# English Units Are Goofy

1. Jun 10, 2010

A Jigger is three mouthfuls.

A furlong is "The distance a plow team could be driven without rest."

A mile is eight furlongs.

A league is "intended to be an hour's walk."

I'm not even going to get into the mess that is the definitions for weight....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_units" [Broken]

Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
2. Jun 10, 2010

### cesiumfrog

That's why the entire world (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metric_system" [Broken] Burma, Liberia and one other odd backward country) has switched to metric.

Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
3. Jun 10, 2010

### waht

How is a quarter pound with cheese called in Europe?

4. Jun 10, 2010

Royaleeeeeee with Cheese

5. Jun 10, 2010

### waht

:rofl::rofl:

Pulp Fiction

6. Jun 10, 2010

### D H

Staff Emeritus
What's wrong with weight? Legally and colloquially weight a measure of mass. Yes, things do get confusing when physicists try to get picky and claim that weight is a unit of force. And yes, the word 'pound' is a bit overloaded. A pound force makes a pound (mass) accelerate at one foot per second squared. At one point in time a (tower) pound of silver was worth one pound sterling (money). No problem. The mass of one pound of silver is obviously less than the mass of a pound of feathers. Avoirdupois pounds, troy pounds, tower pounds, merchant pounds, London pounds, pounds force, pound sterling, Manx pound, Jersey pound, ...; sure there are a lot of different pounds with different units, but aren't they are all rather obvious? Where exactly is this mess about with you are complaining?

7. Jun 10, 2010

You wouldn't say that's a mess?

8. Jun 10, 2010

### D H

Staff Emeritus
Well, dang, you beat me to it. I was going to show that exact same crystal-clear diagram.

9. Jun 10, 2010

### D H

Staff Emeritus
BTW, the diagram omits the distinction between a long ton and a short ton.

10. Jun 10, 2010

### Mech_Engineer

I definitely prefer to make all of my engineering calculations in SI due to the ease of unit handling and unambiguous nature. Be that as it may, I still can't help but "think" in inches, feet, pounds, and Fahrenheit.

... my company's engineering drawings are basically all in English (inches, feet, pounds) save for a small select few, and I can imagine what a nightmare it would be to try and "convert" all of those drawings to SI. I'm convinced the main reason the US hasn't "officially" converted to SI is because of the sheer number of companies (engineering, fabrication, assembly, etc.) that are dependent on a large database of English data/calculations/drawings.

Still, even in the US many companies do their work in SI exclusively, mainly driven by customer requirements. My opinion is that companies should strive to meet customer demands, not government regulation. If a company's customers require SI drawings and calcs, they will provide them. Simple as that.

11. Jun 10, 2010

### mgb_phys

Except for the adult entertainment market !

12. Jun 10, 2010

### leroyjenkens

7 "Avoirdupois" is equal to one "clove, nail" and 2 "clove, nail" is equal to one "Avoirdupois"?

13. Jun 10, 2010

### Jack21222

And whomever worked on that Mars lander around 11 years ago...

14. Jun 10, 2010

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
15. Jun 12, 2010

### SW VandeCarr

If you mean the USA, the USA officially adopted metric units in 1866. However, being the USA, the government can't force people to use them.

http://lamar.colostate.edu/~hillger/laws/metric-act.html

Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
16. Jun 12, 2010

### Chi Meson

Not quite, Slick. One pound of force will make a pound of mass accelerate at 32.2 feet per second per second.

One needs to exert one poundal of force to accelerate one pound of mass at 1 foot per second per second.

And, of course, one poundal will accelerate one slug at 32 ft/s/s

17. Jun 12, 2010

### George Jones

Staff Emeritus

Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
18. Jun 12, 2010

### mgb_phys

19. Jun 12, 2010

### mgb_phys

Except for speed limits, road signs, shopping and food and drink.

Screen sizes and dangly bits are still quoted in inches however

20. Jun 12, 2010

### Phrak

Metric units are goofy; base 10. How goofy is that? And what's with the dozen metric wrenches to replace 7 American Standard wrenches? Don't know? American standard is based upon the reasonable binary system, 1/8, 3/4, etc, rather than the courser decimal system.

21. Jun 12, 2010

### Jack21222

12 inches in a foot, 5280 feet in a mile... binary?

22. Jun 12, 2010

### Phrak

12 has several useful divisors: 2,3,4,6. With base 10 you have factors of 2 and 5. They may nearly as well have used base 7.

5280=2*2*2*2*2*3*5*11

5040 would have been better.

If you were to define the number of degrees in a circle, what count would you choose?

23. Jun 12, 2010

### Jack21222

If I were defining it from scratch? 100.

24. Jun 12, 2010

### Phrak

Then you have something in common with the French Academy of Sciences. The most useful angles: 30, 45 and 60 degrees would become 8.333... , 12.5 and 16.66... in your decimal improved system. 1/5th of a circle would become 20 degrees. You hit that one, I'll give you that.

25. Jun 12, 2010

### mgb_phys

They defined a right angle as 100, so 45deg is ok but 30/60 are a bit inconvenient, they still use it especially for surveying.

Of course if you let physicists choose they would define it as 6.28318531.......