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Discussion: Only in America

in: Orienteering; News

Aug 25, 2020 12:41 PM # 
With an international system of measurements well established, leave it to the USA to reduce confusion in surveying by... fixing a problem with the foot.
Aug 25, 2020 1:52 PM # 
Well, JJ, as you know the United States is inherently different from all the other nations...I guess we need to do more to teach American Exceptionalism
Aug 25, 2020 3:13 PM # 
Who knew a foot wasn't twelve inches? Bad enough that your pints are 20% short.
Will you ever switch to the metric or are you insisting on the meteric system. And who was this Eric anyway?
Aug 25, 2020 3:30 PM # 
Hey, c'mon, we have two pints, and one of them is only 3% short!
Aug 25, 2020 3:44 PM # 
I'm not sure I've met Eric.
Aug 25, 2020 6:18 PM # 
Their gallons are about 20% undersized. too. But the good news is that the ones filled with gasoline/ petrol are about 50% the price of ours.
Aug 26, 2020 4:58 AM # 
" American Exceptionalism" . Other words come to mind.
Aug 26, 2020 6:41 AM # 
So, feet, pints and gallons all undersized. What happened to MAGA?
Aug 26, 2020 7:28 AM # 
If the Yanks were to go metric, you can bet they would have their own metre, called a meter and 37.5 inches long.
Aug 26, 2020 7:37 AM # 
I think a slightly longer survey meter would be needed too for LiDAR needs.
Aug 26, 2020 8:38 AM # 
Way back in time when I worked as a geologist in England the the National Coal Board used decimal feet in the 1950's so never got to 11 inches, but they still called the decimals inches just to add to the confusion!

Also seems like Australia had a similar idea before they worked out the metric was a better idea!!
Aug 26, 2020 10:07 AM # 
"Surveyors and engineers, being virtually strangers to money...." :)
Aug 26, 2020 2:11 PM # 
I remember when I met Eric. It was in 1987, at the end of the US Champs in Rhode Island. He came up to me and said that he liked my Grateful Dead bumper sticker.
Aug 26, 2020 7:10 PM # 
OK, I'm willing to concede that between Mr Weyman and Mr Bone the metEric system hasn't been too bad for US orienteering.
Aug 26, 2020 7:15 PM # 
Don't forget Mr Smith!
Aug 26, 2020 11:01 PM # 
The word is MetRic. But at the moment you can't as the borders are closed.
Aug 27, 2020 12:07 AM # 
Actually, I face this issue every time, working with LIDAR files from different states.
each having their own zones for coordinates and measurements units.
For instance, NYS data is metric, quadrants are based on Imperial system, mostly 0.5 mile each side. Pennsylvania and New Jersey varies from county to county, sometimes surveyor's feet, sometimes a foot is 12". While for orienteering map it is not critical, the difference between two feet, but it is critical for georeferencing. Have to read metadata in each case.
Aug 27, 2020 3:30 AM # 
The unit of measurement used in orienteering race is equal to пять пядей
Sep 20, 2020 11:41 PM # 
From the article:
"Occasionally, surveyors must use one foot for horizontal measurements and the other for elevations."

So, slope is not equal to tangent.
Sep 21, 2020 12:01 AM # 
Historically, when the USGS made a change so that their maps were in meters, we are talking the 80's, my brother was dealing with the changes in the Adirondacks. There was a headline for an article he wrote in the Lake Placid News that "No Longer Will There Be Hiking by Foot". Well, that whole meter thing sort of has disappeared in the Adirondacks and the heights of mountains are still referred to in feet. Oh, well.
Sep 21, 2020 1:00 AM # 
When dealing with school children on excursions to the Museum where I worked, I could tell that the coastal schools would give answers in feet. Because they still talk about wave height and swell in feet/inches so that was the standard for reference. And Australia went metric in 1966. These kids were born in the '90s
Sep 21, 2020 1:21 AM # 
When I introduced orienteering to several classes of 7th graders (age~12) a couple weeks ago, I was greatly distressed that only about 1 in 20 had any significant familiarity with meters. Only a couple (out of 62) were able to successfully convert centimeters to meters on the first try. Very disappointing. The teacher told me that they are now introducing metric earlier in elementary school, but apparently they never use it again, so by 7th grade, its completely forgotten. I wanted to scream "you're a bl---y" science teacher, why the ---- aren't your students using metric in middle school science".
Sep 21, 2020 2:00 AM # 
Don't you use bunsen burners in middle school science?
Sep 22, 2020 4:57 PM # 
Only in Canada

Under "weight" they also need to add another choice: is it meat? If deli slices, grams, if whole meat pieces, pounds, lol.

Speed also depends on if you are on land (metric) or water (imperial, knots).

Distance also depends on if you are currently carrying a canoe on your head, in which case it may be measured in "rods" but only if you are in Quetico Provincial Park, otherwise metres

Also if you are measuring area and you are dealing with agriculture or house lots, then its imperial (acres). If it has to do with forestry, then its a sort of made up metric (hectares, which I guess is 100 "ares", whatever that is).
Sep 22, 2020 5:06 PM # 
So you don't do body weight in stones like they do in the UK?
Sep 22, 2020 5:08 PM # 
are (2) [ air, ahr ]
a measure of surface area; 1 are is equal to1/100 (0.01) of a hectare (100 square meters or 119.6 square yards). Abbreviation: a

Sep 22, 2020 5:12 PM # 
Yes, I do actually know what it is. For amusement, I once submitted a scientific paper where I converted all my area measurements to "ares" since that's the once without a prefix and therefore the base unit, but I got asked to change it back and I didn't feel like fighting it.
Sep 22, 2020 5:17 PM # 
The nice thing about the metric system is that it's completely obvious what it is, even though it's hardly ever used. Of course, the amusing thing is that I stupidly googled "are definition" to get the proper wording to post, and of course got the conjugated form of "to be".
Sep 22, 2020 5:18 PM # 
The other complicated one is temperature. If its body temperature, and you don't have a fever, then its celsius. If you do have a fever, its fahrenheit (100 degrees! scary!). For air temperature, plain old degrees Celsius is just fine in the summer, in the winter it gets converted to "wind chill equivalent" to make it SEEM colder than it actually is. For some reason ins summer, nobody cares to talk about the "humidex" to make it seem hotter than it actually is.
Sep 22, 2020 6:30 PM # 
Actually in MN (and Western WI, listed in Twin Cities weather announcements as the place where the storms have safely moved to) we constantly get the humidity index and the "feels like" summer temperatures, sometimes quoted more than the real ones.
Sep 22, 2020 6:34 PM # 
Maybe the border is defined as the line where, north of there, it doesn't get hot and humid enough to report that.
Sep 22, 2020 6:53 PM # 
@J$ Could you contact me? (See my profile for e-mail address) I see you are in Thunder Bay. I am interested in getting orienteering going there and have maps ready or in progress at Kamview, Chippewa Park, Boulevard Lake Park and Centennial Park. Also a rough one at Lappe Nordic and Lakehead U. I could use your help and put you in touch with others if you are interested.
Sep 22, 2020 7:57 PM # 
In my research we often used thin metal films. In order to determine their thickness, we weighed them in micrograms and measured their area by placing them in a piece of mm graph paper and counting the squares. A typical size was 100 to 300 ug/cm**2. One of our grad students wanted to check if his supervisory committee actually read his thesis. He wrote that he had used "a 150 ug/cm**2 foil (approximately 1 stone/ acre). "
Sep 23, 2020 2:54 AM # 
In Australia your chart would look more like this (sorry for the crude design):

Is the conversation relating to cricket?
No - use metric, regardless of whether it's area, temperature, distance, weight or other being discussed
Yes - use imperial unless you're talking about how far the ball went over the fence
Sep 23, 2020 5:02 AM # 
A standard measure of volume in Australia is "one Sydney Harbour "
Sep 23, 2020 5:18 AM # 
The MCG is another oft used standard of measurement, whether it be number of people (the crowd could fill the MCG four times over) or distance (a marathon is equivalent to running the length of the MCG field 247 times).
Sep 23, 2020 6:07 AM # 
The only correct unit for measuring travelled distance in Lapland:
Sep 23, 2020 7:30 AM # 
(tries to think of anything that's happened in Finland this year which would give him the opportunity to get that word into this year's global climate summary)
Sep 23, 2020 9:59 AM # 
New Zealand babies are measured in pounds but adults tend to be in kilograms. Yet adult heights often seem to be stuck in feet and inches, even those of generations that would have only ever been exposed to metric in every other context.

In contrast to what tRicky reports, I think cricket over here is pretty much metric. Otherwise a past NZ batsman known for being remarkably tall would have been nicknamed '6 foot 7 Peter' which just doesn't have the same finesse. Mind you the Aussies will point out that we have some weird ideas about cricket over here, such as it may be actually OK to be nice to each other.
Sep 23, 2020 10:56 AM # 
The last two places where imperial measurements lingered on in urban Australia were the height of people and the weight of newborn babies, but both of those have just about changed, too. Farmers still often speak of acres of land and inches of rainfall.
Sep 23, 2020 1:44 PM # 
#The only correct unit for measuring travelled distance in Lapland:

I thought there was another related to how far away you can hear a dog barking, but possibly that relates to all of Finland.

I tried to make some Finnish recipes from an old cookbook of my mothers recently and they didn't work out because stuff was measured in "kuppi" which I learned after was the size of a "standard Finnish coffee cup", about half-ish the usual sized 250 mL cup
Sep 23, 2020 2:05 PM # 
Hiking as a kid with my dad in the Carpatian mountains in Romania, many shepherds described distances in numbers of pipes they would smoke on the way to get there
Sep 23, 2020 4:11 PM # 
The original definition of the "acre" was the area of land that a team of oxen could plow in one day with a wooden plow. The Anglo-Saxon acre was defined as a strip of land 1 × 1/10 furlong, or 40 × 4 rods (660 × 66 feet). Of course, that meant that the size of an acre varied depending on the consistency of the soil, not to mention the health of the oxen.
Sep 23, 2020 4:56 PM # 
It appears that it would require twice the normal precipitation in Finland for a cubic poronkusima of water to have fallen on the country in a year, so it will probably take a long time for global warming to produce an event where it would be completely natural for Blair to introduce the unit in describing Finland's contribution to global precipitation. On the other hand, the total global precipitation each year is just a little more than 1000 cubic poronkusimas, so that is also not completely convenient as a unit. But if one were to do as the metric system did with area (using an are being a square dekameter, rather than a square meter), you would have a very convenient unit for measuring total global annual precipitation being the cubic dekaporonkusima, since it would be just about 1 of them!
Sep 23, 2020 7:45 PM # 
Recent studies claim warming makes vegetation species distributions shift northward in Lapland one poronkusema / year.

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