rnelsonee offered the best explanation of the imperial measurement system I have ever read:
Imperial is similar to metric if you constrain yourself to one type of measurement. Like liquid volume uses power of 2 instead of 10:
1 dram x 22 = 1 Tbsp
1 Tbsp x 2 = 1 fl oz
1 fl oz x 2 = 1 jig
1 jig x 2 = 1 gill
1 gill x 2 = 1 cup
1 cup x 2 = 1 pint
1 pint x 2 = 1 quart
1 quart x 22 = 1 gallon
But then Imperial gets all weird because entire different scales get mixed together. For example, a mile isn’t a terrible unit – it’s just a thousand paces (hence miles), and is more intuitive/easier to measure (when walking) than km. I like the foot and inch (thumb size) as well, even though people obviously have different sized feet (but hey, it’s not like the meter is easy to recreate with no tools). But no one has any business mixing inches and miles (at least they didn’t 1,000 years ago) because you’d measure troop movements in miles and your dick in inches. It wasn’t until we started doing a lot of ‘extreme’ levels/measurements with physics that we needed metric to easily convert between the two scales.
Of course, this was after this:
from Josh Bazell’s “The Wild Things”
And then this:
Imperial versus Metric by Bar Graph
Speaking of iPython, Fernando Perez gave a great talk at a Canadian PyCon in 2012 that outlines the relationship between science and computing. It’s a relationship that the humanities would do well to think about.
I’ve been embedding video regularly, and I thought I would give readers’ bandwidth a bit of a break with a link to watch on Youtube.
In other biology news, Y-chromosonal Adam appears to have been dated to 208,300 years ago: “We can say with some certainty that modern humans emerged in Africa a little over 200,000 years ago,” Dr Elhaik said. “It is also clear that there was no single Adam and Eve but rather groups of Adams and Eves living side by side and wandering together in our world.”
If you are sometimes frustrated with misconceptions about science — e.g., “evolution is just a theory” — then this list of Inaccuracies Found In Common Science Illustrations isn’t going to make you any happier.
Top of the hat to Digg.
According to physicist Jeremy England, the origin and evolution of life are processes driven by the fundamental laws of nature — namely the Second Law of Thermodynamics. He’s come up with a formula showing how a group of atoms, when driven by an external source of energy (like the sun) and when surrounded by a heat bath (like the ocean or atmosphere), can sometimes restructure itself as a way to dissipate increasing rates of energy. (io9)
I wonder how far of a leap it is from this kind of notion of evolution of order to the kind of order we call culture?