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Who the heck invented the Metric System?

edited May 2007 in Questions
I want to punch him in the face.
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  • oh bergamot, you infidel...
  • Resistance is futile, you will be ... measured in a system that makes sense.
  • edited September 2006
    I just spent the last three whole days debugging this stupid Celsius/Fahrenheit conversion mess in my app at work.

    I will probably spend tomorrow on it too. >_<
  • How can you spend three days debugging something which implements a simple equation? (not to sound rude, just curious)
  • edited September 2006
    Short answer: because everything is stored in an integer (hardware limitations which cannot be changed), and there isn't a 1-to-1 correspondence between degrees in Celcius and degrees in Fahrenheit.

    The long answer involves the temperature values being handed back and forth through several different objects, each with their own set of validation rules which change based on the temperature scale, and can be thrown out-of-range by the rounding errors.
  • edited September 2006
    So you can't cast to a float/double or something? If not, wouldn't you have a fixed-point implementation/library you could use?

    You'll have to excuse my ignorance, the only thing I've ever really programmed for is my own computer.

    EDIT: just seeing your long answer, the main problem,then, is the rounding?
  • Converting with just integers, yeah, that sounds awful.
  • It's partly the rounding, partly the validation, and partly that this is a very complicated form, which was not written with Celsius in mind.

    Anyway, I just needed to vent.
  • From http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mtempscales.html "Later, Fahrenheit, declaring a dislike of ""inconvenient and awkward fractions," decided to subdivide Rømer's degrees to allow for the measurement of finer temperature intervals, and so he divided each degree Rømer into 4 degrees Fahrenheit. He then tweaked the numbers so that the melting point of snow was 32 degrees and the temperature "in the mouth or under the armpit of a living man in good health" represented the 96th degree on his scale. Fahrenheit added a further fixed reference point: the temperature of an equilibrium mixture of ice and salt-saturated water, which he defined as the zero point of his scale. Unfortunately, the use of three reference points added ambiguity rather than precision--the value of a degree varies by over 8% depending on which two of his reference points you choose. " Uh yeah, why would anyone use Celcius? XD Read the original site for more horrid choices. The best measure for scientific purpose is Kelvin, an absolute version of celsius where 0 is "no heat at all" (obviously not found in nature) and for everyday Celcius because freezing water is 0 and boiling water is 100 (at 1atm pressure). And human life is all about water and 1atm ^^
  • I wish everyone would switch to metric... It would make things a bit easier. Customary units are retarded...
  • Valiant efforts Bergamot, but since this community appears to have a large "overseas" user base, I don't think you will get far. E for effort though.
  • edited September 2006
    spot on bergamot i always have to mentally rejig things back into inches, yards, miles, gallons, pints, and temp measures too. I never voted (nor did anyone else) for the change to metric measures..nor did i vote to lose my country to the european superstate. And the majority of us didn't vote for Bliar's junta, nor this evil big brother state we now have. /rant over
  • just double it and add thirty-two, eh.
  • The metric system rules, it's the way it should have been in the first place.

    That's why we have 10 fingers and 10 toes, not 8, 12, 16 or 32! :-)
  • Wander errr what makes metric better than um what the hell are we using again ? lol
  • edited September 2006
    He is in Australia, so he would be using Metric. Most metric mesurements are used in the SI units, which must have been done for a reason.

    EDIT: I didn't read your question properly. If you are in the US, you are probably using Imperial.
  • Please, blame the integer storage, the hardware limitations, the use of several different objects, the set of validation rules and the rounding errors (due to the use of integers too) but NOT the french decimal system now international system (the I in SI) ... ;-) Standardisation saves lives when in critical apps everybody speak the same language (except when you change long habits without proper formation like if somebody decided to change feet to metres in aviation).
  • Having a measurment system with multipliers in the same base as the numbering system is just plain common sense.

    That being said, I wonder why we don't have a metric version of time...
  • Me and a friend at school invented a metric time system (we're both huge simpsons fans). It doesnt help much. You have to remember time is based on planetary activity which makes it more difficult to bring into a nice round base 10 system. It is possible though... I even have a metric clock...somewhere.
  • Actually, it seems that the SI time unit (seconds) isnt based on planetary activity... The unit of time is the duration of exactly 9 192 631 770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium-133 atom at a temperature of 0 K. Defined by: 13th CGPM (1967-1968) Resolution 1, CR 103 So god knows where that came from?!
  • What's more (hatrick yay!) Mark already seems to be running in metric time, what with his Weekly Update being 10 days after his previous one... :D
  • I think they just tried to find something stable to measure that took as long as a second, and then picked that as the definition.
  • edited September 2006
    Mini: Apparently the metre isn't officially based on the metre rod any more, either:
    "The standard metre, in 1960, was defined as the length equal to 1650763.73 wavelengths of a particular orange-red line of Krypton-86 undergoing electrical dicharge. Since 1983 the metre has been defined in terms of the speed of light. The current definition states that the metre is the length of path travelled by light in a vacuum during a time interval of 1/299792453 second."

    As far as I know, only the kilogram is still defined by its original prototype, but I could be wrong.
  • So a metre is now defined as the inverse of something which is measured in metres per second? Surely that's a somewhat circular situation?
  • edited September 2006
    I'm not too sure, I'm just repeating what I read. It's kind of odd as well, that Maxwell's equation for c includes a constant (permittivity of free space) which is, in turn, defined in terms of c.
  • I love physics! It's all relative after all.
  • It's pretty amusing that Americans can't understand the metric system, yet they use it daily with their currency.

    Kilo means thousand. Confusing!
  • I dont think the issue is understanding the metric system, just converting imperial units into it. Which is unsurprisingly difficult with the limitations bergamot seems to have. To be fair I'm only 18 so the metric system has been round my whole life and i still prefer to weigh myself in stones and pounds and check my speed and distances in miles. That's probably just cause it's still a nationwide standard though.
  • No, I get all that.

    The UK still hasn't officially adopted the metric system, so it makes sense that you'd use it. Despite being raised in Canada, I still prefer miles over kilometers, and I never was able to get into kilograms for weighing heavier things.

    My point, which I arguably didn't make - although I tried to allude to, was that Americans seem scared of the metric system. It doesn't seem to be a case of not understanding the units - many things here are being slowly replaced with metric measurements. It just seems that as soon as metric is mentioned, they lock up and act like it's such a hideously impossible concept that you're practically asking them to convert to Islam and speak Swahili RIGHT AWAY.

    I'm sure there's a contingent of Americans who would welcome catching up with the rest of the world, but those I've spoken to about metric seem scared.
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