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Thread: Why the US still uses an archaic system of weights and measures

  1. #171
    Radical Centrist BigLeRoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by THOR View Post
    Metric system is used all over the place. Science and industry use it all the time.
    Sigh. See, yet another person who doesn't recognize sarcasm even when it's practically SLAPPING them in the face...…..

  2. #172
    Radical Centrist BigLeRoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dittohead not! View Post
    Standard kilogram. Is there somewhere a barleycorn kept in a controlled environment to use as a standard?


    John Barleycorn Must Die!
    Thanks from Dittohead not!

  3. #173
    Radical Centrist BigLeRoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OlGuy View Post
    There is some debate that Inca structures aren't Inca exemplary constructions at all but rather a previous civilization's constructions, a sort of de-evolution of the sciences since the Inca are thought to have used crude methods on top of pre-existing structures (Egyptians did some of that too). The little that I understand about ancient math, rather than the obvious engineering results, is that they depended on geometry more than math, though how they did the Pythagoras theorem without algebra I don't know.
    You can certainly describe the Pythagorean Theorem in terms of pure geometry without reference to any kind of algebra. One way would be to simply construct squares on each of the three sides of a right triangle, and it can then be shown that the sums of the areas of the two squares on the LEGS of the right triangle will be equal to the area of the square constructed on the hypotenuse of the right triangle. In fact, this is one method of PROVING the Pythagorean Theorem.

    More than 800 different proofs of the Pythagorean Theorem have been found, and they have all been collected in one book. One original proof, based on trapezoids, was given by American President James Garfield, who was a talented amateur mathematician.

  4. #174
    olguy OlGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLeRoy View Post
    You can certainly describe the Pythagorean Theorem in terms of pure geometry without reference to any kind of algebra. One way would be to simply construct squares on each of the three sides of a right triangle, and it can then be shown that the sums of the areas of the two squares on the LEGS of the right triangle will be equal to the area of the square constructed on the hypotenuse of the right triangle. In fact, this is one method of PROVING the Pythagorean Theorem.

    More than 800 different proofs of the Pythagorean Theorem have been found, and they have all been collected in one book. One original proof, based on trapezoids, was given by American President James Garfield, who was a talented amateur mathematician.
    Ok but for us, finding the squares is based on multiplying two sides which requires multiplication and numbers of some sort, and since numbers (I don't know if they multiplied like we do) as we know them didn't exist in ancient times, they had to work it out differently then we do? Math is beyond me, anyway.

  5. #175
    Radical Centrist BigLeRoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OlGuy View Post
    Ok but for us, finding the squares is based on multiplying two sides which requires multiplication and numbers of some sort, and since numbers (I don't know if they multiplied like we do) as we know them didn't exist in ancient times, they had to work it out differently then we do? Math is beyond me, anyway.
    Numbers certainly existed in ancient times! I think you are confusing algebra with arithmetic! Our algorithms for multiplication certainly became much easier with the advent of Arabic numerals, but the Egyptians and Babylonians were certainly multiplying numbers!! They would not have been able to build the civilizations they did without being able to do arithmetic!

  6. #176
    Master political analyst Dittohead not!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLeRoy View Post
    John Barleycorn Must Die!
    He's killed so many, after all.
    Thanks from OlGuy and BigLeRoy

  7. #177
    Master political analyst Dittohead not!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLeRoy View Post
    Numbers certainly existed in ancient times! I think you are confusing algebra with arithmetic! Our algorithms for multiplication certainly became much easier with the advent of Arabic numerals, but the Egyptians and Babylonians were certainly multiplying numbers!! They would not have been able to build the civilizations they did without being able to do arithmetic!
    They probably just used the calculator apps on their smartphones. That's what I do.
    Thanks from Ian Jeffrey and BigLeRoy

  8. #178
    Vexatious Correspondent Leo2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dittohead not! View Post
    It's too bad their measurements were lost. Had there been standardized measurement and a base 10 numbering system in place, those measurements could have been preserved.

    It's difficult to do calculations using LX times XIV.
    Providing you know the values of LX and XIV (60 and 14) it's not at all difficult - the answer is DCCCXL (840). It's a matter of expression, not of arithmetic. But I imagine the lack of a decimal point made more complex calculations a bit dodgy.

  9. #179
    Master political analyst Dittohead not!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo2 View Post
    Providing you know the values of LX and XIV (60 and 14) it's not at all difficult - the answer is DCCCXL (840). It's a matter of expression, not of arithmetic. But I imagine the lack of a decimal point made more complex calculations a bit dodgy.
    and you did that without first changing the numbers to base 10? Remember, the Romans didn't have that option.
    Thanks from Leo2 and BigLeRoy

  10. #180
    Radical Centrist BigLeRoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dittohead not! View Post
    and you did that without first changing the numbers to base 10? Remember, the Romans didn't have that option.
    Yes. The lack of a decimal point AND the lack of any symbol for ZERO made numerical calculations using Roman numerals very cumbersome, and that is putting it mildly. I once had a sadistic computer science professor who assigned a task of writing a program to perform long divisions in Roman numerals. And you were NOT allowed to first convert to Arabic numerals, perform the division, and then convert back. Many students DROPPED his course over that assignment! I only managed to get to the point where my program could do the divisions, but ONLY IF there was no remainder. Never did figure out the rest of it, and it turned me off from the whole idea of pursuing a career in computer science.

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