2073: "Kilogram"

This forum is for the individual discussion thread that goes with each new comic.

Moderators: Moderators General, Prelates, Magistrates

Eutychus
Posts: 446
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 6:01 am UTC
Location: France

2073: "Kilogram"

Title text: I'm glad to hear they're finally redefining the meter to be exactly three feet.

I'd like to see the spelling "Kilogramme" universally adopted.
Last edited by Eutychus on Fri Nov 16, 2018 7:19 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
Be very careful about rectilinear assumptions. Raptors could be hiding there - ucim

anu3bis
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2008 5:48 am UTC

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

In my Starfinder campaign, I redefined a meter to 5 feet, so all the little squares on the maps would be one meter.

How big is the radius on that fireball? 4 Absalom Meters.

It's amazing, the prescience of the Ancients of Golarion for building all their structures in meter increments.

roderik
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2009 4:16 pm UTC
Location: Below sealevel

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

Now I wonder, would the pound remain defined as it currently is? for a wonderful mess of recursive definitions leading to nowhere.

krabcat
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2010 5:09 am UTC

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

that really does make things easier now 1 kilogram is exactly equal to 0.45359237 kilograms

ParisNorway
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2016 2:41 pm UTC

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.

J%r
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2015 12:02 pm UTC

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

Sounds like we might lose another spaceship to unit conversion errors.

Soupspoon
You have done something you shouldn't. Or are about to.
Posts: 4060
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2016 7:00 pm UTC
Location: 53-1

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

krabcat wrote:that really does make things easier now 1 kilogram is exactly equal to 0.45359237 kilograms

Or €1.12.

qazsedcft
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2018 5:51 pm UTC

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

I have a better proposal. Redefine:

3 feet = 1 meter
1 mile = 3000 feet

jozwa
Posts: 144
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 3:16 pm UTC
Location: Finland

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

"And also the pound is redefined to equal pn2/4*f2/(gv)*h"

orthogon
Posts: 3075
Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 7:52 am UTC
Location: The Airy 1830 ellipsoid

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

Soupspoon wrote:
krabcat wrote:that really does make things easier now 1 kilogram is exactly equal to 0.45359237 kilograms

Or €1.12.

Maybe after the new definition kicks in, the French will sell us "le grand K" cheap. We could then saw it up to make two British Standard Pounds and have nearly a hundred grams of platinum left over to put towards the Brexit settlement. The new, proudly independent Pound would be forever freed from the tyranny of Brussels.

What to do with the two pounds? We could have one for the Remoaners and one for the Brexiteers. Or we could sell one to Trump so the US can have slightly different pounds to go with the slightly different gallons.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

cellocgw
Posts: 2053
Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 7:40 pm UTC

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

How many bitcoins per kg?
https://app.box.com/witthoftresume
Former OTTer
Vote cellocgw for President 2020. #ScienceintheWhiteHouse http://cellocgw.wordpress.com
"The Planck length is 3.81779e-33 picas." -- keithl
" Earth weighs almost exactly π milliJupiters" -- what-if #146, note 7

Moose Anus
Posts: 430
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2011 10:12 pm UTC

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

orthogon wrote:Maybe after the new definition kicks in, the French will sell us "le grand K" cheap.
At first I thought you might be making a Royale with Cheese joke.

Posts: 1798
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 5:28 pm UTC
Location: Space Florida

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

But which kind of pound? Avoirdupois, Roman, Troy, Tower, Merchant, American, or London?
The thing about recursion problems is that they tend to contain other recursion problems.

The_Alchemist
Posts: 49
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 1:42 pm UTC

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

I keep thinking it would be nice to redefine the second so that there are 10 hours/day, 100 minutes/hour and 100 seconds/min.

Small is small, right? What could possibly go wrong?

GlassHouses
Posts: 186
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2016 12:41 pm UTC

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

The_Alchemist wrote:I keep thinking it would be nice to redefine the second so that there are 10 hours/day, 100 minutes/hour and 100 seconds/min.

Small is small, right? What could possibly go wrong?

It's been tried. Didn't catch on.

Someguy945
Posts: 189
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 5:09 am UTC

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

Just in case anyone was out of the loop, this comic was inspired by a recent vote to adjust the definition of the kilogram.

They're not actually changing how much a kg is, since that would be insane. They are keeping the end result but changing how you arrive at that result.

ijuin
Posts: 1104
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:02 pm UTC

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

Wasn’t the original basis of the kilogram equal to the mass of one thousand cubic centimeters of pure water at one gravity under standard atmospheric conditions?

commodorejohn
Posts: 1180
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2009 6:21 pm UTC
Location: Placerville, CA
Contact:

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

Words cannot describe how much I want this.
"'Legacy code' often differs from its suggested alternative by actually working and scaling."
- Bjarne Stroustrup
www.commodorejohn.com - in case you were wondering, which you probably weren't.

CardcaptorRLH85
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:06 am UTC

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

Someguy945 wrote:Just in case anyone was out of the loop, this comic was inspired by a recent vote to adjust the definition of the kilogram.

They're not actually changing how much a kg is, since that would be insane. They are keeping the end result but changing how you arrive at that result.

I was about to post something similar but, they are actually changing the end result slightly. The vote actually took place today (which explains the timing of the comic) but the change doesn't occur until May 20, 2019 (which explains Black Hat Guy's timing in his second sentence). They've decided to set Planck's Constant to an exact value (6.62607015×10^-34 kg⋅m^2/s it's currently slightly imprecise depending on when and where it's measured). This will cause Kilogram measurements to float a bit around the ~38th decimal place or so.

As my first URL notes, a number of other units and constants also had to be altered because of this change. The Kelvin, Avogadro's Constant, the ampere, the mole, among others. This was a very long undertaking done in order to fix a problem created by having a unit that was (and technically is) still defined by a physical object rather than by the universe itself.

ijuin wrote:Wasn’t the original basis of the kilogram equal to the mass of one thousand cubic centimeters of pure water at one gravity under standard atmospheric conditions?

You wrote this while I was typing my comment but, it wasn't at STP. It was water at 0°C so, just as it was becoming ice. Given how water acts (and the fact that a liter of water is not exactly one modern Kilogram under those conditions) that's not a good idea.

yakkoTDI
Posts: 55
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2015 4:02 pm UTC

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

Reminds me of this.
Attachments

mfc
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2009 9:25 pm UTC

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

Reminds me of my least-favourite 'teacher lie':

"A pint's a pound, the world around".

DavidSh
Posts: 211
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2016 6:09 pm UTC

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

Indeed, what with inflation and all, I doubt you can buy beer so cheaply anywhere these days.

(Besides the question of what kind of pound, there is also the question of what kind of pint.)

Steve the Pocket
Posts: 705
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2007 4:02 am UTC
Location: Going downtuuu in a Luleelurah!

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

Ironically, pints are one unit of measurement us yanks don't much bother with. The standard unit of measurement for beer in America is the beer.
cephalopod9 wrote:Only on Xkcd can you start a topic involving Hitler and people spend the better part of half a dozen pages arguing about the quality of Operating Systems.

Baige.

Posts: 1798
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 5:28 pm UTC
Location: Space Florida

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

yakkoTDI wrote:Reminds me of this.
To understand all of the English distance units, use this handy-dandy chart.
The thing about recursion problems is that they tend to contain other recursion problems.

RogueCynic
Posts: 403
Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2009 10:23 pm UTC

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

Someguy945 wrote:Just in case anyone was out of the loop, this comic was inspired by a recent vote to adjust the definition of the kilogram.

They're not actually changing how much a kg is, since that would be insane. They are keeping the end result but changing how you arrive at that result.

So, they are adjusting their equations to to get the result they want. Figures don't lie, but liars figure.
I am Lord Titanius Englesmith, Fancyman of Cornwood.
See 1 Kings 7:23 for pi.
If you put a prune in a juicer, what would you get?

da Doctah
Posts: 983
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:27 am UTC

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

The metric system is unnatural anyway. There's a reason God made the diameter of the sun in miles ten times the number of seconds in a day.

Flumble
Yes Man
Posts: 2248
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2012 9:35 pm UTC

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

Quizatzhaderac wrote:To understand all of the English distance units, use this handy-dandy chart.

My little cousin says 3*2*100*10 ≠ 8060, but surely an entire country knows better than someone who just learned long multiplication.
(also I hate the cubit. It has "cube" in the name but isn't a unit of volume.)

Mikeski
Posts: 1099
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2008 7:24 am UTC
Location: Minnesota, USA

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

yakkoTDI wrote:Reminds me of this.

Obligatory:

There are two kinds of countries in the world. Those that have put a man on the moon, and those that use the metric system.

qvxb
Posts: 172
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 10:20 pm UTC

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

Has BHG updated the Wikipedia article?

keldor
Posts: 80
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:18 am UTC

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

Flumble wrote:
Quizatzhaderac wrote:To understand all of the English distance units, use this handy-dandy chart.

My little cousin says 3*2*100*10 ≠ 8060, but surely an entire country knows better than someone who just learned long multiplication.
(also I hate the cubit. It has "cube" in the name but isn't a unit of volume.)

That's a really good example of one reason why these units have historically drifted. 3*2*100*10 is just a bit more than 1% off from 6080, so the phrase "close enough" comes to mind. Especially when you're dealing with obselete units that they historically wouldn't necessarily have been able to measure that accurately anyway.

Plasma Mongoose
Posts: 213
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:09 am UTC
Contact:

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

If anything, they should redefine the American pound to make it equal one kilo, that way women can feel better when they weigh themselves, imagine going from being 200 lbs to 90 lbs with one easy conversion.
A virus walks into a bar, the bartender says "We don't serve viruses in here".
The virus replaces the bartender and says "Now we do!"

commodorejohn
Posts: 1180
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2009 6:21 pm UTC
Location: Placerville, CA
Contact:

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

Steve the Pocket wrote:Ironically, pints are one unit of measurement us yanks don't much bother with. The standard unit of measurement for beer in America is the beer.

Yes and no. You buy beer at the store in discrete units (or packs thereof,) which are usually 12 oz., but may be a US pint (16 oz.) or a larger semi-standard size (~25 oz.) but may be whatever the hell the brewery felt like selling (there's at least one brand - I think Red Stripe? - that comes in 10 or 11 oz. bottles.) However, at a bar or a restaurant where beer is on tap, you typically get it in either a US pint or an imperial pint (20 oz.) unless you're getting something strong (Belgian ales in particular seem to have a fairly standard 10 oz. pour.) And at a brewery, you may even purchase beer in refillable "growlers" (64 oz.)
"'Legacy code' often differs from its suggested alternative by actually working and scaling."
- Bjarne Stroustrup
www.commodorejohn.com - in case you were wondering, which you probably weren't.

Pfhorrest
Posts: 5440
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:11 am UTC
Contact:

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

Are these oz as in 1/16lb, or floz? And are floz standardized between US and imperial systems? (e.g. is a US pint exactly 4/5ths an imperial pint?)
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
The Codex Quaerendae (my philosophy) - The Chronicles of Quelouva (my fiction)

rpgamer
Posts: 109
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:54 am UTC

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

I would just like to say that this comic made me viscerally shudder.

But I did enjoy learning from this thread that the kilogram is finally receiving a makeover. Bit disappointed that it had to come from fudging some other constants (they're supposed to be universal constants, can they even do that?). Kinda sounds like scientists were so fed up with the problem of the kilogram constant that they just sorta gave up and acquiesced to a constant that was "close enough" that will at least remain... constant.

Can't say I'd blame them, really.
All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy. That's how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day.

orthogon
Posts: 3075
Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 7:52 am UTC
Location: The Airy 1830 ellipsoid

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

rpgamer wrote:I would just like to say that this comic made me viscerally shudder.

But I did enjoy learning from this thread that the kilogram is finally receiving a makeover. Bit disappointed that it had to come from fudging some other constants (they're supposed to be universal constants, can they even do that?). Kinda sounds like scientists were so fed up with the problem of the kilogram constant that they just sorta gave up and acquiesced to a constant that was "close enough" that will at least remain... constant.

Can't say I'd blame them, really.

They're not really fudging the constants: they're turning the definition around. Previously they defined the kilogram based on a particular lump of metal, and measured the value of Planck's constant experimentally to a certain accuracy. Now they define Planck's constant as having a particular exact value (the same value they found by experiment) and measure the mass of any given object experimentally. This implicitly defines the kg.

They did the same thing a while back for the metre. They had the second defined already, but the metre was the length of a stick in Paris. They measured the speed of light as accurately as they could based on the old definition, then they turned it around and said "the speed of light is (299xxxxxx) metres per second. The second was defined, the speed of light is a universal constant, so the metre is now defined implicitly.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

Kit.
Posts: 1117
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:14 pm UTC

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

DavidSh
Posts: 211
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2016 6:09 pm UTC

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

Pfhorrest wrote:Are these oz as in 1/16lb, or floz? And are floz standardized between US and imperial systems? (e.g. is a US pint exactly 4/5ths an imperial pint?)

These are fluid ounces. The US fluid ounce is about 4% larger than the Imperial fluid ounce. The Imperial fluid volume system is based on the volume of a standard weight of water at some standard temperature and pressure. The US fluid volume system is based on cubic inches.

commodorejohn
Posts: 1180
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2009 6:21 pm UTC
Location: Placerville, CA
Contact:

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

Pfhorrest wrote:Are these oz as in 1/16lb, or floz? And are floz standardized between US and imperial systems? (e.g. is a US pint exactly 4/5ths an imperial pint?)

Fluid ounces. And I hadn't even considered that - devilishly enough, even that measure is slightly different. According to Wikipedia, an imperial fluid ounce is about 28.41 ml, while a US fluid ounce is about 29.57 ml, a difference of about 4.08% or so. So a US pint is about 83.27% of an imperial pint.

Edit: beaten!
"'Legacy code' often differs from its suggested alternative by actually working and scaling."
- Bjarne Stroustrup
www.commodorejohn.com - in case you were wondering, which you probably weren't.

rmsgrey
Posts: 3630
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:35 pm UTC

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

rpgamer wrote:I would just like to say that this comic made me viscerally shudder.

But I did enjoy learning from this thread that the kilogram is finally receiving a makeover. Bit disappointed that it had to come from fudging some other constants (they're supposed to be universal constants, can they even do that?). Kinda sounds like scientists were so fed up with the problem of the kilogram constant that they just sorta gave up and acquiesced to a constant that was "close enough" that will at least remain... constant.

Can't say I'd blame them, really.

Under the previous definition, the relevant "constants" weren't actually constant - the standard kilogram is known to have changed mass over time (exactly how much is unclear) and the various reference copies of it have also changed mass at different rates - so any previous measurements used to calculate the fundamental constants were wrong (depending on how the reference kilogram for those measurements had changed relative to the standard kilogram) and also varied over time.

So, as Orthogon says, they're replacing the current definition of the kilogram with a new one so that, as nearly as they could measure, everything keeps the same mass. At the same time, they're updating various constants that depended on the exact value of the kilogram, some of which were already known to be wrong since they'd been based on old values for the kilogram, and not updated to account for more recent changes in the standard kilogram's actual mass.

For practical applications, it won't make a difference; for experimental physicists, it'll mean it's easier to recalibrate their equipment to keep it correct since it'll be possible by performing an experiment with a known result rather than requiring access to a specific chunk of metal (or an extremely high-quality copy).

Soupspoon
You have done something you shouldn't. Or are about to.
Posts: 4060
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2016 7:00 pm UTC
Location: 53-1

Re: 2073: "Kilogram"

This assumes the fundamental constants do remain constant, of course. I know people are on the look-out for such temporal/spacial differences (assuming that they haven't been seen but been misidentified as cosmic inflation or somesuch) but we could be exactly on the verge of getting good enough to finally detect the creep.

It's not quite as hard to imagine as what might cause Pi and/or e to notably drift…

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 119 guests