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Is fractional imperial?

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  • Is fractional imperial?

    Just curious, does the metric world use as much fraction in every day life as does the the imperial world? I mean, we often speak about 1/4 pound of meat, or 1/2 foot, or 3/8 of an inch. Do the metric world talk bout 1/4 kilogram of meat, 1/2 meter, and 3/8 of a centimeter? You wouldn't think the use of the fraction should be depended on the unit but I suspect it's historically entrenched. Any comments from the metric world?


  • #2
    From half metric (engineering) world, no.

    Metric conveniently divides into grams, deciliters, cc, cm, etc, and pretty much obviates the need for fractions in that sense. You probably realize that already, as you are an EE and had presumably exposure to metric in chem, physics, etc.


    • #3
      Electrical Engineers in North America long ago converted to SI metric. IEEE technical publication are SI metric. There is some Kms metric useage - gauss instead of the preferred tesla among old-timers, and kilowatt-hour instead of joule in some situations, but in the main EEs have successfully and without whining changed to SI metric. The only exception is those areas of electrical engineeering that interface with mechanical engineering. Grids of printed circuit boards are still laid out in tenths of inches, for example. Mechanical engineers in the USA have disgraced themselves with their footdragging on metric. You'll often see letters in the Mechanical Engineering press against metric, expressed in an illiterate know-nothing style more appropriate for declarations in trailer park taverns than in learned journals.

      <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Oso:
      Metric conveniently divides...and pretty much obviates the need for fractions in that sense. You probably realize that already, as you are an EE and had presumably exposure to metric in chem, physics, etc.</font>
      [This message has been edited by NAIT (edited 03-20-2002).]


      • #4

        Decimal system - everything is based on powers of 10. Much easier,


        • #5
          Calculator under $5.00 now,
          Be flexable, Variety is the spice of life.
          1 mm = .03937 inches.
          Make a better machinist out of you.
          Mental exercise.
          Kinda like ac-dc right.


          • #6
            Fractions are 'illegal' within the metric system. This is not to say that it doesn't happen though. Customary use is difficult to change and it may be easier for people to talk of "half a kilo" than describe it as "500 grams".

            At the risk of getting thrown off this BB I am re-posting a part of the reply I made to the other current thread on metric vs. Imperial.

            A ten based system (metric) is clumsy and inefficient (can you divide a cake into 10 equal portions without the use of a protractor??). But ease of use is not the only criteria of a measurement system; as the Actress once said "Size is important", Pounds and ounces, feet and inches are convenient sizes for many everyday needs. A unit similar to the foot arose in many societies around the world, but there is no metric equivalent. Metric units are often either too small or too large, resulting in incomprhensible numbers. Measurements need to be divisible, but metric units only have 2 and 5 as their factors (I was always tuaght that one should never draw anything half scale, and who has ever heard of a one fifth scale being used in engineering drawings?!) The 12 month year, 24 hour day, 60 minute hour are more flexibly divided than those 10 or 100 based decimal time measurements originally proposed within the metric system, mercifully soon abandoned.

            Customary (Imperial) weights and measures evolved out of practical experiance to serve human needs, The 12 inch foot is particularly easy to divide in a variety of ways. Packaging by the dozen (12) or the gross (144) is often more economical than using tens or hundreds, since packs are more compact and hence less material is needed without sacryficing strength. Every person carries an inch measure on their body (the distance from the thumb knuckle to the first joint is uncannily even throughout humans, and very close to an inch), and we all carry 2 feet! The idea of linking a measurement to a wavelength of some unheard of 'Superman killing' like material is ludicrous in the extreme. I'm sure you will all be heartened to know that a foot is equivalent to roughly 3,048,000,000 Angstroms! Even on the metricated continent of Europe the people have still maintained traditional weights and measurements for everyday use. A 'livre' of apples can still be bought in the market places of France, and the traditional standard French loaf of bread is still referred to as the "pain de deux livres" (Bread of two pounds), the Danes use the 'pund', the Swiss the 'livre' or 'pfund', the Gremans the 'pfund'. Even the German and Swiss 'zentner', close to the British 'hundred weight' (112 Lbs) and likewise one twentieth of a ton is preferred to the metric 'myriagram' (one hundredth of a tonne) or the 'quintal' (one tenth of a tonne).

            To sum up, the metric system has advantages in certain areas of science, having been developed by and largely for scientists; for everyday use it is cumbersome and inconvenient, its unit names being long and similar, unlike the traditional units short and distinct names. Decimals are far from perfect, and for many people it is more useful to have a factor rich number system. The advantages of the metric system are obvious but superficial, whereas the traditional Imperial system has merits which are far more profound.


            • #7
              Hell, we have at each other a lot harder than that. Throw you off, most are probably wondering what you are like when you get wound up. Grrrrr! Grrrrrr! Grrrrrrrr! Mike


              • #8
                Mike, noe you sound like my spitz dog Fozzie, Grrrrrrrrrrr!


                • #9
                  Meow, meow I say. Nerts to needing a protractor to divide a pie - I have a brain - I don't need no stinkin' protractor! Besides, if you were not so cheap everyone would get their own pie (thanks, Mom).


                  • #10
                    Some time ago a friend picked up off base a japanese beer machine(tap/gas/reefer unit etc). Since it was a twin tapper he wanted to be able to tap a keg of japanese beer on one side and miller on the other.
                    He tasked me with procuring the necessary fittings for insstalling the miller keg.
                    I walked over the the machine shop (US Navy shipyard in Yokosuka Japan) and asked the Japanese foreman to check the fitting size in order to make an adapter for me.
                    After twenty minutes of staring at machinery's handbook,looking at the screw pitch gage,fingering the part and a hushed conversation with six other Japanese machinists, The old foreman cursed at me in broken english and japanese and said,Damn it Chief what in hell are we supposed to do with this the G%@[email protected]#$m thing, it's metric, we work for the US Navy nobody in the shop remembers how to use a metric mic.
                    Non, je ne regrette rien.