It seems it will be a while before we are able to return to the pub and enjoy our favourite tipple while socialising with our friends. In the mean time, Metric Views points to a paradox that some may wish to ponder over their pint.
One of our regular contributors, Jake, has drawn our attention to a story that recently appeared on the BBC web site.
Recent reports of the difficulties facing Britain’s milk producers have prompted Ronnie Cohen to look into the muddle sorrounding retail packaging and pricing of all types of milk.
After the controversy of recent weeks with bashed bridges, furlongs and novel signs, we turn to something deadly dull – the definitions of length, mass (or weight) and capacity (or volume) and their relationships.
A pub in Worcester, that for ten years served draught beer by the litre, has now closed due to rising costs.
In an attempt to bring about some improvement in the sloppy and inconsistent way in which metric units are often written, the UK Metric Association has today (5 July 2012) published a “Measurement Units Style Guide”. Aimed at anybody who uses metric units in their writing, the Guide is available in both hard copy and as a free download from the UKMA website.
An interesting article about metrication appeared in the Daily Mail Online recently, describing the current situation reasonably well – but arguing that the current British mixture of metric and imperial measurements is actually a good thing since it enables people to use the units “most apposite for the job in hand”. As this argument is seductive but utterly misconceived, it deserves to be taken seriously and rebutted.
The powers that be of the metric system are wrestling with the problem of defining the kilogram independently of an actual physical object (i.e. the very slowly degrading cylinder of platinum-iridium alloy kept at Sèvres, near Paris, known as “the international prototype of the kilogram”). Meanwhile, they are neglecting a longstanding question that urgently cries out for a solution. [Article contributed by Martin Clutterbuck].