Another way of putting it, besides the apple thing, I comprehend “hands” when referring to horses, because I can see the horse. I know what 60 inches or 5 feet is, because I’m 4’ 11”, which makes me 59 inches. My sons are about a foot (12 inches) taller than I am, so I have an idea of what almost 6’ looks like. Therefore, if a person is 3’ tall, I visualize that too, based on myself. They’d go up to about my chest. I have an idea of what a yard looks like because I can I’ve seen a yard stick many times and have put a yard stick up to things to get a clearer visual. I also know what 100 lbs or approximently 45 kilograms, that’s me and 110 lbs or about 50 kilograms looks like my mother, who is the same height as I am.

OK, I’ve asked what various things look like and no seems to get it. They just throw out more meaningless numbers, saying centi means 1000. I get that, but I have nothing to base it on to comprehend it, but more numbers just makes my head spin and people repeating that a milli is this, a centi is that, a deci is this, and a giga is whatever, doesn’t help clear things up any. All those numbers don’t mean much at all because that’s just a jumble in my head and doesn’t mean anything except 10000000000000000000000 repeated over and over again. I don’t even know what a trillion billion million looks like, but I know it’s a number. That’s not the point.

So let’s do one thing again… 2 liters. OK that’s a soda bottle, which causes a gallon of milk to overflow. I know what that looks like. Now, give me a visual of just one thing of what you’re talking about, to give it meaning, without throwing umpteen numbers at me, please.

“No, because that wasn’t what I was asking or anything else and the 10 power stuff only makes it worse. I’m not a math genius, obviously, but how the hell do you get 1 Kibit = 2(10 power) bit = 1024 bit? 2 to the tenth power does not equal 1024. All that did was give me more questions, which you probably don’t understand either. BTW, you “failed” because you didn’t appear to understand what I was asking or saying.”

2 to the tenth power does equal 1024. But don’t take my word for it. Let us calculate it step by step. 2 ^ 10 = 2 X 2 X 2 X 2 X 2 X 2 X 2 X 2 X 2 X 2. (There are 10 2’s there). I will be writing out the results of each multiplication one by one.

2 X 2 = 4, 4 X 2 = 8, 8 X 2 = 16, etc. So the results are in order as follows: 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024. So, 2 raised to the tenth power is 1024!
Please, tell me at least I managed to convince you of this mathematical fact so I can sleep tonight!!!!

Héctor

Sigh. It’s not that you need to convince me. That’s not what I’m arguing. I can do that several times, just the way you did, which I ready did before you wrote it out, exactly as you did, and probably would not get the same numbers you did, which I did not. Therein is the problem. I can do math just as you wrote it out, but in the end have numbers all over the place. Don’t worry about it, because you’re not understanding. Just go to sleep.

asanta, I know those things, but my question is, to rephrase it, what is a centimeter 1/100 of? One inch is 1/12 of a foot, but a centimeter does not appear to be 1/100 of a giga. Now is my question making more sense?

No, the question does not make sense. A centimetre is a hundredth of a meter (and yes, 1 yard = 0.9144 metre). That’s it. And the metre is a fixed definition, defined by physical means (see here).

There are exact physical definitions of length (metre), mass (gram), time (second), electrical current (Ampère), temperature (degrees Kelvin), luminous intensity (candela) and amount of substance (mole). See here.

Everyone of this unities can be prefixed to make tiny or huge amounts still human readable: 0.000000001 seconds is not as good readably as 1 nano second.

And as said earlier, in the beginning one might be tempted to convert it to American units, but if you get used to the new unities, you just forget the old, as in learning a foreign language, you do not translate to your mother language.

Yeah, a question remains (an no I did not look at your GdB, because it would just be more numbers). My older son understood my original question. Of course, he’s lived with me all his life and he’s 23 now, thus, he understands the frustrations I have with numbers and math. I told him my frustration with all these numbers thrown at me, problem with communicating with none of my questions answered, no matter how I explained it, and then I showed him my original question, as well as the other “What does that look like/mean questions”. As for the first, he simply took out the 2 L of soda in the fridge and showed me what it looked like and it translated into 3/4 of the bottle. It was easy once I saw it and I got the answer to my question. The rest was the same way. He showed me, one question at a time, and all of it without throwing a gazillion more numbers out at me. The answers to my questions, which had nothing to do with what you all were throwing out, finally clicked. Now why couldn’t you all figure out that was what I meant, esp if it was that easy (allegedly) to comprehend?

Yeah, a question remains (an no I did not look at your GdB, because it would just be more numbers). My older son understood my original question. Of course, he’s lived with me all his life and he’s 23 now, thus, he understands the frustrations I have with numbers and math. I told him my frustration with all these numbers thrown at me, problem with communicating with none of my questions answered, no matter how I explained it, and then I showed him my original question, as well as the other “What does that look like/mean questions”. As for the first, he simply took out the 2 L of soda in the fridge and showed me what it looked like and it translated into 3/4 of the bottle. It was easy once I saw it and I got the answer to my question. The rest was the same way. He showed me, one question at a time, and all of it without throwing a gazillion more numbers out at me. The answers to my questions, which had nothing to do with what you all were throwing out, finally clicked. Now why couldn’t you all figure out that was what I meant, esp if it was that easy (allegedly) to comprehend?

Although I come from a metric country, I get your frustration. We usually still go by feet and inches to measure height even though our doctor’s offices and other professionals record things in metric. Imperial measures are human evolved measures in that they are based on everyday things like the size of a King’s foot, salt-water and body temperature for humans, and reasonable sizes and divisions in cooking. When based on divisions of ten, the sizes do not always seem so convenient for regular ordinary use. 1 cm is about the size of the width of a pinky finger. The next measure up, a dm (decimeter), is about the size of the width of a milk carton. But then, the m (regular meter), being ten times that, is uncomfortable as a common measure because it enough bigger than a yard to make it not representable as a stride for walking, or the width of any body characteristics that are visual. It’s still easier by far to think of an average coffee cup as representative of an average cup and unit by which to follow cooking instructions by. It would be weird, not to mention stupid, to say, “take 750 ml of flour”... rather than simply, “3 cups”, although many cookbooks here do tend to do that. They end up superfluously adding the imperial measures in brackets anyways because virtually all cooks other than chemists favor them.

But if you get too confused, here’s what you do: go to the top of a very tall building and jump. Superman will save you. Ask him to fly you from the north pole to the equator to get an idea of how large a distance that is. Then ask him to fly you 1/10,000,000 of the way (This one will be a short trip,... no need to pack a lunch!). That is how they originally defined the meter. Since he’s from Krypton, he’s certainly familiar with the properties of that deadly Krypton-86. He’ll remind you that the meter was also defined as the length of 650,763.73 wavelengths of the orange-red spectral lines it emits. Then again…maybe you’ll just say screw the measurement crap and invite him in for a cup of coffee?!

Canada is not a metric country, Scott. It tries to be, but it has a long way to go. In my industry of graphic design, for example, the metric system almost never comes up. I try to use the A4 paper format once in a while instead of the boring and ugly imperial letter format (8.5” by 11”), but I know I will have to do a lot of explaining to justify my “unusual” taste.

But it could be worse, I guess. I once spoke with an auto mechanic who quit his job at GM and had to buy all new metric tools, as his next job was at Mercedes Benz.

What can I say? This is the first time I have heard of such a new system of prefixes and frankly I couldn’t stop laughing at all the strange and funny sounding names. Is this for real or are you pulling my leg?

Yes Héctor, it is the standard now-a-days, it is real. The NIST link has the history. And yes, the new prefixes sound funny, at first. I’m happy that you enjoyed the link.

asanta - 10 September 2012 08:32 PM

Mriana, the standard of measurement is the meter(distance), gram(weight) or liter (liquid measure).

That makes good sense asanta, BUT the standard mass is a kilogram, not the gram. :shrug:

Is the metric (SI) map too complex looking? You just start with a unit in the right section (try Newtons), you can see the formula that makes that unit ((kg * m)/s^2). The formula is made of the base units (see the left section), these units are at the base of the metric (SI) system so they don’t bother giving formulas for them. The lines just tell you how to build each formula, a solid line means multiplication, and a dashed line means division. The bold black text tells you the physical property that the unit measures (Force). The abbreviations of the units are emboldened and circled (N), or boxed. The map explains the SI system in a glance… so, in that way its simple.

NOT when you’re working with preemies!! Thanks for the correction!

Cute. Actually I’ve never used mL in a calculation, I never use volume in my electrical work. But thanks for the earlier tip Asanta, I have to try converting to metric at the supermarket.

BTW Mriana and all, I guess I just remembered that 1 cc = 1 mL conversion from college Physics somehow, I’ve never used it ‘till this thread. And yes asanta, you posted the conversion before I did.

Just a little note to point out a fundamental mistake being made in some posts here. As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, any system of units (such as the metric or english systems and others) must define three fundamental units and they have been chosen to be: length, mass (not weight!) and time. In the metric system the corresponding units defined are the meter (for length), the kilogram (for mass) and the second (for time). That is why the metric system is also known as the mks system, which stands for meter-kilogram-second. There is another system which is called the cgs system, where cgs stands for centimeter-gram-second. The units for any other physical quantity of interest such as velocity, energy, etc. can be defined in terms of the three fundamental units already defined. For example: Since velocity is calculated by dividing the distance traversed by the time it took to traverse the distance, its units are defined as m/s, that is, meters per second in the mks system. Anyway what I want to stress is that both gram and kilogram are units of MASS and not weight. Now, unless someone asks me to discuss the difference between mass and weight, I shall consider this matter closed as far as I am concerned.

Is the metric (SI) map too complex looking? You just start with a unit in the right section (try Newtons), you can see the formula that makes that unit ((kg * m)/s^2). The formula is made of the base units (see the left section), these units are at the base of the metric (SI) system so they don’t bother giving formulas for them. The lines just tell you how to build each formula, a solid line means multiplication, and a dashed line means division. The bold black text tells you the physical property that the unit measures (Force). The abbreviations of the units are emboldened and circled (N), or boxed. The map explains the SI system in a glance… so, in that way its simple.

Oh, it is a nice map, no question! But not very practical as an introduction to the SI-system…