[time-nuts] gravity controlled pendulumn clock?

shalimr9 at gmail.com shalimr9 at gmail.com
Wed Dec 14 14:29:07 EST 2011


I told myself I would stop after my last posts, but I can't help it.

I do not pretend to know everything, but I am one of the relatively few in my circle of friends with extensive experience with both systems, and after 26 years here, the imperial system has simply not made a case for itself as far as I am concerned. It is my opinion, and a fact as far as I am concerned, not that it makes it a universal truth in any other frame of reference. Your mileage may vary.

I agree that the decimal system is a big part of what makes me prefer the metric system. The meter itself is not a superior unit than the inch or the foot to measure anything. But there are other considerations when using one "system" versus the other.
Our designers and mechanical engineers here use decimal fractions of an inch in specifying mechanical drawings, but raw metal stock (and tools) are still only available in 1/4, 1/8, 1/16 (and so on) of an inch dimensions, so most dimensions have to be given with 3 or 4 decimals, and even then they are not always right. When trying to mentally add two, three or four dimensions each with 4 decimals, and one or two digits to the left of the decimal point, it stops being fun and its easy to make mistakes.
Somehow, that was never an issue when I was designing back in France. Most dimensions has 2 or 3 significant digits, making the mental juggling much easier.
That was the reason for my characterization of the imperial system as being more error prone. I never said or implied that it was less precise. Precision is a function of the instrument, not the frame of reference.

In the metric system, screws and wires are referenced by their diameter, not a reference number that requires a table to figure out how big they are. I understand these numbers correspond to something, they are not arbitrary, but while they may simplify "some" calculations, in everyday tasks, these numbers tend to complicate life instead of simplifying it. Here, every designer has tables after tables plastered on their walls. In France, I do not remember that we needed so many.

Another small thing I miss is that a liter of water weighs a kg (under reference conditions, I forgot what that was :). Then the specific weight of various materials only has to be known by their "density" (ratio of specific weight compared to water). It makes all sorts of calculations ( and guestimations) easy.

But its just my opinion :)

Didier

Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless thingy while I do other things...

-----Original Message-----
From: Chuck Harris <cfharris at erols.com>
Sender: time-nuts-bounces at febo.com
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 2011 10:30:34 
To: Discussion of precise time and frequency measurement<time-nuts at febo.com>
Reply-To: Discussion of precise time and frequency measurement
	<time-nuts at febo.com>
Subject: Re: [time-nuts] gravity controlled pendulumn clock?

Hal Murray wrote:
...
>
> If you were an alien landing on Earth for the first time, which system would
> make more sense to you?

Ah!   A Godcentric view of the universe.  Decimal is an arbitrary
number system that came about purely because we had 10 fingers, and
a brain that could only think of using them to count on.

Your hands are probably right now fondling a model of a life form that
would find the metric system to be quite foreign, and unfriendly...
Surely you should count using a number system based on an even power
of 2?

There was a time when I spent more time doing arithmetic in octal
than in decimal.  If humans had been born with 4 fingers on each
hand, we would be talking about how certain we were that an alien
would find an octal centric measurement system made more sense.

Metric is purely arbitrary, as are all of the variants on the
English system.  Life would go just as smoothly if we had standardized
on the inch, pound, and gallon, and used decimal fractions and multiples
to represent measurements larger and smaller than the unit.

-Chuck Harris

OBTW, as time nuts, we are steeped in the two units of measure that
are decidedly non-metric: seconds, and Hz.  Think about it...

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