Thread: What units?
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Old July 23rd 15, 09:15 AM posted to
Charles Hope
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Posts: 49
Default What units?

In article , NY
"Mark Carver" wrote in message
On 21/07/2015 09:21, Indy Jess John wrote:

The thing that annoys me most is that all UK road signs are in miles
and yet the BBC will insist on giving distances in Kilometres. I did
start calculating km to miles in my head to give me a sense of scale,
but now don't bother. I just ignore them as meaningless distances,
since they are not going to directly affect me.

I quite like kilometres, when driving in countries that use them, you
seem to cover ground a lot faster ?

I don't have any great preference between miles and kilometres. I just
wish people would pronounce "kilometre" properly - KILoMEtre with the
stress on the first and third syllables, not kilOMMitAH with the stress
on 2nd and 4th. SI prefixes all have the stress on the first syllable -
KILo, MEGa, MIcro, MILLi, TERa, GIGa etc. And people have no problem
pronouncing metre correctly when it's not preceded by kilo. So where did
this bizarre kilOMMitAH pronunciation come from? It seems to be more
common in younger people who have grown up with the metric system than
with older people who have grown up with imperial but learned metric "to
fit in with the modern world" or for scientific/engineering purposes.
You rarely hear scientists/engineers use the odd pronunciation, though
I've heard Brian Cox alternate between the two on his TV programmes -
maybe he naturally uses the scientific pronunciation and sometimes
remembers to use the "youth" pronunciation that his producer has told
him to use :-).

Sometimes I feel like King Canute :-)

The only disadvantage with kilometre as a word is that it has four
syllables and is a bit of a mouthful - in colloquial parlance I tend to
abbreviate it to K.

Maybe the metric system needs special single-syllable words for
commonly-used multiples like kilometre and kilogramme. It's always struck
me as odd that the unit of mass which is defined by standards is the
kilogramme rather than the gramme: in the days when they used real
objects (lump of metal for mass, metal bar for length) the lump of metal
was the standard kg rather than the standard g.

when I started science at school, c 1950, we used the CGS system but by the
time I got to university we'd moved to the MKS system, then the
Rationalised MKS system and now it's called the SI system - all in one