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posted by LaminatorX on Monday February 24 2014, @12:30AM   Printer-friendly
from the How-many-slugs-to-the-stone? dept.

AnonTechie writes:

"I have the following requests to members of this new forum:

1) Please use SI Units wherever possible. Alternative comparative units such as swimming pools, size of Florida, cars, libraries of congress, etc are also welcome ...

2) Please cover tech/science related stories from around the world. Please do not make this a US only website !!

Cheers and best wishes,

AnonTechie"

[ED Note: We as a community welcome submissions from around the world, as befits our international userbase. The Editorial team in particular is looking closely at including voices from outside the U.S. as we continue to grow. As for the units question in particular, stories will certainly arrive with a variety of units depending on the origin of the submission. We encourage, though do not require, submitters to include conversions where appropriate for clarity out of courtesy to your fellow readers. Though we try to use a light touch when making edits to story submissions, Editors may add these from time to time as well, should clarity demand and time permit.

Soylentils, does the current ad-hoc approach meet your needs, or do you favor a more formal approach from your news discussion site?]

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  • (Score: 5, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @12:32AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @12:32AM (#5398)

    I cannot fathom why you'd want to forgo furlongs and leagues when we've been happily using them for scores of ages with nary a dram of trouble. Now get off my two-foot lawn!

    • (Score: 2, Funny) by davester666 on Monday February 24 2014, @04:14AM

      by davester666 (155) on Monday February 24 2014, @04:14AM (#5523)

      Sorry, the standard unit of distances here on Earth are "football fields", which everybody knows is 100 yards long, like God intended.

      And for amounts of data, it's "Libraries of Congress", or 'loc' for short.

      • (Score: 1) by Appalbarry on Monday February 24 2014, @05:12AM

        by Appalbarry (66) on Monday February 24 2014, @05:12AM (#5564) Journal

        Ahem. It's a 110 yards of course.... [wikipedia.org]

        • (Score: 1) by davester666 on Monday February 24 2014, @06:07AM

          by davester666 (155) on Monday February 24 2014, @06:07AM (#5596)

          Don't bring those heathen Canucks into it. The only sports they really know are curling and hockey.

        • (Score: 2) by dilbert on Monday February 24 2014, @02:30PM

          by dilbert (444) on Monday February 24 2014, @02:30PM (#5818)
          If you count the end-zones, it's 120 yards (american football)
      • (Score: 2, Funny) by greenfruitsalad on Monday February 24 2014, @09:41AM

        by greenfruitsalad (342) on Monday February 24 2014, @09:41AM (#5701)

        are we talking about football (like God intended) or american football?

        • (Score: 1) by davester666 on Monday February 24 2014, @06:52PM

          by davester666 (155) on Monday February 24 2014, @06:52PM (#6053)

          Just leave, and you can take your pitch with you!

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by Nuke on Monday February 24 2014, @08:23PM

        by Nuke (3162) on Monday February 24 2014, @08:23PM (#6132)
        Wrote :-

        'the standard unit of distances here on Earth are "football fields"'

        No, that's an area. The length units, in the UK at least, are the length of a London bus, the length of electric cable used in the average house, the distance from London to Manchester, the circumference of the Earth, and the distance to the Moon and back, depending on context. These larger units are deliberately not integer multiples of smaller ones because that would be confusing. They are also separate from height units, which are Nelson's Column, Eiffel Tower etc.

    • (Score: 5, Funny) by mhajicek on Monday February 24 2014, @05:04AM

      by mhajicek (51) on Monday February 24 2014, @05:04AM (#5553)

      Even the Brits will have a pint now and then. I'll only start worrying when they have a hogshead.

      --
      The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
      • (Score: 5, Informative) by Niggle on Monday February 24 2014, @09:18AM

        by Niggle (477) on Monday February 24 2014, @09:18AM (#5694)

        Our pints are 25% larger than the US ones, as are gallons. So using non-SI units is quite likely to cause confusion even for those of us that still use some vestiges of imperial measurements.
        Probably the only imperial units still used by the majority of the population in the UK are pints (almost exclusively for beer and milk) and miles. Weirdly, we buy petrol by the litre, but always quote fuel efficiency in miles per gallon.
        I'm old enough to think of people's heights in feet and inches, but a lot of people I know use metres and centimetres. And even I think of weights in kilos rather than stones and pounds.

        • (Score: 2, Interesting) by jalopezp on Monday February 24 2014, @11:27AM

          by jalopezp (2996) on Monday February 24 2014, @11:27AM (#5745)

          I ruined a batch of homebrew after moving to London because of the difference between british and american pints. Idiotically, the british have bigger pints but smaller ounces than the americans. Nowadays when cooking and brewing, I insist on converting everything to metric, and if possible from volume to weight. As for standard use, I find people are familiar enough with kilos and centimetres for it not to be a problem.

          As far as beer is concerned, recall Orwell's 1984: 'A 'alf litre ain't enough. It don't satisfy. And a 'ole litre's too much. It starts my bladder running. Let alone the price.' I agree with this statement very much. Nevertheless, a pint of beer is too close to a half litre (568mL) to make much of a difference. I would prefer to see barmen pull my beer into a 666mL glass. One day.

          • (Score: 1) by Nuke on Monday February 24 2014, @08:09PM

            by Nuke (3162) on Monday February 24 2014, @08:09PM (#6121)
            Wrote :-

            As far as beer is concerned, recall Orwell's 1984: "A 'alf litre ain't enough.... And a 'ole litre's too much. It starts my bladder running." Nevertheless, a pint of beer is too close to a half litre (568mL) to make much of a difference.

            I read 1984 before I was familiar with the conversion (when it was still future in fact) and for years I assumed half a litre was about 0.6 pints because of it. Now, I am now puzzled by the guys' problem - the difference between half a litre and a pint is only 13%.

            The reason people have stuck with pints for beer is that it goes with the Olde Worlde atmosphere of most UK pubs.

        • (Score: 1) by mojo chan on Monday February 24 2014, @01:32PM

          by mojo chan (266) on Monday February 24 2014, @01:32PM (#5785)

          We really are in a muddle here. Most people seem to use stones for a person's weight, but most of the ones under 40 can't tell you how many pounds in a stone for comparison to Americans. We use miles for long distances on roads but signs for pedestrians usually use metres. MPG is a really bad unit for measuring fuel efficiency, we should switch to litres/100km.

          Some people have newer metric gas meters, a far fewer still have the old Imperial measure ones. Heating and cooling equipment is still rated in BTUs, tires still inflated to a given PSI. Schools have not been teaching Imperial units for decades though - I certainly never learned them.

          --
          const int one = 65536; (Silvermoon, Texture.cs)
          • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Monday February 24 2014, @11:45PM

            by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Monday February 24 2014, @11:45PM (#6285) Homepage
            > MPG is a really bad unit for measuring fuel efficiency, we should switch to litres/100km.

            Absolutely not. As mpg increases efficiency increases. As l/110km increases, efficiency decreases - that's completely the wrong relation.
            --
            Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
            • (Score: 1) by isostatic on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:26AM

              by isostatic (365) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:26AM (#6337) Journal

              Litres per 100000 metres is an arbitrary number to try to get a human readable value for cars. It's terrible. I'd rather ml/km

              However the idea is "I need to drive 420km, my car uses 3l/100km, I therefore need 12.6 litres of fuel, which at £1.40 per litres costs £17.64

              The higher the l/100km value, the more it costs to drive. Makes more since than an arbitrary lefty "higher mpg is higher efficiency"

              The mpg is "I've just put 10 gallons (45 litres) in my tank. When will I need to fill up again"

              I find gallons/mile harder to wrap my head around than mpg but that's because I was brought up on mpg. And feet and inches for height. And miles for road length. And metres for middle lengths like building heights, shelf sizes, cupboard dimensions etc,. I use kg for weight of everything except people (stones and pounds). litres for volume aside from beer, unless said beer is in Germany at Oktoberfest and served by a buxom wench in litre glasses.

              The uk is a crazy country with units, but at least we got rid of Fahrenheit

        • (Score: 1) by Wakaranai on Monday February 24 2014, @04:00PM

          by Wakaranai (486) on Monday February 24 2014, @04:00PM (#5902)

          >...are pints (almost exclusively for beer and milk)...

          A pint of beer and milk?! Eew.

          Maybe either a posset or a pint...
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posset [wikipedia.org]
          http://www.japanprobe.com/2007/01/31/milk-beer-bil k/ [japanprobe.com]

        • (Score: 1) by cykros on Monday February 24 2014, @08:30PM

          by cykros (989) on Monday February 24 2014, @08:30PM (#6141)

          So much for "A Pint's a Pound the whole world 'round".

          It's been my understanding that the 20oz "pints" (be they in the UK or American craft beer stores) are more like a baker's dozen than an actual discrepancy in what an actual pint is. Sure, a pint is 16 fl. oz, and a dozen is 12, but go to a bar and ask for a pint, and you get 20oz, just like you get 13 items when you ask a baker for a dozen.

          Am I living a lie on this one?

          • (Score: 1) by xorsyst on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:10AM

            by xorsyst (1372) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:10AM (#6523)

            Yes - 20oz is the standard for pints outside the US.

      • (Score: 1) by rufty on Monday February 24 2014, @12:39PM

        by rufty (381) on Monday February 24 2014, @12:39PM (#5760)
        Well, it can get messy when the Brits start drinking by the yard [wikipedia.org].
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @12:42AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @12:42AM (#5401)

    I, for one, welcome our new metric overlords.

    In all seriousness, most of the measurements I've seen or expect to see on Soylent are in a scientific context, so there shouldn't be much of a conversion shock. As long as it doesn't reach absurd levels of overcorrection ("Google OCR error causes 2 to be read as 5 - cars in 40km/h zones unexpectedly do 89!") this proposal would just be a consistency measure. I like consistency.

    • (Score: 4, Funny) by jt on Monday February 24 2014, @12:51AM

      by jt (2890) on Monday February 24 2014, @12:51AM (#5405)

      It's all about the context. SI units everywhere unless there is a really good reason not to; a good policy for the real world as well as this place. For example, taking certain body measurements in centimetres rather than inches is a good ego boost. (I am, of course, talking about height :) )

      • (Score: 1) by mojo chan on Monday February 24 2014, @01:35PM

        by mojo chan (266) on Monday February 24 2014, @01:35PM (#5786)

        150 mills does sound more impressive than 6 inches. I'm talking about height too of course, that is height when lying down.

        --
        const int one = 65536; (Silvermoon, Texture.cs)
    • (Score: 1) by Non Sequor on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:20AM

      by Non Sequor (1005) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:20AM (#6363) Journal

      It's not an issue tif yiu convert the 2 and 5 to metric as well.

      --
      Write your congressman. Tell him he sucks.
  • (Score: 4, Funny) by Buck Feta on Monday February 24 2014, @12:53AM

    by Buck Feta (958) on Monday February 24 2014, @12:53AM (#5407) Journal

    ..you'll get the right parametric.

    --
    - fractious political commentary goes here -
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by frojack on Monday February 24 2014, @12:54AM

    by frojack (1554) on Monday February 24 2014, @12:54AM (#5408) Journal

    Just be consistent, and don't switch units back and forth, either between systems or between levels of magnitude.

    Anyone nimble minded enough to post and read here should be capable of conceptualizing using any given system.

    Once in a while you might learn something, as I did a few months ago when I stumbled on "lakh" and "crore" in this article: http://m.timesofindia.com/articleshow/23576278.cms [timesofindia.com]

    --
    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 2, Funny) by c0lo on Monday February 24 2014, @02:43AM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 24 2014, @02:43AM (#5465) Journal

      Just be consistent, and don't switch units back and forth, either between systems or between levels of magnitude.

      Seriously, what's wrong with the temperature of a fusion plasma being expressed in keV, the temperature of superfluid He-4 in K and the temperature of freezing water as 0℃? (grin)

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0 https://soylentnews.org/~MichaelDavidCrawford
      • (Score: 2) by dilbert on Monday February 24 2014, @02:34PM

        by dilbert (444) on Monday February 24 2014, @02:34PM (#5819)
        Should we use parsecs to measure distance or time?
  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Buck Feta on Monday February 24 2014, @12:55AM

    by Buck Feta (958) on Monday February 24 2014, @12:55AM (#5409) Journal

    >> do you favor a more formal approach from your news discussion site?

    Write a simple style guide. Crib from the Times or make up your own. This will improve the quality of the summaries, and cut down on the complaining.

    --
    - fractious political commentary goes here -
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by jt on Monday February 24 2014, @01:01AM

      by jt (2890) on Monday February 24 2014, @01:01AM (#5413)

      I don't think a style guide is really needed here; it's an informal discussion site, and like any community it will evolve its own styles and norms. People tend to instinctively recognise and adopt the 'house style', and any attempt to impose a distinct style will be ignored. I expect, of course, that the evolution of the styles and norms for this place will have a head start owing to their derivation from a certain other unnamed discussion site. As long as the summaries are interesting and (mostly) correct, I'm happy.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Ethanol-fueled on Monday February 24 2014, @01:04AM

        by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Monday February 24 2014, @01:04AM (#5416) Homepage

        I believe the prudent thing for the admins of this site to do is to keep doing what they've been doing*. Let's not kid ourselves here, this site is a Slashdot replacement which keeps all the old things we liked about Slashdot while discarding offtopic politics and other corporate bullshit.

        Generally speaking, that's the demographic the site should seek to attract, as it's the fastest and easiest source of gaining new users. That demographic is also likely a resident of an Anglophone country, so it makes sense not to be too "alien" until the site is established and can pull off edgy risk-taking. We're at around only 40 comments(or less) per discussion, but give it time.

        That's not to say that international stories should be rejected, however, it would be boring to see 5 articles in a row about something relatively obscure happening in India. The quality and severity of the article subject matter should always come first, before nationalism or anything else.

        Site admins - you're doing great. In my opinion, you don't need a more formal approach. You want to stay relatively flexible, and not be bogged-down with more and more bureaucracy. But that's just, like, my opinion, man.

        * Except for editorial non-sequiteurs about Blackberry phones posted in summaries about unrelated things, unless that's part of the business model and I never got the memo, heh

        • (Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Monday February 24 2014, @02:23AM

          by Nerdfest (80) on Monday February 24 2014, @02:23AM (#5453)

          The BlackBerry comment was not a non-sequitur, as QNX is owned by BlackBerry (assuming that was the story you were referring to).

        • (Score: 1) by Refugee from beyond on Monday February 24 2014, @09:53AM

          by Refugee from beyond (2699) on Monday February 24 2014, @09:53AM (#5707)

          >That demographic is also likely a resident of an Anglophone country

          I'd like some numbers, personally.

          --
          Instantly better soylentnews: replace background on article and comment titles with #973131.
        • (Score: 1) by mojo chan on Monday February 24 2014, @01:41PM

          by mojo chan (266) on Monday February 24 2014, @01:41PM (#5787)

          Thing is the off-topic politics did generate a lot of comments, sometimes quite interesting ones. Personally I get withdrawal symptoms if there isn't a good metric/imperial flame war every six months or so. As well as venting it's worth it for the jokes.

          --
          const int one = 65536; (Silvermoon, Texture.cs)
      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Appalbarry on Monday February 24 2014, @05:17AM

        by Appalbarry (66) on Monday February 24 2014, @05:17AM (#5567) Journal

        A style guide is very much needed for the summaries posted to the site. Clear, grammatical English, without spelling mistakes, and sticking to some useful style, make them easier to read and understand, and more importantly will let Soylent look one hell of of lot more professional than Slashdot has ever managed.

        Comments less so - if AC wants to look like some ill educated Repub... ah Bumpkin, so be it.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by sootman on Monday February 24 2014, @12:55AM

    by sootman (2137) on Monday February 24 2014, @12:55AM (#5411)

    Go with the context and/or source; veto and switch units if it makes more sense. If the story is about an American company creating a new car for sale in the US, tell us it gets however many miles per gallon. If it's a new fast European car, go ahead and publish the 0-100kph time. If you (the editors) want to be nice, feel free to do the conversion and supply it in parentheses. (0-62mph)

    If you want to be *really* nice, ferret out when the journalists use dumb and/or ambiguous measures and fix them in the summary. ("As fast as a rifle bullet!") Or, update stories per suggestions in the comments here.

    The *worst* thing you could do would be to pick one method and rigidly stick to it, ignoring the context. The day you publish "Give'em 2.54 cm, they'll take 1.61km", I'm outta here. :-)

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by sjwt on Monday February 24 2014, @04:13AM

      by sjwt (2826) on Monday February 24 2014, @04:13AM (#5521)

      Indeed, its just (un)common sense, something I used to think /. had some of, but after seeing the stupid grow over the years I just lost faith..

      Generally things don't need to be a perfect conversion, and in day to day measurements it can be stupid to do so.. Take this for an example, those initial figures where from a /. argument about metric conversion that popped up for some reason.

      "Today the temp. is 26.67C(80F), wind speed is 273589(17mph) Decimeters per hour, and damn my kids growing up, he is now 1752.6mm(5'9") tall"

      We would say 26C, 27Kph and 175cm.
      If you really measure your high to 1/5" (5mm),
      your temperature to less than 1/4 degree F(0.5C) and your speed to 0.6mpg (1KPH) fine, but the rest of the world deals with it quite fine driving there 4.9M long cars at 100KPH on a nice sunny 28C day and you sir can travel in your 16' 54/60" long cars at 62.14MPH on a nice sunny 82.4F

    • (Score: 1) by fotonix on Monday February 24 2014, @05:29AM

      by fotonix (2922) on Monday February 24 2014, @05:29AM (#5578) Homepage

      I agree to keep the original context. A story from the US would naturally use inches, miles and gallons; a story from elsewhere would use metric units. Having a rough conversion in parenthesis can help, whenever that is practical. I am ok with both systems, but not everyone has lived in several places around the globe.

      BTW - I lurked for over a decade on /. but never bothered to register. The launching of SoylentNews is super - kudos to those who made this happen so quickly and that it works so wonderfully from the get-go.

      --
      Over-thought solutions get over-engineered and miss the user's requirements.
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by photong on Monday February 24 2014, @07:04AM

      by photong (2219) on Monday February 24 2014, @07:04AM (#5628)

      It would be sufficient to just give SI units in brackets beside original units. For example "3-inch [7.62 cm] ...".

      • (Score: 1) by quacking duck on Monday February 24 2014, @06:20PM

        by quacking duck (1395) on Monday February 24 2014, @06:20PM (#6019)

        It would be sufficient to just give SI units in brackets beside original units. For example "3-inch [7.62 cm] ...".

        Only if the original source provides it in imperial. I don't even mean the article that the SN story links to, but the original publisher. The most egregious example in my mind was the /. article linking to I think Discovery.com (American site) reporting on a published British (IIRC) study about the newly derived length of a particular dinosaur based on some new information. The Discovery (and /.) article gave a measurement in ridiculously accurate number of feet, which was called out several times in comments, some even going so far as to call the study bunk because how could they possible know it with such accuracy?

        Well, the *actual* study provided measurements in metres. Discovery and /. did a huge disservice by not putting the *original* measurement first, then bracketing in units that their American audience might be more familiar with.

    • (Score: 1) by hankwang on Monday February 24 2014, @08:14AM

      by hankwang (100) on Monday February 24 2014, @08:14AM (#5671) Homepage

      "Go with the context and/or source; veto and switch units if it makes more sense. ... feel free to do the conversion and supply it in parentheses. (0-62mph) "

      Seconded, and I say that as an European. Although I think the to-metric conversion shouldn't be entirely optional. I don't have a problem with "5 ft" versus a rounded "1.5 m", but when someone is "6 ft 3 in" or worse: 6'3", it becomes hard to get a feeling for whether that's a tall or short guy.

      And don't specify temperatures in degrees without stating Fahrenheit or Celsius!

      • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Monday February 24 2014, @03:30PM

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Monday February 24 2014, @03:30PM (#5876) Homepage Journal

        And don't specify temperatures in degrees without stating Fahrenheit or Celsius!

        Well, no need to specify if it's forty below, is there?

        --
        mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by computersareevil on Monday February 24 2014, @12:58AM

    by computersareevil (749) on Monday February 24 2014, @12:58AM (#5412)

    Please also add the full Summary to the RSS feed. Thank you.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by CluelessMoron on Monday February 24 2014, @01:04AM

    by CluelessMoron (1374) on Monday February 24 2014, @01:04AM (#5415)
    There's a wonderful utility in Unix called "units" that converts from damn near anything to damn near anything else. If you already have Linux, you probably have it. If you're stuck with MS Windows, get "cygwin" and install units. Then you can do silly things like this:

    $ units
    2411 units, 71 prefixes, 33 nonlinear units

    You have: microfurlongs per fortnight
    You want: rods per second
            * 3.3068783e-11
            / 3.024e+10
    You have: footballfields per second
    You want: mph
            * 204.54545
            / 0.0048888889

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by frojack on Monday February 24 2014, @01:12AM

      by frojack (1554) on Monday February 24 2014, @01:12AM (#5421) Journal

      You're already using a browser.
      Just key it into the search bar:

      footballfields per second = ? mph

      Google will oblige.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @05:49AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @05:49AM (#5589)

        This is a good point. Why can't browsers handle this automatically?

        There should be a menu item or button that says "show original units" "show SI units" "show Imperial units" etc., that will automatically translate any units on the page.

        Of course, it would be great to have such units marked up using some sort of markup language, but short of that, there ought to be a simple workaround...

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @07:21AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @07:21AM (#5640)

        google, ewww

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @01:11PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @01:11PM (#5773)

        But that uses American football fields - how do I get that in SI football fields?

        • (Score: 1) by Crash on Monday February 24 2014, @06:48PM

          by Crash (1335) on Monday February 24 2014, @06:48PM (#6050)

          Do you mean a Canadian football field?

        • (Score: 1) by CluelessMoron on Monday February 24 2014, @08:07PM

          by CluelessMoron (1374) on Monday February 24 2014, @08:07PM (#6120)

          I realize you're joking, but units does actually support "canadafootballfield". It doesn't have soccerfield presumably because there is no standard length for them, strangely enough.

          If you want to customize units, just add them to ".units.dat" in your home directory.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @03:11PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @03:11PM (#5853)

        Google will not even get what I type in the search bar. How is it supposed to oblige?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @01:13AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @01:13AM (#5422)

      Very cool. Thank you.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by M. Baranczak on Monday February 24 2014, @01:35AM

      by M. Baranczak (1673) on Monday February 24 2014, @01:35AM (#5432)

      Thank you! My productivity on the job just shot up by 420 kirabs per muhurta.

      For the record, 'units' is also pre-installed on Mac OS.

      • (Score: 2, Funny) by Yog-Yogguth on Monday February 24 2014, @02:56AM

        by Yog-Yogguth (1862) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 24 2014, @02:56AM (#5473) Journal

        Interesting... my kinetic viscosity of intelligence (it slowly drips through) accelerated by 1 stokes per lentor, or 0.016968364 cobalt if you prefer :3

        I don't know how that happened, I don't think it is right or proper, and I do not want to know because that's supposed to be a full 0.1‰ improvement in technobabble! :D

        --
        Bite harder Ouroboros, bite! tails.boum.org/ linux USB CD secure desktop IRC *crypt tor (not endorsements (XKeyScore))
    • (Score: 1) by B1ackDragon on Monday February 24 2014, @02:35AM

      by B1ackDragon (1739) on Monday February 24 2014, @02:35AM (#5459)

      Google does this too: 2.5 footballfields per second in miles per hour [google.com]

      • (Score: 1) by CluelessMoron on Monday February 24 2014, @02:49AM

        by CluelessMoron (1374) on Monday February 24 2014, @02:49AM (#5469)

        And almost certainly they are using the Open Source Unix "units" to do so.

        So here we are full circle.

  • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @01:08AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @01:08AM (#5419)

    This is, pound-for-pound, the dumbest request. Stupid foreigners.

    With that out of the way, go easy. Keep formalities to absolute minimum, to only those you deem essential, worthy of spending your time/effort enforcing them.

    Hang loose.

    • (Score: 2, Funny) by Ethanol-fueled on Monday February 24 2014, @02:39AM

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Monday February 24 2014, @02:39AM (#5464) Homepage

      What this guy said - I was trying to say it above in a less-offensive way since this I'm in the "hoarding karma" lifestage, but it is obligatory for immigrants literal or virtual to adopt the social norms of the societies which they choose to inhabit.

      And honestly, a suggestion to use SI units exclusively? The context thing everybody's saying is the best answer, but since we're all making such specific requests I'd like the editors to make me a grilled-cheese sandwich, open-faced, and cut diagonally into triangles because rectangles are dull and boring.

      • (Score: 1) by Yog-Yogguth on Monday February 24 2014, @03:07AM

        by Yog-Yogguth (1862) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 24 2014, @03:07AM (#5479) Journal

        You cannot be sirius! Close-faced rectangles taste so much better, it's strange but they do! They reeally do! Triangles are for chipmunks! What is wroooong with you? Nibble, nibble, nibble, nibble! :P

        --
        Bite harder Ouroboros, bite! tails.boum.org/ linux USB CD secure desktop IRC *crypt tor (not endorsements (XKeyScore))
        • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Monday February 24 2014, @09:37PM

          by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Monday February 24 2014, @09:37PM (#6207) Homepage Journal

          You guys do realize that you're biting slashdot's most prolific troll, don't you? His karma is so bad over there that he posts AC to start at 0 instead of his logged-in -1. I, for one, plan to simply ignore him... unless I'm moderating.

          Don't give that guy karma, he WILL abuse it.

          Faier warning, guys.

          --
          mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Kell on Monday February 24 2014, @03:16AM

        by Kell (292) on Monday February 24 2014, @03:16AM (#5483)

        I absolutely agree - as inhabitants of the world, we should expect the Americans to oblige and use what is the global standard.

        --
        Scientists ask questions. Engineers solve problems.
        • (Score: 1) by cyrano on Monday February 24 2014, @10:47AM

          by cyrano (1034) on Monday February 24 2014, @10:47AM (#5728) Homepage

          Especially since this stupid stubbornness has caused people to die. There have been plane cradhes because planes dind't have enough fuel. The operator in the USA wasn't able to convert the numbers, so the plane ran out of fuel over the ocean...

          Everybody uses SI, except the USA, North Korea and Nigeria. Well, at least you're in good company there!

          --
          The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear. - Kali [kali.org]
      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @03:34AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @03:34AM (#5492)

        wouldn't worry, i don't think it was any kind of ultimatum at all. nobody is banning feet and inches.

        to me it read 'if you've got the option to use imperial or metric, as we are a techie crowd - go metric. we also encourage /random item/ if it makes better sense.'

        first half of my life was imperial, and after getting over my resistance to change i found metric to be like someone opening the shades, or lifting a weight off my back. still, though, eyeballing things my brain generally returns inches, driving distances are miles. still haven't come to terms with UK mpg not same as US mpg.

        personally i work in mm and meters. for some odd reason I hate cm. to me it feels like adding a 10k unit between kilobyte and megabyte. who would do that!!! i found it to be quite a revelation when the reality that everything is actually in meters and the prefixes are just where you put the decimal point becomes second nature and not just a concept. all of a sudden visualisations and mental conversions become instant and fluid. realtionships that might not be as obvious with fractions stare you in the face.

        • (Score: 1) by Yog-Yogguth on Monday February 24 2014, @04:03AM

          by Yog-Yogguth (1862) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 24 2014, @04:03AM (#5512) Journal

          Quick! Nobody tell this guy about decametre! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decametre [wikipedia.org]

          --
          Bite harder Ouroboros, bite! tails.boum.org/ linux USB CD secure desktop IRC *crypt tor (not endorsements (XKeyScore))
          • (Score: 1) by tftp on Monday February 24 2014, @05:35AM

            by tftp (806) on Monday February 24 2014, @05:35AM (#5582) Homepage

            Even worse, there is Hexameter [wikipedia.org] too. Not quite what you'd expect, though - it evaluates to six feet :-)

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @03:49PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @03:49PM (#5893)

              Indeed, to six metrical feet. How's that for unit confusion? ;-)

          • (Score: 1) by linsane on Monday February 24 2014, @07:01AM

            by linsane (633) on Monday February 24 2014, @07:01AM (#5625)

            It was decilitres that always irked me. I think it might be something to do with their overuse by organic chemists. Strange lot, them...

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @07:57AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @07:57AM (#5664)

            yeah, the decametre has bad juju. must not contemplate...

            funny thing is - i knew instantly without even thinking about it that it was 10 meters, 10,000mm and .01km.

            How many inches in a mile? that's a mental mouthful or memorised.

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by NCommander on Monday February 24 2014, @01:09AM

    by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <michael@casadevall.pro> on Monday February 24 2014, @01:09AM (#5420) Homepage Journal

    But what about powers of 2. I mean, technically, we should be using KiB, MiB, GiB, TiB, etc., even though the terminology sounds weird as hell.

    --
    Still always moving
    • (Score: 2, Funny) by Yog-Yogguth on Monday February 24 2014, @03:58AM

      by Yog-Yogguth (1862) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 24 2014, @03:58AM (#5507) Journal

      Ah, I was thinking about the other kind of powers of 2. After all bits and bytes are more often than not areas in silicon.

      8B²=64B
      64B²=4096B=4KiB=4.096KB (not that I endorse the madness)
      &c.

      1KiB=32B² ← isn't that beautiful?
      1MiB=1024B² ∴ "My rotten DSL does a kibi squared per second!"

      And of course:

      1.5TiB=1.5MiB² "...I need another squmibi or two" :D

      Squbit, squbyte, squkibi, squmibi, squgibi. squtebi, squexbi, squpebi, squzebi, squyobi, squhtulhubi, ia ia! ♥

      --
      Bite harder Ouroboros, bite! tails.boum.org/ linux USB CD secure desktop IRC *crypt tor (not endorsements (XKeyScore))
      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday February 24 2014, @07:29PM

        by VLM (445) on Monday February 24 2014, @07:29PM (#6088)

        Just use kiloquads of information like star trek.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by mhajicek on Monday February 24 2014, @05:12AM

      by mhajicek (51) on Monday February 24 2014, @05:12AM (#5563)

      But sometimes to dispel a demon you need the power of three.

      --
      The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @08:52AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @08:52AM (#5686)

      How many bits are there in an SI byte again? I always forget, is it 10 or 100 bits?

      I mean if you want to use SI units, you need to do it right, not some half-assed stuff like kilo-feet or Mi(8-bit byte).

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by PrinceVince on Monday February 24 2014, @01:17AM

    by PrinceVince (2801) on Monday February 24 2014, @01:17AM (#5423)

    If the authors are quoting articles, couldn't they simply add a unit of the other system in parentheses?

    "The rocket stage will orbit the earth at a distance of 5250 miles (8450 km)..."

    • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Monday February 24 2014, @05:18AM

      by mhajicek (51) on Monday February 24 2014, @05:18AM (#5568)

      Or in units more familiar, 256 blocks.

      --
      The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @03:13PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @03:13PM (#5856)

        Or in units more familiar, 256 blocks.

        Metric or imperial blocks?

    • (Score: 1) by dbe on Monday February 24 2014, @05:46PM

      by dbe (1422) on Monday February 24 2014, @05:46PM (#5985)

      Actually you could have it implemented as a user parameter.
      It shouldn't be too hard to tag units in each article and then convert them to the user preferred system.
      You could also have a dual mode where the original submission is present, but the user preferred system is in parenthesis?
      Even better, you could maybe select for each type of units (length, weight, time, volume...) your preferred system?
      -dbe

    • (Score: 1) by CluelessMoron on Monday February 24 2014, @08:24PM

      by CluelessMoron (1374) on Monday February 24 2014, @08:24PM (#6134)

      Way back when Canada switched to metric, clueless news reporters constantly wrote gems like this:

      "The victim was found about 3 miles (4828.032 metres) away".

      ...which of course led to people complaining that metric is obviously horribly complicated.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by mth on Monday February 24 2014, @02:06AM

    by mth (2848) on Monday February 24 2014, @02:06AM (#5444) Homepage

    One thing to consider is the ease of converting between units. I have no problems converting miles to km in my head, but Fahrenheit to Celcius is not straightforward. I don't know if US readers are exposed to Celcius often enough to make that viable as the only unit used, if not then please mention both.

    Note that degrees Celcius is not an SI unit; Kelvin is. So for reporting about lasers and stars, please use Kelvin, but for topics like the weather I'd prefer Celcius.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by c0lo on Monday February 24 2014, @03:06AM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 24 2014, @03:06AM (#5478) Journal

      Note that degrees Celcius is not an SI unit; Kelvin is. So for reporting about lasers and stars, please use Kelvin, but for topics like the weather I'd prefer Celcius.

      <pedantic mode="on">CelSius [wikipedia.org]</pedantic>

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0 https://soylentnews.org/~MichaelDavidCrawford
  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by jb on Monday February 24 2014, @02:24AM

    by jb (338) on Monday February 24 2014, @02:24AM (#5454)

    After all, the purpose of any unit of measure is to convey meaning.

    Different quantities can be expressed more meaningfully in different units.

    For example, why describe something as being "1219 millimetres" long, when "4 feet" conveys the actual meaning far better?

    Conversely, "3 grams" is likely to convey far more meaning to most readers than "46 grains" would.

    It's not a question of chosing exclusively metric or exclusively imperial (or US or Troy or any other system).

    The guiding principle should be to choose whichever unit of measure best fits the thing being measured.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by beckett on Monday February 24 2014, @03:11AM

      by beckett (1115) on Monday February 24 2014, @03:11AM (#5481)

      1219 millimetres long can also be expressed as 1.2m. no need to ever involve using 4 feet as a measurement.

      in regards to the unit of measure that 'best fits' it's hard to beat the metric system. far less internal confusion than e.g. US Gallon(3785ml) vs. UK Gallon(4546ml).

      you may think it's convenient to call a cup of something "1 cup", but do you mean 250ml(ca), 236ml(us), 240ml(US FDA). 284ml(UK)?

      it's easier to understand conversions in metric as well: converting from cubic meters to cubic centimeters is just *100000: move the decimal place. convert from cubic feet to cubic inches, you have to know there are 1728 cubic inches to a cubic foot.

      here of all places we should try to push the human race forward into using scientific notation wherever possible.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Koen on Monday February 24 2014, @03:23AM

        by Koen (427) on Monday February 24 2014, @03:23AM (#5485)

        1219 millimetres long can also be expressed as 1.2m. no need to ever involve using 4 feet as a measurement.

        4.000 feet = 1219 milimeters.

        4.0 feet = 1.2 meter

        4 feet = 1 meter

        What is the unit of pedantry?

        --
        /. refugees on Usenet: comp.misc [comp.misc]
        • (Score: 1) by beckett on Monday February 24 2014, @05:07AM

          by beckett (1115) on Monday February 24 2014, @05:07AM (#5558)

          i would think pedantry would be measured at 1.0936133 yards, or 1meter, rather than 48inches.

        • (Score: 1) by sjwt on Monday February 24 2014, @10:31AM

          by sjwt (2826) on Monday February 24 2014, @10:31AM (#5721)

          Try it the other way around with say buying a 1300mm length of wood..

          1.3M = 13dm = 130cm =1300mm =1300000um
          Nice and easy to pick a number to match within what ever daily tolerances one needs.

          mm would be its lowest common daily denominator though more often its cm and I've never seen anyone use dm IRL, however in any situation you need less than a mm, micrometre (um) will faultlessly be understood by most average joes and by anyone who needs to know what it is.

          1mm gets you an accuracy to 0.03937007874 inch or close to 1/32"
          1um gives you an accuracy of around 1/25000"

          What is the unit of pedantry for Imperial?

          1300mm = (with playing extremely nice on the fractions by rounding a lot)
          51.181102362 inches or 51 and 9/10"
          4.2650918635 feet or 4 and 53/200'
          1.4216972878 yards 1 and 211/500 yards
          0.34407008443 roods or 43/125 roods
          0.064622474746 chains [survey] or 3231/50000 chains [survey]
          0.042650918635 chains [engineer]or 853/20000 chains [engineer]

        • (Score: 1) by Scruffy on Monday February 24 2014, @09:06PM

          by Scruffy (1087) on Monday February 24 2014, @09:06PM (#6178)

          What is the unit of pedantry?

          Pedandtry is measured in niggles. :)

          --
          1087 is a lucky prime.
      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by jb on Monday February 24 2014, @04:00AM

        by jb (338) on Monday February 24 2014, @04:00AM (#5508)

        1219 millimetres long can also be expressed as 1.2m

        But the trouble is it often isn't.

        The metric system only begins to approach useful as "one true system" if one makes use of all available prefixes. Very few countries that have metricated actually did it that way, preferring instead to "dumb it down" by using only a small smattering of prefixes for each unit.

        Here in Australia, for example (where we decimalised currency in '66, metricated weights & measures in '76, and metricated everything else in '86), only a few select prefixes ever seem to be used with metric units -- and it's quite common for something to be described as being 1219mm despite the metre itself being the most obvious metric unit to use.

        For measuring the sorts of things the average person comes across on a daily basis, the imperial system did not suffer from that problem, as the units were based on real-world things that people were familiar with -- the metric system doesn't to either, but by making silly choicese (like using millimetres when metres would make more sense; or considering deci- or deka- anything virtually taboo), it has ended up that way (although I understand that in Europe at least metric units tend to be used more sensibly)

        Now the imperial system wasn't perfect either -- it had serious short-comings when dealing with extremely small or extremely large quantities (a problem which the metric system solves nicely).

        In a world where the most influential nation uses an almost [absent proper gallons] imperial system and most of the rest of the world uses the metric system, thereby ensuring that people everywhere still need to be familiar with both systems, surely when posting in an international forum it makes most sense just to pick whichever unit (from either system) fits best with the quantity being measured?

        • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @05:04AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @05:04AM (#5554)

          Here in Australia, ...

          ...

          In a world where the most influential nation uses an almost [absent proper gallons] imperial system...

          US economy went down and Aussie economy stayed fine, mainly because a certain nation imported iron ore and coal like crazy.

          US economy on a (slow) track to recovery, Aussie economy goes down because that above mentioned nation restructured its imports.

          Seems to me that the most influential nation (at least for Australia) is using other [wikipedia.org] units system

        • (Score: 1) by beckett on Monday February 24 2014, @05:04AM

          by beckett (1115) on Monday February 24 2014, @05:04AM (#5556)

          it's faster and easier to convert 1219m, divide by 1000 to 1.2km in your head than take 1 mile, and somehow remember there are 5280feet in a mile.

      • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Monday February 24 2014, @04:50PM

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Monday February 24 2014, @04:50PM (#5950) Homepage Journal

        you may think it's convenient to call a cup of something "1 cup", but do you mean 250ml(ca), 236ml(us), 240ml...

        A cup is half a pint, which is half a quart, which is 1/4 of a gallon. Metric's strength is the fact that it's digital and you can make it as precise as you want. OTOH Imperial is based on fractions; an inch is 1/12th of a foot, a foot is 1/3 of a yard, etc. With cooking, fractions are handier than decimals, in a scientific or engineering endeavor where you use precise values, metric is better.

        --
        mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
        • (Score: 1) by beckett on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:36AM

          by beckett (1115) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:36AM (#6367)

          A cup is half a pint, which is half a quart, which is 1/4 of a gallon.

          You need to explain the cup/pint/quart/gallon relationship: how is this more intuitive or handier than looking at 'centimeter' and realizing there are 100 of them in a meter?
           
           

          With cooking, fractions are handier than decimals, in a scientific or engineering endeavor where you use precise values, metric is better.

          if the directions say add a 'quart of milk', it could mean 1136ml in the UK, or 946ml in the states resulting in different dishes. however, if you use 1L of milk in the uk, and 1L of milk in australia, they're the same measure. I really think there's no need to limit thinking in units of 10 should be relegated to 'scientific or engineering endeavours'. 10 is the same number of fingers most of us were born with.

          • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:10PM

            by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:10PM (#6605) Homepage Journal

            It isn't more intuitive, there's nothing intuitive about any measuring system. It's more amenable to fractions than metric, which is based on decimals. Decimal math is hard with impreial units but dirt-simple with metric. So which is easier depends on whether you're using a slide rule or a computer.

            --
            mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
    • (Score: 2, Informative) by c0lo on Monday February 24 2014, @03:43AM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 24 2014, @03:43AM (#5500) Journal

      For example, why describe something as being "1219 millimetres" long, when "4 feet" conveys the actual meaning far better?

      "Convey the actual meaning better" my ass [wikipedia.org]... which has 4 feet indeed... why, everybody can count them ... but I just don't know about feet and distance, height or length.

      My point: people in different cultures would understand "ass=donkey" and the use of meters in a much natural/immediate manner; I might be wrong, but ask the french people, for which "cul" - from the latin culus - is more suggestive for "arse" and "ass" is more suggestive for donkey.
      Your "convey the actual meaning better" is so culture dependent it doesn't make sense when considering all the people in this world).

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0 https://soylentnews.org/~MichaelDavidCrawford
      • (Score: 1) by jb on Monday February 24 2014, @06:44AM

        by jb (338) on Monday February 24 2014, @06:44AM (#5614)

        "Convey the actual meaning better" my ass... which has 4 feet indeed... why, everybody can count them ... but I just don't know about feet and distance, height or length.

        Not sure if it applies to an ass or not, but to the best of my knowledge the height of a horse is still most commonly measured in hands.

        The mean curvature of an arse on the other hand, would presumably be just as difficult to visualise from the number alone regardless of whether expressed as inverse square decimetres or as inverse square inches...

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @07:01AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @07:01AM (#5627)

          The mean curvature of an arse on the other hand, would presumably be just as difficult to visualise from the number alone

          True. Still, within the topic of "best fitted for the job", appreciating the mentioned curvature by hand might work better than using numbers.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by No Respect on Monday February 24 2014, @02:48AM

    by No Respect (991) on Monday February 24 2014, @02:48AM (#5468)

    I anticipate at least a few stories about the severe water shortage affecting the western US states that are in the midst of a drought that has already been going on for a decade (more or less). Discussions of how much water is available where are invariably in units of "acre feet". I don't think converting that to liters is a good idea. Of course, it is primarily a US-centric issue, so when in Rome...

    • (Score: 5, Funny) by mhajicek on Monday February 24 2014, @05:45AM

      by mhajicek (51) on Monday February 24 2014, @05:45AM (#5587)

      Build aqueducts?

      --
      The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @09:13AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @09:13AM (#5691)

      The next size up from liter is cubic meter = 1000 liter.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @03:23PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @03:23PM (#5869)

        Wrong. The next (actually used) size up from liter is hectoliter = 100 liter. (The prefic hecto- always means 100; technically you could also use dekaliter for 10 liter, but I've never heard that).

  • (Score: 2, Funny) by c0lo on Monday February 24 2014, @02:54AM

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 24 2014, @02:54AM (#5471) Journal

    Soylentils, does the current ad-hoc approach meet your needs, or do you favor a more formal approach from your news discussion site?

    I most strenuously object... I had enough with name calling on the old /. ... be it a soy one or not, I'm a contributor and I will not accept being called a lentil.

    (grin)

    --
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0 https://soylentnews.org/~MichaelDavidCrawford
  • (Score: 2) by captain normal on Monday February 24 2014, @03:04AM

    by captain normal (2205) on Monday February 24 2014, @03:04AM (#5476)

    As an old sailor I have a preference for wind speed in knots and distance in nautical miles. If I see wind speed in ms it is fairly easy to multiply by 1.94 to get knots (or if an approximation is ok x2). I can also deal with kilometers instead of miles mainly because I communicate with folks in Europe, Australia and New Zealand on a regular basis. The only thing I still have a bit of trouble with is temperature notation. When my friends in Australia say it's "It's a real cooker over 40 out", I have to go to a conversion site to realize that they mean over 104 Fahrenheit. Likewise when one of my friends in Finland says "It's warm out 10 degrees.", I'm thinking freezing but to them it's nearly tee shirt weather.
    Of course if you are talking football fields, football is a different game in most of the world outside the U.S. The difference is 110 to 120 yards for soccer (futbol) to 100 for U.S. football. Australian rules football the field is 135 to 185 meters.
    The whole point being: As long as the article and summary are consistent. I think everyone can deal with it. Now if there is one thing I think we all should agree on it's whither to use bits per second or bytes per second.

    --
    When life isn't going right, go left.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @07:31AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @07:31AM (#5648)

      Of course if you are talking football fields, football is a different game in most of the world outside the U.S. The difference is 110 to 120 yards for soccer (futbol) to 100 for U.S. football. Australian rules football the field is 135 to 185 meters.

      And where "football" means "rugby", that's 144 metres (157 yards).

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @08:22AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @08:22AM (#5675)

      i agree about the temp thing. i'm pretty well converted after moving US to UK, i can visualise how long 1200mm is, but 8 degrees C? I'd have to convert to know whether that's sweatshirt or coat weather.

      re the bits: fuck bits measured to make it easy in base 10. the fact that the marketing departments of the world changed the definition of a technical term to suit the heathens is a crime. they should be punished.

      a kilobyte is 1024 bytes. a megabyte is 1024k. a gigabyte is 1024mb.

      anyone that disagrees is just wrong.

    • (Score: 2) by mojo chan on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:33AM

      by mojo chan (266) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:33AM (#7199)

      When my friends in Australia say it's "It's a real cooker over 40 out", I have to go to a conversion site to realize that they mean over 104 Fahrenheit. Likewise when one of my friends in Finland says "It's warm out 10 degrees.", I'm thinking freezing but to them it's nearly tee shirt weather.

      That's more to do with what they are used to than the units they use to measure. I'd never go out in just a t-shirt if it were 10C. FWIW I have no idea about Fahrenheit either, so 104F is meaningless to me.

      The difference is 110 to 120 yards for soccer (futbol) to 100 for U.S. football.

      Okay, look, you guys need to think of a better name for your sport than "football". You seem to spend most of your time carrying the ball, and the ball isn't even a ball so neither "foot" nor "ball" are appropriate.

      --
      const int one = 65536; (Silvermoon, Texture.cs)
  • (Score: 2) by Covalent on Monday February 24 2014, @03:29AM

    by Covalent (43) on Monday February 24 2014, @03:29AM (#5489) Journal

    I'd recommend petitioning our government, but:

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/make-met ric-system-standard-united-states-instead-imperial -system/FndsKXLh [whitehouse.gov]

    It would appear that our government does not think this is a priority.

    --
    You can't rationally argue somebody out of a position they didn't rationally get into.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by evilviper on Monday February 24 2014, @04:11AM

    by evilviper (1760) on Monday February 24 2014, @04:11AM (#5518) Homepage Journal

    It makes NO SENSE to use metric units for any US-only stories. It will cause readers who would otherwise understand the context, to immediately lose all reference points.

    "The bus was traveling for 4 hours, headed from Los Angeles to Las Vegas at 96.56 km/h before the crash."

    Now you've just confused the hell out of everybody. Anybody who knows the speed limits and distances involved is going to know them in miles and miles/hour (there are no KM on road signs). Those who don't know US measurements aren't going to have any context to understand the story in the first place. So now in one sentence you've written a story that needs a half-dozen footnotes for ANYBODY to understand anything about it.

    And honestly, is there really no automatic solution for this, today? A little bit of javascript that'll look for units and convert them? A perl script that'll just add the opposite units in parenthesis for every submission? A site preference that'll change units based on locale? Why is this even a THING?

    --
    Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
    • (Score: 2, Informative) by beckett on Monday February 24 2014, @05:28AM

      by beckett (1115) on Monday February 24 2014, @05:28AM (#5576)

      "The bus was traveling for 4 hours, headed from Los Angeles to Las Vegas at 96.56 km/h before the crash."

      Yes, the readers of the US, Burma and Liberia [cia.gov] will be so confused. the rest of the world can get by just fine, though. oh wait [elevenmyanmar.com], it's just US and Liberia now.

      And honestly, is there really no automatic solution for this, today?

      Gee, I wish there was some sort of offical declaration of a national policy of coordinating the increasing use of the metric system in the united states, and to establish a united states metric board to coordinate the voluntary conversion to the metric system [gpo.gov], say back in 1975?

      • (Score: 1, Troll) by evilviper on Monday February 24 2014, @05:55AM

        by evilviper (1760) on Monday February 24 2014, @05:55AM (#5593) Homepage Journal

        You've completely missed the point...

        Yes, the readers of the US, Burma and Liberia will be so confused. the rest of the world can get by just fine, though

        Really? Everybody else in the world knows the distance AND speed limit on the roads between Los Angeles and Las Vegas? That's quite impressive. I would have put the number closer to zero.

        --
        Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
        • (Score: 1) by beckett on Monday February 24 2014, @08:10AM

          by beckett (1115) on Monday February 24 2014, @08:10AM (#5670)

          You've completely missed the point... ...Everybody else in the world knows the distance AND speed limit on the roads between Los Angeles and Las Vegas? That's quite impressive.

          since you gave neither the distance nor the speed limit in your original post e.g.:

          "The bus was traveling for 4 hours, headed from Los Angeles to Las Vegas at 96.56 km/h before the crash."

          you're the one that's lost the plot.

          Regarding the distance travelled before the crash, anybody on earth that took basic mathematics could tell you the bus travelled 386.24km in 4 hours headed from LA.

          it's only the metric system for pete's sake; the same laws of arithmetics and physics apply.

          • (Score: 2) by evilviper on Monday February 24 2014, @11:31AM

            by evilviper (1760) on Monday February 24 2014, @11:31AM (#5746) Homepage Journal

            since you gave neither the distance nor the speed limit in your original post

            That's the point... which I keep having to hit you over the head with... it's a US story. Most Americans can give you an approximate number for both without any effort. They will give it, however, in MILES, and will certainly not be able to compare it to any number given in KM.

            it's only the metric system for pete's sake; the same laws of arithmetics and physics apply.

            I did not realize it before, but it seems the metric system causes some people to lose all ability of rational thought.

            --
            Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
            • (Score: 1) by beckett on Monday February 24 2014, @02:57PM

              by beckett (1115) on Monday February 24 2014, @02:57PM (#5837)

              That's the point... which I keep having to hit you over the head with... it's a US story.

              non sequitor. considering that over a third of USA citizens cannot locate "America" on a map of the USA [huffingtonpost.com] I wouldn't be so quick to jump to the conclusion that people in the US would be able to tell you the distance.

              there is nothing exceptional about the USA. you need to give the distance between LA and LV the same way another newspaper would give the distance between Paris and Dakar, even though that rally has been run for over 30 years.

              I did not realize it before, but it seems the metric system causes some people to lose all ability of rational thought.

              and that's the point people from the rest of the world are trying to make

    • (Score: 1) by lhsi on Monday February 24 2014, @09:08AM

      by lhsi (711) on Monday February 24 2014, @09:08AM (#5689) Journal

      It makes NO SENSE to use metric units for any US-only stories

      The simple way to avoid this issue is to not post US-only stories on a site with an international readership.

      • (Score: 1) by evilviper on Monday February 24 2014, @11:34AM

        by evilviper (1760) on Monday February 24 2014, @11:34AM (#5747) Homepage Journal

        The simple way to avoid this issue is to not post US-only stories on a site with an international readership.

        Good idea. It shouldn't take much effort to block all non-US IP addresses.

        --
        Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
        • (Score: 1) by beckett on Monday February 24 2014, @03:01PM

          by beckett (1115) on Monday February 24 2014, @03:01PM (#5840)

          Good idea. It shouldn't take much effort to block all non-US IP addresses.

          Sounds like we wouldn't even have to make an effort to block USA IP addresses: we'd just have to start posting stories in metric and they'll run away in droves.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by istartedi on Monday February 24 2014, @04:51AM

    by istartedi (123) on Monday February 24 2014, @04:51AM (#5546) Journal

    The submission form for a story could parse any reference
    to units, SI or otherwise, and convert them to SI (otherwise)
    form. This would place virtually no burden on the server. It
    could all be done client-side with JavaScript, or upon
    submission which only happens once per story and would thus
    place very little burden on the server. Perl is great at manipulating
    text. So. If some European submits a story about something
    being -40 C, the script transforms it into -40 C (-40 F).

    A developer bangs out a script in a few hours or uses an
    existing conversion package. That few hours of work turns Soylent
    into a nice little metric teaching tool going forward. Every
    story that has units comes with conversion, imparting a sense
    for the new units. That's just how most Americans got a sense
    for liters--via 2 liter soda bottles.

    Also, if the story submitter doesn't use units, the preview
    could have a little flag next to the number. You still have to allow
    dimensionless numbers for some purposes; but a reminder won't
    hurt.

    --
    Appended to the end of comments you post. Max: 120 chars.
    • (Score: 1) by Appalbarry on Monday February 24 2014, @05:22AM

      by Appalbarry (66) on Monday February 24 2014, @05:22AM (#5571) Journal

      Now THIS is a worthy project for some clever coder! Automated conversion and presentation! Love it! (And was about to suggest it...)

      • (Score: 1) by sar on Monday February 24 2014, @08:46PM

        by sar (507) on Monday February 24 2014, @08:46PM (#6157)

        Looking forward to read for example about Amiga 2000 C (3632 F) computer...

        • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Monday February 24 2014, @09:54PM

          by maxwell demon (1608) on Monday February 24 2014, @09:54PM (#6225) Journal

          Well, the correct temperature unit is °C anyway (the degree sign is mandatory). I don't think there was ever an Amiga 2000 °C, so the problem won't appear when using the units correctly (of course one could also use the dedicated Unicode character ℃ ... and I just notice that SN doesn't seem to support &hellip;)

          --
          The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 2) by mtrycz on Monday February 24 2014, @09:43AM

      by mtrycz (60) on Monday February 24 2014, @09:43AM (#5704)

      I support this.

      --
      In capitalist America, ads view YOU!
  • (Score: 0, Redundant) by fx_68 on Monday February 24 2014, @05:20AM

    by fx_68 (2719) on Monday February 24 2014, @05:20AM (#5569) Homepage

    Let's just use cowboy Neal units. Why mess with any other units.

    Everyone knows cowboy Neal. Lol

    --
    Some where on the black vein highways of America......
  • (Score: 1, Informative) by internetguy on Monday February 24 2014, @05:51AM

    by internetguy (235) on Monday February 24 2014, @05:51AM (#5590)

    A Meter can only be evenly divided into 2 or 5.
    A Foot can be divided into 2, 3, 4, or 6.

    So if you ever have to measure a third of a Meter, good luck!

    --
    Sig: I must be new here.
    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @07:01AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @07:01AM (#5626)

      Indeed.

      And a pound (as a unit of currency) can be divided evenly into 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 16, 20, 24, 30, 40, 48, 60, 80 or 120 or 240 (and even more before ha'pennies & farthings were ditched), whereas a dollar can only be divided evenly into 2, 4, 5, 10, 20, 25, 50 or 100.

      But then again, if most of the world hadn't metricated & decimalised, we'd have to find some other excuse for basic mental arithmetic no longer being a near-universal skill...

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @07:08AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @07:08AM (#5632)

      1/3 m is a foot.

      Or approximately a decimeter.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @07:59AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @07:59AM (#5665)

        1/3 m is a foot.
        Or approximately a decimeter.

        1dm x 3 == 3dm

        3.333...dm x 3 == 1m

        If "approximately" means "out by a factor of 3", then this system of measurement isn't worth a cracker (== 25,416 crumbs)

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @02:00PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @02:00PM (#5802)

          Or a physicist is involved

        • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Monday February 24 2014, @10:02PM

          by maxwell demon (1608) on Monday February 24 2014, @10:02PM (#6233) Journal

          If "approximately" means "out by a factor of 3", then this system of measurement isn't worth a cracker (== 25,416 crumbs)

          Come on, that's not even an order of magnitude! ;-)

          --
          The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 1) by beckett on Monday February 24 2014, @08:24AM

      by beckett (1115) on Monday February 24 2014, @08:24AM (#5678)

      A Meter can only be evenly divided into 2 or 5.

      have you ever heard of decimals? centimeter, millimeter, micrometer, nanometer, picometer etc.. the unit of measurement is self-descriptive.

      So if you ever have to measure a third of a Meter, good luck!

      So if you ever have to figure how many links are in a rod, feet in a furlong, or the number of chains per mile, good luck!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @08:32AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @08:32AM (#5681)

      nah, it's decimal vs fractions.

      fuck fractions, there aren't any on my keyboard.

    • (Score: 2, Funny) by Gbr on Monday February 24 2014, @09:10AM

      by Gbr (2969) on Monday February 24 2014, @09:10AM (#5690)

      Ah, if only evolution has given us 12 fingers.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @03:40PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @03:40PM (#5882)

      I can do so to any precision required (if I have the right measurement equipment, of course). To start with, 1/3 meter is approximately 333 millimeters, and for the vast majority of cases that's sufficiently close. If I need something better, I can with my eye find the place where I'm roughly 1/3mm further (note that there are measuring tapes which have half-millimeter marks, which can help a lot for this). That's not exact, but I doubt that with normal equipment you'd be able to get more exact than that with imperial measures either (I'm speaking of actual measurements, not about the mathematical properties in an idealized world).

      In the extremely rare case that you need more precision, you'll need specialized equipment anyway.

      Now please tell me how you would measure 1/5 foot with imperial measures.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by qwerty on Monday February 24 2014, @08:21AM

    by qwerty (861) on Monday February 24 2014, @08:21AM (#5673) Homepage

    I would prefer we celebrate the rich history of our varied systems of units without applying any rules or forced conversions.

    I grew up in Australia reading my dad's old chemistry and physics textbooks which used imperial units. I was amazed at all the extra math those units required in his physical equations, all while using a slide-rule. But at school I only ever knew the metric system, and SI at university. I now live and work in the USA where every tape measure I see uses inches and all gas stations use gallons. I teach my kids metres/meters plus feet and gallons and pounds. I explain the difference between Celsius and Fahrenheit. For a while I was occasionally asked which one is hotter. :-) Just explaining why Fahrenheit is different to Celsius is a marvelous opportunity to discuss some interesting science history. If we homogenize our discussions here in any way then we will surely miss out on what could have been.

    • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Monday February 24 2014, @09:28PM

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Monday February 24 2014, @09:28PM (#6201) Homepage Journal

      I grew up in Australia reading my dad's old chemistry and physics textbooks which used imperial units. I was amazed at all the extra math those units required in his physical equations, all while using a slide-rule. But at school I only ever knew the metric system, and SI at university.

      The secret is that slide rules are a very good fit for imperial units, which are analog and easily broken into fractions, but not decimals. A slide rule won't tell you the answer is 2.3333872, it will give you 2 1/3. Metrics fit computers well, imperial doesn't.

      --
      mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
  • (Score: 1) by Aiwendil on Monday February 24 2014, @01:44PM

    by Aiwendil (531) on Monday February 24 2014, @01:44PM (#5790) Journal

    Use the original unit as a primary with a bracketed notion for the rough converted secondary unit (SI*/European) (ie: "car crashed at 60mph [95kph]")

    If you use a non-sense measurement ("olympic size swimming pool for instance) do supply both SI and US in brackets [Foo m^2 / Bar us.gal].

    However, no matter what form of unit you supply make sure you specify what unit you use.

    And if you use one of us customary/us legal/commonweatlh/imperial/nautical/japanese then do specify which one unless it is very clear from the article. (Consider a sailing-competition with a distance of 20 miles that originates from Sheffield*)

    * = I know, I know :)

  • (Score: -1) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @02:42PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @02:42PM (#5823)

    I've said this before and i'll say it again: Let's make a deal, we start using decimal point and you start using metric. Deal?

  • (Score: 1) by sudo on Monday February 24 2014, @02:51PM

    by sudo (647) on Monday February 24 2014, @02:51PM (#5829)
    Just use a Firefox add-on. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/con verter/ [mozilla.org]
  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by skullz on Monday February 24 2014, @05:53PM

    by skullz (2532) on Monday February 24 2014, @05:53PM (#5993)

    Does it really even matter? No one actually reads the articles anyway. What are the units for gut reactions and snark?

  • (Score: 1) by etherscythe on Tuesday February 25 2014, @12:36AM

    by etherscythe (937) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @12:36AM (#6305) Journal

    So I'm late to the discussion on this, but is there something in MathJax that could allow the users of the site to convert to suit their own tastes? I know it's not yet implemented here but this could be an incentive to get'r'done...

    --
    "Fake News: anything reported outside of my own personally chosen echo chamber"
  • (Score: 1) by Abominous Salad on Monday March 03 2014, @12:52AM

    by Abominous Salad (3074) on Monday March 03 2014, @12:52AM (#9842)

    As a United Statesian I throw my vote at: Base 10 all the units, or STFU. I'll adjust.