# Fun_People Archive 6 DecUnits of measure

```Date: Mon,  6 Dec 93 22:16:14 PST
To: Fun_People
Subject: Units of measure

From: uiucdcsb!mcdaniel

Instead of the usual expression of the speed of light in as
186,000 miles per second, I've seen it expressed in units of
furlongs per fortnight and cubits per century.

1 furlong == 220 yards.
1 fortnight == "four[teen] night[s]" == 14 days.
1 cubit == based on the length of the forearm from the
elbow to the tip of the middle finger and usually
equal to about 18 inches.

I leave the exact values of the speed of light in these units
as an exercise for the student.

Another story (probably false): a firm sent a sample to a lab to get
its density.  The lab sent back an answer in grams per cubic centimeter.
The firm sent back a very stuffy letter saying that they used the
English system of measurement and would the lab send back IMMEDIATELY
the equivalent value.  (As if the firm didn't have a calculator).

The lab sent back its answer in stones per royal firkin.

[Note for Unix users:  the "units" program (/usr/bin/units) makes these
calculations quite easy...  viz.

pud -=59=- units
465 units; 3574 bytes

you have: c
you want: cubits / century
* 2.069232e+18
/ 4.832710e-19
you have: c
you want: furlongs / fortnight
* 1.802618e+12
/ 5.547488e-13

In other words, the speed of light (c) = 2,069,232,000,000,000,000 cubits per
century (or so) and also 1,802,618,000,000 furlongs per fortnight.
For that matter:

you have: gm/cm3
you want: stone/firkin
* 5.364903e+00
/ 1.863967e-01

Unix Tip: you can add units to the units program.  For instance, if you were to
add the following line at the end of the file "/usr/lib/units":

joint			0.05 ounce

Then:

you have: 1 ounce
you want: joints
* 2.000000e+01
/ 5.000000e-02

And while you're at it, why not also add the line (to "/usr/lib/units"):

ny			0.8

Then:

you have: 1 ounce
you want: ny joints
* 2.500000e+01
/ 4.000000e-02
you have: 1 ny ounce
you want: joints
* 1.600000e+01
/ 6.250000e-02

Of course you can also have all kinds of fun changing the existing definitions
on somebody else's machine...   -psl]

```

© 1993 Peter Langston