What can I tell you about weights and measures that you don't
already know? As many of you have undoubtedly noticed in other pages
on this site I do not use the "English System". When
I was about 12 years old I already knew that the system that I was
being taught sucked, made no sense at all, and was something that
I wanted no part of. In fact, that is the problem, it is not a system
at all. It is a non-system in which you never know what yardstick
to measure any particular thing by because the yardstick is only
to be used for certain items.
Can anyone out there give me any intelligent reason why a ton of
coal does not weigh the same as a ton of Epsom Salts? Well, they
don't weigh the same because The English non-system uses a
completely different set of scales to weigh them. One set of scales
is "rigged" so that it doesn't register the same
as the other. If that weren't bad enough, neither of these
scales is tied to any unchangeable standard.
Why is a mile 5280 ft? Is there any standard thing in the universe
that fits this odd-ball number? Why not just round it off to 5000
ft? That would make a little more sense (very little). Just off
the top of your head, how many feet in 1/5 of a mile? Don't
cheat! Assume that there was 5,000 ft in our mile. Now ask the same
question. The answer is obvious. Why? Because in the latter case
you are thinking in decimals and units of ten. Think about it.
Of course we have the "statute" mile as above but where
does the Nautical mile fit in. The nautical mile was devised because
it is near impossible to navigate in statute miles. So why is a
nautical mile any better? Because it is based on something that
gives it reason for being. A nautical mile is the distance of one
second of longitude at the equator.
Are you really content measuring things as 14 17/92 of an inch.
You have two minutes to divide that number by 2. Bet you didn't
make it. You would have, had we used increments of 10.
I seem to recall a story about the English building a railroad across
Australia. Of course they started on each side of the continent
and built toward the pre-determined meeting spot. It seems that
the surveyors were pretty good because they did, indeed, meet. However,
it seems that the tracks could not be joined because the two building
crews had used different track gauge. One half was wider than the
other. I believe the engineers explained the costly error by the
simple ruse of using the stupidity of the English non-system. They
said they used different "yardsticks" to measure the
distance between the rails. I have been told that until this day,
trains must stop at this point so that the cars can be detached
from their wheel carriages and installed on carriages of the proper
gauge so that they can continue the trip. Is this true? If anyone
knows tell me, I'm interested. History is littered with stories
such as this. All because of the unreasonable non-system that England,
due mostly to their rabid colonialism, managed to inflict on a large
part of the world. This non-system is not a laughing matter. It
is plague, a sickness, and a monument to man's stupidity.
To the English for devising it and to the rest of world for accepting
Can you even entertain the thought of accepting measurements such
as long tons, short tons, avoirdupois tons, carats, karats, avoirdupois
drams, apothecary drams, pennyweights, fluid ounces, solid ounces,
avoirdupois ounces, apothecary ounces, leagues, miles, liquid barrels,
dry barrels, petroleum barrels, large calories, small calories,
chains, US gallons, imperial gallons, gills, grains, troy grains,
hands, British hogsheads, US hogsheads, short hundredweights,
long hundredweights, dry quarts, liquid quarts - - - - -
-. Don't think for a minute that I have covered them all.
I just got up to Q; most of the alphabet is still to go. Hope I
made a point. By now you assume that I do not like or embrace the
English non-system of measurements. Not only do I dislike it; I
refuse to use it!
|The Metric System
I am not going to give you a great long boring and worthless
conversion table. I don't want you to convert it; I want you
to FORGET it. The only reason to have to convert is that someone
who is bogged down in English non-measurements has laid this idiotic
stuff on you. You know, I just miss-spelled measurements. Why? Again,
the English non-system of pronunciation. Why do they never seem
to get anything right? What I am going to do is to give you a few
key prefixes and suffixes so that you can convert to the metric
system, tell all the Brits to kiss - - - - - - the Blarney Stone,
and be liberated from the anchor that has been around your neck
all these years.
There are a few terms (not many) that you can learn in a few minutes
that can guide you through the mysteries of the metric system like
Einstein through remedial math. How can this be? Spent my whole
life and I still don't know the English non-system. That is
the point. Metrics is a system, not just a collection of unrelated
Learn these few terms and you will be able to understand the entire
- The metric system is based on the meter (distance), the liter
(volume), and the gram (weight). Nothing else, no exceptions.
No short meters, apothecary grams, none of that crap.
- Everything is in terms of 10's.
- The prefix tells you immediately how many 10's and if
it is more or less than the unit. I.e., grams, liters, or meters.
- The prefixes deci, kilo, mega mean 10, 1,000, 1,000,000 respectively.
We can have a gram, a decigram, kilogram, or a megagram. That
means one gram, 10 grams, 100 grams, 1,000 grams and 1,000,000
grams. These prefixes are for amounts more than 1 gram.
- The prefix milli, micro, pico, etc. refer to amounts less than
1 gram. We can have 1 gram; we can have 1 milligram (0.001 gram),
1 microgram (0.000,001 grams), or 1 picogram (0.000,000,001 grams).
- There are other terms for amounts more or less than these, but
let's just work with the ones described.
- These prefixes usually go in jumps of three zeros, thousands.
The exception is deci that really is not used very much. It's
really easier to say "10 grams" rather than "one
decigram". Same thing.
- So when you get used to metrics you will know that a milligram
is 1/1,000 of a gram, a microgram is 1/1,000,000 of a gram etc.
A kilogram is 1,000 grams, etc.
- A metric ton is 1,000 kilograms (Kg).
- A hectare (area) is an area 100 X 100 meters. 10,000 M2.
- The point here is to try to show you that in the metric system
everything is in increments of 10. Now doesn't that make
more sense than 19/32 or some such idiocy.
- Another example, if someone says "hey, I got 100 milligrams
(mg) of gold in that last pan". You can convert that immediately
to 1/10 of a gram. About $1.00 worth.
- What if he said, " hey, I got about 1/300th of an assay
ton in that last pan". Does that really mean anything to
you before you have to pull out your calculator and work for 5-10
minutes? I think not.
Really, all I want to do here is to present a more reasonable and
useful alternative to the generally accepted means of measuring
things. I just want to get you to think about it. If you do, I have
won! Because there is no reasonable excuse for putting up with the
bullshit English non-system. After all, science has NEVER accepted
this self-crippled non-system because it was obvious from day one
that it was unworkable and an insult to any ones intelligence.
Systems work! Non-systems Suck!