The UNscientific method

Rationalizing the English Measurement System

Okay, we all know that the Metric system is so much better because it's logically arranged and all based on tens, right?
And the English system, with it's collection of ounces, feet, furlongs, pounds, and etcetera is just too confusing and unorganized. Well, all we need do to remedy the situation is to impose a little order on the English system.

Calling on my extensive knowledge of computer science, I quickly realized that 2 (two) is a very important number in the scheme of things. Computers work in base two, and many English measurements are ratios of two, or two times two, or two times two times two, etcetera. The other key point is that 2, expressed in the binary (base 2) system preferred by computers is 10. You see, in base 2, the digit farthest to the right represents 1, just as in our usual everyday base 10. The next digit represents 2, the next digit 4, 8, 16, and so on. Each place in the number is twice the value of the place to the right, just as each place in a base 10 number is ten times the value.

Now, a very handy English measurement happens to be the "cup", which is 8 ounces. In base 2, this is 10002. (The little 2 denotes that this is a base 2 number. We could write base 10 numbers with a little 10 after them for completeness sake, but without a designation, the number is simply assumed to be base 1010.) 10002 is a very nice number, consisting of a 1 followed by only zeroes; which those who created the metric system seem to prefer. The next larger measurement is the "pint", consisting of 2 cups, or 16 ounces. In binary, multiplying by 2 simply adds another 0 to the number, giving us 100002. Once again, this is a nice 1 and zero number!

This can be continued, and therefore will be, and summarized in the following chart:

  1 cup    =  8 ounces =    2x2x2    =    10002
  1 pint   = 16 ounces =   2x2x2x2   =   100002
  1 quart  = 32 ounces =  2x2x2x2x2  =  1000002
  1 pottle = 64 ounces = 2x2x2x2x2x2 = 10000002
(You've never heard of a "pottle"? Don't worry, most haven't. It's simply 64 ounces, or two quarts, or half a gallon.) As you can see, in binary (base 2), this system now seems very simple and rational!

Okay, at this point, I was beginning to impress myself with my reasoning. But, something still seemed to be lacking that would make this truly compelling. Igniting the afterburners of my own personal brain, I searched for some, well, THING (for lack of a better term) to make this discovery reach out and grab Johnny and Janie Q. Public by the lapel collar and make them say, "WOW!". Hmmmmmmm.

Fortunately, the ever present and active pattern search subsystem of my own personal mind kicked in and noticed the truly great discovery waiting there to be found! Consider this: 1 cup has 3 twos, 3 zeroes, and the word "cup" has 3 letters!!! ( C, U, P. Get it?) Likewise, 1 pint has 4 twos, 4 zeroes, and 4 letters; 1 quart has 5 twos, 5 zeroes, and 5 letters; 1 pottle has 6 twos, 6 zeroes, and 6 letters! I ask you, is that not as slick as snot on a doorknob?

Reclining heavily on the lab stool, I can now relax and enjoy a few moments of well earned rest, knowing that I have personally and single-handedly saved the English system of measurement from a total, and undeserved, oblivion and made it into an emminantly logical and sensible system.

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The UNscientific method

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