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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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i need to stop reading yahoo
children of dune - leto 1
When you realize you have been studying too hard:

The Prototype For Metric Mass Is Shrinking!

The 118-year-old cylinder that is the international prototype for the metric mass, kept tightly under lock and key outside Paris, is mysteriously losing weight — if ever so slightly. Physicist Richard Davis of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Sevres, southwest of Paris, says the reference kilo appears to have lost 50 micrograms compared with the average of dozens of copies.

...yeah. I had a moment of panic--the constant! The constant!, then rememberd, right. This doesn't actually affect me.

Right. I spent the meeting today gleefully changing everyone's age to base four, eight, eleven, and binary. Let me just say, still more productive than sitting through that meeting. Also, I need to check my work. I'm not sure about the four base.

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Probably just some bored work study graduate student sneaking in and shaving little slivers off.

Or, now having read the article:

50 micrograms is roughly equivalent to the weight of a fingerprint.

Maybe someone cleaned it.

I was wondering about that too.

I can see John taunting Rodney about the prototype metric mass thing SHRINKING *G*.

We learned base 8 when I was in fourth grade - that was about the only thing I liked in math.

Oh man. He so would. A *lot*.

God, you learned base eight in fourth grade? *bitter*

God, you learned base eight in fourth grade? *bitter

At the time, when they gave us the Iowa Educational Development Tests, I always tested higher in math than anything else, so I was in some kind of torture chamber gifted math class. Fortunately, the math part of my brain departed for greener pastures at the end of that year (or maybe it just got warped from all the base whatevers) and I thankfully returned to eating topographical maps.

Ahaha, very vivid flashback to physics class. We learnt that definition by heart. Given that our textbooks hadn't been really truly updated in a while, I guess it'll take a while before this affects that definition. Kind of like the light reaching earth from a star that's long dead, except possibly even longer. Also I don't know if everyone had to but we had to use the log table in physics practical exams to solve stuff, no calculators allowed. I kept forgetting what correlated to what bar position and invariably got mixed up with bases. Not fun. I was glad when I got the magnet and earth lines experiment for my finals. Er, not like you were raring to know that or anything.

Hey, all information about science is good ifnromation! As I am sure Very Soon Now, chemistry is going to make me cry.

...no calculators? *shocky*

Chemistry usually made me cry. Except when I could be in the lab and make silver deposits and gold flakes or make things change color. Although not when someone left the hydrogen sulphide tap open. It smelled like rotten eggs and every non-science class on that hallway hated us for a long time.

And yeah. Log tables no fun :(

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oh man. I want that book now--but I fear it.

I keep wanting to ask--why binary for computers? And why *do* we use a 10 instead of say, eleven? Is all of math really based on our number of fingers?

It's a very weird thought.

(I'm kind of getting dizzy by the 360 thing. Trying not to think about it.)

We learned in school about the other degree systems, like the one where a circle has 400°. It's actually used in some fields too, which is why you can accidentally switch it on in many calculators, leading to errors when you do calculations. And well, I mean, binary is explained easily enough by the on/off thing, but what I always found weird is that bytes and all the memory storage units are all in these incovenient systems where a byte has 8 bits andd so on and nothing is decimal but all 1024.

I always found it interesting why we use certain bases in certain areas. I mean, base 12 and 60 are fairly practical. Also IIRC, the hour still has 60 minutes, because the Sumerians used a Sexagesimal system in their math, and it just stuck, for the angles too, but it's kind of weird that we don't use that for everything then, but this weird mishmash. I mean using 60 is so practical because it has so many factors that you don't need fractions, so it's no wonder their system stuck for the everyday math, and nobody would think about turning time units decimal, but why use something different for the rest? I mean, nobody would use 11 as a base, because it is a prime, thus too few factors making calculations harder, but ten isn't much better and only really has the finger thing going for it.

1)why binary for computers?
2)why *do* we use a 10...?

Idiot's answers (as in *from* one not *to* one:
1) Because switches only have two positions 'on' and 'off'
2) Because we all tend to have ten fingers...

The only time I've even vaguely comprehended the point of binary was when I read Neal Stephenson's novel The Diamond Age. He's got several sections that explain the history of computer language by analogy, and I felt that blinding light of comprehension. It was fun.

Why is a minute divided into 60 seconds, an hour into 60 minutes, yet there are only 24 hours in a day? With applicability to circles too, I'd think.

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I guess they really should get on with defining the kilo by a proper physical constant like the other SI units are these days. Though I don't find it that worrying, I mean since the sample kilo is the kilo by definition and the other sample kilos used elsewhere for calibration have to be adjusted to it anyway, I guess it doesn't really matter that much. Unless it was exteme, I mean then you'd gain weight without doing anything, because the killo is lighter-- maybe it's a conspiracy by the dieting industry... ;)

*dies* Point. A dieting industry conspriacy.

Should see if Weight Watchers has any operatives around there.

Has it? Or are all the copies gaining weight? Dum dum duuuuuuuum!

Darn, I see they thought of that. Killjoys.

*sad* when you said that, I went to look too.

I have so much love for this post and the comments

*geeks out*

I have no idea what you just said.

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