I would have never thought...
July 28, 2003 6:58 PM   Subscribe

A4 Paper / International Standard Paper Sizes... that there was such an intricate system used to figure out what size of paper you are using. Stumbled across this while setting up my printer and needed to verify that A4 was indeed the same as the 8.5 x 11 paper that I was using.
posted by synecdoche (73 comments total)
 
A4 isn't 8.5" x 11". It's 210 mm x 297 mm , or 8.27" x 11.69".
posted by MegoSteve at 7:09 PM on July 28, 2003


Sorry, but A4 is 8.27"x11.69" while US letter is 8.5"x11".
posted by turbodog at 7:12 PM on July 28, 2003


Fight! Fight!
posted by Jimbob at 7:13 PM on July 28, 2003


Sorry 'bout being slow on the draw there, but at least my figures match MegoSteve's.
posted by turbodog at 7:13 PM on July 28, 2003


This might well be the most boring post ever, bless your heart.
posted by Hildago at 7:28 PM on July 28, 2003


I found this way cool. the thought that goes in to these things... I love metric ideology.

Now why do the British still use 'stones' for measurement, though?

For a non-boring look at the pitfalls of living in a modern world with two competing systems of measure, check out the Gimli Glider, proof that adherence to the Imperial measures can be as devastating as terrorism.
posted by kfury at 7:32 PM on July 28, 2003


...can't believe I read all of the original link...
posted by dash_slot- at 7:36 PM on July 28, 2003


I found it interesting, to think that it may be possible to purchase A6 toilet paper in Germany, how efficient of them.
posted by bobo123 at 7:40 PM on July 28, 2003


This is what I come to metafilter for. Really. God it's so geeky and typesettery and such. And definitely not something you'd find most other places.
Using standard paper sizes saves money and makes life simpler in many applications. For example, if all scientific journals used only ISO formats, then libraries would have to buy only very few different sizes for the binders. Shelves can be designed such that standard formats will fit in exactly without too much wasted shelf volume....
I'm with Hildago - Bless your heart, dude.
posted by dchase at 7:46 PM on July 28, 2003


It may be boring, but if the stuck-in-the-past Americans would only adopt the accepted world-wide standard for paper sizes, we could finally rid ourselves of the hassle of having to re-configure printers to accept A4 paper as the default instead of Letter.

It may seem nitpicky in the extreme, but it is a constant source of annoyance to me and many others. Well, those that are utter pedants anyway :-)
posted by dg at 8:03 PM on July 28, 2003


I used to pretty often print things out "2 up." I'd be printing out some code and I just felt bad burning up 40 pages of paper in order to read a file and kill a bug. So, that's my interest in the international paper sizes. I don't really think my eyes are "going," (I'm 28.) but I definately have less interest in reading small fonts than I did before. Hence less disatisfaction with old 81/2 x 11.
posted by Wood at 8:03 PM on July 28, 2003


Me too, dash_slot.

The root(2) ratio makes perfect sense. Although the applications for paper sizes greater than A3 or 8 1/2 by 14 can probably be counted on one hand.

Newspapers/tabloids, blueprints, uhh.....maps?
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 8:11 PM on July 28, 2003


Some of us are old enough to remember when a special fax machine (called "telecopier" back then) was necessary to transmit overseas, mainly because of the difference in paper size.
posted by Oriole Adams at 8:12 PM on July 28, 2003


Cheers, synecdoche. Actually for years I had laboured under the misapprehension that the ratio in the ISO 216 'A' series was 1.6180339:1 (or Golden Mean:1); but now I see that it's 1.4142857:1 (square root 2: 1). I always thought the 'folding in half' to get the next size down was pretty neat, especially when working with layout ... half an A3 page is A4, 1/4 is A5, etc; coming to the US and working with letter/legal drove me nuts for a while.
posted by carter at 8:12 PM on July 28, 2003


while we're on the subject, does anyone know how They come up with how long a millimeter or whatever is? I imagine it's something like x-number of atoms of y-element set end-to-end but I dunno. maybe someday I'll get a download of the internet web site and do a search and find out.
posted by mcsweetie at 8:17 PM on July 28, 2003


What Hildago said. Jesus. Good link, but still... I mean, next week: paint drying!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:21 PM on July 28, 2003


One meter is the distance that a beam of light traverses in 1/299,792,458 of a second.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 8:27 PM on July 28, 2003


The metre was originally intended to be 1/10,000,000 of the distance on the earth's surface between the equator and either pole ...
posted by dg at 8:28 PM on July 28, 2003


mcsweetie: I think originally - i.e. in post-revolution France - a metre was supposed to be 1/10,000,000 part of 1/4 of the circumference of the earth from pole to pole (or something like that). But when they measured this in France at the end of the eighteenth century, they found that the earth's circumference was not uniform, and thus an absolute definition of the metre could not be made; and the metre was arbitrarily defined by the French government. Since then it has been defined in different ways - now it's in terms of a large number of wavelengths of light emitted by certain atoms at a certain temperature? (Apologies for being vague - away from my books). There is a book on the origin of the metre which is pretty good if you are into that sort of thing.
posted by carter at 8:30 PM on July 28, 2003


What Hildago said. Jesus. Good link, but still... I mean, next week: paint drying!

Actually, next week is "A Summary of the International Standard Date and Time Notation". Did you already lose your syllabus?
posted by eddydamascene at 8:44 PM on July 28, 2003


And why can't I get a good cup of ISO standard coffee around here?
posted by ~rschram at 8:54 PM on July 28, 2003


I'm just waiting to see a post like:

You may think your colors are exact, but believe it or not, there are significant differences between what you may think are the 'official' RGB and CMYK ratings of specific Pantone colors, and what is displayed on your monitor! Did you know that even having a cat sitting on your lap while you calibrate your CRT to a so-called Adobe 'color profile' might be the difference between you being taken seriously as a graphic artist or being considered a common web hack?
posted by GriffX at 8:57 PM on July 28, 2003


but if the stuck-in-the-past Americans would only adopt the accepted world-wide standard for paper sizes, we could finally rid ourselves of the hassle of having to re-configure printers to accept A4 paper as the default instead of Letter

Hey now. If European companies were as good at manufacturing and marketing printers as we are, you'd get to dictate the standard.

And just to get this thread a'jumpin', I think that, while the Metric system is admittedly easier, you guys are crazy to be using Celsius instead of Fahrenheit for temperature measurement.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:24 PM on July 28, 2003


Dudes, imagine having to know this stuff for work. Paper sizes (and various coatings, and how they differ in NA vs Asia vs Europe), monitor calibration and don't even get me started on work-and-turn vs work-and-tumble.

This is great for someone who manages printing projects from North America - when sending stuff overseas it can lead to some confusion. Boring? Sure. Bookmarked? You betcha.
posted by Salmonberry at 9:30 PM on July 28, 2003


Any one who really cares about temperature uses Kelvin.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 9:31 PM on July 28, 2003


proof that adherence to the Imperial measures can be as devastating as terrorism

Well, strictly speaking, it would be as accurate to say that adopting newfangled measurement schemes can be as devastating as terrorism.

(I like metric fine, but think they screwed the pooch on the definition of a meter. A meter should be what we call a decimeter now -- then a liter would be a cubic meter, etc etc, and you wouldn't have semi-competing cgs and mks units, which no doubt could be just as devastating as terrorism [manuel] heventually [/manuel])
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:41 PM on July 28, 2003


As an engineer (well, when I was employed), I used to convert almost every problem into metric because energy problems in "English" units often require you to divide or multiply by the acceleration due to gravity - 32.17 ft/s^2. However, I can't think in most of the SI (metric) units - an inch is the first knuckle of my thumb, a foot is my shoed foot, and a pound is about how heavy a steel block can be and not hurt my foot when dropped on it. I now work as a mechanic, and while I can spot a 9/16 hex every time, I usually have to take five wrenches under a car with me to loosen a (metric) drain plug. (thank your favorite diety for Honda - all bolts are 10, 12, 14 on the engine, and 17 on the suspension!)

Uh, what was I gonna say? Oh yeah, that I couldn't give a damn less if they changed our paper standards over here - it would be nice to never waste paper when blowing up engineering drawings.

...and you have to use a Golden Triangle to construct a 72 degree angle, en route to constructing a 3 degree angle, which is the smallest whole-number angle that is constructible with straightedge and compass.

Did anyone else get indoctrinated with weird crap by their high-school geometry teachers?

The other time that Imperial measure will, literally, fuck you up is when you're used to knocking back 14-oz "pint" glasses of beer, and go over to England and they serve you (equivalent) 20-oz pints of much...stronger...*gurgle*....
posted by notsnot at 9:49 PM on July 28, 2003


Small trick:

I live in the US and I use A4 paper to print my resume, that way, whenever it's in a pile of papers, it always sticks out a little bit.

I have no proof that this achieves anything except frayed edges, but I do have first hand experience that blue ink (instead of black) for a signature has had a mhor effect on a sales decision, so I go for the small differences.
posted by o2b at 9:54 PM on July 28, 2003


... guys are crazy to be using Celsius instead of Fahrenheit for temperature measurement.
Yeah, the whole 100 degrees between freezing and boiling thing is soooo hard to figure out, after all.
posted by dg at 9:57 PM on July 28, 2003


The real crime here is that in the United States of America, mechanical drawings are done on ANSI paper, while architectural drawings are done on ISO paper. Taking mechanical and architectural drafting classes in highschool, the one test question that half of the class would regularly fail asked the student to identify the correct measurements for C-sized mechanical paper versus C-sized architectural paper. Ah, the memories.
posted by Ptrin at 10:17 PM on July 28, 2003


A4 may be fine for printing, but B5 is a much more convenient format for notebooks.
posted by dws at 10:28 PM on July 28, 2003


... guys are crazy to be using Celsius instead of Fahrenheit for temperature measurement.

Even though the Celsius system is derived from the metric system, where 1 Joule (g*m^2s^-2) is required to raise 1 g of water 1 degree Celsius?
posted by whatzit at 10:28 PM on July 28, 2003


The root(2) ratio makes perfect sense. Although the applications for paper sizes greater than A3 or 8 1/2 by 14 can probably be counted on one hand.

Most books are printed on larger sheets of paper and folder and cut to produce signatures of smaller-sized pages. Also, working in an archival setting and dealing with documents from a variety of countries and historical periods during which paper sizes have been interestingly non-standard (not to mention genealogical charts done on taped-together sheets of various-sized paper), I'd be thrilled if our copier could handle 11x17" or larger sheets.

Very cool post. It reminds me of the hidden depths that lurk awaiting the unwary pre-press sucker in the depths of the TIFF file format, a misbegotten and bletcherous everything-but-the-kitchen-sink standard if ever there was one, with which I have been enjoying great adventures of late (in Linux, from the command line, god help me).
posted by IshmaelGraves at 10:33 PM on July 28, 2003


... guys are crazy to be using Celsius instead of Fahrenheit for temperature measurement.
Yeah, the whole 100 degrees between freezing and boiling thing is soooo hard to figure out, after all.


Nah, I like Fahrenheit. Who really gives a shit at what temperature water boils or freezes? You look at the pot for the bubbles, you don't put a thermometer in. Besides, for lots of people water won't boil at 100C, because they don't live at sea level and / or the pressure that day is high or low.

In Fahrenheit, zero is colder'n a witch's-tit but in the human range, 100 is hot enough to boil a monkey's bum, but in the human range.

Which is preferable IMHO to centrigrade, with its zero being only sort of wussy-assed half-cold and 100 being off the chart into cooking land. 35 or 40 just doesn't say "hot" the way that 95 or 105 does, and "below zero" doesn't have the same "I'm Mr. Cold Meister, and I'll fuck you up and make you like it" ring to it in metric.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:36 PM on July 28, 2003


1 Joule (g*m^2s^-2)

Jeezum-crow, there are mgs units too?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:37 PM on July 28, 2003


Now why do the British still use 'stones' for measurement, though?

Instead of what? Pounds or kilos? Kilos most of the adult population don't really understand. You can probably explain bags of sugar and flour in terms of kilos now that everything has to be sold in metric units, but for just about everything else I'd wager most adults over say 35 or 40 think in imperial. I'm 30 and think in both, badly as it happens.

Stones though are only really used for people's weight. It just would not compute if I told someone my weight in pounds, even people who've only ever understood imperial, whereas saying I'm 14 stone and a bit (about 200lbs) people have a frame of reference against their own weight. You won't see anything else measured in stones. In thirty years of being here I've never seen anything else measured in them. Height too will always be in feet and inches. I'm 6'3, not so many centimetres and metres.

The strange thing for me with imperial and metric is I've grown up with both but really don't understand either. I use them interchangeably and inconsistently, each for a specific thing where I'm familiar with the use of one or the other. Perfect example: cold days are measured in celsius, hot days are farenheit. Tell me the temperature of a hot day in celsius and my entire frame of reference for just how hot that day actually is stops working. Cold days are colder in celsius than they are in farenheit as well, even on the same temperature. 0 is a lot colder than 32. Don't try telling me it's the same cos I'm not having it, 0 is colder.
posted by vbfg at 11:24 PM on July 28, 2003


Bruce: Well Bruce, I heard the Prime Minister use it. "It's hot enough to boil a monkey's bum in here, your Majesty," he said and she smiled quietly to herself.
Bruce: She's a good Sheila Bruce, and not at all stuck up.


Thanks for making me think of that , ROU_Xenophobe, and bringing a smile to a piss-poor day.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:33 PM on July 28, 2003


MetA4Filter?
posted by bwg at 11:35 PM on July 28, 2003


I mean, next week: paint drying!

paint drying cam.
posted by quonsar at 12:29 AM on July 29, 2003


imagine having to know this stuff for work

Do you work for paper merchants Wernham Hogg?
posted by jontyjago at 12:35 AM on July 29, 2003


dws is right - b5 is the bomb. Try this. You won't be disappointed.
posted by zpousman at 1:07 AM on July 29, 2003


cold days are measured in celsius, hot days are Fahrenheit.

And I thought I was the only one who couldn't 'visualise' how cold 45F is or how hot 30C was.....
posted by brettski at 1:57 AM on July 29, 2003


blue ink (instead of black) for a signature has had a mhor effect on a sales decision

Good or bad?

Anyone who doesn't associate '35 degrees' with 'hot' and 'below zero' with 'cold' has never lived through a Canberra summer or winter. -5°C - (insulation + central heating) = cold.

A4 tip for Mac OS X users: you can set it as your system-wide default paper size in the preferences of the Print Center (not, as you'd expect, in the System Preferences). Months of page setup hassles over at last...
posted by rory at 2:40 AM on July 29, 2003


What vbfg and brettski said. Must be a Brit thing.

Oh, and vbfg, thanks for reminding me about those goats. :-)
posted by squealy at 2:53 AM on July 29, 2003


More traditional sheet sizes: US and British (one could spend a sennite looking through the reams of pages on that site... and could FPPs be measured in shannons and PNC?)

Like vbfg et al., I'm a measurement unit ad hoc-er. I blame the imperial-metric reprogramming we Canehdians received in early school. Whatever. The important measure of coldness to us was the number of minutes until exposed skin would freeze, thus closing schools for the day. (This was Alberta and rare, please, for fear of furthering Canada's bad reputation of being particularly and always cold).

Maybe we could use alchemical measurements:

The four grades of Heat are called the heat of the Water Bath, the heat of Ashes, of Coals, and of Flame, which is also called "Optetic:" every grade hath its degrees, two at least, sometimes three...

...The first degree of the Bath of Heat is called the heat of a Fever; the second, of Dung.


Or, the mysterious brass monkey standard; as in, 'hot enough to singe hair off a', 'cold enough to freeze balls off a.'
posted by spandex at 4:01 AM on July 29, 2003


o2b: I live in the US and I use A4 paper to print my resume, that way, whenever it's in a pile of papers, it always sticks out a little bit.

That is genius.
posted by skryche at 4:51 AM on July 29, 2003


I work for a major maker of copiers and printers, and we still have problems with things like this, every freakin' day. One of the color printers I use absolutely refuses to do anything with A4, and it requires a power cycle to clear the job (bad software). I've asked to have some A4 stocked and loaded in one of the trays: denied.
posted by tommasz at 6:31 AM on July 29, 2003


anyone using metric is a cheese-eating surrender monkey. Might as well
re-name your months
as well.
posted by Pericles at 6:48 AM on July 29, 2003


The world would be a wonderful place if they would outlaw legal size paper.
posted by mss at 6:48 AM on July 29, 2003


I live in the US and I use A4 paper to print my resume, that way, whenever it's in a pile of papers, it always sticks out a little bit.

I'd be worried this could work against you. ("Who's the nimrod that can't even print on the right size paper?") Taping a $20 to the back side works better.

The world would be a wonderful place if they would outlaw legal size paper.

Yeah, but when you want to photocopy an entire book (hypothetically, of course, not as if you're too poor/stingy to go actually buy it or anything) it works great. Front and back, four pages per page.

ROU_Xenophobe: I'm with you on the C vs. F mental thing. "Fer Christ's sake, it's a hundred degrees out there!" sounds a lot better than "Golly, it's 38." We're people, not pasta.
posted by gottabefunky at 7:12 AM on July 29, 2003


Yeah, the whole 100 degrees between freezing and boiling thing is soooo hard to figure out, after all.

Why water? Why boiling? What's so important about these things? Temperature is one of the few things that affects our perception much more then our ability to do calculations. For instance, I can learn how long a kilometer is in perception ("oh, about here to the corner store"), because the benefits of conversion are so beautiful. But temperature? When am I using temperature with mililiters or kilometers?

Never, that's when. On the other hand, as was mentioned before, 0-100 degrees F is about the upper and lower bound of human comfort. Why the hell do I care that 32 = freezing water when I'm just trying to get dressed to go outside? Snow? Snow can happen at lots of different temperatures below 32F (0C). I can look outside and see it's snowing. Further, there's a world of difference between 70F and 75F. 70F is my perfect temperature -- cool enough to wear a jacket, warm enough to wear shorts (if you're walking around). But 75F? No, that's already too warm for a jacket, unless it's really light. Now in Celsius, that's like a single degree of difference. I want my temperature to express the nuances of human feeling, dammit.

Now mind you, your own "perfect" weather is probably different for different reasons, but with Farenheit you have a wider latitude to express it.

the Celsius system is derived from the metric system, where 1 Joule (g*m^2s^-2) is required to raise 1 g of water 1 degree Celsius

That is pretty cool. :)
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:20 AM on July 29, 2003


We're people, not pasta.

This line I must remember.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:22 AM on July 29, 2003


Oh for fuck's sake, it's just a matter of what you're used to. Fahrenheit measurements seem plain childish to me now. Why? Because they were used until I was about 15 then it all became Celsius. People only defend measurements because they're associated with their particular country. It's just another form of nationalism. It doesn't mean anything. It's NUMBERS.
posted by Summer at 7:44 AM on July 29, 2003


It doesn't mean anything. It's NUMBERS.

I keep telling that to my bank manager, but he's not buying into it.
posted by sebas at 8:31 AM on July 29, 2003


Heh. Funny that the most boring post ever has gotten so heated. That's MetaFilter for ya.

I want my temperature to express the nuances of human feeling, dammit.

That's a great romantic aspiration, but as Summer immediately pointed out, water is a much more objective and stable basis for measurement than NHF.
posted by soyjoy at 8:53 AM on July 29, 2003


Could some kind, retrograde US soul explain why you have liquid and solid ounces and one is a measure of volume and the other of weight, and what if any relation they have to each other?

I lived in the US for 2 years and never got my brain around quarts, ounces, etc.

The thing with metric is: it takes about 15 seconds to learn. Grams. Meters. Liters. Kilo- mili- centi-

1 liter of water = 1000 cm³ = 1 Kg

THAT'S IT. There is nothing else to learn.

Tangent: is the use of kilo- mega- etc. in IT the same as metric? I was under the impression that 1 Kb was 1024 bits?
posted by signal at 9:01 AM on July 29, 2003


Funny that the most boring post ever has gotten so heated.

Well, I had to do something!

And signal, I have no idea why. As my mother used to say: "Because. That's why."
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:21 AM on July 29, 2003


I think I know the measurements (in inches, picas, and millimeters) of every envelope and sheet size, European and Western. By heart. I wish we used the A sizes here.
posted by luriete at 9:42 AM on July 29, 2003


Could some kind, retrograde US soul explain why you have liquid and solid ounces and one is a measure of volume and the other of weight, and what if any relation they have to each other?

A fluid ounce of any normal kitchen fluid except honey weighs an ounce.

I lived in the US for 2 years and never got my brain around quarts, ounces, etc.

The only conversion you'd every really need to remember is 4 quarts = 1 gallon, which should be fairly obvious from them being called quarts and not eighths or fifths. The other conversions would be real pains in the ass if there were ever a good reason to do them, but there isn't unless you're scaling up a recipe to feed an army or the reverse.

1 liter of water = 1000 cm³ = 1 Kg

THAT'S IT. There is nothing else to learn.


Not really. If you're going to be doing any converting between units, you'll need to remember whether the unit in question is a cgs unit or an mks unit. Or, it seems, an mgs unit.

If they'd done it really right, they'd have made the meter smaller so that it was all convenient -- then it would be 1 liter of water = 1m^3 = 1g, and everything would be mgs, and things really would be consistent and easy.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:43 AM on July 29, 2003


Tangent: is the use of kilo- mega- etc. in IT the same as metric?

No, kilo- and mega- as used in IT are base two equivalents (2^10 = 1024 = kilo, 2^20 = 1048576 = mega). From the same man who brought you "International Standard Paper Sizes": Standardized Units for Use in Information Technology.
posted by eddydamascene at 10:17 AM on July 29, 2003


Regarding the ease of converting from US paper sizes to metric paper sizes: Anybody who thinks it's just a simple matter of starting to order A4 instead of 8.5x11 has never attempted to file A4 paper in a letter-sized file folder or filing cabinet (qv: printing one's resume on A4 paper).

To convert would require either replacing all office furniture overnight, or waiting 50 or 60 years for all the furniture to be replaced before our files all fit properly again.

Oh, and the US NIST prints many of their documents on A-series pages, so their booklets are the "wrong" size.
posted by djfiander at 10:29 AM on July 29, 2003


In Canada we tend to use a weird combination of metric and non-metric measurements, leading to sentences that go like this: "Drive about 30 K down the road, turn left, and go on about 200 feet to the first driveway", or "I'm 5 foot 7" next to "Can I have 200 grams of the sliced turkey?". Gasoline comes in litres, but lots of people still work out how much it costs by the gallon; milk is in litres, no problem there, but if you weigh yourself, it's pounds all the way. Temperature is always in C; yesterday, for example, people were talking on the bus about the current heatwave: "They say it's going to go up to 38 in Kelowna, and up to 35 here." Everyone oohed and aahed, so I have to say that any forecast above 30 carries the same impact as the ones that used to predict temperatures of above 90 F. And so on. And both C and F meet up at about 40 below, so the Nuances of Human Feeling Scale still carries the same resonance for prairie winters...
posted by jokeefe at 10:52 AM on July 29, 2003


The important measure of coldness to us was the number of minutes until exposed skin would freeze, thus closing schools for the day.

And spandex, don't forget the glories of the Wind Chill Factor (and for those in Ottawa, the Humidex).
posted by jokeefe at 11:03 AM on July 29, 2003


Kilo, Mega, Kibi, Mebi.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 11:21 AM on July 29, 2003


Trivial tangent on what carter said: I had read recently about how Napoleon was actually 5'6.5", not 5'2" as had been believed. The misconception about his height arose because of the difference between French measurements and English measurements.
posted by witchstone at 12:14 PM on July 29, 2003


the Celsius system is derived from the metric system, where 1 Joule (g*m^2s^-2) is required to raise 1 g of water 1 degree Celsius

That is pretty cool. :)


Except it's wrong. 1 calorie is the amount of heat required to raise 1g of water 1 degree Celsius. 1 calorie = 4.184 Joules.

Just to confuse matters a bit more, the Calorie used by nutritionists and listed on food labels is actually a kilocalorie.

Strange conversion factor that I only recently learned, even though I'm pretty good with both metric and English units: 1 gallon = 231 cubic inches, exactly.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:34 PM on July 29, 2003


Awesome, DevilsAdvocate! So there's no connection between temperature and the metric system! Baha! Now quit calling Celsius metric, you damned fools! It's just another arbitrary system like Farenheit! Woo hoo!

(I'm a little too excited about this thread.)
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:53 PM on July 29, 2003


grack. DevilsAdvocate, I hang my head in shame at that stupid blunder. That's what comes for posting after a summer of no science. Bad engineer, bad. More on metric heat and temperature...
heh. guess who lives in the us...
posted by whatzit at 12:53 PM on July 29, 2003


DevilsAdvocate:

Actually, just to be 100% anal, it's the amount of heat neccesary to raise a 1-gram water sample from 14.5°C to 15.5°C at 1 atmosphere pressure. More info here.

Civil_Disobedient: Of course Celsius is metric. All measurement systems are arbitrarily defined. The metric system is defined in terms of grams, liters, meters, celsius degrees and seconds. The calorie is defined in relation to grams.
posted by signal at 1:25 PM on July 29, 2003




forgot to close that tag, there.
posted by signal at 1:29 PM on July 29, 2003


Signal - Dang.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:26 PM on July 29, 2003


One of the color printers I use absolutely refuses to do anything with A4, and it requires a power cycle to clear the job (bad software)
We just bought one of these at work and it does the same thing with Letter size paper - if you send a print job to it in that size, you need to turn it off to get it working again.

Like jokeefe etc, I started my schooling in imperial and the metric system was introduced while I was learning about measurement in school, so I use bits of both systems. If you ask me how tall I am, I say 6'1", but if you ask me how much I weigh, I say 80kg.
posted by dg at 3:52 PM on July 29, 2003


I'm watching in fascination as this post, to all appearances (as has been said) stupefyingly boring, chugs towards 100 comments, and I feel I must do my part. Anyone interested in the history of the metric system should check out the book The Measure of All Things, which explains why the surveyors got it wrong and the meter turns out to be more arbitrary than anyone suspected.
posted by languagehat at 5:29 PM on July 29, 2003


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