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Anonymous Poster

Moon Now Metric!

01/09/2007 8:13 AM

If you think in pounds and miles instead of kilograms and kilometers, you're in the minority. Only the United States, Liberia, and Burma still primarily use English units -- the rest of the world is metric. And now the Moon will be metric too, says NASA.

This map shows the parts of the world where engineering is still done in English units.

Read full article here.

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#1

Re: Moon now metric!

01/09/2007 8:18 AM

Bah Humbug!!!

The moon will always be ¼ million miles away to me!!!

John

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Moon now metric!

01/09/2007 11:12 AM

...and my car still gets 15 kilofurlongs to the hogshead!


I wish we had done this when I was in grade school - I'd be all up to date now.

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#5
In reply to #1

Re: Moon now metric!

01/09/2007 1:30 PM

Electroman, you said: "The moon will always be ¼ million miles away to me!!!"

Yep - and to a relativist, the Moon will always be about a light-second away!

But wait! - your ¼ million miles is more accurate than the relativist's rounding - it's actually about 1¼ light-seconds!

Jorrie

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#2

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/09/2007 10:30 AM

Hey! The USA is moving towards the metric system inch by inch!

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#41
In reply to #2

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/12/2007 10:51 PM

We're putting our best foot forward.

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Anonymous Poster
#58
In reply to #41

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/31/2007 11:28 PM

The U.S. has been left behind again

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Anonymous Poster
#4

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/09/2007 12:17 PM

I remember as a kid in grade school that by 1980 we would be fully converted to the metric system. Is ther any logical reason why we have not converted yet? I cannot think of any!

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#6
In reply to #4

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/10/2007 3:04 AM

There are plenty of illogical reasons, such as what's good enough for my father etc. I still get drawings from customers with sizes on like '4" and 3mm long', and of course they get very upset when you ask for clarification. And I live in a country where, by law, you're not allowed to sell most goods using the imperial system.

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#8
In reply to #4

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/10/2007 8:27 AM

In the US of A, I believe the issue is Money and Real Estate. Land in the USA is measured in sections, quarters, acres, which is based on feet, miles, rods, chains, etc. Many rural roads are laid out based on where the sections lines are located. It is simpler to keep the present system than change everything to km, hectares, etc.

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/10/2007 8:38 AM

I find it hard to believe that real estate is the roadblock. More likely it is that the commercial market is deeply entrenched in the "English" system coupled with the resistive attitude of the people to have to tax their brain any more than what the evening TV requires.

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#42
In reply to #4

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/12/2007 11:00 PM

That's 1980 kilodays AD (metric unit of time), which means we need to convert to metric by 5346 AD. Personally, I think we're way ahead of schedule.

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Anonymous Poster
#7

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/10/2007 3:56 AM

Here's a good one: timber merchants in the UK cannot supply imperial-sized timber. Ask for 2" x 1" planed-square-edge and they cannot supply; they can only do 50mm x 25mm. Ask for 8m and they cannot supply; one may have 7.8m or 8.1m. Why? Because timber is sold in "metric feet", i.e. multiples of 0.3m or 11 5/8in.

And, to complicate matters, manufactured board is sold in 8ft x 4ft sheets (imperial size) to metric thicknesses.

Spike Milligan and Stanley Unwin are the only two individuals to have ever made sense of the world....

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#10
In reply to #7

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/10/2007 8:50 AM

another good one : all electronic parts are measured in 10th (or 20th) of an inch... But I'm hoping for the day that this will be 2.5 (or 1.25) millimeters.

Althought there are still many "supporters" for imperial system, METRIC IS MUCH MORE LOGIC AND EASY. e.g just tell me without using calculator or pen and paper how many inches "123miles,45yards,67inches" is... or how many miles 1234 times 13/64" is ... And this is just simple distance measuring... I don't even dare to go to the weight of some cubic feet and the pressure of a certain volume on e.g. a square quarter inch etc ... Come on USA-ers ... BAN IMPERIAL NOW ! *S*

I dream of having just 1 set of tools in my toolbox ... *S*

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#15
In reply to #10

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/10/2007 10:33 AM

"Come on USA-ers ... BAN IMPERIAL NOW !"

Hi 44mEurope,

Actually the word you are looking for is 'United Statesian' it is what most Americans call us, well, that's the English version of Estadounidense.

As you know we've called ourselves 'Americans' for the longest, however, there is no such a thing as an 'American' nationality, since America is not a nation, America is a continent with many nations in it. All the people in America know themselves to be 'Americans', and so, the rest of America created the name Estadounidense (in Spanish or it's Portuguese equivalent) for us. You see, the US never named itself, the name of the United States is a designation, it comes from the end of the Declaration of Independence, "WE, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in GENERAL CONGRESS, Assembled...". The preamble to the U.S. Constitution reiterated the phrase: "We the People of the United States..." (The authors of these two documents probably used the phrase "united states" in place of a list of colonies/states because they remained uncertain at the time of drafting which colonies/states would sign off on the sentiments therein.) The geographic term "America" specifies the states' home on the American continent.


It is therefor incorrect to refer to US citizens as Americans with the intent of denoting citizenship, or the United States as America with the intent of denoting a nation. Americans have a term for US citizens, we are called United Statesians by the rest of Americans, to say American with the intent of denoting citizenship or America when we mean the United States reflects poorly on our attitude towards the 70% of Americans that are not United Statesians.

Also, although some people would like to believe that America is not one but two continents North America and South America. If you think about it though the term U.S. of A. is a glaring example that this line of thought is incorrect, if America was two continents instead of one, shouldn't it be U.S. of N.A. (North America)? We say Columbus discovered..... ? AMERICA, not South America or North America.

Hope that helps.

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#23
In reply to #15

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/11/2007 2:02 AM

Eli:

Just when I thought I heard it all!

If you don't know who an "American" is as opposed to someone from the americas, then you sir are an ignorant ass.

Regards,

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#49
In reply to #23

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/20/2007 8:55 PM

Hi Greg G,

Actually I know without the shadow of doubt whom Americans are. In fact it is because I know whom Americans are and why it is wrong to refer to United Statesians as Americans with the intent of denoting citizenship that I posted that comment.

Now, you said

"If you don't know who an "American" is as opposed to someone from the americas"

I'm afraid you've just demonstrated whom the 'ignorant ***' is :-).

You see, America is ONE (1) continent, there is no such thing as Americas.

From a scientific point of view we now know that 'America' in fact rests not on one but on three different continental plates, the North American that ends just south of Mexico, the South American that ends just north of Colombia, and the Atlantic that holds most of Central America and the Caribbean. But since the continents were identified long before we had this level of scientific knowledge all continents were (and still are) defined as land masses separated from others by bodies of water, the only exception to that rule was/is Europe and Asia that are separated by a mountain range. To further drive the point that we use the traditional definition of what a 'continent' is and not a new version stating that continents are defined by continental plates. From a continental plate point of view, Europe and Asia are ONE continent they sit on the same plate, there is no division. India is not part of the Asian continental plate but a subcontinent that is pushing northward on what would be the Eurasian continent, but we don't identify it as a continent we think of India as part of Asia. Siberia is not part of Asia, Siberia sits on it's own continental plate but we identify it as part of Asia. Also Italy is not part of Europe but sits on the African continental plate and it is pushing/submerging under Europe, in 50 million years Italy will have disappeared under Europe. Furthermore, as stated above (by me) just look at the name of the United States of America. The term 'America' refers to the continent where the States are located, if we as Americans or the world as a whole thought of America to be more than one continent, wouldn't we have named it 'The United States of NORTH America'?

America is ONE continent, please refer to it as such. Or, we should if you prefer to be scientifically accurate we should make the divisions according to continental plates. If we were to do that we would have:

3 Americas- North, Central and South
Eurasia
Siberia
India
Africa
Australia
Antarctica

Whatever we do, we must be consistent. Personally I prefer to keep America one as supposed to splitting the rest of the world.

Eli

ps. Sorry it took so long to get back at this, been kinda busy elsewhere.

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#51
In reply to #49

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/20/2007 11:34 PM

None of that was the point.

My statement regarding "If you don't know who an "American is" stands.

I'm talking common understanding and you are going off on semantic and geological tangents. You knew from the first who I was referring to by the term "Americans" so you yourself are not "an ass" but, you only proved my point.

Of course the term "American" can mean a number of things, but they are usually clear in terms of context. We (or I should say you) can split these semantic hairs all day long but does it change anything?

I'm sure you have better things to do with your time.

Greg

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#52
In reply to #51

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/21/2007 10:33 AM

Good morning Greg,

You are correct.

"We (or I should say you) can split these semantic hairs all day long but does it change anything?"

That was the point of my post. Yes, it does change things in fact it is in the process of changing A LOT for us. You see, over the last 200 years we as United Statesians have been calling ourselves 'Americans' with the intent of denoting citizenship, while at the same time the rest of Americans were also calling themselves 'Americans' much in the same way Europeans use the word. Since the majority of Americans are from Latin (600 million plus, barely 250 million in English not half of them Anglos) speaking nations we could coexist because our world's would not interact. Today, the net has brought about a flat world were we can just as easily talk to somebody down the street or in Patagonia. As these folks come on line more and more they realize that we've appropriated the term American for ourselves, while when they refer to us they use Estadounidense in Spanish and Portuguese and Americans for ALL the people of America. As more and more non-English speaking Americans come on line they translate the term Estadounidense to English as United Statesian some are using USAian but they are mostly Europeans. In time when we have hundreds of millions of Latin Americans interacting with Anglo Americans the term United Statesian will replace the term we currently use to refer to ourselves.

So, "does it change anything" Yes! it will change our very name and how we view ourselves since we are no longer 'America' but just United Statesians citizens of one of 37 American nations.

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#53
In reply to #52

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/21/2007 11:11 AM

Good morning to you also Eli:

Like I said you are missing the point by trying to make a separate point of your own.

We are conversing in English! We are using terms as they are presently understood by English speaking peoples.

For you to use terms from another language and translate them back into English is absurd, whether those terms eventually become part of the language or not.

While most of the people in the southern regions of the Americas speak languages derived from Spanish, that has no meaning as far as accepted present definitions in English. And I might add, while very large portions of the world speak other languages other than English, it is English that is at present spreading the fastest as the second language of choice, not Spanish, Chinese or Indian. (Just wanted to throw that in because you seem so carried away with your own agenda.) If you are going to write to me in English, then stick to the currently accepted English terms based on context.

There have been many suggestions over the years (including before the founding of "these United States") as to what the country should be called. We came close to naming our country Columbia as demonstrated by the song "Columbia, Gem of the Ocean", and our "District of Columbia".

In the final analysis, what matters is what we call ourselves, not what others choose to call us. We have chosen to call our country The United States of America, and ourselves Americans in our own language. It is no more complicated than that!

I'm done with this topic.

Greg

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#54
In reply to #53

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/21/2007 2:22 PM

Greg:

I have been won over by Eli's argument, no matter how vapid and ill-informed it may seem. I have sent an open email to the people of South Africa today, demanding that they refrain from calling themselves South Africans, and to henceforth call themselves Republicans.

Eli's posts have convinced me that we should be far more literal in everything we do. I believe that we should refrain from saying anything that cannot be perfectly translated into another language by a computer. In ordinary discourse, we have relied for far too long on human intelligence. Now is the time to really dumb things down! Next time some Chilean calls me an "Americano", you can be sure I'll punch him!

Long gone are the days when humans could be counted upon to get linguistic meaning from context. When I've traveled in France, the native speakers seem to find it so easy to call me simply "American." I'll say: "Bonjour. Comment allez vous?" And they will say: "Doin great. I can hear that you are American. Where ya from?" Now, having read Eli's posts, I feel insulted! How dare those French identify me as I have identified myself for all these 50 some years!

As Eli says, Whatever we do, we must be consistent. I completely concur! I am sending "cease and desist" emails to numerous misguided nations. The citizens of all nations with names beginning "Republic of..." will be advised to simply call themselves "Republicans." The people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be advised to call themselves "Democratic Republicans".

While Eli's proposal seems, at first glance, ludicrous, I have really warmed to it. I like the idea of pushing people around, even to the extent of forcing them to call themselves something completely idiotic. Makes me feel strong! Get with the program, Greg.

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#55
In reply to #54

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/21/2007 4:13 PM

Hi Ken & Greg,

I believe you've misunderstood me, I'm not attempting to get you to call yourself anything I can't change you, it would be silly for me to try. The point was to introduce to new folks the term United Statesian, and explain were it comes from. It will take several decades but it will become the way to refer to US citizens, if nothing else to avoid confusion. When I say 'American Presidents' whom am I speaking off? the United Statesian presidents or the presidents of the American nations? If I'm asked if I'm an American I say of course, born and bred in the American South West. Most United Statesians would understand/think somewhere around California, however, most Americans would think Peru, Chile or Bolivia. Which one is it?

In order to communicate properly since we can't rename the rest of America, the majority of Americans will simply use the term they've already coined for United Statesians when referring to us.

But enough about that.

Peace,

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#56
In reply to #55

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/21/2007 5:52 PM

Eli sounds like the "man without a country". I guess he prefers to relate to one of the continents but he doesn't even say which one. Hardly better than identifying yourself as an earthling. Or did people on some other planet already name our world something else?

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#24
In reply to #15

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/11/2007 2:16 AM

And I thought that only their measuring system was difficult ... Even the grammar, spelling and vocabulary are complex ...

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#57
In reply to #7

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/31/2007 11:26 PM

once the timber is dressed its undersize

Why?

poor planning

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#11

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/10/2007 9:00 AM

My grandfather always taught me in inches pounds and miles. Then I went to school.........bad mistake!!! South Africa had already been metricated (yeah I know, it does sound rather painful). Years later in the mines, we still referred to 8"(200mm) or 6" (150mm) pipes and sort of gave distances in yards. So grandpappy's teachings came in handy after all.

Now what happens to a sailor's yard arm, does it change to a meter arm?? Does the Golden Mile suddenly become the Golden 1 609 meters??

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/10/2007 9:10 AM

I don't know about that, but a yard of ale is still a yard of ale! Oops, got onto drinking again.

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/10/2007 10:12 AM

The wonderful thing about imperial measure is that its units are handy in terms of body quantities. If an inch is about the length of a thumb, a yard about the length of a pace, a foot the length of a foot and a pint about the size of a good handful of beer, does that make the litre the result of several handfuls of beer, then?

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/10/2007 10:31 AM

Thank goodness our laws haven't included the Pint of ale yet...

However for the anti-imperial measurement chappie earlier, there is a good reason for the imperial system....

If you ask for a quantity of x, and the price is given as imperial units per a larger quantity its easier to divide to get the answer...

Think about it how many numbers divide into 10 giving an integer as a result? 1, 2, 5 and that's it!!!

Now try with 12 (as used in old money) 1,2,3,4,6...

So with 16 ounces to a pound and say the price was 1/- (1 shilling) per pound, you asked for a quarter of a pound (4 ounces) and in your head its obviously 12/4 = 3d (thrupence) this also works for £1 = 240 pence, so easy to divide into than 100.

A third of 100 is 33.333333... etc... a third of £1 (240d) is 80d or 6/8d (6 shillings and 8 pence) no nonsense with decimal places etc...

The same arguement can be used for inches in a foot. also for minutes in an hour, minutes in a degree and so on...

John.

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#16
In reply to #14

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/10/2007 10:44 AM

Goodness gracious! that makes no sense at all... The metric system was created to make things simple! lol

From wikipedia

One goal of the metric system is to have a single unit for any physical quantity. All lengths and distances, for example, are measured in metres, or thousandths of a metre (millimetres), or thousands of metres (kilometres), and so on. There is no profusion of different units with different conversion factors, such as inches, feet, yards, fathoms, rods, chains, furlongs, miles, nautical miles, leagues, etc. Multiples and submultiples are related to the fundamental unit by factors of powers of ten, so that one can convert by simply moving the decimal place: 1.234 metres is 1234 millimetres, 0.001234 kilometres, etc.

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#17
In reply to #16

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/10/2007 11:14 AM

Well Eli, next time you go shopping and see cheese (say!) priced at £2 a kg instead of saying you'd like a quarter or a half you have to stand and say you'd like 250 gm or 500 gm the price is easy to work out in your head but what if you wanted a third of a kg ....

I guess its difficult to imagine unless you were brought up using the duodecimal system, but oddly it does make it much easier to calculate quantities and prices when the numbering system used allows integer division, as well as the weighing system....

I haven't explained it very well at all... But for a numbering system based on 12 makes division by 123468&9 very simple... and for the division by 7 that's why the auction houses used the guinea!

1 guinea = 21 shillings = 252 pence which is divisible by 7!!!

Ohh I'm rattling on now must go and lie down in a darkened room for an hour !!!

John.

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#50
In reply to #17

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/20/2007 9:04 PM

Hi Electroman,

I'm going to have to admit that I'm not familiar with the British currency system. In the United Statesian system we use the Dollar, one Dollar=100 cents, so, using our system if I wanted 1/3 of a kilogram of x and it is priced at $ 2 a kg. it would cost me 66 cents and I would get 333 grams.

Of course that is not exactly 1/3 of a kilogram, but the difference would be 0.333 gr. that amount is too small to matter at all for most intents and purposes in real life.


Cheers,

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#19
In reply to #14

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/10/2007 11:46 AM

There are still individuals around who remember that a third of a Pound is 6 shillings and 8 pence, 100 pennies make 8 shillings and 4 pence. Happy days. If I had a ten bob note, I was rich....

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#48
In reply to #14

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/16/2007 3:02 AM

You won't believe this, but I didn't know that! Now it all makes sense, sort of.

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#59
In reply to #14

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/31/2007 11:36 PM

that might of worked in the Olden Days

but now what size is under 1/2 inch ?

13mm is 12mm whats easier

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#18

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/10/2007 11:36 AM

Old habits are HARD to break !

When you have done everything in one system of units, for a lifetime, it is well nigh impossible to switch to a new and unfamiliar system and retain the 'feel' of a given problem/situation.

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#20

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/10/2007 11:54 AM

Pipe threads are still in imperial measure all across the grey area; the Whitworth thread form isn't dead yet. Try http://homepages.tesco.net/~A10bsa/bstpgo.htm for more information.

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#21

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/10/2007 6:28 PM

Common usage for everyday things will retain the locally familiar units, as they have in much of the world. This issue is in science, technology and manufacturing. That we (the U.S.) have not embraced the SI system universally is a sad situation.

We signed on to the "metric" system from its beginnings, and have done so at all international meetings on measurement units since then. Our familiar everyday inch, the one on our rulers, and measuring tools (strictly known as "the international inch", to differentiate from other "defined" inches) has been defined as exactly 0.0254 meters for almost 50 years now.

"In 1958 the United States and countries of the Commonwealth of Nations defined the length of the international yard to be precisely 0.9144 metres. Consequently, the international inch is defined to be equal to 25.4 millimetres"

So we can blather about how convenient inches and feet are and delay adopting the standard of the entire rest of the world as we have been, but from so many perspectives it is the height of arrogance and idiocy. We are only delaying the inevitable, and sowing confusion in the process.

Craftsman, Snap-On, Proto, and the other makers of hand tools along with the manufacturers of rulers, taps, dies, etc etc love it!

Meanwhile, I work on CAD drawings with dimensions that are decimal fractions of an inch, typically divisible by some multiple of 64ths for no logical reason other than an archaic "convention". Increasingly vendor catalogs are full of metric based products and the conversions back and forth are a needless distraction.

We, as representatives of the engineering community should be at the forefront in pushing for the full adoption of the SI system and the sooner the better.

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#22

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/10/2007 10:11 PM

I was raised in an imperial measurement system at first, was nearly fully fluent (bi-lingual Canadian/American) when we adopted SI

Chains, furlongs, & fathoms are a bit of a stretch for me, & I'm just a little rusty on pecks (?-2 per bushel-?,..... just a guess LOL, that's my final answer). Don't ask me to do much in true Imperial, i.e.; British. Whitworth just doesn't fly in Canada, or with our American cousins.

I'm still comfortable working with American, & Canadian variations of imperial, and the SI system.

British Standards are another matter. Our Guest (#20) points out that "...Pipe threads are still in imperial measure....." and provides us with a link to British thread pitches. He fails to mention British pipe is commonly available in BSPP (parallel) & BSPT (tapered), or that British pipe thread pitches fail to conform, with the exception of 1/2" BSPT (& maybe 3/4" BSPT.. I would have to check that one), to our NPT. Most sizes are one TPI off from us, and from 1" & up we are at 11½TPI vs. 11TPI British.

Looking at all of the replies to this thread, it has become much more than NASA's decision to comply to SI units in matters concerning the moon. My initial motivation to post to this thread was the statement in the article "...No need to worry about trying to fit a 15 millimeter nut onto a 5/8 inch bolt...." I realize you can obtain anything you can imagine, but I'm not thinking that 15mm bolts are likely to be a concern, I've certainly never come across one.

Should you have a 15mm bolt, I'm sure you would not confuse it with a 5/8" bolt. Many a person, though has found 16mm bolts to be very similar to 5/8" bolts.

We haven't addressed that metric is not as simple as advertised, either. The Europeans tend to use coarse thread hardware more, and finer thread pitches tend to be common on equipment from the Pacific rim countries.

None of this one or two thread pitches per size stuff either as with UNF & UNC (our more common standards... forgive the term)

There is a long term metric influence buried deeply in North America, though. Cylindrical, and spherical ball bearings are most commonly metric and have been used on equipment in North America for generations.

I keep going on, but all of this, although inspired by the moon, has little to do with the moon..... I digress. I'd better go

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#25
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Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/11/2007 3:23 AM
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#26
In reply to #22

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/11/2007 4:33 AM

Good point about the pipe thread shapes. I once worked for a Contracts Director, who stated that anyone found screwing a BSPP pressure gauge into a BSPT socket would be liable to instant dismissal. I suppose, if I were looking at doing this upon the surface of the Moon, that I would just need to wait until the next Apollo mission appeared with the correct pipe fittings or blank it off with a metric bolt.

There aren't that many jobs on the Far Side...

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#27
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Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/11/2007 6:34 AM

Threads, and certain other industrial "standards" are a mess, but that is a whole separate issue from the one concerning units. SI units are uniform around the world, and used by the entire world except for the U.S. where they are used "sometimes" (All the time in certain industries).

My memory fails me at the moment, but a few years back there was a major NASA mission failure when a subcontractor on a space probe or planetary probe (someone will remember the mission) was using one kind of units and NASA the other. The information was conveyed to NASA for a critical burn to adjust course, and the numbers were applied "correctly", but assuming the wrong units and it ruined the mission. I think it was a billion dollar goof, but may "only" have cost $500,000,000.

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#28

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/11/2007 11:52 AM

Each industry has a unit of measure. Printing uses pica's......try that one on!

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#29
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Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/11/2007 12:43 PM

Oooh yes printers always refer to lines per inch, or they did, i'm guessing they haven't changed to lines per mm...

I think that came from the fabric silk that they use to make a silk screen printing frame?

I've a good 'un.... I bet nobody here... Oh I forgot about Google... Well I bet nobody knows with out searching what a silk stocking size called a 'denier' is??

When a material has a size in denier the measurement is the weight in grams of 9 kilometers of the yarn used in the fabric...

That's from memory so I may be wrong... But its something equally obscure!!!

So how does 9 fit in with the metric system then? Considering the fact that it was a French man M. Denier who invented this measurement?

John

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#31
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Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/12/2007 2:43 AM

Huh! Typical French, just have to be different!

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#34
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Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/12/2007 9:19 AM

1 denier =1/3 gros ; 1 gros = 1/8 once ; 1 once = 1/8 marc.

It's look like U.S. unities but you are true it's a french origine, at the time of the kings of France, before the french revolution, before the metric system...

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#30

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/12/2007 12:36 AM

I don't like any of the units. Many Umercans give their mass in units of force. I prefer to say that I possess a mass of 5.28 slugs (and will slug anyone who looks strangely at me when I do). And if a European friend claims to weigh (rather than to posses a mass of) 77.1 KG, I always correct that to 756 newtons.

I simply let Google's calculator handle all the units, so I don't have to think:

(5.28 slugs) * 32 ((ft / sec) / sec) = 751.571524 newtons

or :

mass of the Moon * 32 ((ft / sec) / sec) = 7.1786496 × 1023 newtons

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#33
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Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/12/2007 8:32 AM

We all use weight and mass interchangeably in everyday conversation and that's fine because in that context it not only doesn't matter, but could even be "silly" to distinguish between them. For instance we would no longer be able to "weigh" ourselves on a balance scale as by doing so we are really making a mass of ourselves. Any spring scale or electronic force "balance" reading out in grams or kilograms would have to be thrown out.

The troubling thing is that the average public doesn't understand the difference and finds it confusing. This includes most of the members of the mass media, which is especially distressing, considering their name.

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#35
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Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/12/2007 10:27 AM

I've made a mass of myself more times than I can count!

The mission referenced on your earlier post was the Mars Climate Orbiter.

http://www.space.com/news/mco_report-b_991110.html

  • "Mission specifications called for using metric units, but the Lockheed group sent navigation information in English units. The mix-up meant that Lockheed engineers modeled navigation with pounds force (the English unit for measuring thruster impulse) while JPL did its calculations in newtons (the metric measurement). One pound force is equivalent to 4.45 newtons."

I suppose its easy to "Monday morning quarter back" this (a singularly Umercan idiom), but Holy Batman!, how difficult can it be to keep the units in the same system?

I find that even when "engineering" (in my sometimes quick-and-dirty way), I'll use units loosely. It's quick and easy to say that, given a rolling resistance coefficient of .013, that a 3000# car experiences 39# resistance. There is an extra step in the metric system, that might make the lazy among us reach for a calculator (if you want to end up with Newtons, rather than Kg force -- which I find pretty cumbersome -- kind of a bizarre crutch.) (Of course, if you round 9.8 to 10, the metric system is equally easy.)

It would all be ever so much easier and more sensible if we'd use the SI system. I'd gladly throw out half my tools. I twisted wrenches on exotic cars (by choice) and various imports (non-US made cars) (by necessity) through college and as a free lance for some years thereafter. What a collection of wrenches I had! At the time, (late 60's early 70's), at least one could work on something from the US (not that I would) or Europe easily... but just wait til a Jag rolled into the garage! "Ordinary" inch sizes, BS, Whitworth...

Ah memories... In light of the fact that there are a few Brits responding to this thread, I will refrain from calling Joseph Lucas "the inventor of darkness." Oops. What I meant to say is that I won't call Joseph Lucas "the inventor of darkness" more than twice.

And then there are the "designed to catch fire" electrics on Citroens. (I love the cars, actually, and owned 2 simultaneously -- and SM and a DS21.) But the wire terminations were astonishing, with joints made from two male plugs coming together at a double female connector. Thus, if the "hot lead" side vibrated loose, you'd have an exposed terminal bouncing around in your engine compartment (which was probably liberally sprayed with hydraulic fluid -- and in the SM, also full of atomized fuel burped out of the air cleaner during valve overlap).

Let me see, what was this thread about... oh yeah, the moon.

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#36
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Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/12/2007 11:35 AM

Ditto on going to the SI system.

I would love to be able to lighten my tool box.

Most recently, I had to paint my metric adjustable wrench red, to prevent me from constantly confusing it with my inch adjustable, because they looked so damn similar!

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#37
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Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/12/2007 12:04 PM

I had to solve that adjustable wrench problem too, and have stamped all my metric ones with "I" for International, and the others with "I" for inches.

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#38
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Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/12/2007 4:28 PM

Ken:

F.Y.I. : According to Machinery's Handbook you should have used the lower case "i" for the inch adjustables. I followed that rule on all my screwdrivers and now never mix up the metric and inch ones. It used to be a real timewaster keeping them sorted out.

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#39
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Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/12/2007 5:50 PM

I probably should have looked in the handbook, but what I ended up doing was to stamp the "I" upside down on the International sizes and right side up on the inch sizes. I learned this handy trick from looking at the label on the antenna (toggle) switch of a Citroen I had. It was labeled up and dn, so that no matter which way you installed the label, it was correct. (I'm not making this up -- really.)

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#40
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Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/12/2007 7:44 PM

Ken:

My hat's off to you. An excellent solution stamping it upside down! But then solving challenging problems is what engineering is all about, and you can't learn those things in school.

Funny thing is, I'll bet there is a better than 50/50 chance they didn't realize the up/dn thing until after they started making them. I wonder how QA dealt with whether they were installed right side up or not? It must have drove them crazy.

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#45
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Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/13/2007 12:12 AM

At first QA had a hard time, but then they persuaded the vendor to a put an up arrow and a down arrow on the back side of the label. That way, the assembler would simply look at the back of the label just before installing, to ensure that one arrow was pointing up and one was pointing down. It took about twice as long to install each label, but at least they could be sure that up was up and dn was dn. The whole thing was written up in the SAE journal as a marvel of vendor/manufacturer cooperation and integration. Impressed by what they read in the journal, a team from NASA flew over to see the labels being installed, but unfortunately landed in Nepal, due to a navigational error.

Everything worked well until Citroen opened their Australian plant, where, as you know, what's up to them is down to us. There, they improved the labels dramatically. Reasoning that the antenna should but up when the radio is on and down when they radio is not on, they simply marked the labels with ON and NO (for not on). Problem fixed, once and for all.

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#46
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Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/13/2007 2:35 AM

Ken:

Interesting. A brilliant solution to a very vexing problem.

Coincidentally, I read an article about that NASA team some months back. I seems they engaged a Nepalese guide to make sure they got back to headquarters in Washington as soon as possible, no longer trusting themselves to find their way. They actually made it to Dulles Airport, but their guide, being out of Nepal for his first time, and being unable to read english kept getting lost. They all decided that the logical thing to do would be to return to Nepal where the guide knew his way around and therefore could effectively lead the way. In the meantime, they are all learning the local language and terrain with the goal of dispensing with the guide so they can set out once again, but this time on their own.

I always knew those Aussies were clever chaps, but I guess you have to be to prosper the the way they have, living upside down and all. I always wondered if the head on their ale formed at the bottom of the mug.

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#47
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Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/13/2007 8:41 AM

Ahhhhhhh so this is what you get up to when I'm asleep??

LOL at you two and your brilliant solutions....

John.

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#32

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/12/2007 4:21 AM

Universal and eternal was the criterions for the choice of the first reference of the meter.... around two century ago!

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#43

Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/12/2007 11:04 PM

Map of countries that have converted to metric time. Countries that have not yet converted to Metric time are marked red.

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#44
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Re: Moon Now Metric!

01/12/2007 11:51 PM

Roger:

I myself converted all my timekeeping devices at home to metric time years ago, when the SI second was divorced from any astronomical standard, and while confusing at first, my family now (grudgingly) accepts it.

The metric second (mecond), and metric "hour" (kilomecond) may take some time to catch on as your map indicates, but one must keep in mind that Republicans are more conservative by nature. Yet, even so, only their 1/3 of the earth's surface remains to fall in line. Since the moon by going metric is now blue in fact rather than just in song, it makes conversion to the mecond a certainty. In the immortal words of Lorena Bobbitt, "It won't be long now!".

Which all just goes to prove my point that "A stitch in time can't make a silk purse laugh last, but it sure helped John".

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