A skirmish across the Pond

Readers may be interested in a recent exchange of views between Clay Rogers, a journalist with a newspaper in Iowa, and Paul Trusten, Vice President of UKMA’s sister organisation in the USA.

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Posted in Consumer affairs, General, History, Science, Views from abroad | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Signs of the times

We compare the Government’s different approaches to two separate proposals for new road signs.

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Posted in Road signs, Transport | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Whitworth’s forgotten legacy

Whitworth is famous for the eponymous screw thread, and for his promotion of standard measures and interchangeability that brought about an engineering revolution. Less well known are his enthusiasm for decimal measurement and his opposition to the introduction of the metric system in Britain.

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Posted in Education, General, History, Science, Technical | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Biblical specification and a problem solved (almost)

We are justifiably proud in England of the legal principles laid down in Magna Carta in 1215, but less supportive of its command, “Let there be one measure …”. However, weights and measures laws are as old as civilisation. In this article, Ronnie Cohen looks at a unit of length from 3000 years ago, and makes a comparison with today.

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Posted in General, History, Technical | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Imperial in 2015

It is almost 50 years since the announcement in Parliament that the UK would be ‘going metric’, and 15 years since significant progress last occurred. Although most Imperial units have passed into history, a few have survived in common use. Here, we offer a Guide to those surviving units for readers familiar only with metric. And for Americans, who may feel at home with Imperial measures, we provide some warnings.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 17 Comments

Inside the Commons

Have you been watching this series on BBC2 on Tuesdays at 9.00 pm? Three programmes have already been broadcast, with the final on due on 24 February. They show the workings of the House of Commons and there are a few surprises, or perhaps not.

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Posted in General, History, Law | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Decimal currency, metric measures and the vanished link

For over a century, the introduction of metric measures in the UK was linked to that of decimal currency. But then, while we were saying farewell to £sd, the situation changed. We follow the story and draw an unsurprising conclusion.

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Posted in Consumer affairs, Education, General, History, Law | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Has SI delivered?

The fuss about measurement units at the start of this century has overshadowed progress thirty years earlier in education, science and engineering. We look at the benefits that were predicted at the start of the transition to SI and ask if they have been delivered.

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Posted in Education, History, Science, Technical | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Measurement muddle – a customary feature of Britain

Ronnie Cohen looks at the measurement muddle in the British Isles during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. As our nearest neighbours on the Continent might say, ‘Plus ca change, toujours la meme chose’.

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Posted in Education, General, History, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Measurement units – a daily dilemma for the media

We take a look at a uniquely British problem faced by our media and in particular the BBC, namely which system of measurement units to use.

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Posted in General, Media | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments