View Poll Results: Which system do you find more convenient in your everyday life?

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  • Metric (International)

    13 61.90%
  • British/American

    3 14.29%
  • I use both

    5 23.81%
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Thread: Alright. Measuring systems, pounds, miles, gallons and so on

  1. #1
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    Alright. Measuring systems, pounds, miles, gallons and so on

    I want this issue be settled for me once and for all.

    How many types of pounds (mass unit) are there?

    I just don't understand what ratio should I use to conver it to the metric system. I always thought that 1 pound = 0.45 kg, but I have doubts now, because a friend of mine insists that 1 pound = 0.466 kg

    There are so many types of pounds, according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pound_(mass) that I got confused completely.

    When they say in a newspaper for example that something weights 90 pounds which pound are they referring to? What ratios should I use for conversion?

    And do pounds in UK differ from pounds in USA?

    I have the same question about miles. When they say a hundred miles - what exaclty it would be in kilometers?

    And the last question - how do you people can remember all those differences without a headache?
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  2. #2
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    From what I can tell Brit pounds and American pounds as a unit of weight are identical. Certain other units are used for odd special uses (like for gold). It is not confusing here in the US because we only use pounds and the other old English measures. We only use metric units in science.

    Google will easily perform any conversions you like. Just type "751 kg in pounds" or whatever you like. "1000 km in miles", etc.

  3. #3
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    Theoretically, there is a very slight difference between modern US pound anbd UK pound, but it is so insignificant that for all practical purposes they are the same.

    Now, Troy pound is very different, but it is only used for weighing precious metals and such.

    On a related note, volume measures (such as pints, quarts and gallons) are, indeed, different between USA and the British Commonwealth (although the latter has mostly switched to the metric system)

  4. #4
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    Well, I use both because I have to use measurements at work in helping customers so I work in centimeters, meters, inches kilometers and miles, and I don't get a headache from having to chop and change becuase I use them all so regularly.

    But, most people just learn one, like the older generations were taught in imperial measurements and so use them, while younger generations are taught in metric measurements - When the two meet people get very confused thats why I have to use both

  5. #5
    Завсегдатай kalinka_vinnie's Avatar
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    I think 1 kg is 2.2 pounds or something like that.

    I hate the american system, wasn't there a decision to switch to the metric system some time in the 70s? At least food now is labeled in both pounds and grams and ounces and litres...
    Hei, rett norsken min og du er død.
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  6. #6
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    There are certain advantages to some of the measures we use. I think the best example is the Fahrenheit system for temperature. It has two advantages. One is that it is a naturally more precise system, the other is that it creates a very natural way of talking about outdoor temperatures since they can range from zero being very cold to 100 being very hot. It is very easy to understand.

  7. #7
    Завсегдатай kalinka_vinnie's Avatar
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    Trust me, people in Europe also feel that Celsius is a very natural way of talking about temperatures, where 0 is very cold (32 F) and 30 is very hot. And why is it more precise?
    Hei, rett norsken min og du er død.
    I am a notourriouse misspeller. Be easy on me.
    Пожалуйста! Исправляйте мои глупые ошибки (но оставьте умные)!
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  8. #8
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kalinka_vinnie
    Trust me, people in Europe also feel that Celsius is a very natural way of talking about temperatures, where 0 is very cold (32 F) and 30 is very hot. And why is it more precise?
    One Farenhait degree is smaller than one of Celsius. But I believe Celsius is more natural. 0 is when water freezes while 100 is when it boils. What''s more natural than water? I don't even know what the Farenheit system is based on.

    (When we need to be more precise we can use tenths, like when measuring the body temperature which is 36.6 Celsius degrees at armpit of a healthy human)

    And how much a gallon is? Why is that that depending on commodity being measured the volume of a gallon changes? This's giving me a headache.

    1 metric ton = 1000 kg
    1 English ton = 1016.0469088 kg
    1 American ton = 907.18474 kg


    And other things - what I cannot understand is why British/US measuring units never have any understandable division into smaller parts:

    1 mile is 1760 yards ...

    Even with money:
    1₤ = 100 pences now, but before 1971 it went like this:
    1₤ = 4 crowns = 20 shillings = 240 pence
    There were also guinea, 1 guinea = 21 shillings

    Why people in UK were so creative with their units?
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  9. #9
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    Yes Fahrenheit is far more accurate, as degrees are commonly and easily given in 10ths of degrees. Such as , "today the temperature was 72.7 degrees" . This is how temperatures were given in Australia. But the same can be said for "Inches". We can easily imagine how much smaller something is between 1/32nd and 1/64th of an inch. Metric has only points on the decimal. ie .0004 or .02 of a millimeter. It is harder to get a reference point.

    Anyway, the difference between US and British is simple.

    US Standard is the system Britain used before the American Revolution. The British later changed their system to "Imperial" and the Americans stayed on the original system. Basically, the Americans use an older version of the British measuring system.
    So,

    US pound = 16oz
    British pound = 16oz

    US Pint = 16 fl oz
    British Pint = 20 fl oz

    US Gallon = 128 fl oz
    British = 160 fl oz

    US Hundred Weight = 100 lbs
    British = 112lbs

    US Ton = 2000 lbs
    British = 2240 lbs

    1 mile = 5,280 feet everywhere.

    Distance is the same, except for nautical miles. 1 nautical mile can be 6,080 feet or 6,000 feet. I don't know why.
    Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to talk, think and act for myself. - Chief Joseph, Nez Perce

  10. #10
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DDT
    1 mile = 5,280 feet everywhere.
    Oh, I understand now why:

    Wikipedia:Mile:

    The Statute Mile is the distance typically meant when the word mile is used without other qualifying words (e.g. Nautical Mile, see below).

    It originates from a Statute of the English parliament in 1592 during the reign of Elizabeth I. This defined the Statute Mile as 5,280 feet or 1,760 yards; or 63,360 inches. The reason for these rather irregular numbers is that 5280 feet is made up of eight furlongs (the length generally that a furrow was plowed before the horses were turned, furlong = furrow-long). In turn a furlong is 10 chains (a surveyor's chain, used as such until laser rangefinders took over); a chain is 22 yards and a yard is three feet, making up 5280 ft. 22 yards is also the length of a cricket pitch, a game originating in England and still played today particularly in countries that were once part of the now defunct British Empire.


    Quote Originally Posted by DDT
    Distance is the same, except for nautical miles. 1 nautical mile can be 6,080 feet or 6,000 feet. I don't know why.
    At least this has a logic base:

    The nautical mile was historically defined as a minute of arc along a meridian of the Earth. The nautical mile was originally defined as 1 minute of arc along a meridian (or in some instances any great circle) of the Earth. Although this distance varies depending on the latitude of the meridian (or great circle) where it is used, on average it is about 6,076 feet (about 1852 m or 1.15 statute miles).

    And the Russian mile was approximately 4.64 longer than the English one (24500 ft)

    If anyone's interested about old Russian units of measurements see:
    Obsolete Russian units of measurement.
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  11. #11
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    Can we just be honest that the metric system is logical and perfectly easy to use, and that there is no inherent advantage in either standard British or American weights and measures.

    They only reason they are "easier to use" is that you know them and it's what you are used to.

    Yes, in the '70s there was some effort in the USA to introduce the metric system, but the general populace just couldn't be arsed and they soon quit trying.

    And don't even get me started on the one dollar coin!
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  12. #12
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    English and Imperial measurements weren't designed as a complete system in the way Metric was, they resulted from standardisations of many much older, and often unconnected, units of measurement which had originally been based on the world around the people who used them.

    A foot was roughly the length of a human foot.

    A yard was roughly the length of a human stride.

    A furlong was roughly the length of a ploughed furrow.

    And so on.

    No-one sat down and decided that there should be 12 inches in a foot and 3 feet in a yard, and 1760 yards in a mile, those were just the closest whole-number matchs when all these measurements were related to each other and standardised into a single, convertable system.

    It is precisely because these units were originally based on common real-world needs (rather than starting with a thoroughly useless measurement such as the size of the Earth, as was the case with Metric), that I do have sympathy with those who find Imperial easier to use in everyday situations (in spite of the fact that I personally tend to think in metric). It is simply often easier to visualise a measurement of, say, 19 feet than it is to visualise 5.8 metres, or even 6 metres if you want to stick to whole numbers.

  13. #13
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    How can you tell 19 feet from 20 feet?
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  14. #14
    Почтенный гражданин capecoddah's Avatar
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    Scientific calculator is what I use, or this site:
    http://www.metric-conversions.org/conve ... lators.htm

    I WON'T start with Nautical...

    Actually, I'll just stop without any trivia
    I'm easily amused late at night...

  15. #15
    Почтенный гражданин BabaYaga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scotcher
    A foot was roughly the length of a human foot.
    (...)
    It is precisely because these units were originally based on common real-world needs ..... (...)

    Scotcher - you've just proved beyond reasonable doubt that metric is a much more useful and correct system... :P

    As a dance teacher, I have to buy shoes for my pupils every year. Well, the only sizes 36 and 37 (UK about size 4 - anyone want to get started on shoes and clothes sizes?! ) I have to get, are for my over-forties. The kids (12-13 year-olds) take sizes 39-40-41, I even have one 15 year old with a size 42! (and I'm talking about the girls here!). The kids nowadays don't have feet, they have battleships at the end of their legs!

    So according to the original theory, the Imperial measures change as humanity changes (which would make it a totally impossible system) - or loses its reference to the world around it, and therefore the ease of use.... :P



    BTW - does nobody here use Versaverter? It'll convert anything to anything - probably one of the most useful little programmes I have on my PC....
    Ой, голова у меня кружится |-P ...... and my brain hurts too....

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil
    One Farenhait degree is smaller than one of Celsius. But I believe Celsius is more natural. 0 is when water freezes while 100 is when it boils. What''s more natural than water? I don't even know what the Farenheit system is based on.
    Чтобы переводить градусы Фаренгейта в градусы Цельсия достаточно запомнить следующие математические действия: отнять 32 градуса, а остаток умножить на 0,6

    Дополнительные сведения:

    1 дюйм = 25,3995 мм
    1 фут = 30,497 см
    1 ярд = 0,9144 м
    1 миля = 1,6093 км

    Помимо этого, насколько мне известно плотность вещества у них выражается через API (плотность, выраженная в единицах Американского института нефти). Чем больше величина плотности в API, тем легче соединение.

  17. #17
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    Yeah, I know. I was translating the documentation once that has pressure measured in psi (pounds per square inch). As a special note, my client asked to convert all units to the metric system. I still have nightmares about that.

    And BTU - British Thermal units, and foot pounds-force, ft lb-force/minute, etc...

    It was hell. Absolute hell

    Here's a great link
    http://www.ex.ac.uk/cimt/dictunit/dictunit.htm
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