22 July 2012

Oh, C'mon

It burns!

A friend had her daughter ask what a "quart" was.  Dead stop

"It's like 32 milleliters", "No, like point 1.033 liters". "What's that in Centilitres" and I swear I could hear the reversed "tres". Every conversion factor given was wrong.

Jeebus, I do these things in my head.  A liter is a quart plus a shot (33.2 fl.oz, with a shot being something just less than 1.5 oz minus spillage).  A meter is 3 and 1/4 feet, so every 4 meters you multiply by 3 and add a foot..  And if I ever find the teacher that taught my boiz that an inch is 25.2 millimeters, well let's just say that hanging's just too good for 'em.  Square meters and cubic meters are a bit more difficult, but helping my GF figure the size of a rental apartment in Paris was an exercise in excrutiation.  Please forgive the neologism, but I really couldn't help myself, and if you don't know the word "neologism"  then you might give some thoughts to hanging around the Yahooligans websites.  Just sayin'. 

You get the idea.  "Quart equals 2 pints, or one quarter gallon, hence "quart"."*.  A pint of water weighs a pound, hence "a pint's a pound the world around", and I freely admit that when I first heard the line I thought it had to do with the price of beer.

A liter's a quart unless you're figuring payloads for the Space Shuttle, in which case you're already unemployed, and should concentrate on Peso or Yuan conversion rates.

I sat next to an old guy on the bus back from Mexico the other day.  He was writing out a matrix for the exchange rate, Pesos to Dollars, on the back of an envelope.  12.5 Pesos to the Dollar.  I really had to admire the guy.   Probably had a second grade education, was perhaps eighty years old.  But really.  25 Pesos is 2 bucks.  If you can't get that straight then you've got problems.  Fortunately the old guy had a cell phone, and I have enough Spanish, so I just set up the conversion factor in his phone.  But really, that's swatting flies with a pump shotgun

*"I'd never thought of it that way" said the dear friend with a doctorate in SCIENCE, who is, admittedly, younger than I, but so is everybody nowadays.  But, damn, I do feel smart.

BTW - this is probably the best conversion chart evah.  Randall Monroe does not post on Sundays, he's helping God.  Srsly.  When he's not hanging out with Summer Glau. And I didn't realize she was that tall. 170 cm, that's like 8 foot tall, innit? Sorry, Mr Monroe, I just remembered that you're recently married.  God bless and keep you, and I'm sure Miss Glau misses you and envies your bride.

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