User Tools

Site Tools


lb:units_of_measurement

Units of Measurement

This article is about my bizarre obsession: units of measurement.

Foreword

Although the contents of this article may give the impression I am in favor of the Imperial system, I assure readers that is not the case. Until fairly recently, I was in favor of the metric system, seeing as I grew up with it. I’ve never really used Imperial units at all.
However, I believe the metric system has flaws the Imperial system does not. Those are detailed later. Most significantly, I believe unless you’re a ‘science man’ you won’t generally benefit from relying on the metric system…and in some cases, I’d argue it would be less helpful.
The first half of this article details a suggestion I have for an alternative system, or systems, of measurement. The second half focuses specifically on the metric system, and the flaws I perceive in it.

The 'Essarrist' System

The system is built around different ‘layers,’ where each one is intended for different purposes. While there are three layers explained here, each would likely be split further to deal with different occupations and the like. However, these layers would be the ‘primary’ ones:

  1. Scientific
    • These units would be used by ‘science men.’ It may also be used to define other units.
    • For the purposes of this article, it should be assumed the SI units are scientific ones.
  2. ‘Local’
    • Units in use in day-to-day by the majority of people and for domestic trade.
    • This article will use some of the Japanese units of measurement, because I’m a weeaboo.
  3. Specialty
    • Units that don’t belong in the other two layers. These are used in special circumstances.

I believe this is the most reasonable way to deal with units of measurements.
It should be noted that the units I use as examples wouldn’t necessarily be the ones used in a real version of this ‘system.’

The Units

This lists a number of units as examples. The units for the ‘scientific’ layer won’t be listed as they’re just the metric ones.
The local units are vaguely based on the aforementioned Japanese units, but I redefine some. I’ll explain those when they come along.
The specialty units are essentially just ones I find neat, nothing deeper there. I have a strange obsession with some of them.
I use the converters here to help define the units. The converter also includes a link to an explanation of those units, if you’re interested.

Length

Local
  • Shaku (尺)
    • 10/33 m 1)
    • This is basically the standard unit of length.
  • Ken (間)
    • 6 尺
  • Chō (町)
    • 60 間
  • Ri (里)
    • 36 町
  • Sun (寸)
    • 1/12 尺
      • This is a redefinition.
  • Bu (分)
    • 1/12 寸
      • This is a redefinition.

Sun, Bu and Jō are redefined to make division easier, as multiples of 6 are very easy to divide, compared to multiples of 10.
From smallest to biggest:

Specialty
  • Hiro (尋)
    • 1 間
    • A unit of depth2).
    • It’s a traditional unit, so I see no reason not to include it. Although I’m not sure I’d use it personally.
  • Jō (丈)
    • 12 尺 or 2 間
      • This is a redefinition.
    • I don’t remember my exact reasoning for why I wanted to keep this one. But why not eh?
  • Nautical Mile (浬/nmi)
    • 6112 尺
    • I’m not actually too sure of how it’s used in the real world. The most I know is that it’s used to define the knot, which is another specialty unit.
    • The character used here is apparently the one used for it, although I’m not sure. The alternative form is also 海里3) so there’s that.
    • I have an unusual obsession with the Nautical Mile.
  • Lunar Distance (LD)
    • 97880 里 or 1,268,524,800 尺4)
    • I believe it could be used for inter-planetary travel, once that’s a thing. The other units of measurement are too big to be useful for that.
  • League (lea)
    • 3 里 or 108 町 or 6480 間 or 38880 尺
    • I believe it could be used as a unit of depth, similar to the Hiro (尋).
  • Gata (型)
    • This is just the American inch.
    • It’s roughly equivalent to the Sun (寸).

Area

Local
  • Tsubo (坪)
    • 1 間2
  • Se (畝)
    • 30 坪

I don’t know whether the rest should be left as-is or whether they should be redefined, so I’ll only leave these two. The Shaku (勺) is a bit of a confusing one in particular.

Specialty
  • Bu (歩)
    • 1 坪
    • Used in agriculture5)
  • ‘Metric’ paper (A#)
    • Just ISO 216
    • Used for paper, obviously.
  • Tatami Mat (畳)
    • 1/2 坪
    • These are already used within Japan.
  • Playing Cards
    • There are no standard sizes, so I’ll only mention Hanafuda cards.
    • Hanafuda
      • 25.632×15.2064 分 (height x width)

Volume

Local
  • Shō (升)
    • 2401/1331 litres6)
  • Gō (合)
    • 1/10 升
  • Shaku (勺)
    • 1/10 合
    • The Shaku annoys yet again.
Specialty
  • Pint
    • 315 升 or 3780 合
    • I would buy a pint of Ramune.
  • Cup
    • After thinking about it, these would probably just be measured in gō. Oh well.

Weight

Local
  • Momme (匁)
    • 3.75 g
  • Kin (斥)
    • 160 匁
Specialty
  • Hyakume (百目)
    • 100 匁
    • The name literally means ‘hundred momme.’
  • Troy weights
    • These are used for precious metals.
    • Grain (gr)
      • 0.01728 匁
      • Seriously.
    • Ounce (oz t)
      • 8.2944 匁
    • Troy Pound
      • 99.5328 匁
    • Pennyweight (dwt)
      • 0.41472 匁

Velocity

Local

There aren’t any specific units of velocity, besides specialty units, so I’ve come up with one of my own.

  • Shaku (尺)
    • 1 尺/s
      • 1 Shaku (length) per second.
Specialty
  • Knot
    • This is 1 nautical mile (浬) (nmi) per hour.
    • This is already used in naval and aerial vehicles.

Power

Local

I haven’t come up with any specific ones for now.

Specialty
  • Calorie (㌍)
    • 4184 Joules
    • Specifically for foodstuffs and such.
  • Horsepower (hp)
    • 735.5 watts
      • This is the definition for metric horsepower.
    • I’m not sure what it’s used for, but I think it’s funny.

Time

I can’t figure out how to deal with this just yet…so let’s not split them into local and specialty.

  • True Hours
    • These are unequal hours. The ‘day’ is split into 12 day hours and 12 night hours. The length changes as the day/night split is usually unequal.
    • These are also called ‘Temporal Hours.’
    • I think they’re interesting.
  • Lunar Month
    • These are split into two kinds.
      1. The amount of time it takes the Moon to orbit the Earth.
      2. The amount of time it takes a full Moon to cycle back to a full Moon.
    • Of those two, I find the second more interesting.
  • Season
    • A period that roughly aligns with a quarter of a year.
  • Sexagenary Cycle
    • A period of 60 years.

The Metric System(s)

Despite how it’s usually described, there isn’t just one metric system.
The system can split into two ‘groups,’ the first being the SI system, the second being all the regional varieties of the metric system. While all the regional varieties do still rely on the same general set of units and metric-derived units, the common folk typically just stick to a limited subset. This does cause confusion, even if it is a limited amount.
Listed below are a few arguments is a single argument against the metric systems. I may add more in the future, maybe even counter examples.
I will reiterate that I don’t like the Imperial System either. But it should be noted that the metric system being better than the imperial system doesn’t make the metric system ‘good.’

Divisibility

The metric system isn’t as comfortably divisible as possible. To demonstrate this, let’s say there are 1800 yards in a mile, then we compare the divisions of the mile to the divisions of the kilometer. The actual lengths of these units in the real world don’t matter.

  • Half-a-mile
    • 900 yards
  • Third-of-a-mile
    • 600 yards
  • Quarter-of-a-mile
    • 450 yards
  • Fifth-of-a-mile
    • 360 yards
  • Sixth-of-a-mile
    • 300 yards
  • Seventh-of-a-mile
    • 257.1428571428571 yards
  • Eighth-of-a-mile
    • 225 yards
  • Ninth-of-a-mile
    • 200 yards
  • Tenth-of-a-mile
    • 180 yards
  • Kilometer
    • 1000 m
  • Half-a-kilometer
    • 500 m
  • Third-of-a-kilometer
    • ~333.334 m
  • Fourth-of-a-kilometer
    • 250 m
  • Fifth-of-a-kilometer
    • 200 m
  • Sixth-a-kilometer
    • ~166.667 m
  • Seventh-of-a-kilometer
    • 142.8571428571429 m
  • Eighth-of-a-kilometer
    • 125 m
  • Ninth-of-a-kilometer
    • ~111.112 m

For those who think a system like this wouldn’t make much sense, you should remember that this is how we deal with time.

  • I’ve been working on an article on calendars, but I abandoned it considering how complicated it turned out to be. I’ll return to it one day. Be excited for the luni-solar calendar.
lb/units_of_measurement.txt · Last modified: 2022-07-28 13:35:47 by ninjasr