View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy
Showing posts with label Stuff. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stuff. Show all posts

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

25th June 2014, Does size matter?

Time for a changNow that the nights are closing in I’ve been spending time doing other stuff in the long and dark evenings. Like thinking about things.

One of the things that has been bouncing around my little brain is size. Well not particularly size per se, but the units of measurement used to specify size – length and height in particular.
I’m thinking more of the units of measurement I use when describing a route that I’ve walked or cycled.
Should I use good old imperial feet and inches, or the new-fangled SI, metric system?
‘Imperial’ does sound rather superior though. On the other hand it’s much easier to calculate in units of 10 rather that 12, 25.4, 36, 1760 etc.
Kilometres fly by so much more quickly than miles – but there’s always more of them to cover. Ascent in metres is a whole different ball game when measured in feet. It’s a perception thing.
It’s a tough one.
These things are important. In 1999 NASA lost the $125 million Mars Climate Orbiter because an outsourced engineering team used imperial units of measurement whilst the NASA team used the metric system for a particular spacecraft operation.
From the ever informative wired.com:

Metric Math(s) Mistake Muffed Mars Meteorology Mission

Thoughts anybody?