PDA

View Full Version : Metric or imperial?


The Grood
Jul 11, 2006, 10:23 AM
Megabytes, Megahertz etc...

Has there ever been an equivalent imperial measurement?

Blue Velvet
Jul 11, 2006, 10:24 AM
Only when measuring certain parts of the anatomy judging by some comments around here. :p

atszyman
Jul 11, 2006, 10:26 AM
Megabytes, Megahertz etc...

Has there ever been an equivalent imperial measurement?

I would argue that Megahertz is imperial.

Metric to me is all base ten so 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour and 24 hours in a day would seem more imperial. Swatch beats, on the other hand, I would consider metric....:)

I know that the SI unit of time is the second, but the whole non-base 10 doesn't seem metric to me....at that rate neither do bytes... 8-bits to a byte... that seems more imperial as well...

The Grood
Jul 11, 2006, 10:29 AM
Just thought that since most of the computer industry started off in the US in the 70's/80s, didn't these guys have imperial measurements for performance/capacity etc.

Like 'a yard of speed' or 'an ounce of memory' or something:

'Wow, my new officebox system packs three yards per second and nine pounds of memory. Cool!"

If so, what happened to them?

Peterkro
Jul 11, 2006, 10:31 AM
Cycles, megacycles etc etc, *rides away on unicycle*

The Grood
Jul 11, 2006, 10:31 AM
I would argue that Megahertz is imperial.

Fair point, but the prefix 'mega' is tres METRIC...

What about some random word (foot)?

ham_man
Jul 11, 2006, 11:21 AM
Ummm...Megahertz is a metric (i.e. base ten) unit for wave frequency. Megabytes I would consider a binary (i.e. base two) measurement with a metric prefix for simplicity...

IJ Reilly
Jul 11, 2006, 11:45 AM
I want my microprocessor speeds measured in furlongs per fortnight, and I'll wager that I'm not the only one.

Queso
Jul 11, 2006, 11:49 AM
Only when measuring certain parts of the anatomy judging by some comments around here. :p
Ouch!! That Megahertz ;)

Timepass
Jul 11, 2006, 11:54 AM
I would argue that Megahertz is imperial.

Metric to me is all base ten so 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour and 24 hours in a day would seem more imperial. Swatch beats, on the other hand, I would consider metric....:)

I know that the SI unit of time is the second, but the whole non-base 10 doesn't seem metric to me....at that rate neither do bytes... 8-bits to a byte... that seems more imperial as well...

reason for that is because computer are base 2.

Base 10 and base 2 dont really line up much at all. Now base 4,8 and 2 all line up really nicely but it because they area numbers in base 2.

I personally thing it still metric. in selling computer parts like hard drive it is all base 10. So you lose al ittle bit when ti translated back to base 2.

mduser63
Jul 13, 2006, 12:55 AM
Computer specification are in base 2 because digital logic is all based around base 2 math. This is very fundamental, logical and for good reason. It has nothing to do with metric vs. imperial.

Anyway, I wish imperial would just go away. I can't figure out why the US insists on hanging on to it. I work in a machine shop, and to me a 9/32" socket wrench simply isn't more intuitive than a 7 mm wrench. Afterall, it's much easier to figure out that 6 mm is a little less than 7 mm, but if you ask me the relationship between 5/16" and 9/32" I'm going to have to sit and think for a minute to figure it out. But if you ask any of the other people in the shop, they'll say that metric confuses them and only imperial makes sense. Huh!?!?

balamw
Jul 13, 2006, 01:12 AM
But if you ask any of the other people in the shop, they'll say that metric confuses them and only imperial makes sense. Huh!?!?
Trust me, it gets much worse when you have some people working in mils (milliinches) and others in millimeters. (40 mil is about 1 mm.) But the names are so similar that confusion is sure to arise.

B

cait-sith
Jul 13, 2006, 01:53 AM
Imperial measurements are all base 10 too.. :confused: There's 12 inches in a foot, not B inches, or 1100 inches. The varying units for each measurement just line up oddly. The numbers are still in base 10. :D

It would be nice if we could all agree on one system, but the switch-over would be a real pain.

P.S. Doing physics in imperial is evil. Slug? There's a reason they invented metric.

balamw
Jul 13, 2006, 02:00 AM
The numbers are still in base 10. :D
Actually the biggest non-base 10 "problem" with imperial measurements is their reliance on fractions which are more base 2 than base 10. Going back to mduser63's examples.

5/16" = 01010/100000
9/32" = 01001/100000

The denominator tells you how many bits you need, while the numerator tells you the bits themselves... There's a reason that most of the time we deal with fractions that are 1/2^n. :p

B

Timepass
Jul 13, 2006, 07:38 AM
Computer specification are in base 2 because digital logic is all based around base 2 math. This is very fundamental, logical and for good reason. It has nothing to do with metric vs. imperial.

Anyway, I wish imperial would just go away. I can't figure out why the US insists on hanging on to it. I work in a machine shop, and to me a 9/32" socket wrench simply isn't more intuitive than a 7 mm wrench. Afterall, it's much easier to figure out that 6 mm is a little less than 7 mm, but if you ask me the relationship between 5/16" and 9/32" I'm going to have to sit and think for a minute to figure it out. But if you ask any of the other people in the shop, they'll say that metric confuses them and only imperial makes sense. Huh!?!?


simple to anwswer you next question. People are lazy (this is world wide people are lazy) and the US poplulation is not going to switch very fast. The poplulation knows Imperial. Everything we use is that way and as a whole we not as fimilure with metrec. I like metric for doing caclulation but at a glace I dont know the lenth of a meter but I know the lenght of a foot and can eastimate the size of things really easy in imperial cannt do that in metric because I dont use it offen enough messerment wise.

Switch the poplulation will take generations and slowly doing it because it just takes a while to cause it to happen. A lot of things are dual messured in the US and everything is sold with both imperal and metrec on it.

emotion
Jul 13, 2006, 07:54 AM
Here in the UK we're pretty much metric (like the rest of the EU). Apart from using miles on all our road signs (and pints for beer and milk).

Most people under the age of 30 here don't understand imperial measurements anymore anyway.

iAlan
Jul 13, 2006, 08:35 AM
<snip> the US poplulation is not going to switch very fast. The poplulation knows Imperial. Everything we use is that way and as a whole we not as fimilure with metrec. <snip>

Not only how to measure in metric, but how to spell it too :D

I would suggest that the US change to metric after all the old people are dead :rolleyes:

gekko513
Jul 13, 2006, 08:45 AM
I would argue that Megahertz is imperial.

Metric to me is all base ten so 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour and 24 hours in a day would seem more imperial. Swatch beats, on the other hand, I would consider metric....:)

I know that the SI unit of time is the second, but the whole non-base 10 doesn't seem metric to me....at that rate neither do bytes... 8-bits to a byte... that seems more imperial as well...
But seconds is the base unit, so a hertz which is per second is both imperial and metric. An example of a hertz-like unit that I would consider imperial is rpm.

Is km/h a proper metric unit? I'm guessing not.

dubbz
Jul 13, 2006, 09:14 AM
Is km/h a proper metric unit? I'm guessing not.

If I'm not mistaken, the "correct" way is to use meters per second, ie. mp/s. But I pretty much only see that if there's scientists involved.

Wes
Jul 13, 2006, 09:31 AM
If I'm not mistaken, the "correct" way is to use meters per second, ie. mp/s. But I pretty much only see that if there's scientists involved.

I believe 'scientists' prefer meter per second (m/s, no need for the / and the per, they have the same meaning.).

But my physics teacher always said that the convention is not to use m/s but m(s^-1), which are semantically the same.

atszyman
Jul 13, 2006, 10:00 AM
I want my microprocessor speeds measured in furlongs per fortnight, and I'll wager that I'm not the only one.

Furlongs is pointless in processor speed, since they are usually sitting still when used the Furlongs would be zero. However cycles per fortnight would be a valid speed for computers....

My computer runs at 1.8144 Peta-cycles per fortnight....

Tom B.
Jul 13, 2006, 10:05 AM
Do you think we will ever switch to a metric clock, as in 100 seconds per minute, 100 minutes per hour and 10 (or 20?) hours a day?

mpw
Jul 13, 2006, 10:27 AM
Only when measuring certain parts of the anatomy judging by some comments around here. :p
True, anything more than 10" = megahurts.

Diatribe
Jul 13, 2006, 10:36 AM
Do you think we will ever switch to a metric clock, as in 100 seconds per minute, 100 minutes per hour and 10 (or 20?) hours a day?

Why would we considering the Earth's rotation speed?

dcv
Jul 13, 2006, 10:45 AM
Only when measuring certain parts of the anatomy judging by some comments around here.
True, anything more than 10" = megahurts.


What, like that Jersey foot of yours? ;) :p

Tom B.
Jul 13, 2006, 10:50 AM
Why would we considering the Earth's rotation speed?

A day would still be the same length with the new system, but seconds, minutes and hours would be different amounts of time compared to how they are currently. So 10/20 hour days would still last 24 hours as we know them now.

Anyway, thinking about it more, I doubt that we will ever change the current system, apart from when the human race has to move to a new planet.

Timepass
Jul 13, 2006, 10:52 AM
well second is si like others have said. min hour day are not really truely SI units.

there can be a kilosec (1000 sec). you have ms (.001 sec) and all that stuff which all follows base 10. Just it pretty rare to see anything other than the prefic for less than 1 sec. the kilo and so on you just dont see very offen.

Strickly speaking min hour day and year are not si units. They are used because out clocks and time are based on it. You cannt really break the day down into a base 10 with seconds (happens to be 86400 sec in a day not a good break down in that). Plus you cannt change the lenght of a sec to make it work since you free a lot of things in the metric system dealing with force. A newton is no longer going to be the same ammount of force since a sec will be a differnt lenth.

IJ Reilly
Jul 13, 2006, 11:47 AM
Furlongs is pointless in processor speed, since they are usually sitting still when used the Furlongs would be zero. However cycles per fortnight would be a valid speed for computers....

My computer runs at 1.8144 Peta-cycles per fortnight....

Alright then smartypants, how about hogsheads per chain? :)

Diatribe
Jul 13, 2006, 11:55 AM
A day would still be the same length with the new system, but seconds, minutes and hours would be different amounts of time compared to how they are currently. So 10/20 hour days would still last 24 hours as we know them now.

Anyway, thinking about it more, I doubt that we will ever change the current system, apart from when the human race has to move to a new planet.

If I can count right we'd have 8.64 units(hours) in a day based on 100s/100m to an hour. So basically to make that metric again (10hrs.) you'd have 27.7777 hrs. of our current time.

atszyman
Jul 13, 2006, 12:10 PM
Alright then smartypants, how about hogsheads per chain? :)

Well let's see here... Hogshead would be a unit of volume, chain being a unit of distance....that would make Hogshead per chain a unit of area approximately equal to 0.0154 square or 1.536 * 10^-9 townships.

Not a great performance measure unless you're trying to fit the processor into the iMac yocto....:)

iMeowbot
Jul 13, 2006, 12:29 PM
There was something like this for hertz. Some people didn't like the name when it was introduced, since the old term cps (cycles per second) was already long familiar and self-explanatory.

One of the reasons reason the new unit name came about was to honor Heinrich Hertz (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_Rudolf_Hertz), which is a nice gesture, but some thought it was kind of artificial and forced.

In a half-serious attempt to keep the old name, the rumor was started that cps really stood for Charles Proteus Steinmetz (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Proteus_Steinmetz), who also happened to have made quite a few contributions to electrical understanding.

The standards bodies didn't fall for it.

[edit: Awesome! There's even a copy of the handy Hz to CPS conversion chart (http://www.brainerdham.org/Tips/CPS_to_Hz_conversion.html) that went along with it out on the wuhwuhwuh!]

IJ Reilly
Jul 13, 2006, 01:07 PM
Ow, that hertz.

Somebody needed to say it, and I'm just shameless enough to be the one who does.

Wes
Jul 13, 2006, 01:12 PM
If I can count right we'd have 8.64 units(hours) in a day based on 100s/100m to an hour. So basically to make that metric again (10hrs.) you'd have 27.7777 hrs. of our current time.

I don't think you are quite catching what he means. What he is trying to say is:

Take the period of time it takes for the world to spin (currently roughly 24 hours).

Let this time be equal to 10 hours, then divide these 10 hours into however many minutes you want in an hour and etc. until you define a second.

Diatribe
Jul 13, 2006, 01:42 PM
I don't think you are quite catching what he means. What he is trying to say is:

Take the period of time it takes for the world to spin (currently roughly 24 hours).

Let this time be equal to 10 hours, then divide these 10 hours into however many minutes you want in an hour and etc. until you define a second.

Ah ok. I thought the common denominator would be 1 second. But if you redefine what one second is you can do it, true.

cait-sith
Jul 13, 2006, 01:44 PM
My physics textbook has a picture of a "metric" pocket-watch from the mid-1800s I believe. It had a smaller "standard" clock in the middle to help people adjust. It never caught on, obviously.

WildCowboy
Jul 13, 2006, 01:50 PM
I just noticed this thread...don't know how I missed it.

I can't fathom for a second how this whole discussion got started. ;)

HydroMan
Jul 19, 2006, 07:29 PM
Trust me, it gets much worse when you have some people working in mils (milliinches) and others in millimeters. (40 mil is about 1 mm.) But the names are so similar that confusion is sure to arise.

B
Really, over here we call them thou's, it goes like this 0.x=tenths, 0.0x=hundreths, 0.00x=thousandths (thou's) and 0.000x=millionths (mils/tenths of a thou'), 40 thou'=1mm.


Edit: correcting spelling mistakes, spell check not working.

balamw
Jul 19, 2006, 07:59 PM
Really, over here we call them thou's, it goes like this 0.x=tenths, 0.0x=hundreths, 0.00x=thosandths (thou's) and 0.000x=millionths (mils/tenths of a thou'), 40 thou'=1mm.
Boy would that make life so much easier! I'll try it ans see if it'll catch on.

B

HydroMan
Jul 19, 2006, 08:07 PM
Boy would that make life so much easier! I'll try it ans see if it'll catch on.

B
It's always worked over here, until you have metric and imperial on the same engineering drawing :eek: (it happens)

Kaioshin
Jul 19, 2006, 08:51 PM
My $.02 (whoa, metric!) on the whole time issue.

The definition of "second" is "the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium-133 atom. This definition refers to a caesium atom at rest at a temperature of 0 K.", not "1/86,400 of a day".
The simple fact is that "minutes", "hours" and "days" are not SI units, but merely something, that is a remnant of the past, that makes our calculating, thinking, planning and the like simpler.

There were attempts to move to a superior system in the past, but it never caught on. Similar to how some people don't want to let go of Windows even though they hate it. ;)

benthewraith
Jul 19, 2006, 08:55 PM
I like what I learn, so I'd say I prefer imperial. But I definitely admit the SI system is as good if not better. On the other hand, too many syllables.

IIRC, though, the metric system is used for anything under inch. There isn't any micro inch now is there?

mduser63
Jul 19, 2006, 10:42 PM
IIRC, though, the metric system is used for anything under inch. There isn't any micro inch now is there?

No, there are mils (thousandths of an inch) and they're very commonly used in certain fields (PCB layout is the one I'm familiar with). Of course there is such a thing as a micro-inch, but I think you're right that at that scale most people start using microns (Ám) and such.

desertfoxaz
Nov 15, 2008, 05:30 PM
Currently there are 86,400 seconds in a day. A second is the duration of 9 192 631 770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom.

So we could have a metric day with 10 (insert name) and 20 (hours?) being 1/2 of the 10 designation. All we need to do is define a second as 7 942 433 849.28 periods instead of the current number. Then a day would be 100,000 seconds or 10 (segments) or 20 (hours) or 1000 (segminutes) or 2000 (minutes). Just an idea. The day would be base 10 and there would be measurements for those time and there could be the additional division by 2 to make the more common hour closer to a familiar time. So the hour and the minute while not being metric would still be a multiple of the base 10 second and day.

LERsince1991
Nov 19, 2008, 04:04 PM
Currently there are 86,400 seconds in a day. A second is the duration of 9 192 631 770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom.

So we could have a metric day with 10 (insert name) and 20 (hours?) being 1/2 of the 10 designation. All we need to do is define a second as 7 942 433 849.28 periods instead of the current number. Then a day would be 100,000 seconds or 10 (segments) or 20 (hours) or 1000 (segminutes) or 2000 (minutes). Just an idea. The day would be base 10 and there would be measurements for those time and there could be the additional division by 2 to make the more common hour closer to a familiar time. So the hour and the minute while not being metric would still be a multiple of the base 10 second and day.

Coming from an A level Physics student I'd say this makes sense although I'm not sure how it would affect today's measurements, of course you wouldn't be able to call it a second anymore.
I'm don't completely understand how the how issue of 'time' works but both the normal method and a proposed new method would work...

But... Why try and fix a problem when there isn't one
I know your just exploring the possibility but I think this is why new methods don't catch on. Changing the units of time is a massive task and it would just create confusion and for what?

Diatribe
Nov 19, 2008, 05:05 PM
Imagine 24 being just called 20 :eek: and all TV series being almost as long as a movie now. :D

HydroMan
Nov 19, 2008, 07:07 PM
Talking about Time reminds me of "God this thread is old" :eek:

SimonTheSoundMa
Nov 25, 2008, 05:54 PM
It's idiotic not to use anything but SI units.

I love it when you get Americans who are freshmen undergrads doing a physics degree get told that 14 inches to a foot, 3 feet to a yard etc is stupid. Their faces drop. Some get very defensive saying to the good old foot is good enough. Ugh!


Give me decimal any day.

HydroMan
Nov 25, 2008, 06:20 PM
14 inches to a foot, 3 feet to a yard etc is stupid.

Yep 14 inches to a foot is really stupid.

n8mac
Dec 11, 2008, 07:30 AM
Yep 14 inches to a foot is really stupid.

:D

But seriously, it is something to thing about. What would the change do to our history? If changed, it would have to allow for a conversion to imperial time. Now that I think about it, imperial time is only so from 1 second to 1 year. Less than a second is base ten (.05 seconds) and more than a year is base ten (decade, millennium). So would it be possible to go metric while keeping these parameters?

Also would metric time keep time zones?