Trees cause metric fight on Slashdot

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Three nations have not officially adopted the International System of Units as their primary or sole system of measurement: Liberia, Myanmar and the United States.
Countries that don't use metric

Not the biggest story, but I'd been meaning to write a post on this for a while so here it is.

It starts with this:

"Ever turn on the air conditioner on a hot day? How about a heater when it gets cold? OK, so we all know that humans act to keep themselves cool, but what about trees? A recent article on tree core isotopic evidence has shown that trees from tropical to boreal forests all grow at 70 degrees. The study, published in Nature by some fantastic researchers (so one of them is my adviser, so sue me) and covered by NPR on All Things Considered, has shed some light on the convergent temperature at which trees perform photosynthesis."
Then the comments:
That's insane, that's so hot we'd burn our fingers if we touched the trees?!
That's 21C for anyone living in the 21st century.

That's 294.15K for anyone who has (somewhat at least) overcome an infantile obsession with water.

then then:

My car gets 40 rods to the hogshead, and that's the way I likes it!
and the last one I'll quote here:
The parent is not kidding:
40 rods = 0.125miles
1 hogshead = 63 U.S. Gallons
So... ((0.125miles)*5280ft/mi)/63 gallons=10.476 feet per gallon

GP must drive a Hummer... perhaps only in reverse, like Mother Goose.

That second to last quote is Grandpa Simpson of course...ah, found a quote of him saying the above, though it's mixed in with a video making fun of McCain at the same time. Here he is:

There is an overall point to the post of course, and that's that we should hurry up and bring an end to the imperial system as quickly as possible. Yes, it felt a bit weird at first in Japan to give my height as 194 cm instead of 6'4", but big deal. We need to avoid the following:
"NASA's metric confusion caused Mars orbiter loss", CNN, September 30, 1999. Retrieved on 2007-08-21. "NASA lost a $125 million Mars orbiter because one engineering team used metric units while another used English units for a key spacecraft operation, according to a review finding released Thursday. For that reason, information failed to transfer between the Mars Climate Orbiter spacecraft team at Lockheed Martin in Colorado and the mission navigation team in California. Lockheed Martin built the spacecraft. "People sometimes make errors," said Edward Weiler, NASA's Associate Administrator for Space Science in a written statement."
Well thanks a lot outdated system of measurement, you lost us a whole mission to Mars! Stop using it!


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