TNET 41: Is The Metric System Actually Better?

Yes. Yes, it is. Abso-fucking-lutely and indisputably.

Open thread, talk whatever you want, just don’t be a sphincter.

Previous thread.



  1. robert79 says

    How is this even a question?

    I can understand old units sticking around for tradition’s sake, (in Dutch we have several expressions which would literally translate as “as far as a mile” or “as thick as thumb”, and esp. in cooking we still use ounces, spoons and cups (which now have appropriate SI conversions.) But anyone who has had to do a minute amount of unit conversions (such as you see in high school), would realize that dividing/multiplying by powers of ten is just a lot easier?

    That said, as a former astronomer I’m obliged to say that CGS ( is obviously superior, even though no astronomer understands why it is meaningful to express the distance from the earth to the sun in centimeters, or the speed of light in cm/s.

  2. says

    I’d suggest some derivative of base 2 makes more sense than base 10. Use of hexadecimal was widespread in my work with computer hardware design.

  3. Who Cares says

    Now if they’d manage to do this to dates & times, those do probably more damage then even having the imperial system or having to convert to/from it.
    And yes it will take a while but I’m optimistic (granted there will always be deniers) that the SI system will eventually make it into the US to stay.

  4. Rob Grigjanis says

    I’ve long preferred Planck units. This evening, I’ll be drinking about 4e103 cubic Planck lengths of vodka.

  5. alanuk says

    You have got me started now.
    The video barely touches on the insanity. Please do not call your American Customary Units, “British Units”. Many, including all the units of volume, are different even when they have the same name.
    The term “metric” is commonly used in the US but it embraces multiple systems of units notably c.g.s. (both electromagnetic and electrostatic versions) as well as M.K.S. and variations thereon (kg-force, metric-slug).
    In Europe we use S.I. units in engineering -- 7 units but only four are significant: metre, kilogramme, second, and ampere (originally called rationalized MKS units). These units have clear and precise definitions which are the same in all countries. The lack of such standards has led to the situation where the US has “British” units of length (called ‘survey’) and “International” versions that differ slightly -- both of which differ from the original British units on which they are based.
    S.I. units are still not perfect: we need a proper name for the unit of mass that does not have ‘kilo’ in it and that 4pi x 10^(-7) is an undesirable complication that will probably never go away.
    The alternative involving long-tons, short-tons (and at least 18 other tons) poundals and slugs, inches, and fractions thereof, not to forget the American habit of throwing “metric” units into the mix, is madness.

  6. Ice Swimmer says

    I’ve been bitten in the posterior by an angle unit mix-up. I assumed that a module in the simulation software (a three-phase sine wave signal generator in this case) would use radians (full circle, 360 degrees, is 2*pi radians) as the angle unit for setting the initial phase angle, but it used degrees. Took me a while to figure out why I seemingly cannot set the phase angle.

    Still, I’ve been happy to be spared from having to use, pound-feet, horsepower or BTUs in engineering. Horsepower would have been possibly the most egregious of them, there are at least six definitions of horsepower.

  7. StevoR says

    PS. Albeit for that first link, I gotta say I did read the novel first and loved it much more than the movie. Back in the day that was, haven’t read in it since a very long time ago and am afraid it likely has its flaws if I look back now but it was a good read at the time. Also, David Brin, I think (?), has not prove to be douchebag since then so .. yeah. Book is better anyhow. Also having just read its wikipage .. Shudder, yeah. Prescient.

    Second link main bit from 1 min 30 seconds mark onwards.

  8. says

    One week of school and we got 8 schools with classes in quarantine already. The State has a whomping one million inhabitants.
    It’s going really well…

  9. says

    I’m glad Shadow is going to be fine. *hug*

    Aaaaand I have a sore throat. No cough or fever. Of course it is exactly like those mild colds I’m getting 5 times a year, but I also have no frame of reference on how Covid feels.

  10. says

    @Giliell, get well soon, let us hope it is not the plague.

    @Anne, fingers crossed for shadow. We had a tomcat who lost his tail in a catfight. Cats are not very kind to each other.

  11. says

    Well, I don’t think it#s The Plague. It feels exactly like that damn tonsillitis I’m prone to. But I just called in sick. It’s that exact kind of “I’m feeling somewhat under the weather” sick where you usually just get your act together and go to work, but this year? No way! If there’s a Covid case in school they’ll blame me and not the party in Mallorca. I have a Covid test scheduled for Wednesday anyway (routine for teachers).

  12. Jazzlet says

    I hope Shadow hels well now she’s been treated, poor lass abcesses are horrid.

    I hope you haven’t got the plague, and that you feel better soon. It seems crazy to me that you are expected to continue with face to face schooling :-(

  13. says

    Giliell, I think you’re wise to stay home. Who knows what else you might catch at work, with your immune system already stressed.

    Shadow gave me a scare this morning when I fed her -- under Kitty’s bed, again -- she just laid there looking limp, with her head down, mewing pathetically. I googled lethargy in cats and got more freaked. I pulled the towel she was lying on out, she stood up and moved to the back, out of reach. I finally got Kitty to crawl under the bed and get Shadow because she needed her pain meds anyway. Turns out she can move just fine, she just didn’t feel like moving right then. Cats.

    I know, I worry too much. But she’s currently our only cat, she’s 19, and she’s family, and I’m very protective of my family.

  14. says

    Well, the doc said it’s a cold, lie low for a few days. I’m actually already feeling better, and normally I’d just have packed tissues and gone to work, but I have no interest in being blamed for the Covid they picked up at a family party where they all had to hug so hard because they hadn’t seen each other for so long.

  15. voyager says

    I’m glad to hear that you’re feeling better and that it’s only a miserable cold and not the miserable plague. Stay safe.


    Hooray for Shadow doing well. She looks adorable in her cone of shame. I had a cat that simply refused to wear one after bladder surgery. Her name was Rosie and she would obsessively bang the cone against the walls, trying to dislodge it. We took it off after a few hours and she immediately settled down and went to sleep. I tried to put it back on a few times but didn’t have the heart to force it on her. Instead, I went to a thrift store and bought a few kids t-shirts, which Rosie happily wore until her incision healed.

  16. says

    voyager, thank you for suggesting a cat t-shirt. I don’t know if Shadow would wear one, but it’s worth trying for at least long enough for Kitty to take a photo. I dug out the special old baby clothes from the closet storage, and it turns out I still have one of Kitty’s old batik baby t-shirts, purple with a turquoise kitty-cat. I’m washing it now, and tomorrow after the vet, we’ll see how it fits.

    Giliell, I hope you are feeling better.

  17. says

    So, the little one goes camping with her new school class next week. I was a bit taken back by the thought that they’d sleep together in a tent in times of the plague, but it turns out that each kid gets their own tent, only they asked parents if they had tents because the school only has enough tents to sleep two kids a tent.
    Now, if this year had been a normal year we’d have gotten them tents anyway for the holiday, so I went and bought one, for this trip as well as a promise for the future: there will be holidays again.
    But man do I suffer from nostalgia right now. Me, Mr, a car and a tent, those were times.

  18. says

    So, I probably no longer have a trans friend. He has turned out to be COVID-19 conspiracist and he disrespected my clearly stated wish not to discuss his pseudoscientific views with me -- today he has sent me a video by known anti-vaxxer R.F. Kennedy. Without e-mail subject, without any info, just a link. So I have put his e-mail in a spam filter, at least for a while.
    It is quite disheartening that a friend whom I have known since the university has turned out to be a crackpot.

  19. says

    This morning, I got up before the alarm at 6 am, fed the cat, fed myself, took my morning pills, and realized I couldn’t keep my eyes open. So I went back to bed and slept until lunchtime, over three hours. Having eaten a bit of lunch, I think I’ll go back to bed for a while.

    This is ridiculous; I have things to do today. But apparently I need the sleep even more.

  20. Jazzlet says

    That is frustrating, but I don’t see what else you can do when you have made your wishes clear.

    That is also frustrating, and all too familiar. I am struggling to get my sleeping patterns more aligned with the majority of the UK and am not helped by being so tired I could go back to sleep again most of many days.

    I have been sent information about a deferred pension and asked what proportion of the pension I want in a lump sum and how much in monthly payments. I have no idea, so it’s just as well that a) it not a lot of money, b) I don’t need it now, and c) they will pay interest on it all until I make up my mind, because I got the letter on my 60th birthday, mailed four days before, not a lot of time to make up your mind if you did need the money promptly, like you had actually just retired and wouldn’t be getting anymore salary..

  21. says

    Jazzlet, I think for one thing, a very big happy birthday is in order. At least you have the perfect excuse to celebrate just with your closest ones.

    Charly, I feel you.
    I’m getting seriously annoyed with my BFF. Oh, she’s not a conspiracy theorist, and I know that the “lockdown” (We never had a serious lockdown) took a harsh toll on her, but now she’s like “oh, sure, Covid is bad but the effects of the measures are worse. So this week our politicians sensibly decided to ban big events until the e end of the year, which means that her booked visit to some Harry Potter show had been postponed again, which she thinks is absolutely not OK, “they forbid us everything”. I get that she’s sad and disappointed, but does she think she’s the only person who has to do without things we love? Also, she’s sitting in her nice safe office with drastically reduced contact, while I have to risk my neck every day in school.

  22. Jazzlet says

    Thank you!

    I can see why your BFF is annoying you :-\

    My part of Greater Manchester has had the tighter COVID-19 restrictions lifted today so I could go and see my SiL in her garden, after five days of clear weather it is pissing it down *sigh* On the other hand we jumped the gun yesterday as a non-local friend was passing by so we had a couple of hours chatting, safely distanced, in the garden and Jake got to play with someone that wasn’t us which quite exhausted him, lovely for all of us.

  23. says

    Yay, we’re back!
    BTW I still haven’t got the results from my Covid swap. I hope that means I am (was?) negative, because I haven’t been in quarantine since it was just a “check up” test for teachers…
    My poor not-principal (She’s the principal at the school i work at, but technically I belong to a different school) had a parents teachers night with Covid deniers.

  24. says

    Hugs, tea and cookies for everyone!

    Shadow had her second post-surgery vet visit this morning. The stitches are out, she’s doing really well. She still has to wear the cone a while longer, until everything’s healed completely, and she can’t go out until then either. I’m sure I’ll be hearing many complaints to management regarding Unfair Treatment of Felines, but that’s just too bad.

  25. says

    chigau, stay warm! I wish I could share some of our excess heat with you, but not the wildfire smoke and ash -- we’re miles away from any of the fires, but getting a lot of fallout.

    I’ve almost finished my purge of all the old paperwork piles. Once the refi is complete, this week (huzzah), I will be able to file all of that stuff. It’s all go around here.

    Hugs to all of you, and a good week.

  26. says

    Your overworked teacher friend here. Tomorrow we’ll get our new pets, so I guess there will be pictures.
    Today I’m also quite frustrated. We had some professional training. A group of us teachers is being trained as a “crisis team”. What to do when a crisis, any kind of crisis happens at school. And the instructor listed the qualities that the leader of said team needs to have. And everybody thought “hey, that sounds like Giliell”, but also “damn, she doesn’t have a steady contract, she can’t be the leader”.
    Now, it’s not like I was particularly keen on the job, because it doesn’t involve anything but heartache and responsibility, but it would have been cool to have the opportunity.

  27. Jazzlet says

    That is frustrating, but it’s nice they all thought of you. Should there be just one leader or should there be several possible leaders, because one might be out of commission in a crisis? It would be a cool thing to be trained for wherever you work.

    I hope the pets settle in quickly

    We are supposed to be having sun all day tomorrow …

  28. voyager says

    Happy Birthday. I hope you can sort out what will work best with your pensions. I have to make the same decision soon myself and I think I’ve decided to leave it until I’m 65.

    I’m glad Shadow is doing well, even if she is still upset with her post-op restrictions.

    Good luck with the new pets. I’m sorry you missed out on a career opportunity. Team leading a crisis intervention team would be interesting. I hope you still get all the training.

  29. says

    Oh, I still get all the training. The whole point of the thing is to have a team who can handle things together. The leader position is only important in case of an event you never want to experience. Some severe catastrophe like a fire, bus accident, school shooting… It’s pretty horrible to make plans for such an event, but you need to do it, because while such things will not happen at every school, they do happen at schools, and when they happen you won’t be able to make plans.
    I still hope the next modules will be more about all the small catastrophes that do besiege us every day.

  30. StevoR says

    Progress, slow, overdue, but finally :

    The third season of “Star Trek: Discovery,” set to premiere on Oct. 15, will introduce its first transgender and a nonbinary characters, according to CBS All Access.

    In an announcement on, showrunners said the trans character, Gray, will be played by trans actor Ian Alexander (“The OA,” “The Last of Us Part II”). A new nonbinary character, Adira, will also join the series and be portrayed by newcomer Blu del Barrio.

    Science finds something wonderfully weird and unexpected raising more questions -- as it does :

    Not sure if I’ve shared or mentioned this here before but this Aussie show on USA’s politics, I find very informative, entertaining and thought-provoking :

    Hosted by one of the former Chaser “boys”, Chas Licciardello if that helps.

  31. StevoR says

    Also cannot recall if this was shared before but eerie, disturbing and informative on what we’ve doing to the planet :

    Thinking of Global Overheating we’re nearing the annual Arctic sea ice minimum and you can see how that’s looking here :

    Whilst somuch speculation and possibility for good and ill alike for another planet (Proxima b) which may or may well not be more or less like ours -- all vague and unclear as but still fascinating I think :

    Hopefully, we’ll learn more eventually

  32. says

    The degus have arrived, the degus have arrived. They’re still very shy, though you can already tell that one is much more adventurous as she already climbed the highest shelf to explore.

  33. lumipuna says

    I mentioned a couple weeks ago how Finland was keeping itself very exclusive with covid-related travel restrictions. Now, we’re starting to open again to travel from various countries (for example Germany and, for the first time in six months, Sweden) next weekend. Not that Europe or World at large has gotten better (Sweden actually has, somewhat) but our own infections have been creeping upward, too.

    Also, it’s high time for travel businesses to start preparing for the next winter’s tourist season up north -- assuming there is a tourist season. If not, they’re screwed. Now at least they can gamble -- together with the rest of us.

  34. StevoR says

    Small thing but still nice to see :

    Meanwhile :

    More than half of environmental scientists working for Australian federal and state governments report having been “prohibited from communicating scientific information”, according to the results of a new survey.

    Of the more than 200 environmental scientists from government, university and non-government organisations (NGOs) consulted for the survey, those working for government reported the highest rates of suppression or interference in communicating their work publicly. … (snip) .. One respondent claimed that government action or inaction over a particular issue influenced whether they could speak out.

    “We are often forbidden [from] talking about the true impacts of say a threatening process … especially if the government is doing little to mitigate that threat … In this way the public often remains in the dark about the true state and trends of many species,” the respondent said.

    Conveying information on threatened species was most commonly reported to have been the subject of suppression or interference, according to the report published in Conservation Letters this week.

    Australia has one of the worst records globally for mammal extinctions and increased scientific communication and protection is vital, Dr Ritchie said.

    Also cheering these teenagers on. Respect and hope they succeed :

    A class action launched on behalf of young people everywhere seeks an injunction to stop the Australian Government approving an extension to Whitehaven’s Vickery coal mine, arguing it will harm young people by exacerbating climate change. The injunction, filed in the Federal Court on Tuesday, is a first for Australia.

    An expert says it could break new legal ground with widespread ramifications, causing problems for any new coal mine in Australia — and possibly any fossil fuel project — if it is successful.

    Though the injunction itself is unique, it is part of a growing wave of climate litigation in Australia and comes less than two months after 23-year-old Melbourne law student Katta O’Donnell filed a class action against the Australian Government for failing to disclose the risk climate change poses to Australians’ super and other low risk investments.

  35. Gelaos says

    Has anyone heard about the new Oscar eligibility rules for films?
    It’s true that Oscars are mostly white-male dominated and generally I am all for diversity in art, but… This rule-based top-down approach may potentially limit artistic creativity, not to mention that -- given these specific rules -- some studio can shoot a movie that is white as snow, yet still eligible because “hey, we have 2 Asians in CGI department and two female senior executives in marketing”.

    The audience doesn’t give a damn whether the CGI was done by white males, black lesbians or purple koala bears or if the costume designer was LGBTQ+. They just want to see a good movie.

    What do you think?

  36. StevoR says

    @ ^ Gelaos : I think it would be good to have more representative movies that do more for diversity and are produced by and feature major characters that are of more and different backgrounds and genders and orientations and ethnicities. I’d like to see those rules go further there.

    @ 51. Update to my first link there on the rider -- Franco Morbidelli -- with the anti-racist helmet : he won last night’s race wearing that! Seems like a really good bloke too. See :

    & you can watch race highlights (under 10 min) here too :

    Incidentally, for other readers in Oz, tonight’s epsidoe of 4Corners is potentially looking very interesting if disturbing and might be worthwatching dealing with the storie of mercenaries and private military contractors.

    From the 4 Corners programs website :

    Soldiers of Fortune
    The Australian mercenaries selling paramilitary services to warlords and despots abroad

    In conflict zones around the world, battles are increasingly being fought, not just by armies, but by private military contractors operating as guns for hire.

    These mercenaries live in a shadowy world away from the public eye where the normal rules of combat don’t apply.

    Their work usually remains secret unless something goes very wrong.

    On Monday Four Corners investigates this murky world and the Australian military men at the heart of it.

    & see also this story here :

    Private military forces interfering in SW Asia and running arms and killing and kidnapping people. Gee, what could go wrong? There’s also been a lot of stories about some extremely racist SAS individuals trolling people online and issues with reichwing extremism and bigotry in their culture. So another gloomy global trend with obvious bad historical precedents here.

  37. StevoR says

    ^ Correction operating in Northern Africa not South West Asia. Dóh! Libya certainly isn’t in Asia. (Blushes.)

    I do generally prefer to use SW Asia rather than “Middle East ” becuase its more geographically accurate and less eurocentric. East is obvs a relative term. But yes, not approriate here. Arguably slightly okay with Egypt given the Sinai Peninula is geographically Asian although most of that nation is in North Africa.

    Also inother, sadly grim news that’s been going well under the radar and not had (any? certainly not much) media coverage here but is frontpage news on Wiki (go figure) :

    In September 2020, profuse and continuous rainfall in Sudan caused a devastating flood across at least 16 Sudanese states with the Blue Nile reaching water levels not seen for nearly a century. It ranks among the most severe floods recorded in the region. A state of emergency was declared, and teams have worked to prevent damage to threatened archeological sites. The flood affected more than 500,000 people, destroyed more than 100,000 homes, and left 102 people dead to date.

    Also globally there’s been flooding in Karachi and in Afghanistan, twin typhoons hitting Japan and Korea whilst of course we’ve had the massive wildfires in Western North Amercia and twin hurricanes hitting southern Nth America and too many peopel it seems still aren’t joining the dots on Global Overheating. FFS! :-/

  38. StevoR says

    Today, I learnt that my local NON-representative Federal MP, Nicolle “environmentalism is a modern day scourge”* Flint is insulting and attacking a friend of mine who died of cancer recently and cannot therefore defend himself. Meanwhile she is supporting accused sex offender and thug Sam Duluk, my state non-representative MP and her campaign manager, who is so appallingly bad that even the state SA Liberals have sacked him from the party whilst he awaits criminal trial and continues to get massively overpaid. See :

    A disgusting new low. for Nicolle Flint, Member -- Disgrace -- for Boothy.

    Meanwhile ice melts, ( ) forests burn, hurricanes, typhoons ( and floods along with droughts and heatwaves hit harder, scientficially observed reality happens & too many folks fail to join the obvious dots as our worse present let alone future gets ever clearer and more people die and lose their homes and more.

    I feel like a passenger in a car heading towards a cliff where the driver is stomping on the accelerator rather than the brake.

    * Words Flint said in her maiden spech.She was also a leading backer of the far reichwing Dutton political coup against elected moderate Liberal PM Turnbull and a former. reichwing op-ed polemicist.

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