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marnixR
Post  Post subject: back to imperial units ?  |  Posted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 7:32 am
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I must say I was somewhat taken aback by the following newspaper article :

Now that we are to be a sovereign nation again, we must bring back imperial units

when I saw this discussed on Facebook, I was amazed how many people agreed with the sentiments expressed

it probably shows that I'm Belgian and not British, because I can't for the life of me see what's so marvellous about imperial units
granted that in everyday life it hardly matters whether your milk comes in pints, or you fruit in pounds, or whether your fuel consumption is measured in miles to the gallon, but for someone with an engineering background, calculations in imperial units compared with metric ones are a minefield of potential errors

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: back to imperial units ?  |  Posted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:14 pm
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That's just stupid. The imperial system is crap! Maybe all of these Brexit and Trump movements are about going backward and making life more difficult for citizens. Metric system is better on nearly every...well...nearly every "metric."

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Falconer360
Post  Post subject: Re: back to imperial units ?  |  Posted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:50 pm
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I wish more Americans embraced the metric system...

What is with this whole regressive trend that we're seeing? Is it just the result of inadequate education? Or is it something else?

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Lynx_Fox
Post  Post subject: Re: back to imperial units ?  |  Posted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 7:14 pm

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iNow wrote:
That's just stupid. The imperial system is crap! Maybe all of these Brexit and Trump movements are about going backward and making life more difficult for citizens. Metric system is better on nearly every...well...nearly every "metric."



It doesn't do nearly so well with its natural units, because it doesn't have any. I was always impressed by how cultures familiar with both would fall back on natural unit for everyday things such as the amount of sugar in their tea (they show the amound of a cube), or making a quick estimate of how much a rug would cost by walking across a room and countain steps. I'm seen several times grade kids make far better estimates with the natural units in competitions.


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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: back to imperial units ?  |  Posted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 9:22 pm
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not so sure about "natural" units, and why they should be any better than "manufactured" or "artificial" units
after all, if they're that natural, why is there a US and an imperial version of the gallon, or the BTU ?
or why at some point, did various fiefdoms have their own (and different) version of the mile, the foot, the pint etc. etc. ?

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: back to imperial units ?  |  Posted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 10:30 pm
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marnixR wrote:
or why at some point, did various fiefdoms have their own (and different) version of the mile, the foot, the pint etc. etc. ?

My guess is avarice and a need to "keep up with the Joneses." They wanted to appear to have more. Easiest way? Change the measure... dilute the value... make it seem like your portion is larger than it is.

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Lynx_Fox
Post  Post subject: Re: back to imperial units ?  |  Posted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 11:58 pm

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marnixR wrote:
not so sure about "natural" units, and why they should be any better than "manufactured" or "artificial" units
after all, if they're that natural, why is there a US and an imperial version of the gallon, or the BTU ?
or why at some point, did various fiefdoms have their own (and different) version of the mile, the foot, the pint etc. etc. ?



Because simply it's much easier to use parts of the body to do estimates, something common people do every day, than some abstract "a million between Paris in North Pole" term. To my knowledge + or - 10% from different versions of the foot, inch etc don't effect practical estimates. (I use them as well as a common sense check even when building things in metric--I've notice people around the world do the same. )

I've also noticed, because English length units are much more distinctive, it's much easier to read them on a tape measure than the same lengths of all sameness on a metric tape measure-- given a simple job such as I did week to check the frame for square of a small greenhouse, I reached for the English for this reason (I have a full set of both types of measuring tools).


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PhDemon
Post  Post subject: Re: back to imperial units ?  |  Posted: Fri Apr 07, 2017 7:02 am

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This thread reminds me of when I used to work on scientific research flights. All the scientists used metric but all the aircraft engineers used what they called "Christian units"... Inches and pounds! We had to revise all of our technical specs to use those units!

This is slightly tongue in cheek but the British dislike of the metric system may be because it is seen as a French idea (we love those guys ;)). IIRC the first time metric was used extensively was in revolutionary France (they even devised a metric calendar). We Brits liked our lower orders as they were and wanted nothing to do with anything vaguely revolutionary in case they got funny ideas... This may be why our currency only became metric in the 1970s!

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Dywyddyr
Post  Post subject: Re: back to imperial units ?  |  Posted: Fri Apr 07, 2017 12:58 pm
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PhDemon wrote:
IIRC the first time metric was used extensively was in revolutionary France (they even devised a metric calendar). We Brits liked our lower orders as they were and wanted nothing to do with anything vaguely revolutionary in case they got funny ideas...

Many years (decades)[1] ago I was shown a copy of an original set of Bristol drawings[2] for a WWI British biplane fighter dated 1917 (the guys were planning on building a flying replica to the original spec) and every single drawing was metric. It just took the rest of country a while to catch on ...


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This may be why our currency only became metric in the 1970s!

I remember the switch-over. And I also remember a local news programme on TV (Look North?) showing interviews with the public about it. The best comment was from little old lady who said "It's too confusing, I'll never get the hang of it. Why don't they wait until all the old people are dead before making the change?".[3]

1 At one of the Finningley airshows sometime in the mid 70s.
2 They are called "drawings" NOT "plans".
3 I still remember that if you can buy 3 items for £1 then the individual price is 6/8d!


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wireless
Post  Post subject: Re: back to imperial units ?  |  Posted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 10:02 am

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I have had a read of the OP and I think that the link provided is rather tongue in cheek, about the UK reverting back to Imperial Units of measurement. It is however fair to say that Imperial Units of measurement started the Industrial Revolution, Imperial Units of measurements put man on the moon. In the UK we still use a mixture of Imperial and Metric units in everyday life. Road signs that indicate distance are in miles, car speeds are in miles per hour, fuel economy ( for most people ) is measured in miles per gallon, but when you fill up the car, you buy fuel in litres not gallons. You can go down the pub and have a pint of ale and watch horse racing on television, the horses race over miles and furlongs. You can watch a cricket match and the length of the cricket pitch is exactly 22 yards or 1 chain. World wide the aviation industry uses feet for altitude, the marine industry uses knots for speed, the height of a horse is still measured in hands. I am certain that the Imperial Units of measurement are not dead and buried, however only a fool would turn their backs on SI Units.


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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: back to imperial units ?  |  Posted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 12:36 pm
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wireless wrote:
I have had a read of the OP and I think that the link provided is rather tongue in cheek, about the UK reverting back to Imperial Units of measurement.

the strange thing is that, whilst the article may have been tongue in cheek, the resulting discussion on facebook was anything but

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wireless
Post  Post subject: Re: back to imperial units ?  |  Posted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 2:42 pm

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marnixR wrote:
wireless wrote:
I have had a read of the OP and I think that the link provided is rather tongue in cheek, about the UK reverting back to Imperial Units of measurement.

the strange thing is that, whilst the article may have been tongue in cheek, the resulting discussion on facebook was anything but

I am not on face book so I cannot see the discussion that you mention.
I have been reading a very interesting link about weights and measures, this extract from the link about natural equivalents makes very good reading in my opinion.

Natural equivalents[edit]

Although the 1824 act defined the yard and pound by reference to the prototype standards, it also defined the values of certain physical constants, to make provision for re-creation of the standards if they were to be damaged. For the yard, the length of a pendulum beating seconds at the latitude of Greenwich at Mean Sea Level in vacuo was defined as 39.01393 inches. For the pound, the mass of a cubic inch of distilled water at an atmospheric pressure of 30 inches of mercury and a temperature of 62° Fahrenheit was defined as 252.458 grains, with there being 7,000 grains per pound.[3] However, following the destruction of the original prototypes in the 1834 Houses of Parliament fire, it proved impossible to recreate the standards from these definitions, and a new Weights and Measures Act (18 & 19 Victoria. Cap. 72) was passed in 1855 which permitted the recreation of the prototypes from recognized secondary standards.[3


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_units


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Dywyddyr
Post  Post subject: Re: back to imperial units ?  |  Posted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:28 pm
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Pleeeease let's go back to the old units.
I loved it when there were 3pi inches to the gallon and 2-13/78 roods to the hundredweight. I preferred knowing my weight in pounds, shillings and ounces (small nod to Pooh Bear and Piglit [1] here) rather than hearing I weigh X amount of kilotonnes.

NOTE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE AND AMERICANS: One shilling = Five Pee. It helps to understand the antique finances of the Witchfinder Army if you know the original British monetary system: Two farthings = One Ha'penny. Two ha'pennies = One Penny. Three pennies = A Thrupenny Bit. Two Thrupences = A Sixpence. Two Sixpences = One Shilling, or Bob. Two Bob = A Florin. One Florin and One Sixpence = Half a Crown. Four Half Crowns = Ten Bob Note. Two Ten Bob Notes = One Pound (or 240 pennies). One Pound and One Shilling = One Guinea.
The British resisted decimalized currency for a long time because they thought it was too complicated.
Terry Pratchett & NeilGaiman: Good Omens. (We could also add that the half Crown was also known as half a dollar and that a sixpence was also known as a tanner).

One marvellous piece of buffoonery I found as a response to Heffer's article was this - The imperial system, once known is easy to use and visualise. - snip - 100 kg doesn't sound heavy while 15st 10lb does. And when one says, "They have have walked miles" [sic] it sounds like a long way. Kilometres don't give the same impression.
Um, would the Metric system - once known - not be "easy to use and visualise then"? (https://www.pressreader.com/uk/the-sund ... 0442151844)
I still can't work out if the letter is a Poe or the inane mental wandering of a moron.

1 I'm using his own spelling of his name.


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wireless
Post  Post subject: Re: back to imperial units ?  |  Posted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:31 pm

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A quick look at my wrist watch tells me that time has not been metricated for every day use .We use ante meridiem or post meridiem for the 12 hour clock or the 24hour clock to tell the time. I do not think that this will change any time soon.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/12-hour_clock


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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: back to imperial units ?  |  Posted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:38 am
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sometimes there's an inertia about things that work well
e.g. the QWERTY keyboard was designed for mechanical typewriters to make it less likely that the hammers would get tangled with one another too often - something that happened quite regularly for non-professional typists like myself
whereas there is no need to continue with the QWERTY design on computer keyboards, the pre-existence of such a design for mechanical typewriters and the familiarity of this design to users has insured its survival

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geordief
Post  Post subject: Re: back to imperial units ?  |  Posted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:22 pm

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marnixR wrote:
sometimes there's an inertia about things that work well
e.g. the QWERTY keyboard was designed for mechanical typewriters to make it less likely that the hammers would get tangled with one another too often - something that happened quite regularly for non-professional typists like myself
whereas there is no need to continue with the QWERTY design on computer keyboards, the pre-existence of such a design for mechanical typewriters and the familiarity of this design to users has insured its survival

http://blog.dictionary.com/assure-ensure-insure/

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wireless
Post  Post subject: Re: back to imperial units ?  |  Posted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:02 pm

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3½-inch floppy disks were never metricated in the UK, and until I read this article, I never knew that we had earlier versions of the floppy disc, which measured 5¼-inches and 8-inches.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_o ... loppy_disk.


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Pong
Post  Post subject: Re: back to imperial units ?  |  Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 9:51 pm
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As a Canadian I believe two systems are better than one. It gives an extra dimension to the vocabulary, so we communicate more with fewer words.

Take liquid volumes for example. Canadians agree all things American are relatively crude (sorry about that), whereas things British or international are more refined. So when a Canadian borrows a "pail" from her neighbour she receives a spotless food-grade poly container, not a soiled and battered "bucket" that's been kicking around behind the shed. She's communicated a quality by choice of word. Furthermore our choice of measurement unit suggests tolerance - I mean accuracy. "5 gallon" is synonymous with "20 liters, give-or-take 5" whereas "20 liters" really means 20 liters. This fills a gap in english having no easy expression of measurement tolerance. In practice one always needs to know the tolerances of measurements, whether one's diluting frozen orange juice or catalyzing industrial resin.

The main trouble from using multiple units, is inappropriate conversions that suggest excessive tolerance. Frozen orange juice gets packaged in Florida with 12-fluid-ounce containers, but export to Canada requires a french/english imperial/metric label. Then specifying 1065 mL water to prepare it suggests a perverse degree of tolerance. Well, we all know the tolerance required in this case, but for things like the length of screws specifying "3/4-inch" screws as "19mm" or even "19.05mm", can ruin your day. I believe the best practice is rather than conform to one system: employ several and specify one exclusively where appropriate.

This way the expected tolerance is expressed by the chosen unit.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: back to imperial units ?  |  Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 10:20 pm
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Olinguito
Post  Post subject:   |  Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 7:05 am
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But why do I still hear Americans saying "fourth of July"? :roll:

Not all the rest of the world use day–month–year format; some countries, like Sweden and China, use year–month–day format. Indeed the YYYY–MM–DD format (4-digit year, 2-digit month, 2-digit day) has the overtowering advantage that the chronological order coincides with the alphanumerical order – perfect for when you want to name your photos or other computer files by date. :geek:

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DrKrettin
Post  Post subject: Re:  |  Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 8:32 am
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Britain has been inching towards metrication for decades. Nobody in their right mind would want to revert to insane units again. It would be as stupid as, say, leaving the EU.


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Olinguito
Post  Post subject:   |  Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:11 am
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DrKrettin wrote:
Britain has been inching towards metrication for decades. Nobody in their right mind would want to revert to insane units again. It would be as stupid as, say, leaving the EU.

I think the biggest obstacle to complete metrication in the UK would be the conversion of miles per hour to kilometres per hour on the roads. Motorists in this country have been too used to mph; forcing them to convert to km/h is going to be very tricky indeed. After all, when you're driving, your attention should be on the roads; trying to do mental conversions at the same time might, for some people at least, not be a very safe thing to do. And what if they forget which units they're using? They might mistake a speed-limit sign saying 80 as 80mph rather than 80km/h and happily drive close that speed instead (128km/h).

That said, I'm all in favour of using km/h rather than mph when there are no risks of life-threatening accidents – in weather forecasting, for example. To be sure, I can't understand why weather forecasters in the UK still give wind speeds in mph rather km/h – what is the matter with them? :evil: (Or are they referring to nautical miles per hour, i.e. knots?)

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Lynx_Fox
Post  Post subject: Re:  |  Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 5:05 pm

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Olinguito wrote:
That said, I'm all in favour of using km/h rather than mph when there are no risks of life-threatening accidents – in weather forecasting, for example. To be sure, I can't understand why weather forecasters in the UK still give wind speeds in mph rather km/h – what is the matter with them? :evil: (Or are they referring to nautical miles per hour, i.e. knots?)


You guessed it. Weather maps are a mix of unit types, traditionally knots for winds (even internationally), Temp C etc and even in upper tropospheric maps such as 500 mb. For public use, they are converted to whatever is most comfortable.


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Pong
Post  Post subject: Re:  |  Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 7:52 pm
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Olinguito wrote:
I think the biggest obstacle to complete metrication in the UK would be the conversion of miles per hour to kilometres per hour on the roads.

In that case I'd say metrication too greedy. It needn't be all or nothing.

Canada applied metric to roads because government could. But in context of driving speeds and distances, miles work just as well.


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wireless
Post  Post subject: Re: Re:  |  Posted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:46 pm

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DrKrettin wrote:
Britain has been inching towards metrication for decades. Nobody in their right mind would want to revert to insane units again. It would be as stupid as, say, leaving the EU.

And yet we are leaving the EU.


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wireless
Post  Post subject: Re:  |  Posted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:03 pm

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Olinguito wrote:
DrKrettin wrote:
Britain has been inching towards metrication for decades. Nobody in their right mind would want to revert to insane units again. It would be as stupid as, say, leaving the EU.

I think the biggest obstacle to complete metrication in the UK would be the conversion of miles per hour to kilometres per hour on the roads. Motorists in this country have been too used to mph; forcing them to convert to km/h is going to be very tricky indeed. After all, when you're driving, your attention should be on the roads; trying to do mental conversions at the same time might, for some people at least, not be a very safe thing to do. And what if they forget which units they're using? They might mistake a speed-limit sign saying 80 as 80mph rather than 80km/h and happily drive close that speed instead (128km/h).

That said, I'm all in favour of using km/h rather than mph when there are no risks of life-threatening accidents – in weather forecasting, for example. To be sure, I can't understand why weather forecasters in the UK still give wind speeds in mph rather km/h – what is the matter with them? :evil: (Or are they referring to nautical miles per hour, i.e. knots?)

The Beaufort Scale is still used on shipping forecasts world wide, to this very day.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaufort_scale


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Re:  |  Posted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 1:42 am
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wireless wrote:
DrKrettin wrote:
Britain has been inching towards metrication for decades. Nobody in their right mind would want to revert to insane units again. It would be as stupid as, say, leaving the EU.

And yet we are leaving the EU.

Back on topic. Any further posts in this thread about Brexit will be tossed.

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wireless
Post  Post subject: Re: back to imperial units ?  |  Posted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:30 pm

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The oil industry world wide sells crude oil by the barrel and it probably always will.
http://www.oil-price.net/


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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: back to imperial units ?  |  Posted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 8:58 pm
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i heard a rumour that the EU will introduce metric barrels :roll:

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Olinguito
Post  Post subject:   |  Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:02 am
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Didn't they even try to metricize time after the French Revolution? :roll:

As a scientifically inclined person, I'm keen not so much on metric as on scientific units. I'd really like to see more people talk of speeds not in miles per hour or kilometres per hour but in metres per second. Also, weights in newtons, temperatures in kelvins, angles in radians, etc. :ugeek:

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PhDemon
Post  Post subject: Re: back to imperial units ?  |  Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:19 am

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Yep, see my earlier post ;)

On the scientific units thing, my old tutor (sort of tongue in cheek) used to say temperature was a silly thing to talk about, understanding thermodynamics would be so much easier if people thought in terms of 1/kT (K is Boltzman's constant) rather than simply T

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wireless
Post  Post subject: Re: back to imperial units ?  |  Posted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:27 pm

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marnixR wrote:
i heard a rumour that the EU will introduce metric barrels :roll:

Do you have any evidence of this ?


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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: back to imperial units ?  |  Posted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:37 pm
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yes, i read it under the heading "totally made-up humbug"

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