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Author Topic: What's all this Four Quarter Stuff?  (Read 1093 times)

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Offline Tom

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What's all this Four Quarter Stuff?
« on: October 24, 2003, 07:54:25 PM »
I was over on Wood Magazines general woodworking forum where a poster, tongue in cheek I'm sure, wrote a long disertation on "I want to know who started all this un-american quarter measurement":.

One of the replies came from a poster named cpatent and I found it so intertaining that I asked if I could show it to y'all.  He said yes, so here it is. :D
You really ought to consider a few other things:
Look at what happened to British currency! A while back it had a nearly ideal system:
12 pence to the shilling and 20 shillings to the pound sterling.
Look at those numbers, just beautiful! 12 is divisible by 2, and by 3, and even by 4.
20 is divisible by 4, by 5, by 10, as well as by 2.
The 21 shillings to the “guinea” was still divisible by 7 or even by 3, and enabled stores to price goods in guineas, thereby extracting an extra 5% on the sale.
And what did they do? Converted to a decimal system, and entirely lost both the ha-penny and a “quid” in the process.
Of course, we used to price stocks in eighths (i.e., 12-1/2 US cents, from Spanish pieces of eight) until just a couple of year ago, but now that has gone decimal too, with share prices now sometimes priced even as closely as four decimal places (ah, with adequate volume of sales, there’s dollars to be made from those decimal places, just ask Tyco)!
Of course, we still have 32 ounces to the quart, 2 pints to the quart, and four quarts to the gallon, unless its an “Imperial gallon”, and a cup is 6 ounces, provided you are measuring volume and not weight; but there 16 ounces to the pound if you are measuring by weight.
Glad you are still on “shine”, otherwise you would have to worry about “1.75 l.” for a decent sized jug, generally now prices at $X.95 -- just who do we think we are kidding with five cents off an even dollar amount, even more so with the 9/10’s of a cent in gasoline prices?
So, a yard was the length from the armpit to the fingertips of Henry VIII, horses race by “furlongs”, and a “league” is three statutory miles. Why a “statutory” mile, and why 5,280 feet? A Roman mile was 4,860 feet, (they had shorter feet), so when Hannibal’s troops claimed they marched 10 miles, it was really only 9.2 “statutory” miles. But, a nautical mile, at 6,080.20 feet, is “nominally” a second of an arc on the earth’s circumference.
On the other hand, one atmosphere of pressure is about 14.7 lbs., or 30 inches of a column of mercury.
And you may have calculated the diamond (or other gem) in carats, equaling about 3 grains or the optimal weight of a carob bean being some 3-1/3 grains, with a “grain” being 0.002285 ounces.
With all that, are you still worried about 4/4’s? I think you have only touched the surface of weights and measures.
Just be thankful we don’t still use the Roman number system -- here we owe a real debt to the Arab arithmetic (back when they had a marvelous intellectual culture and since lost in many ways), or we (you too) would really go nuts with all this stuff.

Offline Gus

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Re: What's all this Four Quarter Stuff?
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2003, 09:21:41 PM »
Now THAT guy is quick on his feet :P
"How do I know what I think unless I have seen what I say?"

Offline Tom

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Re: What's all this Four Quarter Stuff?
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2003, 10:18:28 AM »
I love a guy that can expound humorously.

Offline Bro. Noble

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Re: What's all this Four Quarter Stuff?
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2003, 07:06:45 PM »
I never was much count at expounding,  but was always fair at expecterating :-/
milking and logging and sawing and milking

Offline dtody

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Re: What's all this Four Quarter Stuff?
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2003, 11:34:15 PM »
When you talk about expound, it brings to mind a stone and a kilogram,  weighty subjects in their own right.  One topic that the poster didn't carry through on..  I sure glad the U S is going to change over to the metric system by the early 80's to fit in with the rest of the world.  

He did write about the 1.75 liter.  But who remembers quarts and fifths as our earlier choices?  Anyone have a "shorty" beer in a seven oz bottle?  

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