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Author Topic:   How Scientifically Literate Are You?
Faith 
Suspended Member (Idle past 1529 days)
Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001


Message 76 of 134 (697900)
05-01-2013 2:31 PM
Reply to: Message 68 by caffeine
05-01-2013 11:31 AM


Re: No Fracking Problem
Oh yeh, we got the metric on everything too. As long as I don't need it I don't use it.

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Faith 
Suspended Member (Idle past 1529 days)
Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001


Message 77 of 134 (697901)
05-01-2013 2:32 PM
Reply to: Message 69 by New Cat's Eye
05-01-2013 12:04 PM


Re: No Fracking Problem
That too.

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Straggler
Member (Idle past 150 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 78 of 134 (697904)
05-01-2013 2:38 PM
Reply to: Message 74 by Panda
05-01-2013 12:58 PM


Re: No Fracking Problem
Panda writes:
Our alcohol is pints.
Even vodka..? Only kiddin.
Panda writes:
Our food/drink is kilos/litres.
Milk is still in pints. Don't butchers and green grocers still do pounds? Olde swet shops still do old weight measures too.
Panda writes:
Our petrol is gallons.
Really? I haven't seen anything but litres for years and years.
Panda writes:
Our body weights are stones/pounds.
I think a lot of people are just as comfortable with Kgs.
The most common non-metric thing we use is miles (our car speedometers are still in MpH)
But - Yes - We use a mixed bag of measurements.

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Straggler
Member (Idle past 150 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 79 of 134 (697905)
05-01-2013 2:44 PM
Reply to: Message 67 by petrophysics1
05-01-2013 11:01 AM


Re: To Frac
Fracking is a reasonably big deal in the UK. And probably soon to be a bigger deal.
Here (so I understand) the term is normally applied to shale gas and the technique used is generally implied to be a new or newly viable development that is relatively untested but potentially bountiful.
I don't know if this is accurate. But this is the general impression given by the mainstream UK media.

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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 80 of 134 (697906)
05-01-2013 2:46 PM
Reply to: Message 75 by Faith
05-01-2013 2:30 PM


Re: No Fracking Problem
Well that's awfully selfish of you.
"I don't care if we're worse... we're unique in our inferiority!"
Geez, that's a whole new outlook for me: Oh, yeah I got in last place, but I'm the only one who did so bad!"
I'll just leave you with this:

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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5974
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 81 of 134 (697907)
05-01-2013 2:47 PM
Reply to: Message 64 by Faith
05-01-2013 10:26 AM


Re: No Fracking Problem
There is no way I'm going to convert all the measurements in my cookbooks to metric and throw out all my measuring gear.
You don't have to. There is absolutely no need to do that. Even in a thoroughly metric country like Germany, recipes still use cups (Obertassen), teaspoons (Teelffel), tablespoons (Esslffel), and pounds (Pfund) -- see Kchenmae
(Kitchen Measurements)
. Though in the future if the old measuring cups and spoons were no longer available, then somebody would need to perform those conversions. My phone has an app for that, gUnit.
You should also take a look at the English version of that article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooking_weights_and_measures, which covers US and UK kitchen measurements in more detail. Including how our measurements by the same name are not the same. Everywhere in the world, a liter is a liter is a liter, but from one country to the next a pint is not a pint.
The main problem with using a German recipe is that their dry measurements are in weight and not volume (eg, 160g of flour instead of one cup of flour) and I think that is common in many European countries. Though in Germany I did see a graduated measuring cup/beaker that was not only in milliliters but also had scales for flour, sugar, rice, etc, in grams.
In high school and college I worked part-time for 8 years with my father, a carpenter. Now if I had done it full-time for many years, I would have been able to do this on sight, but taking a measurement I would always have to calculate how many 16'ths or 32'nds of an inch that mark was. First day on the construction site in Germany, I was handed a Meterstock and told to get a board 17mm wide and I was able to use that Meterstock first time with absolutely no difficulty. The first thing I did when I returned home was to buy a steel tape with both scales on it, inches for my father and millimeters for me.
Now, there are two valid problems with converting to metric. One is that most trades have sets of special measurements that they use all the time and have memorized. Measurements such as standard door dimensions and offsets and the spacing between studs. A solution could be like the kitchen compromise where old measurements are still retained and supplement the new measurements. The second problem is visualization. We can look at something and estimate its size and lift something and estimate its weight, or we can be told a length or weight and we can visualize about what that would be. We would have to relearn all that when we convert over to metric and that would be a problem that could only be solved through much practice.
Still, the great ease of the metric system and the great difficulty of the US system is found when we work within the system.
Here's a problem that illustrates that. You're going to build a water tank with a certain length, width, and depth. How much water will that tank hold (ie, what volume of water, eg how many gallons)? And how much will that water weigh? And you are not allowed to look anything up (eg, a figure for how much a gallon of water weighs, or conversion factors from cubic feet to gallons). In the US system, if you cannot look up conversion factors then you are lost; one year in elementary school, the math book did not contain a table of those conversions as it had in other years and I was lost --I still have to look up how many feet are in a statute mile (5280, but I'm never quite sure).
However, in metric the solution is very simple because the three forms of measurement are all interrelated: 1 cubic centimeter is one milliliter and one milliliter of water has a mass of one gram. With that basic knowledge, you can solve that water tank problem with great ease. And if you need to figure out the weight of a certain volume of another substance given its density, that is also simple and straight-forward.
The metric system is so easy, it boggles the mind that Americans are so afraid of it. Kind of like in the late 1960's when the UK adopted decimal money, stores hired many "Decimal Dollies", girls whose job was to explain the new money system to the perplexed British shoppers.

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 Message 64 by Faith, posted 05-01-2013 10:26 AM Faith has replied

Replies to this message:
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ringo
Member (Idle past 497 days)
Posts: 20940
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005


Message 82 of 134 (697911)
05-01-2013 2:51 PM
Reply to: Message 66 by New Cat's Eye
05-01-2013 10:35 AM


Metric System groupies and scientific literacy
Catholic Scientist writes:
The metric system is just so much better than ours....
I've always argued against the metric system being "better" than another system of weights and measures. It's just different. Its only redeeming feature, as far as I'm concerned, is the fact that it is nearly universal - and here in Canada we're influenced almost as much by the American system as by "our own" anyway.

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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5974
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 83 of 134 (697913)
05-01-2013 2:54 PM
Reply to: Message 70 by Panda
05-01-2013 12:24 PM


Re: No Fracking Problem
Not just the Japanese. I've seen that yyyy/mm/dd format used in many places, including in genealogy programs and reports and on US government forms. And I often use it in software version change logs.
In everyday life, I use day-month-year, though I write/say the month name instead of using the number. Learned that in high school German class and lived it in the US military for 35 years. It's the normal way, same as 24-hour time.

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Faith 
Suspended Member (Idle past 1529 days)
Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001


(1)
Message 84 of 134 (697914)
05-01-2013 2:55 PM
Reply to: Message 80 by New Cat's Eye
05-01-2013 2:46 PM


Re: No Fracking Problem
Na, metricity isn't all that superior. I'm not bragging about inferiority, if science needs metrics then use metrics for science, but leave the rest of us alone, we're doing fine without it. Scientists can learn to do the conversions, don't impose it on the rest of us. Good brain exercise too. And the fact that we have mixtures of both, as UK people have said they do, shows it isn't necessary to impose it on us anyway.

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Faith 
Suspended Member (Idle past 1529 days)
Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001


Message 85 of 134 (697915)
05-01-2013 3:04 PM
Reply to: Message 81 by dwise1
05-01-2013 2:47 PM


Re: No Fracking Problem
You explain it well enough to make me wish I'd learned it. Too late now. '
I don't have to be concerned with how they measure things in Germany of course. If I moved there I assume I'd learn their system. But my cookbooks correspond to my measuring tools and habits and that's all I need to know.
But I also agree with this point:
Now, there are two valid problems with converting to metric. One is that most trades have sets of special measurements that they use all the time and have memorized. Measurements such as standard door dimensions and offsets and the spacing between studs. A solution could be like the kitchen compromise where old measurements are still retained and supplement the new measurements. The second problem is visualization. We can look at something and estimate its size and lift something and estimate its weight, or we can be told a length or weight and we can visualize about what that would be. We would have to relearn all that when we convert over to metric and that would be a problem that could only be solved through much practice.
Yes, I'm good at estimating based on the system we have, and changing would be a huge problem for that reason. I can estimate inches and feet but forget centimeters. I know what a quart is but a liter is just an annoying failure to be a quart. Etc.
\
Edited by Faith, : No reason given.

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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 86 of 134 (697916)
05-01-2013 3:06 PM
Reply to: Message 82 by ringo
05-01-2013 2:51 PM


Re: Metric System groupies and scientific literacy
I've always argued against the metric system being "better" than another system of weights and measures.
Well you're wrong. Its obviously better to base things off of powers of 10 than some random factor. You can do the math in your head, you can convert left and right. You don't have that "arbitrary retarded rollercoaster" in the second picture in my post.
A mile? Oh, that's 5280 feet. Wait, how many yards is that? Oh fuck. Let me get my calculator.
There's no way that equally as good as: 1 km = 1000 m = 1000000 mm

The only problem I have is visualizing distance metrically. And its because of growing up using the US system. I know how far a mile is in my head. I can't picture X kilometers without converting it into some number of miles.
I just realized something right before I hit submit...
We've been playing Minecraft a bit lately. In that game, each block is a square meter. I've gotten the sense of about how far 1000 blocks is. I can picture the real world as if I was standing in Minecraft and then picture how far 1000 blocks away would be and, voila, there's my kilometer!
Still though, its hard for me to imaged 6.5 kilometers but I have no problem seeing how far away 6.5 mile would be.

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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 87 of 134 (697917)
05-01-2013 3:09 PM
Reply to: Message 84 by Faith
05-01-2013 2:55 PM


Re: No Fracking Problem
Na, metricity isn't all that superior.
You're more right about the age of the earth...
Bow down to the metric system or forever be inferior!!

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NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 88 of 134 (697918)
05-01-2013 3:13 PM
Reply to: Message 67 by petrophysics1
05-01-2013 11:01 AM


Re: To Frac
I have designed and done frac jobs for over 35 years and it has been around since the late 1940's. Over a million wells in the US have been fraced with no problems. It's nothing new.
As best as I can tell, the frack spelling was indeed originated by environmentalists. It was originated by someone at Earthworks.
On the other hand, there are some things that are not told fully in your post. The 'fracking' that is the subject debate here on the east coast is not exactly the 70 year old process that you refer to. Instead, the debate is about a fracturing process called slickwater fracturing developed in the late 1990s.
Hydraulic fracturing - Wikipedia
quote:
In 1997, based on earlier techniques used by Union Pacific Resources, now part of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Mitchell Energy, now part of Devon Energy, developed the hydraulic fracturing technique known as "slickwater fracturing" which involves adding chemicals to water to increase the fluid flow, that made the shale gas extraction economical.
It should be apparent that the above is not the process used for increasing water well production, but I'd appreciate any correction from petrophysics1 to the contrary.

Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)
I would say here something that was heard from an ecclesiastic of the most eminent degree; ‘That the intention of the Holy Ghost is to teach us how one goes to heaven, not how the heaven goes.’ Galileo Galilei 1615.
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass

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ringo
Member (Idle past 497 days)
Posts: 20940
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005


Message 89 of 134 (697921)
05-01-2013 3:23 PM
Reply to: Message 86 by New Cat's Eye
05-01-2013 3:06 PM


Re: Metric System groupies and scientific literacy
Catholic Scientist writes:
Its obviously better to base things off of powers of 10 than some random factor. You can do the math in your head, you can convert left and right.
The other side of that coin is that it's easier to make mistakes lke dividing by a hundred instead of ten. A system that requires you to think is not "obviously" inferior.
Simpler isn't necessarily better. Every year before Christmas and Father's Day, you see those commercials for supertools that can replace a whole toolbox full of conventional tools. The trouble is that a tool that can be used for everything is seldom really good at any of them.
Edited by ringo, : Made a mistke in splling.

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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5974
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 90 of 134 (697922)
05-01-2013 3:24 PM
Reply to: Message 85 by Faith
05-01-2013 3:04 PM


Re: No Fracking Problem
You explain it well enough to make me wish I'd learned it. Too late now. '
It's never too late. It just takes a few minutes, that's all. Or the better part of an hour if you are very very slow. It's really that easy.
Compare that with it having taken you several years to learn the US system? And you still don't know it because many of its units of measure are specialized. For example, what's a slug and how big is it?
I don't have to be concerned with how they measure things in Germany of course. If I moved there I assume I'd learn their system.
Yet again you display your immense talent for missing the point.
The point is that even in a very metric country, old units of measurement still survive. So your false dilemma of storm troopers descending upon your kitchen to confiscate all your US measurements has absolutely no basis in reality.
I know what a quart is but a liter is just an annoying failure to be a quart. Etc.
No, you got that backwards: a quart is just an annoying failure to be a liter.
There are different systems of measurement that co-exist. There are different systems of thought and belief that co-exist. One is intrinsically no more valid than the other. They are what they are and those who use one or the other have their reasons for doing so, some of which are very good, some of which are very poor.
They exist. Accept that.
PS
A slug is the US unit of mass which is used in the foot-pound-second system (FPS http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foot-pound-second) in physics. It's the mass that it takes to generate about 32 pounds of force.
That also touches upon a fundamental confusion that the US system causes, in that weight is measured as a force, whereas the metric system measures mass. At most sub-light speeds, an object's mass will remain the same, whereas its weight can vary greatly depending on the gravitational field it finds itself in. The metric system enables us to work through problems clearly, whereas the US system requires a lot of mental gymnastics.
Edited by dwise1, : PS -- answer to what a slug is

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