was created the Imperial Ton
= 2240 pounds (lbs.)
= 20 Hundredweight (cwt) i.e. 1
cwt = 112 lbs.
when the Pilgrim Fathers landed on Plymouth Rock, they said
One Hundredweight should be one hundred pounds and one Ton should be 2000 lbs.
THUS WAS CREATED
the US Ton.
DISPLEASED were the merchants and traders when
they became aware that the colonials were making 10% on the side.
THUS IT CAME TO
PASS that the British traders did declare that
their galleons would, in future, also use measures of 2000 lbs, and declared
that this measure should be named the Short Ton.
MANY MOONS PASSED,
and the tribes of Europe did send their high priests to council one with the
other, whereupon they begat the EEC (EU).
THE TRIBES OF THE
CONTINENT did pour scorn upon the Ton and the
Short Ton, and being more in number than the Britons did ordain that all nations
should obey The New Commandment: Thou shalt worship the Tonne which equates to
1000 kilograms (kg).
THIS DID SORELY
DISPLEASE THE BRITONS, since this new measure
did contain 2205 lbs., but it came to pass that more tribes came to join the EEC
and the Britons were obliged to pay homage to the Tonne.
THE EEC DID
COMMAND that tablets of stone be carved, on
which was writ:
1 IMPERIAL TON = 2240
1 SHORT TON=1 US TON
= 2000 lbs.
1 TONNE = 1000 kg =
THE CONFUSION CREATED.
Honesty is the Best Policy during Audit
commercial importance of complying with "standards" has, over the past thirty
years, led to a common experience shared by many.... being subject to a
quality assurance or technical competency audit.
you know the two lies most often told during audits, don't you?
auditor says "I'm here to help you." To which the auditee replies
"We're glad you came."
1 million microphones = 1
1 million bicycles = 2 megacycles
52 cards = 1 decacards
1/2 lavatory = 1 demijohn
2000 mockingbirds = 2 kilomockingbirds
3-1/3 tridents = 1 decadent
10 monologs = 5 dialogues
2 monograms = 1 diagram
1 millionth of a fish = 1 microfiche
10 rations = 1 decoration
10 millipedes = 1 centipede
Are You a
Manager, or an Engineer ?
A man is flying in a hot air
balloon and realizes he is lost. He reduces height and spots a man down below.
He lowers the balloon further and shouts: "Excuse me, can you tell me where I am
The man below says: "Yes you're in a hot air balloon, hovering 30 feet above
"You must work in Customer Support", says the balloonist.
"I do", replies the man, "how did you know ?"
"Well", says the balloonist, "everything you have told me is technically
correct, but it's of no use to anyone."
The man below says "You must work in management."
"I do", replies the balloonist, "but how did you know ?"
"Well", says the man, "you don't know where you are, or where you're going, but
you expect me to be able to help. And you're in the same position as you were
before we met, but now it's my fault."
A group of managers were asked
to measure the height of a flagpole. They fetched a ladder and tape measure and
headed to the flagpole to perform their task. They weren't having much luck
because they kept dropping the tape measure and falling off the ladder.
Observing what they were
attempting to do, a metrologist approached them and offered to help. He pulled
the flagpole out of the ground, laid it down flat, measured it from one end to
the other, gave the measurements to one of the managers and walked away.
After the metrologist had gone,
one of the managers turned to the others and said, "Well, isn't that just like a
metrologist? We're looking for the height of the flagpole and he tells us the
Standards Live Forever
The US standard railroad gauge
(distance between the rails) is 4 ft, 8 1/2 in. (1.44 m).
That's an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used?
Because that's the way they built them in England, and the US railroads were
built by English expatriates.
Why did the English build them like that?
Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the
pre-railroad tramways, and that's the gauge they used.
Why did "they" use that gauge then?
Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools as "they"
used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.
Okay! Why did the wagons use that wheel spacing?
Well, if they tried to use any other spacing the wagons would break on some of
the old, long distance roads, because that's the spacing of the ruts.
So, who built these old rutted roads?
The first long distance roads in Europe were built by Imperial Rome for the
benefit of their legions. The roads have been used ever since.
And the ruts?
The initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of breaking their
wagons, were first made by Roman war chariots. Since the chariots were made by
or for Imperial Rome they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing (ruts
again). Thus, we have the answer to the original question. The United States
standard railroad gauge of 4 ft, 8 1/2 in. derives from the original military
specification for an Imperial Roman army war chariot.
The British trade paper Electronics Times published this same story but
with an additional ending which answered the question of why the Roman chariots
had the wheel spacing they did. It seems that this is traceable to the width of
the back-ends of a pair of horses. So,
the next time someone expects you to meet an "impossible" specification, you can
rightly question from which horse's #@*# it originated !
Prove the proposition: $marketing>>$metrology
...or Why Marketing is Much Better Paid than Metrology
We've all heard the expressions knowledge is power and time
is money. Given the basic definition:-
Power = Work / Time
substituting the aforementioned equivalencies, we get:-
Knowledge = Work / Money
course, in the proposition we're trying to find Money so, by simple
Money = Work / Knowledge
Therefore, as Knowledge tends to zero, Money increases. With no
Knowledge, it doesn't matter how much Work is done for infinite
Money!!! But actually, I'm not really having a go at Marketing.... they're
pretty smart cookies, which we can prove using a hybrid of the first equations:-
Knowledge = Work / Time
An elegant math demonstration of the fact that the less time they spend working,
the more clever they are!
[Latin -- quod erat demonstrandum meaning "which was to be demonstrated"]
The First Thing
we should do is to Standardize the Language
The intent of international
"standards" is to facilitate consistency and common interpretation, so it's
amusing that documents written using British English have to be "translated"
into American English when they're adopted over there. We need a standard
language. Mark Twain believed many problems would be overcome by eliminating
the redundancy in the construction of the English language. After all, do we
really need 26 letters in the alphabet? In doing so, his resultant
language sadly typifies the way many people view and understand "standards"
any variety of English is not your native tongue, you may find this
difficult to follow. Even native Brits find it difficult.....
Plan for the Improvement of English Spelling
by Mark Twain
In Year 1, that useless letter c would be
dropped to be replaced either by k or s, and likewise x
would no longer be part of the alphabet. The only kase in which c would
be retained would be the ch formation, which will be dealt with later.
might reform w spelling, so that which and one would take the same
konsonant, while Year 3 might abolish y replasing it with i and
Iear 4 might fiks the g / j anomali wonse and for all. Jenerally then,
the improvement would kontinue iear bai iear with Iear 5 doing awai with the
useless double konsonants and Iear 6-12 or so modifaiing vowlz and the rimeining
voist and unvoist konsonants.
Iear 15 or sou, it wud fainali bi posibl tu meik ius ov thi ridandant letez c,
y and x -- bai now jast a memori in the maindz ov ould doderez --
tu riplais ch, sh and th rispektivli.
xen aafte sam 20 iers ov orxogrefkl riform, wi wud hev a lojikl, kohimt speling
in ius xrewawt xe Ingli-spiking werld.
The Importance of Understanding the Test Procedure
a recent issue of Meat & Poultry magazine, editors quoted from
Feathers, the publication of the California Poultry Industry Federation,
telling the following story....
US Federal Aviation Administration has a unique device for testing the strength
of airplane cockpit windscreens. The device is a gun that launches a dead
chicken at the windscreen at approximately the speed the aircraft flies. The
theory is that if the windshield doesn't crack from the carcass impact, it will
survive a real collision with a bird during flight.
seems a British company were very interested in this and wanted to test the
windscreen on a brand new, high speed train they were developing. They borrowed
the FAA's chicken launcher, loaded the chicken and fired. The ballistic chicken
shattered the windscreen, broke the driver's chair and embedded itself in the
back wall of the cab. The British were stunned and asked the FAA to recheck the
test to see if everything was done correctly.
FAA reviewed the test thoroughly and had one recommendation:
First, thaw the chicken....
the pages of Open Systems Today - October 13, 1994:
International Standards Organization (ISO) and the International
Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) designated October 14 as World Standards Day
to recognize those volunteers who have worked hard to define international
standards.... The United States celebrated World Standards Day on October 11;
Finland celebrated on October 13; and Italy celebrated on October 18."
further comment about the global state of "standardization" is necessary !
Sometimes the truth is less believable than lies. Here's one of those examples
that proves the point…. Based on the, then pending, EC legislation concerning
the use of metric-only measures in trade, our office jape for April Fool's Day
1999 centered on the (mythical) outlawing of any item capable of being used to
measure in Imperial (English) units. Folk were encouraged to deposit six and
twelve inch rulers in a special recycling bin after being warned that the
company feared punitive fines for even possessing them !
Implementation of the law on January 1st, 2000 has produced a number of outraged
articles in the British press as so-called metric martyrs vow to defy "Europe's
attack on our cultural heritage", as the British Weights & Measures Association
have asserted. The following appeared in The Mirror newspaper on 24th
Scales of Injustice
Fletcher could be prosecuted for displaying his grandfather's old weighing
scales. Under EU law Keane is banned from having the imperial measure scales on
show, even though he uses metric. But after customers voted in favor, he has
decided to defy the law.
Keane, 36, of Rotherham, South Yorks, said: "The scales are part of the shop and
were handed down to me."
Trading Standards Officer David Palmer said: "It is an offense for a shopkeeper
to have them in his possession."
be warned if you've still got one of those rulers in your drawer!
spend so much time numerically quantifying physical phenomena, that the
opportunity to consider the language used to actually quantify may be a welcome
diversion. We start by assigning values to some
But how many is
some ? Perhaps six or seven ? Well, it's probably more than several,
so let us assume that several is four or five. And how many is a few
? Most consider it to be less than several and therefore certainly less
than some. But it's more than two, since two is definitely a couple.
By these terms a few must be three or four.
Reference to a handy Oxford
English Dictionary reveals that some is "an appreciable or considerable
number". Surprising since, conversely, sometimes isn't generally felt to
be very often. Indeed, the OED defines the frequency of sometimes as "at
one time or other". Seemingly, some has a serious lack of stability,
having the duality of being both a large and small quantity at once. Given this,
you'd need to be quite an optimist to ask for some apple pie.
Which leads us to wonder about
that quite qualifier. Quite, when relating to a lot (many)
diminishes the lot; quite a lot clearly being less than a lot.
Similarly, quite big is smaller than simply big and also, quite
good being rather poorer than good.
However, quite when used
to qualify virtue, increases the degree of trueness; quite correct being
more right than just correct. Likewise, probably is more probable
when it is quite probably. And on the subject of confidence, just
right attributes a higher degree of perfection than something that is only
right. By reversing the phrase and with only an additional pause, as in
"right... just", it's possible to convey a sense of barely satisfying the
A more interesting observation
concerns opposites which we came upon quite by chance and which is, evidently,
more extraordinary than doing so by chance. Consider valid. Quite
valid is marginally less valid than valid but quite invalid is
far more invalid than invalid. At the same time, quite true is
truer than true; quite untrue more untrue than untrue.
By combining the foregoing
propositions we can address the question of how many is quite a few? It
seems to be more than a few and, alarmingly, this may then encroach on
the ground occupied by several. Since quite several is nonsensical
whereas quite some is more than some (albeit colloquially for
emphasis, as in "That is quite some building"), it stands to reason that
misses out a bit (a bit being less than quite a lot but more than
The entire discussion serves to
illustrate the imprecision of language; it has uncertainty. But to what degree?
Well, certain suggests definite (=100%) but uncertain doesn't mean
impossible (>0%), so maybe tends towards 50%. If certain equates to 100%
and uncertain lies in the range 30-70%, might risky reflect 5-30%? But
what is something having higher confidence than uncertain but not the
absolute assurance of certain? Hmmm... language guardbands are required.
Some metrologists are quite certain of that, surely?
And you thought the language of measurement was difficult !
Minutes of a Meeting of the International Organization for Standardization, Held
on the First of April 1994
RE-DRAFTING OF THE FIRST STANDARD
beginning was the Word, and the Word was God." And the German delegation lodged
an official objection, claiming that this was a circular definition and was too
verbose. The German head of delegation cited a previous agreement giving the
Editing Committee responsibility for grammatical problems, and therefore asked
for the text to be deleted and replaced by: "Section 1, Clause 1.1, Sub-clause
Norway voted "No". They felt that the scope of the Universe was too broad, and
asked for clarification before they could vote "Yes". On the contrary, the
Swedes wanted the scope to be broadened to include the words "and similar
premises". The Danish delegation firstly disapproved, but then approved on
condition that "national regulations applied" and that no federalism was
involved. The USA announced that they doubted the technical feasibility of
Darkness, which led the discussion into complete confusion.
Then a dinner took place
and it was the end of the first day, except for the lobbying in the bar
second day, the Japanese tabled a new contribution entitled "Let there be
right." Except for the Russian delegation, who saw this as contrary to
democratic socialism, there was no objection (as the document was in Japanese),
but later, someone realized that in fact, owing to a typographical mistake, its
title was "Let there be Light". And so Light became a technical requirement.
Then a cocktail party took
place and it was the end of the second