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Forum » SpaceEngine » Off-topic Discussions » Number Scales (Short scale vs. Long scale, etc.)
Number Scales
HarbingerDawnDate: Saturday, 30.06.2012, 23:06 | Message # 1
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Split from this thread: http://en.spaceengine.org/forum/4-686




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HarbingerDawnDate: Saturday, 30.06.2012, 23:07 | Message # 2
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Quote (apenpaap)
that's in long scale; in short scale it's 10 quintillion

I never liked the long scale; short scale always seemed more logical to me...





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apenpaapDate: Saturday, 30.06.2012, 23:07 | Message # 3
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^I find it more logical to have the scale's 'zero point' actually at 0, instead of at 1000. Because if you want to know what -illion a certain power of ten is, you've only got to divide that power by 6 in the long scale (10^12 gives 12/6=2, so billion, 10^30 gives 30/6=5, so quintillion, etc); while in the short scale you first have to subtract 3 and only then divide by 3. In a sense, in the long scale 0 is "zero-illion", while in the short scale it's "minus one-illion". Another small boon is the long scale works up to 10^600, while the short scale only goes to 10^303 (though that's not a very important improvement, seeing as even the amount of protons you could cram into the observable universe at the very most is not even a tiny fraction of 10^303).




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HarbingerDawnDate: Saturday, 30.06.2012, 23:07 | Message # 4
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The reason I'm more inclined toward the short scale (one reason anyway) is that when we write base 10 numbers, we tend to separate the numbers every three digits (every 103), eg. 74 506 254.109 57 (or use commas or full stops, etc.). And we name them thusly: ones, tens, hundreds, thousands, ten-thousands, hundred-thousands, millions, ten-millions, etc. so a pattern is established by the time you reach one million that every 103, which is also the first new number after a numeral separator, has a unique name (thousand, million), whereas the other numbers' names are modified versions of the preceding unique name, using the the names from 100-102. So 103 and 106 have unique names, so therefore 109, 1012, 1015 and so on should as well. The only illogical thing about short scale naming compared to long scale is the placement of "million". If 103 were renamed to "million", then it would make much more sense, and the long scale would no longer have any significant logical advantage.




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apenpaapDate: Saturday, 30.06.2012, 23:21 | Message # 5
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(Good idea to separate it)

I see what you mean, but 10^9, 10^15, etc do have unique names: milliard, billiard, trilliard, etc. Though I know these aren't often used in English. I suppose they're not unique, in a way, being derived from their -illion, but the words billion and trillion and all later ones are similarly derived from the word million. I guess the scale one grew up with is a big factor in your preference; it probably won't surprise you the long scale is always used in Dutch.





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HarbingerDawnDate: Sunday, 01.07.2012, 00:06 | Message # 6
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Quote (apenpaap)
I see what you mean, but 10^9, 10^15, etc do have unique names: milliard, billiard, trilliard, etc.

I am familiar with those terms, but then the scale prefixes go by (m-, m-, b-, b-, tr-, tr-) and so on, so you need to look at the whole name as well as utilize two separate name groups. In short scale, there is only one name group (-illion), and prefixes go by -m, -b, -tr, -quadr, -quint, so you're counting "one, two, three, four, five" rather than "one, one, two two, three". The only advantage that the long scale has is that the scale logic makes more sense. If the short scale replaced "thousand" with "million", then that advantage would be nullified, and short would make more sense.

Quote (apenpaap)
I guess the scale one grew up with is a big factor in your preference

Very true. That can be overcome though. I'm from the United States, and I grew up with those ridiculous American units (16 ounces per pound, 8 ounces per cup, 12 inches per foot, 5280 feet per mile [lolwut?], etc.) I still use them in everyday life (I have to because no one around me understands anything else), but I prefer to use metric/SI units. They are so much more sensible.
The only thing I have trouble adopting is the Celsius temperature scale; I am just so used to Fahrenheit, and it is a more precise scale, which I rather like. So I tend to express everyday temperatures in terms of °F, while of course I do use Kelvin for scientific purposes.
Another American convention that I cannot understand is measuring electricity usage in "kilowatt-hours". So, it's (energy/time)*time. Why not just skip all that and measure in megajoules? 1kWh = 3.6 MJ, so the magnitude of the units would be similar.
Probably the only other American/Imperial unit that I will accept is the pound as a unit of force, and even then only when applied to weight. Grams are a unit of mass, so measuring weight with them makes about as much sense as measuring mass with pounds, though I do understand the logic of how they are used as such.
I also prefer m/s to km/h as a unit of velocity, but that's my scientific side taking over cool

This sums it up well:


Quote (apenpaap)
it probably won't surprise you the long scale is always used in Dutch.

I know, I did some research smile



</rant>





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Edited by HarbingerDawn - Sunday, 01.07.2012, 00:09
 
apenpaapDate: Sunday, 01.07.2012, 00:32 | Message # 7
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I can certainly understand switching systems in that case. Fortunately the only such arbitrary system I've grown up with is the measuring of time, and if a metric clock/calendar was introduced and actually used by anyone on the planet, I'd certainly try to adjust my thinking to it and switch systems. Given the endless mess of units you run into when calculating anything involving time, I can only imagine what a nightmare of units it must be to do almost everything in such measures. As for the kilowatthours, they're used here as well. A really silly unit.

However, neither the short nor the long scale is remotely as unwieldy as the imperial system, essentially forcing a switch to another system, though their potential for mutual confusion is somewhat dangerous. Normally, when talking in English I use either scientific notation or short scale for clarity, but on occassion I guess I just feel like using the long scale I like better anyway.





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HarbingerDawnDate: Sunday, 01.07.2012, 03:08 | Message # 8
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Quote (apenpaap)
Normally, when talking in English I use either scientific notation or short scale for clarity, but on occassion I guess I just feel like using the long scale I like better anyway.

I completely understand this.

Quote (apenpaap)
Fortunately the only such arbitrary system I've grown up with is the measuring of time

That's another thing that really bothers me, especially since there are so many units used and everyone combines them. Since I have such a scientific mind, I prefer everything to be kept in one unit. When I use a microwave oven, I will always input 90 seconds instead of 1 minute 30 seconds. I just wish I could go higher than 99 dry If something happened 17 months ago, most Americans would say "1 year, 5 months". It vexes me.
I also prefer a 24-hour clock to a 12-hour clock, which again puts me at odds with most Americans.
There is one calendar that is far more sensible than the Gregorian calendar, which is the Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar.

I have thought about the invention of universal units of measure (not just logical, sensible scales, but truly universal). Scales that, if we ran into extraterrestrial intelligences in the future, they would not need to understand anything about humanity or Earth in order to understand our units. But these are very hard to come up with.
One unit I have been able to invent that makes sense is the "Stellar Mass Unit", where 1 is the lowest possible mass for a star (~65 Jupiter masses). So Sol would have a mass of 13 stellar mass units, and the largest stars would be a few thousand stellar mass units. But many units are difficult to invent since it is hard to pick a value that is not arbitrary. For distance and time, you could possibly use the Planck length and Planck time, but these would be very unwieldy for everyday usage.

Quote (apenpaap)
Given the endless mess of units you run into when calculating anything involving time, I can only imagine what a nightmare of units it must be to do almost everything in such measures.

You get used to it. After a while, 128 fl oz. in a gallon and 2000 lb in a ton seem perfectly normal. But yes, specific calculations and conversions can be difficult. Yet one more reason why I prefer to keep things in one unit whenever possible.

On the bright side, most packages - at least for food products - are labeled in both systems, and in the US the definition of a fluid ounce (fl. oz.) has been standardized at 30 mL for such purposes, making things easier.





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HarbingerDawnDate: Thursday, 19.07.2012, 17:26 | Message # 9
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I found this very funny image on Facebook today, so I'll share it here biggrin





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Antza2Date: Thursday, 19.07.2012, 19:10 | Message # 10
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Quote (HarbingerDawn)
I found this very funny image on Facebook today, so I'll share it here

100°C means you're dead? Obviously the maker of that picture has never been in a sauna where it can get 120°C at it's hottest biggrin





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HarbingerDawnDate: Thursday, 19.07.2012, 19:24 | Message # 11
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Well it doesn't mean that you die instantly, just that you could not survive in such temperature for a prolonged period. And I've never been in a sauna that reached 120°; the saunas I've been in typically run at 70-80°C. But I'm not much of a sauna person smile




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Antza2Date: Thursday, 19.07.2012, 19:33 | Message # 12
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I suspected that it meant prolonged exposure. 20 minutes in 100°C can make anyone nauseous and more than an hour would probably kill you.




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HarbingerDawnDate: Thursday, 19.07.2012, 19:42 | Message # 13
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Personally I prefer 0°C or less smile I like cold weather (of course, where I live it has been the hottest year on record so far, and last winter was the hottest ever as well, so I am not very happy recently dry )




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Antza2Date: Thursday, 19.07.2012, 19:48 | Message # 14
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Well where i live (Finland) it can be -40°C in the winter and +30 in the summer so we get both really hot and really cold smile (only winter lasts longer than summer.)
Edit: I personally prefer hot summers to freezing winters because summer doesn't last that long.





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Edited by Antza2 - Thursday, 19.07.2012, 19:50
 
SolarisDate: Thursday, 19.07.2012, 22:59 | Message # 15
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Haha , nice pic HarbingerDawn !
 
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