of the thing you are measuring - and you can also move between weights, volumes and distances very easily

Why would you want to do this?  Weight is weight, it isn't length. 

Quote
(ie. 1 litre of water weighs 1kg etc). I suppose there are times when you would need to cut something 5/8 of a centimetre long, but normally 'you wouldn't start from there'.

Again, that's arbitrary.  You and your buddy have just bought a centimeter of silver wire, and he paid 5/8 of the price.   See, you might have to start from there. 

In addition, the sized of the base measurements make more sense from an ergonomic standpoint.  A gallon of milk, a foot of tape, a yard of ribbon, a pound of wheat, a ball one inch across, a cup of sugar, a mile to go, a ton of sand.  In each case, these are CONCEPTUALLY simple to work with.  They're "the size you use," and the metric system has had to adopt a number of these sizes simply because they fit.  Your computer keyboard and keys aren't metric.

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I'm not sure about the size of 'A4' copy paper being originally anything to do with inches - in fact nowhere between A0 paper and A10 paper do both dimensions give a round number when measured in inches. I haven't worked out the areas though so possibily it is something to do with that.

Actually, the standard letter size is 8-1/2" x 11" -- Legal size is the same width but 3 inches longer (the extra length was for notes below the main part of the page).  Ledger size is the same height but twice as wide (fits the desk or lap, but goes twice as far in the direction that you're writing to give more columns).

This is the advantage of the old system -- it was developed by USERS, not by math majors.

This is one reason that you DO still use the older standards.

At the same time, metric is better for some things.  Precise volume measurement, for instance, or geographical surface references -- though we still use the old system for degrees and for time (which are directly related in the measurement system).  I'm not sure I'm ready for a 1000-degree circle or a day of 10 basic units, each of which is broken into 10 more, each of which is broken into 10 more . . .
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« Reply #29 on: January 01, 2009, 03:09:09 PM »

The English system is easier to work with than I found English money to be, back in the 1970s -- but then, OUR money has always been DECIMAL! 

I agree entirely with that - even now I don't really understand when my parents start talking about 'shillings and pence'

Metric is more logical, and harder to use by the average person.

The closest I can come with that is to say that it depends upon what you were taught / grew up with. To me metric is simply common sense and I cannot really understand why anyone would find it 'harder to use' than imperial, but then that's from a perspective of growing up using metric rather than having to switch to it late in life.

Why would you want to do this?  Weight is weight, it isn't length. 

Weight is length - or at least volume gives weight, and length gives volume.

Again, that's arbitrary.  You and your buddy have just bought a centimeter of silver wire, and he paid 5/8 of the price.   See, you might have to start from there. 

Not sure I understand the point here except my buddy evidently got a 37.5% discount and didn't tell me

In addition, the sized of the base measurements make more sense from an ergonomic standpoint.  A gallon of milk, a foot of tape, a yard of ribbon, a pound of wheat, a ball one inch across, a cup of sugar, a mile to go, a ton of sand.  In each case, these are CONCEPTUALLY simple to work with.  They're "the size you use," and the metric system has had to adopt a number of these sizes simply because they fit.  Your computer keyboard and keys aren't metric.


This is pretty much the point I was making in my earlier post about 8'x4' sheets of plywood. Measuring 8'x4' as 2440mm x 1220mm may be inelegant but doesn't really cause any problems in real life - it's not as if shops aren't allowed to sell you 8'x4' sheets of plywood anymore, it's just that they have to be described using metric units on the paperwork. Circus Boy said something about changing to metric requiring 'all new glassware' because the 'pint' would change. That ain't how it works.

On a more general point, whilst it is of course true that the various imperial units were developed for measuring specific things, and are therefore better at measuring that thing, that does not overcome the greater need for a simple and cordinated overall system to encompass all things. There are some really quaint stories behind many of the lesser used imperial units (chains, furlongs, fathoms etc) but often the units themselves no longer have a reason to exist.


Actually, the standard letter size is 8-1/2" x 11" -- Legal size is the same width but 3 inches longer (the extra length was for notes below the main part of the page).  Ledger size is the same height but twice as wide (fits the desk or lap, but goes twice as far in the direction that you're writing to give more columns).

That's all true, but the earlier post said 'A4' not 'letter' - they are different sizes. (As an aside, I just used Photoshop to look at different paper sizes and guess what - for A4 it defaults to giving the size in metric, and for letter size it defaults to giving it in imperial. What a sensible piece of software).


Please be assured that I'm not trying to be argumentative with any of the above; at the end of the day I suspect a person's opinion depends entirely on where and when you grew up - much like which sports team you support.

Jeremy
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