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Question for Brits concerning Harry Potter

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Clinton McClure, Jul 16, 2005.

  1. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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    It clearly refers to the slang noted from the net above: People who fantasise relationships between fictional characters on the internet or something.
     
  2. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    :b
    Damn stupid. Yes, I know. It's one of those "mind-typos". That's my punishment, I guess, for trying to make it look casual... [​IMG]


    Cees
     
  3. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    To be fair, this sort of stuff pops up in written reports, not in verbal commentary. Same thing happens with currency, e.g. some marketing guru estimated Michelle Wie could make US$10 mil in endorsements, but in local currency that's about S$16.7mil so that's the figure that gets trumpeted, with US$10mil in parentheses.

    But even 5-and-a-half metre and 16-and-a-half metre box don't have the nice ring 6 yard and 18 yard box do, do they?
     
  4. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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    No they don't have as nice a ring, it's true. Metres are far more useful for the other stuff, though, let's be honest. Things that were done in the old measuring system of course will seem odd in the new one.

    I get what you mean about the translations now. Such things are often amusing. [​IMG]
     
  5. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    Absolutely. We are after all all-metric out here, despite the colonial legacy. Although one hangover is that some locations are still referred to by the older generation with reference to the nearest milestone on a particular road.

    One thing I've never quite managed to get my head around though: stones and pounds. Of all things a stone is 14 pounds, makes it rather difficult to do sums in the head.
     
  6. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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    All Imperial amounts are pretty weird, though:

    12" to a foot
    16oz to a pound (I think?)
    3 feet to a yard
    1760 yards to a mile (WTF?)
    8 pints to a gallon
    A ton is supposed to be roughly equal to a tonne, so I guess there must be 2200 lbs to a tonne. What kind of freaky value is that?

    And of course, in old english money: 12 pence to a shilling, 20 shillings to a pound, 21 pounds to a guinea.
     
  7. Chris Bardon

    Chris Bardon Cinematographer

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    I've never understood why people think that metric is "stupid" or "difficult", since unlike imperial, all of the conversions actually make sense (using powers of 10). Instead of remembering that there are 12 inches in a foot, and then however many feet in a mile-there's 100 cm in a metre, 1000 metres in a km, etc. Just moce a decimal point. Temperatures are the same-water freezes at 0, boils at 100-logical reference points!

    Even though Canada is theoretically all metric though, there's still enough holdover to make it necessary to use both. For example, grocery stores still feature prices more prominently (or only) per pound, and any building materials are sold primarily in imperial units. This makes for some interesting discords, where I think of smaller measurements in inches, but anything larger than a few feet in metres.
     
  8. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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    There are good reasons why the old systems were as they were, but that doesn't make metric worse.

    Mainly (I believe) it's down to division: 12 divides evenly by 2, 3, 4 and 6; 10 only divides by 2 and 5, and I believe 2, 3, 4 and 6 are more common numbers in general in society.

    Still, I prefer metric. [​IMG]
     
  9. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    1 foot = 1 foot length
    1 yard = 1 step
    1 mile = 1000 strides (2 steps) approx
     
  10. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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    Rob, that still makes little sense. And a yard is surely one stride not one step: It's quite a distance?

    Oh well, my point was more that there's precious strong 'logic' behind these measurements as they are the result of convenince more than science, are they not?

    Of course, the original kilometre was found by dividing the distance from Paris to the North Pole by 1000, if I remember correctly.
     
  11. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    Hardly seems right, surely it's more than 1,000km from Paris to the Pole?

    Though IIRC the "foot" was once literally the length of Henry VIII's foot etc.

    PS: Wikipedia says: "The most important unit is that of length: one metre was originally defined to be equal to 1/10 000 000th of the distance from the pole to the equator along the meridian through Paris." More here if anyone else wants to read it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SI
     
  12. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    There was a rod, kept in Paris (still there, I seem to remember that it is made of silver), called the 'standard metre'. French 'le m├Ętre' = the measure.
    Furthermore, 1 liter (litre [​IMG] ) was defined as 1/1000 of a cubic metre (a cubic deci-metre).
    And 1 kg was the weight of 1 liter of water, at sea level.

    All very down to earth.


    Cees
     
  13. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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    Yeah, the rod's still there but these days the SI value is calculated via a laser, I believe. (Actually the Wikipedia listing explains about that.)

    So there were to be 10,000,000 kilometres from the equator to the north pole. [​IMG] I knew the value I suggested was very small but I think I'd just assumed the metre had been refined to be much smaller afterwards. Heh heh!
     
  14. RobertR

    RobertR Executive Producer

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    Uh, that would be 10,000,000 METERS, not kilometers Theo. [​IMG]
     
  15. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Dude must have had one hell of a foot, somewhere between size 13 and 14. I wear 13, and my foot is about a quarter inch less than a foot.

    --
    H - Yes I just measured.
     
  16. andrew markworthy

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    IIRC it was an earlier Henry (Henry III?) and it was based on the length of the foot of the tallest person in the kingdom.
     
  17. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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    I don't really agree with that Andrew. It's unfair to talk of the inaccuracy of the original measurement since I thought it was done in Napoleon's time.

    In a sense it's bold idea and a clever one to take what would have seemed a very good constant distance and divide it up into a nice round number.

    Obviously, had it been done after the speed of light was discovered to be a constant, it would probably have been set via a wavelength or something equally scientific.
     
  18. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Dude was a rather small person, judging from his armour as displayed in the Tower (only one protective piece prominently sticking out, so to say).

    The human body was a convenient source for measures, especially for clothes, of course, but also handy on the market.
    The foot, the ell, the thumb were measures used all over Europe in medieval times and long after that. Here's a nice overview of units in different countries in those times. However, the overview suggest borders between countries, that weren't so strict in those days: many measuring units have their obvious equivalents in several countries (and often almost the same names).
    I also found an interesting coverage of old Dutch measures (in English).

    Part of the division (in this respect) between the UK and the rest of Europe stems from the Napoleontic times: as we know, Napoleon never conquered England. Some of the goodies of that period were introduced all over Europe and of course denied in the UK. Some of the more curious looking too: before Napoleon, we all marched happily to the left side of the roads. It's just that The Emperor wanted to make a difference.


    Cees
     
  19. Chris Bardon

    Chris Bardon Cinematographer

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    And all of the measurements have since been defined in terms of things like that. For example:

    1m is the distance light travels in a vacuum in 1/299 792 458 of a second.

    1 second is the duration of exactly 9 192 631 770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium-133 atom at a temperature of 0 K.

    Interestingly enough though, the Kilogram is still defined as a prototype unit, which I didn't know until I checked wikipedia.

    These are only refinements of previous definitions though, so really the metric and imperial systems are both equally guilty of using some arbitrary measurements. Metric seems to choose more uniform reference points though (freezing/boinling points of water etc) and the system makes conversions infinitely easier than with imperial.

    Just out of curiosity, why would the conersion have worked in Canada, England, and other countries, but not in the United States? Was the system really that much more ingrained there?
     
  20. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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    Maybe the government want to keep it too much? Don't forget that the UK changed on the back of a currency change and the integration into Europe, so these things were more likely to come together I reckon?
     

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