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Metric vs Imperial - Practical or Traditional?

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Terryd03/11/2010 21:50:05
1936 forum posts
179 photos
Posted by KWIL on 03/11/2010 19:15:22:
Very droll David.
NASA. it is not the mixed Data or WHY, it is a question of not questioning what you have been given. Even if you work in Metric, you should still check it out!
 Read the NASA reports in depth before making comments.
Andrew Johnston03/11/2010 22:41:00
6668 forum posts
701 photos
So, is decimalisation a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for metrication?
Terryd03/11/2010 22:48:15
1936 forum posts
179 photos
Posted by Andrew Johnston on 03/11/2010 17:27:54:

All this mention of sunsets brings us on to another point. What is time if it isn't an imperial measure? Sixty seconds in a minute, sixty minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, anything from 28 to 31 days in a month, 365.25 days in a year for goodness sake! It's just crying out to be metricated.

 Hi Andrew again,
Just a thought , Time has not been metricated of course, that's a diffent matter, but it has been decimalised.
Sporting achievements are often judged to within 0.1, or 0.01 of a second. while science is measuring in 0.001 or 0.00001 or even less of a second.  All Decimal measurements,  Remember, decimalisation is not metrication.  Just because a number is nor expressed in 10s (decimalisation) does not mean it is not metricated.
PS I advocate a system based on duodecimal as the hand can be used to count 12s and 144s, hence the dozen and gross, (french measures originally) - so where does that leave us?
Best wishes 
John Olsen04/11/2010 00:05:01
1256 forum posts
94 photos
1 articles
Terry, you are not the first. I have some papers somewhere from my Grandfather..he was a member of an outfit called the Dozeners who wanted to reform counting to base 12.
It is not going to happen, if you want to know why try explaining the idea to a few people.
The hands can also be used to count to  1023 by using binary, but I can't see that catching on either.
Chris Trice04/11/2010 01:08:40
1375 forum posts
10 photos
I'm not saying that Imperial will die out completely. Some aspects of imperial will remain for centuries but only where its removal would kill the host., however, beyond the most ingrained traditions such as tripod mounts (and there is now a move to metric in those too) metric will supercede all things imperial in the same way that english has, to all intents and purposes, made gaelic redundant. Not extinct, but archaic and completely pointless and meaningless for the vast majority. I personally think it's also likely that sooner or later, things that have been traditionally imperial for centuries like particular types of screw fitting will be swept away by newer metric standards. Isn't that what SI units are about?
In respect of longitude, latitude and time, all those are based on the 360 degrees of a circle, hence most of the relevant figures being based around factors of twelve. That's unlikely to change unless there's a major shift in the structure of navigational mathmatics although there may even come a time when time and date get metricated, a notion that Star Trek may have anticipated.
Chris Trice04/11/2010 01:31:13
1375 forum posts
10 photos
The more I think about this subject, the more it becomes apparent that the following is likely to become true:
Imperial will be replaced by metric in ALL situations except where the use of imperial is essential. Personally, I can't think of any situation where imperial is essential. So although miles may continue to best kilometres for the time being, the eventual outcome will still be the same.
Billy Mills04/11/2010 01:47:24
377 forum posts
SI rationalised physical units, it was not part of any conspiracy. The Arabs gave us base 60- hence 360 degrees as an angular measure and 60 divisions of the hour and min.
The time units go straight into frequency units and are deeply ingraned so don't see that ever changing. The general public don't need to know about the Cs resonance definition to catch a train or a TV show. It works fine and is built into every clock dial and gearing ( ok wheels then)
The Earth's orbital period is not up for  change so our day  week month and year are unlikely to change. Every earth society is based upon agricultural annual cycles to ensure food supply. That sets the midwinter festival, harvests and sowings at set times independant of your number of fingers.
Model engineers will continue to arge the merits of linear measurement systems while everyone else just gets on with it in rods poles  perches chains or metres.
Billy Mills04/11/2010 01:55:07
377 forum posts
Chris ---- Deep significance--- the great numerator in the Sky has given you 60 posts TWICE at two different times . Is that a hidden message that there is life beyond 10? i.e. should we count on ten fingers then multiply by 6 toes to get base 60 i.e. SIX times better than decimal could ever do?
There is hope for the Human race after all. Except when it gets cold with snow on the ground and you might have to take both socks off. Below 32 degrees F we might have to revert to thumbs and fingers base ( at least in the UK )
ady04/11/2010 01:57:04
612 forum posts
50 photos
--But the essential truth is that inescapably, imperial is inexorably approaching a slow sunset. Sooner or later, an increasingly older and ailing head of the herd will succumb to the rising stronger contender more fit to lead.--
Imperial is TPI, which covers all threads from all systems, forever.
Metric is basic mass production standardisation system, consisting of various standard TPI's.
Britain didn't run the world and kick start the industrial revolution 'cos they were a bunch of dummies.
When I first acquired my Imperial lathe I believed the hype that Imperial was old hat, and I was operating a has-been piece of kit.
After a year, and a lot more experience, I have a wee smirk on the other side of my face when a metric/imperial argument gets going.
For myself:
I am happy to let the metric boys beat imperial equipment to death, it keeps prices low and allows me to acquire some seriously good gear which exceeds expectations...and with a couple of braincells does any metric jobs when required.
KWIL04/11/2010 09:39:16
3563 forum posts
70 photos
Terryd, So what did NASA really do wrong to get those early poor results, which they had to correct with the later update?
ady04/11/2010 10:48:05
612 forum posts
50 photos
If it was that satellite which whacked into mars your talking about someone screwed up with the metric and imperial units.

Edited By ady on 04/11/2010 10:48:53

Terryd04/11/2010 11:08:23
1936 forum posts
179 photos
Posted by KWIL on 04/11/2010 09:39:16:
Terryd, So what did NASA really do wrong to get those early poor results, which they had to correct with the later update?
Just to settle this, the mistake was in the shape of the mirror and had nothing to do with metric vs. imperial dimensions, it was a grinding error by the main contractors Corning - quote
"Hubble's main mirror was the wrong shape and could not focus properly. Engineers inspected an identical backup mirror and discovered that the central region of the mirror was too flat by just a few nanometers. This mistake severely reduced the resolution of the telescope so that when focused, it was able to gather only about 15 percent of the light of a very distant star instead of the 80 percent needed to produce a clear image."

Read more here
Chris Trice04/11/2010 11:32:03
1375 forum posts
10 photos
As with all these things, history will be the judge. I'm just off to cut up some 3/8th brass tube.
Chris Trice04/11/2010 11:54:08
1375 forum posts
10 photos
Ady, there's no question that Britain lead the world from an industrial point of view and people like Whitworth did much in the field of standardisation. The standardisation aspect is good but that was a unifying process allowing all manufacturers to produce interchangeable goods based on what we know now to be a slightly absurd set of measures. It's only imperial based because that's what everyone in the UK was using at the time. In that respect, Whitworth only did half the job knowing that if he pushed for more, he would encounter  too much resistence. It goes right back to if you were to start with a clean sheet of paper, would you seriously put forward imperial with its unneccesarily complicated combination of units as a good standard to work with? Of course not. It wouldn't get past the first interview. Industry has asked itself, does it want to soldier on with a complicated system or has it looked into the future, recognised the good sense of metric and embraced it at the earliest opportunity so as not to be left behind. It's no skin off my nose who wishes to use imperial. It's a free country and I use it myself but it doesn't mean I don't see the ongoing and logical shift to metrication.

Edited By Chris Trice on 04/11/2010 11:57:23

Terryd04/11/2010 13:07:44
1936 forum posts
179 photos
Posted by ady on 04/11/2010 10:48:05:
If it was that satellite which whacked into mars your talking about someone screwed up with the metric and imperial units.
Edited By ady on 04/11/2010 10:48:53
 Hi Ady,
If you read my posts properly, I pointed out that NASA uses the metric  system (as do many US companies now) but my assertion was queried. in the case of the Mars satellite, however, the contractor building some of the equipment used imperial and no one checked.  Hence the crash.  This simply highlights further the problems (and huge costs) with using different systems of measurement.
By the way, you may be able to buy imperial machines etc cheaply.  I have a good Boxford which is metric but I also have the imperial parts to convert it back as I intended.  I never will now having used metric.   I guarantee that your smirk will disappear  when you try to buy parts when your imperial stuff needs repair, if you can source them that is.
Best regards
Terryd04/11/2010 13:49:41
1936 forum posts
179 photos
Hi Michael,
Out of interest, what would be the binary equivalent of 22/7 (pi)?
Eddie04/11/2010 14:03:56
56 forum posts
Hi All
Talking around the clock would not solve this Metric vs Imperial debate.
We are on page 11 and there is no solution.
Going Binary does not solve the problem.
As a fraction is part of a whole unit. and reading binary is even more problamatic, about a modern day Roman numerals and counting.....
1   = 1
2   = 10
3   = 11
4   = 100
5   = 101
6   = 110
7   = 111
8   = 1000
9   = 1001
10 = 1010
and so on ..
The bottom line is;
Accept the other people can use the system they are comfortable with, and they are also correct.
The answer is the same as which was first, the chicken or the egg.
Martin W04/11/2010 14:22:25
921 forum posts
30 photos
Of course the Egg came before the Chicken that is irrefutable but it was not  necessarily the chicken's egg, dinosaurs preceded chickens and laid eggs. Again we fall foul  (bad pun) of the specification details and in this case its of the egg type. Not so dissimilar to metres and feet which are just linear measurements after all, eggs but different!!
There is a school of thought that chickens (birds in general) have a common ancestor in the dinosaur.
KWIL04/11/2010 14:25:59
3563 forum posts
70 photos
Yes but it does stir up a Hornet's nest now and again, some can get quite aggressive about it as well we can see.
chris stephens04/11/2010 17:35:13
1049 forum posts
1 photos
Hi guys,
Just looked in on this topic and thought I would contribute again.
The only problem I have with the metric system is when some nitwit implies that I must use it . As others have said, what I do in the privacy of my own shop is entirely my business and no one else's. I could machine a square block to the same size as someone else by using  Imp when theirs was made using  metric, as long as the conversion is widely, and it is, known. It really does not matter a jot.
Would the metric wallahs whinge at Cherry Hill's (or any DOE award winner) work if it was known she or they had used Imp units, of course not, it is the end result that matters, not how you got there.  An inch is 25.4mm is an inch etc. Come to think of it  I am wrong an inch is 0.0254M as mm are not the preferred units in SI. Or have I got the decimal point in the wrong place? That is the trouble with decimal, each point place puts you out by a factor of ten. This is something the IMP system is more immune from than the other, but I digress.
If I had an Imp lathe I would not change it to a metric one till it was thoroughly worn out, I would consider a DRO, which makes the thought of change even less relevant as you can switch from one to t'other at will. I admit to  using metric tooling and screw fittings because they are cheaper and easier to get than Imp, not because of any perceived benefits (which are dubious at best). 
As for the need for metric or decimal in modern industry, again that is becoming less of an issue  as machines use binary instead of fractions or decimal, and a machine could not give a hoot as to what units it is programmed in., again as long as the conversion is none, unlike a certain Mars mission.
So lets stop all this bickering as to which is best or worst, in the end we will all go metric that is inevitable, but there is plenty of life left in the old system for those who wish to use it and there is metric for those who don't.
 How much time has been wasted trying to get folks to "modernize", when they should have been out actually making something, as I have found recently, life is too short for very petty in-consequentialities.
Go forth and make something and hang the units involved.
So endeth today's lesson. 

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