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Another English/Metric "Spacecraft" Problem

Hemos posted more than 10 years ago | from the oh-the-joys-of-system-management dept.

Toys 748

SuperDry writes "There's been another spacecraft failure that's been attributed to an English/Metric units problem, this time at Tokyo Disneyland's Space Mountain. An axle broke on a "spacecraft" (a.k.a. roller coaster train) mid-ride, causing it to derail (nobody was hurt). The final investigation report has been released, and the root cause has been determined to be a part being the wrong size due to a conversion of the master plans in 1995 from English units to Metric units. In 2002, new axles were mistakenly ordered using the pre-1995 English specifications instead of the current Metric specifications. Apparently size does matter, even if it's only a 0.86mm difference."

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Metric? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8087805)

What's that all about?

Is it good or is it not so good?

Proble? (5, Funny)

waitigetit (691345) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087810)

It's more like an English spelling problem, no?

A what? (1, Funny)

98jonesd (633833) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087815)

whats a proble? ;-)

Re:A what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8087889)

uh you know it should be "what's", right? I mean if you're going to blast someone for spelling....

Re:A what? (1)

famebait (450028) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087907)

Proble just naive pronounciation-based spelling.

The source of the problem (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8087818)

Is that the metric system is flawed. It is defined in terms of the size of 18th century railroad tie sizes, which is totally arbitrary.

Re:The source of the problem (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8087837)

Yours must be one of the stupidest posts... EVER!

Re:The source of the problem (1)

andy666 (666062) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087899)

I think the joke is that thing about how the space shuttle wheel base is the same as Roman carts..

Re:The source of the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8087901)

Nope, your's is.

Re:The source of the problem (1)

jalet (36114) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087948)

in 18th century there were no railroads

Re:The source of the problem (2, Informative)

andy666 (666062) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087993)

WRONG! See http://www.history.rochester.edu/steam/brown/chpt2 .html

MANY persons, otherwise well-informed upon general topics, believe that railroads were constructed especially for locomotives, as the best-adapted road for the accom- modation of that peculiar machine and its train of cars. They never call to mind that a locomotive is a modern invention, and, for want of access to works such as we have referred to, they are not informed that a railroad is an ancient institution (if we may apply such a term to such a subject). They never have dreamed nor ever imagined that this peculiar kind of road was invented and in use several centuries ago, but, like the great auxiliary, the locomotive, was very defective and simple in its primitive state, and since that time, like the latter, has been subject to vast and continued improvements. Before, however, we enter upon the subject for which these pages were designedN" the history of the first locomotives in America"Nit will not, we trust, be deemed inappropriate here to devote a small space in our work in describing the peculiar kind of road upon which the locomotive travels, now known universally as the railroad; and to such information as we have gathered of its origin and early progress. Various devices have been employed, from the period when wheelcarriages were first used, for facilitating the movement over the ground in transportation. These devices, however, were mostly limited to the smoothing, leveling, and hardening the surface of the way. The early Egyptians, in transporting the immense stones they used in the erection of the vast pyramids from the quarries, learned the advantage of hard, smooth, and solid track-ways, and the remains of such, formed of large blocks of stone, are said to have been found on the line of the great road they constructed for this purpose. The ancient Romans made also some approach to the invention of railroads, in the celebrated Appian Way. This was constructed of blocks of stone fitted closely together, the surface presenting a smooth and hard track for the wheels. In modern times such tracks or roadways were constructed in several European citiesNLondon, Pisa, Milan, and many others. The first instance on record of rails being used on highways was as early as the year 1630, over two and a quarter centuries ago. They were invented by a person named Beaumont, and built and used for the transportation of coal from the mines near New castle, in England. Old Roger North alludes to railways as being in use in the neighborhood of the river Tyne in the year 1676, and he thus describes them: The rails of timber were placed end to end and exactly straight, and in two lines parallel to each other. On these bulky carts were made to run on four rollers fitting these rails, whereby the carriage was made so easy that one horse would draw four or five caldrons of coal at a load. We read of railways existing in Scotland in 1745, at the time of the Scotch rebellion. These railways were laid down between the Tranent coal-mines and the harbor of Cockenzie, in East Lothian. Improvements were made on these roads and continued until 1765, 2 when they began to assume the forms of our present roads, even to the use of flanges upon the wheels; but up to this period no iron surface was ever heard of The mode of constructing a railroad at that period was as follows: After the surface was brought to as perfect a level as possibleNor incline, as the case might be Nsquare blocks of wood, called sleepers, about six feet long, were laid two or three feet apart across the track; upon these two long strips of wood, six or seven inches wide mod about five inches deep, were fastened by pins to the sleepers, and parallel to each other, but about four feet apart. Upon this wooden rail was spiked a projecting round moulding of wood, and the wheels were hollowed out like a pulley to fit upon the round surface of the wooden molding upon the rails. The first iron rails that we find any written account of were used at Whitehaven. They were cast-iron moldings, similar in shape to the wooden molding just described, and, like them, they were spiked down upon the wooden rail to receive the weight and pressure of the hollowed-out wheel, which, pressing entirely upon the molding of wood, soon rendered it unfit for use. This iron substitute was a wonderful saving in this respect. Thirty years after, in 1767, five or six tons of the same description of rails were cast at the Coalbrook Dale Ironworks, at Shropshire. St. Froud, a French traveler, describes these roads as being far superior to all other kinds of roads; that one horse, with perfect ease, could draw a wagon loaded with five or six hundred bushels of coal. In 1776, the first iron rails we have any written account of were cast with a perpendicular ledge upon the outer side, in order to keep the wheels from running off the track, and after a while the ledge was changed to the inner side of the rail. A railway of this kind was laid down at the Duke of Norfolk's colliery, near Sheffield. The road was torn up and destroyed by the laboring men of the colliery in a riot, and Mr. Curr, its builder and projector, had to save his life by concealing himself in a wood three days and nights to escape the fury of the excited rioters. Objections were soon discovered in rails with fianges either on the outside or inside, from their liability to obstruction by stones or dirt, which would impede the progress and endanger the safety of the carriages. A great step in advance was made in 1789, by Wil liam Jessop, in the construction of a railway in Lough borough, in Leicestershire, with the first cast-iron edge r ail, with flanges cast upon the wheels, instead of upon the rail, as had been done a short time before. In 1800, Mr. Benjamin Outram, of Little Eaton, in Derbyshire, introduced stone props, instead of timber, for supporting the ends or joinings of the rails. Take ing the name from the projector, this kind of road was distinguished as the Outram road, and since that time, for brevity, all roads of this kind are called Tram roads; as this plan was afterward applied to wooden roads, where long stringers were used, with the iron molding as before described, and in our time the flat iron bar nailed upon the stringers, these roads are all a familiarly known as Tram-roads. Edge rails, as made by Jessop, were laid down in 1801, at the slate-quarry of Lord Penrhyn. The tire W of the wheel was hollowed out to fit the projecting curve of the edged rail, but as the fit became soon too tight by wear, it was afterwards changed to a flat surface and rim of the wheel, and a fiange around each a edge of it. So great was this last improvement, that it was found that ten horses would do the work that had employed four hundred to do upon common roads. Edge rails were soon after introduced at the col lieries in England. They were made thin at the base and spread in thickness at the top. These rails, intro duced in 1808, continued in use until 1820, when the machinery was invented for rolling iron into suitable shapes for rails. This was a great improvement, for, as cast-iron rails could only be made three or four feet long, requiring frequent joints, the material was more liable and subject to break, especially with heavy weights passing over it.

MINE EYES! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088020)

(-1, Lack of Formatting)

Re:The source of the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8087961)

The meter is based on how far light travels in a vacuum in a certain number of seconds. And the second is determined by atomic transitions. But I can see how these two things can be totally arbitrary....

Re:The source of the problem (1, Informative)

andy666 (666062) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087969)

Actually, Einstein, if you want to know, the meter was defined originally as the distance from the north pole to the equator divided by 10000.

Re:The source of the problem (2, Funny)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088018)

Errm... so 10000 metres is the distance between the equator and the North pole? (i.e. 10km). You live on a very small planet with a circumference of 40km then.

Re:The source of the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088031)

Actually it is defined to be exactly the length of my dick. Which I can tell you from experience fits nicely into yo mama's ass.

Another English/Metric "Spacecraft" Proble (-1, Redundant)

flewp (458359) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087819)

And another English/Languange "Spelling" problem.

Disney (5, Funny)

abh (22332) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087821)

How come everything Disney does ends up so Mickey Mouse?

Re:Disney (1)

firstadopter.com (745257) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087911)

Because Disney IS Mickey Mouse. This co is imploding while Pixar is rising.

Who's at fault here, really? (4, Funny)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087822)

The Japanese who, like the rest of the modern world, switched to metric years ago?

Or the American designers who couldn't even do simple multiplication in order to convert from English to Metric?

Re:Who's at fault here, really? (1)

mgs1000 (583340) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087833)

Or maybe the conversion formula was a bit off?

Re:Who's at fault here, really? (3, Informative)

sacherjj (7595) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087941)

The conversion formula isn't rocket science. 25.4 mm per inch. It's been that way for a LONG time.

Re:Who's at fault here, really? (4, Informative)

flewp (458359) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087870)

Well, if you RTFA, you'd see that the parts were ordered using older specifications, and the parts delivered were consistent with the designs that were ordered. The problem was they put it in an order for the wrong size.

Consequently, two different drawings existed within our company after the changes were made and the old drawing showing the 44.14 mm diameter was used to order (in August 2002) the axles that were delivered in October 2002.

Re:Who's at fault here, really? (4, Interesting)

agentZ (210674) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087905)

So in other words it wasn't a metric/inches conversion problem, but rather just using the old blueprints instead of the current one?

It had nothing to do with the conversion directly. (5, Informative)

bluprint (557000) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087895)

If you had read the article, you would know that the problem was, while converting to metric, they also changed the specification of the axle size, but didn't record the new axle size correctly. So, the problem really had nothing to do with any mathematical error, just an error in incorrect documentation.

Re:It had nothing to do with the conversion direct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088034)

an error in incorrect documentation

This does not sound good ;-)

The Japanese did the conversion. (5, Informative)

mookoz (217805) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087927)

Bob Gurr (ex-Disney Imagineer) tells the story of the Tokyo Disneyland conversion here:

http://www.laughingplace.com/News-ID108300.asp [laughingplace.com]

Great set of columns, by the way. I've always been a fan of how some of the disney technology was invented and implemented.

Re:Who's at fault here, really? (0, Insightful)

lone_marauder (642787) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087980)

Hey, I like the metric system. I really do. But sticking to the english system has never caused an aircraft to run out of fuel at altitude, a roller coaster to break, or a spacecraft to crash. The zeal to enforce metric conversion, however, has caused all of those things.

Re:Who's at fault here, really? (1)

zontroll (714448) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087987)

the multiplication isn't so simple. How many digits did he use in the conversion formula? You can calculate the area of a circle using Pi = 3.14 or using Pi = 3.14....(add a million digits here.) You have to be precise enough to the point of being safe when it comes to mechanical measurements and obviously that point wasn't reached here.

My penis is 9 1/2" what is that Metric? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8087824)

will it sound bigger or smaller...I need to impress a girlfriend

Re:My penis is 9 1/2" what is that Metric? (-1, Offtopic)

waitigetit (691345) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087852)

I like to use the "rod" unit.

Although, 1/20th rod does sound kind of small.

Title Spelling (-1, Redundant)

joel48 (103238) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087826)

Perhaps the problem originated when the "space probe" was told it had a "proble" instead of being more direct and open about it having problems???

(Obligatory Slashdot editor comment intentionally vacant.)

Gotta ask... (4, Funny)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087834)

Another English/Metric "Spacecraft" Proble

I'm Canadian, so I have to assume that 'proble' is the... imperial spelling... of problem?

"I get five rods to the hog's head!"

See!! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8087835)

We need a one world government with one way of doing things! How many more people have to die because we have to hang on to old ways of doing things? Stop this madness now! Surrender your nationalist ideals. Borders exist in the minds of dimwitted politicians. Borders can't be see from space. We must unite and work together to advance mankind.

Support the New World Order now!

Re:See!! (0)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087953)

Borders can't be see from space.

Not quite, this one [wikipedia.org] can be seen from space.

- Did I just nitpick a troll [reference.com] ?

Re:See!! (2, Informative)

relrelrel (737051) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088014)

not quite 1) it isnt a border 2) it cant actually be seen from space

Re:See!! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8087975)

And just which leader would you want to see running the planet?

Kodos or Kang?

Bandwagon (-1, Redundant)

Popageorgio (723756) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087842)

[jokes about "Proble" though seven people already have] [waits for mod points]

Obligatory gilliam quote (0)

smoondog (85133) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087843)

"Ma'am we never make mistakes"

-Sean

Miscommunication (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8087845)

From the Article:

In September 1995, the design specifications for the size of the axle bearing for Space Mountain vehicles was changed from inches to the metric scale. Accordingly, the axle diameter was also changed, in this case from 44.14 mm to 45.00 mm. However, appropriate action to revise and maintain the design drawings was neglected. Consequently, two different drawings existed within our company after the changes were made and the old drawing showing the 44.14 mm diameter was used to order (in August 2002) the axles that were delivered in October 2002.

They actually changed the specs. The conversions were all done correctly but they failed to update everyone.

omg someone RTFA! MOD HIM UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8087909)

omg someone RTFA! MOD HIM UP

English units? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8087846)

I don't know about you, but us English call the measurement system the Imperial system. Isn't the American version slightly different, in respect to fluid units, etc?

Re:English units? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8087966)

I don't know about you, but us English call the measurement system the Imperial system

Living in the past, as ever...

Re:English units? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8087977)

Isn't the American version slightly different, in respect to fluid units, etc?

Only with respect to fluid units. And the base unit, the ounce, is the same. Measurements based on the pint are different: a US pint is 16oz an Imperial pint (the only legal Imperial measure left in the UK!!!!) is 20oz. A gallon is 8 pints, a cup is a half-pint, but a US gallon or cup is 4/5 of the British counterpart.

I thought the Brits moved glacially since the UK has been metric since 1971... officially (except for beers. I don't know how long road measure will remain Imperial). Then I found out that the US has been co-metric since Ben Franklin (http://www.nist.gov).

No system of measure is inherently better or worse than another. But, when everybody you trade with uses a different system, it might be time to reconsider (not that the UK should adopt the Euro....)

Re:English units? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8087992)

uhm, well, yeah, since you guys changed your gallon AFTER we adopted it from you.... so you are using some cracked out neo-english system.

Re:English units? (1)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088027)

The fluid units are the worst of all. I've been living in the states for about 12 years and I still have no fricking idea how gallons and pints and quarts relate.
The system is fascinated with 1/16ths and 1/32s which gets really hard to work with when one asks a question how many pints are there in 7.5 gallons of water.
But then again, I'm lazy and not very excited about math.

Got to hate those (-1, Redundant)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087847)

Proble's that is

Disney = Evil (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8087848)

Yet another case of corporations maiming and killing people.

Re:Disney = Evil (1)

thung226 (648591) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087892)

nobody was hurt.

Re:Disney = Evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8087972)

Not like it hasn't happened before. http://www.snopes.com/disney/parks/deaths.htm [snopes.com]

Imperial, not English... (4, Insightful)

arafel (15551) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087849)

Why do you call them 'English' units, when everyone else knows them as Imperial units? :-) We stopped using most of them some time ago.

Re:Imperial, not English... (2, Informative)

alexpage (210348) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087884)

There is a difference between what the English call Imperial and the Americans call English, when it comes to things like pints (IIRC an Imperial pint is 18 fl. oz. while an "English" pint is 16 fl. oz.) and a few others.

To add confusion to the mix, "Imperial" to a Canadian is the same as "English" to an American - i.e. not the same as "Imperial" to an Englishman.

Re:Imperial, not English... (1)

sacherjj (7595) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087974)

(IIRC an Imperial pint is 18 fl. oz. while an "English" pint is 16 fl. oz.)

But most of these were created due to the english affinity towards beer. With a little creative definitions, everyone gets 2 more ounces at the pub.

Re:Imperial, not English... (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088029)

IIRC an Imperial pint is 18 fl. oz.

I think it's 20 fl. oz.

This is important since one of the imperial measurements still rigourously enforced in Britain is the pint of beer.

The other interesting aspect is that this may have accelerated the adoption of the metric system, at least for groceries, since a 1 litre carton looks roughly the same size as 2 pints, but is cheaper to produce since it only contains about 9 tenths of the amount.

Re:Imperial, not English... (3, Informative)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087949)

We (USians) adopted the metric system in 1893 (yes, thats the 19th centry), and actually Imperial (or English as their more commonly known) units have been _altered_ so that they more closely round to a metric equivalent. For example, the inch is now _defined_ as 2.54 cm, it has nothing to do with some king's thumb or anything.

Maybe, just maybe, we can start using the metric system? Isn't 100 years enough time to transition?

Standard system (1, Funny)

thom2000 (529108) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087858)

Hmm, maybe it would be a good idea to always use a standard international system of units, to avoid these kind of problems...

Re:Standard system (2, Funny)

TheScogg (609746) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087925)

Yes. We could call it "metric"!

English units? (-1, Redundant)

onion2k (203094) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087861)

Umm.. I'm English and I use metric for all engineering specifications. Its Imperial.

Re:English units? (3, Funny)

sugar and acid (88555) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087954)

Its not just Imperial, its the British Imperial System of measurement. Which makes for some irony, as the last major country to use the system officially is the USA, the first country to break away from the British Imperial System of Government.

How many Rods to the Hogshead?... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8087862)

It wasn't mentioned in the article, but for my own reference, I'm wondering how many Rods to the Hogshead this ride gets?
Or if that info. isn't available, how many stone per fortnight this ride has in lifting capacity.

TDz.

Re:How many Rods to the Hogshead?... (4, Funny)

flewp (458359) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087896)

how many stone per fortnight this ride has in lifting capacity.

That depends if the ride is European or African.

0.86mm? That's a HUGE difference! (5, Informative)

cnelzie (451984) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087867)

In the automotive industry being off by that 'gigantic' mile of a discrepancy can be the difference between an entirely safe system or a potentially dangerous event just waiting to happen.

Anything from rubbing away the lining of important wires or hoses, different stress locations resulting in tear apart pieces that shouldn't be tear apart can happen by being off by that much...

0.86mm might at well be 3 feet off. A part that comes out that far off is nothing but scrap material. (Well at least in our area of automotive work.)

Re:0.86mm? That's a HUGE difference! (2, Insightful)

c_oflynn (649487) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087922)

0.86mm might at well be 3 feet off.

Actually you'd be WAY better off it was 3 feet off. Even if it was say 10mm off, then the axle probably wouldn't fit or would be VERY noticably loose.

Instead you get the situation of something just fitting enough that it seems OK to the mechanic...

Re:0.86mm? That's a HUGE difference! (4, Informative)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087955)

Well, 1mm of play in something like a trailer coupling probably won't make a difference. 1mm of play in a wheel bearing would make the wheel and hub wobble appreciably (on a car it would make it very unpleasant to drive), and that same 1mm in an engine's main bearings would cause the engine to hammer itself to bits in minutes.

Re:0.86mm? That's a HUGE difference! (4, Funny)

zulux (112259) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087979)



Lemmeee tell 'ya....

Here at Hyundai - .86mm is barely noticible. It just means you have to push harder to get the part to fit.

Our cars can take it!

English? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8087868)

English measurements pre adoption of the Metric system are called IMPERIAL.

And I imagine that this comments is as redundant as Imperial measurements by now...

Ta.

Proving once again... (3, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087873)

Proving once again that the average person has a hard time coutning to ten.

Re:Proving once again... (0, Flamebait)

E10Reads (732984) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087919)

Average A-M-R-I-C-A-N..cough...cough. but just for the record: 1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8.9.10

Re:Proving once again... (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087957)

"Average A-M-R-I-C-A-N..cough...cough. but just for the record: 1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8.9.10"

See, you did it wrong as well. 0.1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8.9

Re:Proving once again... (1)

mhesseltine (541806) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088000)

Average A-M-R-I-C-A-N..cough...cough. but just for the record: 1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8.9.10

Yes, but the average American can spell.

Old system (0)

Popageorgio (723756) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087877)

Should have measured everything in nautical miles.

English/Metric (4, Informative)

Ianoo (711633) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087882)

Please don't say English/Metric units. The UK is effectively metric now, all schoolchildren are only taught metric units and everything has to be priced in metric units. I don't even have intutitions about how long feet are or how heavy a stone is. Pretty much everyone under the age of 25 only deals with litres, metres and kilograms. The only exception is vehicle speed, which is still measured in mph (and hence all our road signs are in mph). You won't, however, catch any British Engineers or scientists using Imperial units.

Better ways to describe them would be "Imperial" (what we call them), "American" or "Archiac". I think it's about time the US caught up with the rest of the world and ditched these stupid and difficult-to-remember units once and for all.

Re:English/Metric (1)

mirio (225059) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087958)

Hmm...

I think it's about time the US caught up with the rest of the world and ditched these stupid and difficult-to-remember units once and for all.

That is exactly what they were doing! Space mountain is also a very old ride, I have no idea as to the age of that contraption, but it's probably safe to assume it is older than 25 years.

Re:English/Metric (2, Funny)

whizzard (177251) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087962)


I think it's about time the US caught up with the rest of the world and ditched these stupid and difficult-to-remember units once and for all.

Also, since C is more difficult to remember (and use) than Visual Basic, I propose that C be outlawed once and for all.

Re:English/Metric (1)

quigonn (80360) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087965)

I think it's about time the US caught up with the rest of the world and ditched these stupid and difficult-to-remember units once and for all.

Actually, they did, around 1972, but they also introduced a virtually unlimited transition period so that people aren't confused with the new units. But so far, hardly anybody has switched to the better, scientific, superior, European SI units!

Re:English/Metric (1)

Evl (36661) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087981)

Whats so difficult to remember? Units are nothing but contants, you need to look them up anyway. I have a hard time thinking that metric is "better", its just different. This becomes especially obvious when you talk time and temperature. Why don't you see people telling you the'll meet you in 3 kiloseconds, or that the heater is broken and it won't keep the room above 285 kelvin?

Re:English/Metric (2, Troll)

ender81b (520454) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087995)

Hey! You can try to lie to us americans but I know better, I just spent a year in england doing study abroad and you guys are more fucked up than americans when it comes to measurements. At least we consistently ignore the metric system.

Let's see here. Ok, distance is in miles and miles per hour. Liquid measurements are liters except when talking about beer, then it's a pint. Weight is in *stones* for christsake, a person's height is talked about in feet but a building/mountain height is usually in meters. A football field is yards though. Tempature is in celsius I suppose.

So, while you can be a self-righteous snob to us, some of us know better - england isn't really any better than the US.

Re:English/Metric (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8087996)

Might as well go a step further and call them "Archaic" ;)

Re:English/Metric (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8087998)

Maybe they're called "English" units simply because they *came* from England, irrespective of what you are using now?

In a museum with 16th Century English weapons, would you also complain that "no one is using those anymore, so call them imperial weapons"?

Re:English/Metric (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088003)

I thought imperial and american english measurements weren't all the same thing anyway? I've learned to call them SAE, and Metric/SI. These are explicit and leave no room for imagination, which should help to mitigate murphy's law.

Re:English/Metric (1)

kinnell (607819) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088004)

You won't, however, catch any British Engineers or scientists using Imperial units.

Integrated circuit pins and PCB track metrics are still measured in thousandths of an inch. Whether this is an americanism, or because of the difficulty in switching enough components simultaneously to drive demand, I don't know. But don't underestimate the power of Legacy - I'm sure this isn't the only example.

Re:English/Metric (1)

thedillybar (677116) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088007)

I think it's about time the US caught up with the rest of the world and ditched these stupid and difficult-to-remember units once and for all.

Should we throw away everything with an English thread away?
We need to replace ALL of our sockets & drivers (yes, even the metric ones, because they're still 3/8", 1/2", or some other English drive size).
Want me to tear down my house because it's built to English specs too?
What about my water pump that's rated in psi?
My computer case needs to go because it's English dimension and has English threads.

I could go on a very long time, the fact is we can't just ditch these stupid and difficult-to-remember units. It will take a very long time.

Re:English/Metric (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088022)

To be fair, we do have a fair number of exceptions. You mentioned miles, but we also buy beer in pints. I was under the impression most people measured their weight in stones (I have no idea how heavy I am in kg).

I think the next thing to ditch is stupid time and date formats. How long is a month? What do you mean it depends on what month it is?

The horror (4, Funny)

netfool (623800) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087888)

>Apparently size does matter, even if it's only a 0.86mm difference. At this very moment there are hundreds of geeks around the world trying to think of a great punchline for this.

Metric? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8087900)

If you are to read the pro-metric web-sites and listen to the metric-crowd, they'll tell you a glorious story of how the Metric System (SI) was born out of the Glorious French Revolution and how it was the greatest thing since sliced bread and how hordes of countries (even the US) rushed towards it adoption (and those that didn't were countries who's population were bumpkins and backwards). You'll read about how much easier and simple the Metric System is and how the US public is stubborn, stupid or a combination because the US hasn't accept the Metric System as happily as the rest of the world...

What you generally won't be told is that the Metric System was the Frankenstein creation of the French Revolutionary elitest, egg-heads who instead of using existing measuring systems and just standardizing them, decided to try and make a hyper-rational, not-related-to-anything, system with the idea of eradicating all traditional units (because that's what the Kings had used) and provide a cold, scientific, non-human relational system (and socialism for all - amen). Not only that, they will probably leave out the irritating fact that all the countries who's populations have adopted the Metric System has done so at the point of a gun barrel!

Lastly, you'll hear how the people who have adopted the glorious Metric System live happy lives with their meters, liters, newtons and hectares.

What you won't hear is that for day to day life, traditional units are widely used in these metric-only countries and that they have not been able to completely stomp out the old units.

Oh, one other thing, you'll hear how costly it is for the US not to be metric because a Mars probe was lost due to the Standard System being used where the Metric System should have been used. The truth be told... NASA has ALWAYS used the Standard System for their operations (you know like putting men on the moon) and the problem with the Mars probe was that a sub-contractor used the Metric System when he should have used the Standard System! So the real cause was that the Metric System was used where it wasn't supposed to be!

The most popular lies told by the Metric-crowd and their truths [metricsucks.org]

Mod points (3, Funny)

Popageorgio (723756) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087912)

And suddenly the mods realized that "Problem" was fixed and they'd blown all their mod points on two-minute jokes.

Hmm, size does matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8087917)

I think I'll check my e-mail, I read something that now seems to be interesting.

Google's Cache (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8087921)

Google's Cache is here. [216.239.41.104]

The US needs to catch up (5, Insightful)

Listen Up (107011) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087926)

The US needs to catch up to the rest of the world. The entire world uses Metric people. And it makes an infinite amount more sense to use Metric than the US system. If we don't, trade will continue to suffer as well as accidents such as this one.

Re:The US needs to catch up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8088005)

Except that this problem had NOTHING to do with unit conversion. RTFA!

Re:The US needs to catch up (3, Insightful)

mirio (225059) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088012)

Hmm...the Space Mountain engineers were doing precisely that! They were converting Imperial to English units (i.e. playing catch-up).

Re:The US needs to catch up (2, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088024)

The entire world uses Metric people.

So do we! When we say how many children the average family contains, it's always like 2.4, not "two and two fifths".

Just use google calc (5, Funny)

beej (82035) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087933)

10 meters = 98.4251969 hands

HAHAHAH! No one uses hands anymore to measure distance! How ARCANE!

We use feet.

About time America left the stone age (5, Interesting)

GileadGreene (539584) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087938)

Sigh. When is America going to ditch its archaic measurement system and use the same standard as everyone else? I work in the space industry, and I see this idiocy going on all the time: half the team works in metric, the other half in english. Most of the time everyone manages to keep it straight. But every now and then, a mistake happens. Scientists all use metric. Most engineers are trained in metric. Let's just switch to metric for everything and be done with it.

A side note: in New Zealand (and possibly other Commonwealth countries - I haven't checked) they don't even refer to "English units". Their term is "Imperial units". Which tells you how long it's been since they made the switch...

About the same time /. posters actually RTFA? (3, Insightful)

bluprint (557000) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088011)

The problem had nothing to do with eglish->metric conversion.

Also, there is nothing inherently better about the metric system of measurement, vs. the english system of measurement vs. any other standardized system of measurment. If something is measured at 1.5 inches or 38.1 mm, it's the exact same length. The only advantage is commonality and not having to do conversions (which is an advantage, I admit). But there is no inherent advantage as to how well one system can perform over the other.

Engrish. (-1)

mesmartyoudumb (471890) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087939)

They used Engrish instead of English,causes slight translation problems!

lattitude (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8087985)

why do they make stuff with the specs so close to the requirement ? that too such a small difference in this case ? why cant they just make things extra strong :P.

English units? (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 10 years ago | (#8087991)

Conversion from English units to metric units? That would be multiply by 1 then since we use metric almost exclusively in England? (Except for miles, which are still used on the roads)

US Conversion to Metric (2, Interesting)

swoebser (148435) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088032)

What do you think would be the biggest hurdle in the US conversion to the metric system? I, at first, thought it would be automobile manufacturing/repair, but all auto shops already have to deal with foreign cars already with metric parts. My vote now would have to be for gas pumps and speed limits. I think it would take people a long time to adjust to liters and kilometers per hour.
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