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How accurate is a system with the smallest unit being an inch?
I need 2 mm of that thing or I need 0.0787402"?
You can't even measure the latter on a ruler!
A friend of mine who made furniture and had to work with imperial units complained about it.
If I leave out all the bad words he didn't say anything
I think he's back in happy metric land now
Your description of "smallest unit being an inch" as relevant to accuracy displays a misunderstanding of the terms accuracy (do you really think we only measure in whole inches?) and your own system.
By your reasoning, the English system's much more accurate since your smallest unit is the meter !
A mm is a thousandth part of a meter - not a unit in itself, except by your familiarity with using it. So why is it difficult for you to comprehend that the English system also can use fractional parts of any unit? For that matter, in the English system, we allow them to be REAL UNITS, like this[^]. One could use "mili-inch", but that has its very own unit - and it's much more accurate (in your way of thinking) than your "mm".
Time for you to drop that "made in france" atrocity, the metric system, and return to reality.
Basically, you've been brainwashed into thinking the metric system is the be-all, end-all when, in fact, it's just like it is so you can count on your fingers.
Engineering needs precision, which needs to be in millimetres and micrometers, not in inches!
I don't disagree with your conclusion, but precision is not one of the problems with the imperial system. I mean, we could easily have micro-inches if we needed to. In fact, a quick Google suggest we already do have them!
The problem with imperial is that everything needs to be converted into a common unit before you can start using your measurements together. Quick, what's three quarters of a mile, plus 17 yards, plus 63 feet, plus half an inch, plus 3/8th, plus 57/64th?
With metric, conversion of your units (km/m/cm/mm) is just a matter of moving the decimal and lining up the columns to do the addition. You may be able to do it all in your head. That first step with the imperial system provides plenty of opportunity for errors.
How would you report that total anyway with imperial? Fractions of a mile? 64ths of an inch? Somewhere in-between?
Imperial units simply require you use your head before you blurt out requirements.
Anyone who'd request a measurement of the sort you suggested deserves to be answered according to their folly. And even in silly metrics units - what value would such nonsense be? It makes it too easy to react without thinking. Dulls the mind; dulls the populace - making them easier to control . . .
Okay, granted, it's silly to include nanoscale measurements along with lightyears. But my point still remains, even if you're sticking with a small (or large) scale - if you want to total up a bunch of measurements together, you first have to convert everything to a common denominator first.
Metric has the same problem as slide rules (the only kind of calculators allowed in school in my day): you have to work out the units external to the multiplications. Last week, I went into a shop and asked for a slider bolt as 15mm instead of 15cm; there is no way that I would have accidentally asked for 1/2" (slightly less that 15mm) instead of 6". My old wood merchant sold lengths of wood 4m long as metric 13 foot.
Everyone in my high school (grades 9 - 12) learned to use one. Then, afterwards in university, we used it because the "new fangled" calculators cost far to much for any student. Chemistry had a small bunch of Wang calculators - did basic arithmetic attached to a box the size of a full-size desktop PC.
One thing we did learn, especially and very rigorously in "Chemistry 101": significant digits. A slide rule was limited to three; calculators, which eventually became generally affordable by Grad School, gave about eight figures - most of which were of artificial accuracy - but the undergrads I tought never failed to report all of them (points off after first few weeks of warnings and instructions: I think this species is now known to us as "users").
My kids: I wouldn't let them have or use a calculator until well into high school so that they could actually develop "number sense". I relented when they were taking exams where the speed made a difference and I wanted them to "win".
It's like cell phones: calculators have their place. They are, however, abused to the point where they cause damage. Calculators increased innumeracy. "smart phones" decreased social skills and increased general ignorance as google was always at their finger tips.
Like the calculator and significant digit absurdities, they don't have the basic understanding of reality to judge what they google as valid or bullshit. I'm starting to wonder if they even care.
So - winding back to the original topic: I'm sure there must be a place for the metric system. But, as I said in the past, avoirdupois weights come in powers of two (ounce, gill, cup, pint, quart,. . .) - like computer storage. Way ahead of its time.
Imperial was precise, until in 1930 (UK) / 1932 (USA) they made the inch 'exactly' 25.4mm. Since then, the meter has been redefined several times meaning that as the inch was correlated to it, it has become imprecise.
Strangely enough, it depend what you are measuring with.
A vernier or a micrometer will be as accurate as it is rated (generally 0.001" or 0.2mm which makes the imperial one "less accurate")
But the standard "inch and mm" ruler is generally more accurate in Imperial because while the metric shows only 1mm divisions, the Imperial side will show 1/32". There are rulers which show 1/2mm divisions, but they generally also include 1/64" so Imperial wins again ... Vogel Steel Rule[^]
Having said that, I work in metric at a fine scale (and imperial for driving) simply because the maths is a load easier to work out!
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Last Visit: 29-Sep-20 8:32 Last Update: 29-Sep-20 8:32