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Thoughts Online Magazine
Collected Articles on Culture & Politics
Recommended: The Old Measure 
9th-Mar-2011 10:46 am
This book is an excellent guide to the history and interrelationships of the various standards of measurement, whether dealing with the standards in historical documents, or wondering about how certain units were related and came to be.

One of the surprises to me was the frequency of cube roots: many standards are designed to create a container to hold a certain quantity to make it easier to figure with. Another surprise was the number of times I had to use bases other than 10 -- 60, 30, 24: with 60 being perhaps the most useful.

In the United States, we still use measures based on these standards explicitly, though I note that the meter is closer to the length of three feet as defined in almost all ancient civilizations.

It's fun, and worth the time to read.
10th-Mar-2011 12:19 pm (UTC)
I wonder if it's any surprise that the metric system, with its intrinsic dependence on base 10, came in after the invention of logarithms. Otherwise yeah, you want those suckers to have as many factors as possible, although the cube/cube root thing is a new one to me. Thanks for this. :)
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