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Thread: English/metric measurement error in the Mars Climate Orbiter

  1. #91
    Tonyg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyfoale View Post
    A gentleman would never mix guineas with s and d. A buyer of milling cutters would never use guineas. Please know your place in the class structure.
    You are so right Tony, just forgot my station for a while.

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    Quote Originally Posted by drum365 View Post
    And then we've got pennies,* long tons, statute miles, nautical miles, swimming miles,** stone,*** rods, leagues, pecks, bushels, hands, blocks,**** shots, jiggers, ponies, drams, board feet, acre feet, cords, and RCHs.*****

    And don't get me started on Whitworth nuts & bolts!

    * nail sizes
    ** 1650 yards
    *** yes, the plural of "stone" is "stone"
    **** as a city distance
    ***** the smallest distance you can move a rip fence by tapping
    The stone (14lbs) is still commonly used in the UK when they discuss their body weight. Perhaps it makes them sound slimmer?

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    mklotz mklotz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyfoale View Post
    Crowns and Florins existed but were only in common use way back.
    I was there in the mid-sixties and remember getting half crowns in change. This Wikipedia entry...

    In the years just before decimalisation, the circulating British coins were the half crown (2/6, withdrawn 1 January 1970), two shillings or florin (2/-), shilling (1/-), sixpence (6d), threepence (3d), penny (1d) and halfpenny (​1⁄2d). The farthing (​1⁄4d) had been withdrawn in 1960. There was also the Crown (5/-), which was, and still is legal tender, worth 25p, but normally did not circulate.

    says they weren't withdrawn until 1970. I seem to remember crowns as well in the change I brought home but can't verify since that was stolen years ago.
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    mklotz mklotz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonyg View Post
    The stone (14lbs) is still commonly used in the UK when they discuss their body weight. Perhaps it makes them sound slimmer?
    The stone is also the reason the British hundredweight (cwt) weighs a surprising 112 pounds (8 stone).

    Anvils used to be stamped with three digits, eg. ABC, to denote their weight

    A = hundredweights
    B = quarters cwt (28 pounds)
    C = pounds

    so, instead of three digits denoting weight in pounds, they made you work for it. This system was probably created by a frustrated arithmetic teacher.
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    Thank you for this post Jon, it certainly grew legs.
    However it is sad that in this relatively advanced world that we now live in we still can not agree on one measurement system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mklotz View Post
    And then there are chains. An acre (the amount of land a man can plow in a day) is a chain wide and ten chains long. A chain is 66 feet long, a tenth of a furlong.
    I mentioned before that we have to keep chains. Otherwise we would have to stop playing cricket.

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    Jon
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    Asimov did a good job on this topic in Realm of Measure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mklotz View Post
    I was there in the mid-sixties and remember getting half crowns in change.
    Yes half crowns were very common, it was crowns that I said existed but were not in common use. Crowns would be prized and given to the children of well off families for Xmas and birthdays. As my family was not in that class I had to settle for half crowns as very special presents. Sometimes people would put a half crown in a Xmas pudding but a few thrup'ny bits would be more common.

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    For those not sure why we would bother to measure insects in chains.
    Quote Originally Posted by tonyfoale View Post
    ....Otherwise we would have to stop playing cricket.
    Cricket, explained
    You have 2 sides, 1 out in the field; and 1 in.
    Each man thatís in the in side, goes out, until heís out and then he comes in, and the next man goes in until heís out.
    When the in side have all gone in and out, the side that was out comes in, and the side thatís been in and got out, goes out and tries to the side coming in, out.
    Sometimes you even get a man still in, and not out.
    When both sides have been in and out, including the not outs, thatís the end of the game

  11. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyfoale View Post
    Yes half crowns were very common, it was crowns that I said existed but were not in common use. Crowns would be prized and given to the children of well off families for Xmas and birthdays. As my family was not in that class I had to settle for half crowns as very special presents. Sometimes people would put a half crown in a Xmas pudding but a few thrup'ny bits would be more common.
    I remember having coins in Christmas pudding - normally sixpences (half-a-bob) and thrup'ny bits (tickey). I still have some of the tickeys (pre 1960) which are made of silver.

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