From: tony cooper on
On Sun, 15 Nov 2009 11:14:02 -0500, "J. Clarke"
<jclarke.usenet(a)> wrote:

>tony cooper wrote:
>> On 15 Nov 2009 06:48:13 GMT, rfischer(a) (Ray Fischer) wrote:
>>> tony cooper <tony_cooper213(a)> wrote:
>>>> On Sat, 14 Nov 2009 21:03:59 -0000, "R. Mark Clayton"
>>>> <nospamclayton(a)> wrote:
>>>>> US units are a shambolic mess, inconsistent with each other and
>>>>> almost completely irrational for dealing with the real world.
>>>> And yet we manage.
>>> Only just.
>>>> The world that each of us lives in is the "real world". We, who
>>>> live in the US, have no problem dealing with our system.
>>> "No problem"?? How many yards in a mile? How many feet in a quarter
>>> mile? How many teaspoons in a cup? If you don't know those offhand
>>> then you obviously have problems dealing with the system.
>> If you have a legitimate example of how we have a problem with the
>> system, then state it. Examples of computations never needed, or
>> computations that can be easily performed on paper, mean nothing.
>And anyone for whom it _is_ an issue can answer off the top of my head.
>Most drag racers will tell you instantly that there are 1320 feet in a
>quarter mile for example.

Exactly. I have a brother who moved to Europe 40-some years ago. He
gives dimensions in centimeters, meters, kilometers, etc. I give
dimensions in inches, feet, yards, miles, etc. Each of us knows how
to convert. Either one of us can describe size, weight, distance, etc
so that the other can understand.

The only descriptive unit that is difficult to convert is the monetary
unit. I can go to a conversion chart or on-line convertor, but the
relationship between our two forms of currency changes as the exchange
rate changes. One hundred of his monetary units does not have the
same value in US$s at different times.
Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
From: Neil Harrington on

"Bob Larter" <bobbylarter(a)> wrote in message
> Bill Graham wrote:
>> "Bob Larter" <bobbylarter(a)> wrote in message
>> news:4afe7080$1(a)
>>> Bill Graham wrote:
>>>> "J�rgen Exner" <jurgenex(a)> wrote in message
>>>> news:r48sf5hvnn2lu320s5prvsp7agi8aar9ff(a)
>>>>> "Neil Harrington" <secret(a)> wrote:
>>>>>> As a unit of liquid measure, the cup is what it is and does not have
>>>>>> any
>>>>>> particular relationship to the amount of coffee you're served in a
>>>>>> cup.
>>>>> Then if the unit "cup" doesn't have a relationship to a cup of
>>>>> beverage
>>>>> then what is the specific benefit of having that unit "cup" instead of
>>>>> using e.g 1/4 liter?
>>>>> jue
>>>> None. It's just a slang term. Actually, when it comes to a cup of
>>>> coffee, it's usually closer to 1/4 liter than a cup, which is 1/4 of a
>>>> quart. You have to remember that the world is 99% housewives, and only
>>>> 1% engineers.
>>> A metric cup *is* 1/4 of a liter.
>> The most common coffee cup used here in the US is the Corning, "Correll
>> Ware" cup, and it is almost exactly 250 cc's.
> Well, there you go. You're already used to one common metric measure.

Most conversions are easy enough, even if pointless. Just looking at
focusing scales makes it obvious that 10 ft. is about 3 m, and it's easy to
remember that 1 kg is about 2.2 lbs. How many ounces in a kilogram or grams
in a pound is more difficult, but it's hard to imagine why anyone would ever
want to know.

The bothersome one is Fahrenheit to Centigrade (or Celsius as they've
decided to call it for some silly reason), or vice versa of course. Probably
most people who've developed B&W film know that 68 F = 20 C, but since the
conversion is non-linear it's not something that you can approximate
instantly in your head.

From: Doug McDonald on
Neil Harrington wrote:

> The bothersome one is Fahrenheit to Centigrade (or Celsius as they've
> decided to call it for some silly reason), or vice versa of course. Probably
> most people who've developed B&W film know that 68 F = 20 C, but since the
> conversion is non-linear it's not something that you can approximate
> instantly in your head.

WHAT??? It most certainly IS linear!

It's also easy:

F = (9/5)C + 32

and C = (F-32) * 5/9

Also K = C + 273.15

That's simple!

Doug McDonald

From: Bill Graham on

"Savageduck" <savageduck1@{REMOVESPAM}> wrote in message
> On 2009-11-14 19:20:26 -0800, "Bill Graham" <weg9(a)> said:
>> "Savageduck" <savageduck1@{REMOVESPAM}> wrote in message
>> news:2009111418332743658-savageduck1(a)REMOVESPAMmecom...
>>> On 2009-11-14 17:01:38 -0800, "Wilba" <usenet(a)> said:
>>>> Savageduck wrote:
>>>>> Wilba said:
>>>>>> Savageduck wrote:
>>>>>>> Savageduck said:
>>>>>>>> Wilba said:
>>>>>>>>> Savageduck wrote:
>>>>>>>>>> Wilba said:
>>>>>>>>>>> Years ago I read that left-hand drive is safer overall, because
>>>>>>>>>>> when
>>>>>>>>>>> a
>>>>>>>>>>> person is startled they tend to raise their non-dominant hand to
>>>>>>>>>>> protect
>>>>>>>>>>> their head. If at the time they are steering a car on the left
>>>>>>>>>>> of
>>>>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>>>> road, 9 out of 10 will therefore sverve into oncoming traffic.
>>>>>>>>>>> Apparently the effect is statistically significant.
>>>>>>>>>> It seems we left our history far behind. Have you ever noticed
>>>>>>>>>> where
>>>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>>> good old Wells Fargo stage coach driver sat, ...on the right,
>>>>>>>>>> shotgun
>>>>>>>>>> on
>>>>>>>>>> the left.
>>>>>>>>> Don't see many of them 'round these here parts. :- )
>>>>>>>> Note the driver on the left.
>>>>>>> Sorry, that was the right, the shot gun was on the left.
>>>>>>> Now I don't know my left from my right!
>>>>>> I worked that out. :- )
>>>>>> I wonder why they did it that way, since the driver is on the ejector
>>>>>> side...? Maybe the convention pre-dates the widespread use of
>>>>>> repeating
>>>>>> rifles.
>>>>> I think it was a case of right handed shotgun shooters out numbering
>>>>> left
>>>>> handed shooters. That way they wouldn't have to replace a driver every
>>>>> time a left handed guard blew the driver away. Maybe a qualification
>>>>> for
>>>>> shotgun guards was to be right handed.
>>>>> Maybe there was a rule of the road that stagecoach robbers had a "rob
>>>>> from
>>>>> left side" only sense of etiquette. ;-)
>>>> As so many things do, I bet if you dug deep enough you could trace it
>>>> back
>>>> to ancient Rome, and chariots. :- )
>>> Probably even further back to Persian charioteers, driver and archer
>>> teams.
>> Yes. A right handed archer's right elbow might be interfered with if he
>> sat to the chariot driver's left, so this might have something to do with
>> his sitting on the right.
> I'm not quite sure that works for right hand drive chariots. This might be
> the argument for left hand drive.
> A right handed archer will draw the arrow with his strong right hand, not
> his weak left. He would have held the bow in his left hand. The more
> dexterous right hand would also be able to pull arrows from the quiver
> without fumbling.
> This would mean he would be better off standing (charioteers stood) to the
> driver's right, leaving his right elbow free and clear.
> I don't think there was a brake issue with chariots.
> --
> Regards,
> Savageduck

Yes. That's how I envisaged it too. So the driver wouldn't interfere with
the bowman's right elbow.....I do believe, however, that chariots did have
brakes.....Somewhere, I remember seeing a strap wrapped around the rear
axel, but I don't remember exactly where.....

From: Bill Graham on

"Neil Harrington" <secret(a)> wrote in message
> "Bill Graham" <weg9(a)> wrote in message
> news:cZOdnaicze1S7GLXnZ2dnUVZ_u-dnZ2d(a)
>> "Wilba" <usenet(a)> wrote in message
>> news:0088e021$0$26848$c3e8da3(a)
>>> R. Mark Clayton wrote:
>>>> Japanese by contrast has an immensely complex verbal structure,
>>> Hmm, "immensely complex verbal structure" is the exact opposite of my
>>> experience with Japanese. I can explain everything you need to know
>>> about Japanese pronounciation in 5 minutes. As long as we're not talking
>>> about kanji, if you can see a word written you can pronounce it well,
>>> and if you hear a word clearly you can write it correctly, because of
>>> the simple phonemic structure.
>>>> ... three scripts and numerous other convolutions that mean Japanese
>>>> children do well to be fully conversant by the time they leave school
>>>> and foreigners have negligible chance of becoming conversant even
>>>> after living a year in the country.
>>> I guess you're talking about kanji, plus having three other mutually
>>> exclusive ways of writing, but the spoken language itself is very simple
>>> compared to English.
>> When I was in the Navy, I bought a book titled, "Japanese in 40 lessons".
>> I went through 20 of the lessons before we got to Japan, and I was able
>> to converse with the natives reasonably well during the three cruises we
>> made to Japan in three years. It had a very simple grammatical structure,
>> where the two letter endings on each word identified their grammatical
>> place in the sentence.....Endings like, "wa", and "go" tacked onto the
>> ends of each word. The pronunciation was very simple, and the Japanese
>> had no trouble understanding me.
> How does it compare with Chinese (either form), do you know? Chinese is a
> language I'm thinking of learning a little, because I think that's where
> most of the world's economic growth is going to be for the remainder of
> this century.
I believe that Chinese is a lot harder to pronounce......As a matter of
fact, I have been told that slight changes in pronunciation will completely
change the definitions of some words. The "sing-song" effect you hear in the
spoken language is really a part of the meanings of the words spoken. But I
haven't studied Chinese, so I don't really know.