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Re: CRANIAL-CAUDAL vs ANTERO-POSTERIOR
Stephen Bowden argued:
<It is a choice, but the metric system, as a whole, does have intrinsic
advantages over the Imperial (as it is known in the UK) or British (as it is
known in the US) system. The two most obvious advantages are:
scaling - everything goes in factors of 10 or powers thereof: 10 millimetres
in a centimetre, 10 centimetres in a decimetre, 10 decimetres in a metre and
Unless you're counting on your fingers, what difference does it make whether
you're counting by 10's or 12's? And you do have practice counting by 12's.
How many hours on your clock? (Even if you're using a 24 hour clock that's
still 2 12's.) How many months in the year?
The French Revolution did try to switch to a 10 month year, and, if I
remember rightly, a day with some multiple of 10 for minutes in an hour and
hour in a day. Even a government prepared to use the guillotine to limit
discussion arbitrarily was unable to change the 6/12 habits of thought. I'm
wondering why units of measurement proved to be a better sell than units of
Anyway, guess if it's good enough for the Babylonians, why mess with a good
HP Bowden also notes 'relatedness' as a metric advantage; for example, a
cubic metre of water is 1,000 kilograms, and other relationships among
measurements (as well as fall per second per second) are also factors of 10.
Contrary to my prior observation, he argues that multiplication/division by
10 is easier because you need 'just keep track of the zeros'.
I have some practice with keeping track of zeros. Without a calculator, try
to tell someone that 'maybe 0.3% of the 2.5 million adults in the State are
current pathological gamblers, based on a telephone survey.' Before I
worked out a better way to explain the concept, someone responded that 25
million pathological gamblers was a lot. I gave the number as quoted above
to a recently hired (non-research) analyst. He asked about treatment
programs for the 75,000 pathological gamblers.
Really, working with factors of 10 is not as easy as it might sound.
I do also think that the ability to respond to the significance, the 'feel'
of the amounts in the current system is important to people.