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From Mike Scott <>
Subject (OT) units (was: Re: [Calc] Feature request: Change default cell width from 2,27cm to 2,50cm)
Date Mon, 04 Jun 2012 14:40:17 GMT
On 04/06/12 15:07, James Knott wrote:
> Mike Scott wrote:
>> No way!!! Remind us what the original intent of the metre was - and
>> how wrong (and pointless). And the current definition is, well,
>> arbitrary, is it not?
>> And how do entities like the litres and are fit into a "rational"
>> system that already has cubic this and square that?
> The original "metre" was 1/10,000,000 the distance between the equator
> and pole. It was later refined to the distance light travels in 1 ⁄

As I said, arbitrary, and pointless.

> 299,792,458 second. The second is defined by the oscillations of the
> cesium atom. Now consider water. One millilitre (1 cm³ or cc) has a mass
> of 1 gram.

Approximately. But so what?

 > ....  A litre = 1000 cc and 1 Kg. Nice and convenient that. Now
> what about the weight and dimensions of an ounce of water? U.S. vs

A pint of water weighs a pound and a quarter. At least, on my side of 
the Atlantic. It even rhymes. A fluid ounce of water is just that - an 

(Although you then land with asking about at what temperature and 
pressure - just as with mg and ml (or is that cc?  See? :-)  )

But a litre = 1000cc - so what? It's an introduction of another 
pseudo-fundamental unit, because it's "about the right size" for real 
use (a cubic metre is rather a lot :-)  ). Rather like the imperial 
system, I find. Similarly with the are (which I had to look up - a 
square decametre)

> imperial ounce? U.S. or imperial quart? Gallon? When you work in science
> or engineering the metric system works out extremely well due to the
> easy scaling. You certainly can't say the same for the various
> traditional units.

I wouldn't try to. My point is that the metric system is fundamentally 
just as irrational, and twice as pointless :-)

For my own part, I do as I'd advice others: use whichever is convenient 
for the job in hand. And don't mix 'em. You make expensive craters on 
Mars like that :-}

Mike Scott
Harlow, Essex, England

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