History Main / UnitConfusion

14th Jan '17 10:01:17 PM Prfnoff
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* A more down-to-Earth example (no pun intended) was the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gimli_Glider Gimli Glider.]] The Boeing 767 C-GAUN was the first Air Canada jet with metric instrumentation. There already had to be a measurement conversion because the refueling people on the ground measured kerosene in volume (gallons), while the aircraft measured fuel in weight (pounds or kilograms). The ground crew used the wrong conversion factor in calculating how many gallons to pump on the plane, leading the crew to think the plane had 22,000 kilograms of fuel on board, the amount needed for the flight, when it only had 22,000 pounds (9979 kg). The exact mass of fuel used is very important to aircraft and thus the gauge could not be replaced with a car style unitless gauge.
** And in a supreme GuideDangIt (for the pilots/groundcrew)/WhatAnIdiot (for Air Canada) moment: ''nobody on the groundcrew or in the cockpit had been trained to do the proper conversion''.
*** This was primarily due to the fact that this kind of thing used to be the job of the flight engineer. Unfortunately, computerized jets like the Boeing 767 have eliminated the need for that position, and apparently no one at Air Canada had stopped to consider who should take over the FE's duties.

to:

* A more down-to-Earth example (no pun intended) was the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gimli_Glider Gimli Glider.]] The Boeing 767 C-GAUN was the first Air Canada jet with metric instrumentation. There already had to be a measurement conversion because the refueling people on the ground measured kerosene in volume (gallons), while the aircraft measured fuel in weight (pounds or kilograms). The ground crew used the wrong conversion factor in calculating how many gallons to pump on the plane, leading the crew to think the plane had 22,000 kilograms of fuel on board, the amount needed for the flight, when it only had 22,000 pounds (9979 kg). The exact mass of fuel used is very important to aircraft and thus the gauge could not be replaced with a car style unitless gauge.
** And in a supreme GuideDangIt (for the pilots/groundcrew)/WhatAnIdiot (for Air Canada) moment: ''nobody
gauge. Nobody on the groundcrew or in the cockpit had been trained to do the proper conversion''.
*** This was primarily due to the fact that
conversion; this kind of thing used to be the job of the flight engineer. Unfortunately, engineer, but computerized jets like the Boeing 767 have eliminated the need for that position, and apparently no one at Air Canada had stopped to consider who should take over the FE's duties.
7th Jan '17 10:07:23 AM cosmogoblin
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* ''Series/{{Bones}}'' once referred to "Force in Newton-Meters." Unfortunately, the newton-meter is a unit of ''torque'', equivalent to one joule per radian. The Newton-meter is also a unit of energy equivalent to the joule (as radians are dimensionless); in this case, the meter is the linear distance over which the force is applied rather than the distance from the fulcrum. Nevertheless, it's still not a unit of force, which is simply Newtons.

to:

* ''Series/{{Bones}}'' once referred to "Force in Newton-Meters." Unfortunately, the newton-meter is a unit of ''torque'', equivalent to one joule per radian. The Newton-meter is also a unit of energy equivalent to the joule (as radians are dimensionless); in this case, the meter is the linear distance over which the force is applied rather than the distance from the fulcrum. Nevertheless, it's still not a unit of force, which is simply Newtons. However, force can be measured using a ''device'' called a "Newton meter", thus is can be measured ''by Newton meters'', but not ''in Newton-meters''.
29th Dec '16 9:35:59 AM mfarah
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Added DiffLines:

** In Spain, however, the old "tonelada" unit corresponded to 20 ''quintales'' (920 kg). It's been long abandoned in favor of the SI unit, but for several decades, the latter was generally called "tonelada métrica" ("metric ton") to make it clear you meant one thousand kilograms.
20th Dec '16 3:42:48 PM Milarqui
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** The unit of ''weight'' (normal force) in the SI system is newton (N). One newton is one kilogram (mass) multiplied by gravity acceleration (9.81 m/s), making a mass ot 1 kg weighing 9.81 N on Earth. The value 9.81 is close enough for 10, making conversions easy - just multiply by ten.

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** The unit of ''weight'' (normal force) in the SI system is newton (N). One newton is one kilogram (mass) multiplied by gravity acceleration (9.81 m/s), 1 m/s^2, making a mass ot of 1 kg weighing weigh 9.81 N on Earth. The value 9.81 is close enough for 10, making conversions easy - just multiply by ten.
19th Dec '16 7:32:07 AM delfigamer
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* The manual for ''{{VideoGame/Fallout}} 1'', written from an {{in universe}} perspective from Vault-Tech (the company which made the vaults), suffers from several mistakes in one unit when it gives the technical specifications for Vault 13. Among them is: "Power requirements.....3.98mkw/day". Even assuming that the w is supposed to mean Watts (which have the symbol W, being named after a person) and ignoring the pointless suffixes which seem to cancel each other out (m would mean times 1/1000 while k means times 1000), Watts are already a unit of power, so the "per day" part is redundant. {{Justified}} somewhat in that Vault-Tech is portrayed throughout the manual as tending to cut corners and not being very knowledgeable about what they're doing.

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* The manual for ''{{VideoGame/Fallout}} 1'', written from an {{in universe}} perspective from Vault-Tech (the company which made the vaults), suffers from several mistakes in one unit when it gives the technical specifications for Vault 13. Among them is: "Power requirements.....3.98mkw/day". Even assuming that the w is supposed to mean Watts (which have the symbol W, being named after a person) and ignoring the pointless suffixes prefixes which seem to cancel each other out (m would mean times 1/1000 while k means times 1000), Watts are already a unit of power, so the "per day" part is redundant. {{Justified}} somewhat in that Vault-Tech is portrayed throughout the manual as tending to cut corners and not being very knowledgeable about what they're doing.
7th Dec '16 11:22:30 PM Kid
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** There is a joke where a woman is telling her friend about a guy's penis and claims it's 700 nanometers. The other woman is astonished that it's so small, but the first woman replies that the penis is that red (the wavelength of the color red is 620750 nm). Somewhat of a subversion- both use the same system of measurement, and it's used correctly, but the ''context'' was what was missing.

to:

** There is a joke where a woman is telling her friend about a guy's penis and claims it's 700 nanometers. The other woman is astonished that it's so small, but the first woman replies that the penis is that red (the wavelength of the color red is 620750 nm). Somewhat of a subversion- both subversion--both use the same system of measurement, and it's used correctly, but the ''context'' was what was missing.
29th Nov '16 3:32:26 PM StFan
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!!Examples

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!!Examples
!!Examples:



[[folder:Comedy]]
* Comedian [[http://drpetecomedy.com Dr. Pete Ludovice]] has a routine where he suggests that men try to invoke UnitConfusion by reporting their [[GagPenis penis size in nanometers]].
** There is a joke where a woman is telling her friend about a guy's penis and claims it's 700 nanometers. The other woman is astonished that it's so small, but the first woman replies that the penis is that red (the wavelength of the color red is 620750 nm). Somewhat of a subversion- both use the same system of measurement, and it's used correctly, but the ''context'' was what was missing.
* In one of his routines, Tim Steeves opined that Americans think Canada is so cold because weather maps measure Canadian temperatures in Celsius and American in Fahrenheit, extrapolating that to a scenario where colonial explorers demarcated the border between the US and Canada because the temperature abruptly dropped forty degrees. [[note]]As it happens, Canadian weather reports actually give ''both'' measurements for the benefit of visitors from the United States and/or older folks who never got the hang of metric.[[/note]]
[[/folder]]



* Parodied/subverted in a ''ComicStrip/FoxTrot'' strip: Jason is playing a racing videogame while his mother is trying to get him to come to dinner. Jason, who had earlier said "Just a sec," clarifies that he meant a ''parsec''; just until he ''drove an entire parsec in the game'', which would take him over 10 million years.
** Another time, Jason decided to take up baking, and mused over whether the 350 degrees he had to set the oven at were in Celsius, Fahrenheit, or kelvins.[[note]]For the record, 350 degrees Fahrenheit is a moderate oven temperature, 350 degrees Celsius is much higher than most ovens can go, and 350 kelvins isn't even hot enough to boil water.[[/note]] Peter sarcastically suggested that he rotate the oven almost a full circle. [[DontBeRidiculous "Don't be silly, Peter."]]
* Parodied in ''ComicStrip/{{Frazz}}'', when Caulfield points out rather loudly that light-years are a measure of distance. The teacher then tells him to quiet down because he's "making a ton of noise."
* A ''ComicStrip/{{Mafalda}}'' strip had a teacher giving her students a math word problem where they had to calculate the area of a field measuring X by Y ''hectares''. Amusingly enough, a later compilation featured an entire page of sketches by the author mocking himself for the mistake (the best is one where Susanita says "Hey Quino, you big idiot! How many liters are there in a kilometer?")



[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* ''ComicStrip/FoxTrot'':
** Parodied/subverted in a strip: Jason is playing a racing videogame while his mother is trying to get him to come to dinner. Jason, who had earlier said "Just a sec," clarifies that he meant a ''parsec''; just until he ''drove an entire parsec in the game'', which would take him over 10 million years.
** Another time, Jason decided to take up baking, and mused over whether the 350 degrees he had to set the oven at were in Celsius, Fahrenheit, or kelvins.[[note]]For the record, 350 degrees Fahrenheit is a moderate oven temperature, 350 degrees Celsius is much higher than most ovens can go, and 350 kelvins isn't even hot enough to boil water.[[/note]] Peter sarcastically suggested that he rotate the oven almost a full circle. [[DontBeRidiculous "Don't be silly, Peter."]]
* Parodied in ''ComicStrip/{{Frazz}}'', when Caulfield points out rather loudly that light-years are a measure of distance. The teacher then tells him to quiet down because he's "making a ton of noise."
* A ''ComicStrip/{{Mafalda}}'' strip has a teacher giving her students a math word problem where they have to calculate the area of a field measuring X by Y ''hectares''. Amusingly enough, a later compilation featured an entire page of sketches by the author mocking himself for the mistake (the best is one where Susanita says "Hey Quino, you big idiot! How many liters are there in a kilometer?")
[[/folder]]



* In ''Film/IronMan1,'' Tony Stark tells Yinsen that his mini arc reactor has a power output of 3.2 gigajoules per second (i.e. 3.2 gigawatts). Yinsen says that it could power his heart for a thousand lifetimes, and Tony responds, "Or something big for 15 minutes". Gigawatt is a measurement of ''power,'' not potential energy, so Yinsen shouldn't know that. Tony may have decided it wasn't important enough to correct him.

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* In ''Film/IronMan1,'' ''Film/IronMan1'', Tony Stark tells Yinsen that his mini arc reactor has a power output of 3.2 gigajoules per second (i.e. 3.2 gigawatts). Yinsen says that it could power his heart for a thousand lifetimes, and Tony responds, "Or something big for 15 minutes". Gigawatt is a measurement of ''power,'' not potential energy, so Yinsen shouldn't know that. Tony may have decided it wasn't important enough to correct him.



* Often times Creator/JulesVerne's books contained measurements and spot on calculations. However, when they were brought over to the UK and US the translator screwed up horribly on the conversions at first. Partly by not really even doing them. Just replacing the metric unit with the rough alternative, but keeping the numbers. H.W. Starr's famous [[EpilepticTrees theory]] that Nemo was [[Literature/SherlockHolmes Professor Moriarty]] uses as part of its evidence that he wasn't the noble figure he presented himself as the "fact" that the crew quarters must have been horribly cramped compared to his stateroom, based on the figures in the original English translation.
** Many people like to sound clever by pointing out that ''Literature/TwentyThousandLeaguesUnderTheSea'' is 60,000 miles, and thus impossibly deep (the deepest part of the ocean is less than 3 leagues down), but this figure is the distance travelled in the book, not the depth they reach. But "Twenty Thousand Leagues Whilst Under The Sea" isn't quite as pithy.
*** Verne consistently used a metric league (lieue, if you wish) of exactly 4 km in his works, thus the name translates into 80,000 km or ~50,000 statute miles, or almost exactly double circumnavigation (there's only a single one in the book, due to inevitable deviations from the shortest route). However this again brings the confusion as in Belgium the metric lieue is defined differently than in France and corresponds to five kilometers instead of four.
* ''Literature/TheCulture''. In ''LookToWindward'', Hub frequently refers to interstellar distances in large numbers of "year". Not light-years, YEARS.
** Culture Minds like abbreviations. Besides, the light of something happening e.g. 5 years ago (and 5 light-years away) arrives 5 years after the event. Hub has settled down "centuries" away from a war zone it was in.
* In the original version of Creator/MarionZimmerBradley's ''[[Literature/{{Darkover}} The Bloody Sun]]'', the protagonist is told that his matrix jewel can probably emit "only a few grams of energy."
** It ''could'' make sense since [[UsefulNotes/{{Relativity}} mass and energy are equivalent]] (''E''=''mc''[-[[superscript:2]]-]). But the speed of light is so large (300 megameters per second) that even a few grams of mass, converted to energy, would be tremendous. The bomb dropped on Hiroshima released as much energy as about 15 thousand tons of TNT ... by converting less than ''one'' gram of mass into energy.

to:

* Creator/JulesVerne:
**
Often times Creator/JulesVerne's times, the books contained contain measurements and spot on spot-on calculations. However, when they were brought over to the UK and US the translator screwed up horribly on the conversions at first. Partly by not really even doing them. Just replacing the metric unit with the rough alternative, but keeping the numbers. H.W. Starr's famous [[EpilepticTrees theory]] that Nemo was [[Literature/SherlockHolmes Professor Moriarty]] uses as part of its evidence that he wasn't the noble figure he presented himself as the "fact" that the crew quarters must have been horribly cramped compared to his stateroom, based on the figures in the original English translation.
** Many people like to sound clever by pointing out that ''Literature/TwentyThousandLeaguesUnderTheSea'' is 60,000 miles, and thus impossibly deep (the deepest part of the ocean is less than 3 leagues down), but this figure is the distance travelled traveled in the book, not the depth they reach. But "Twenty Thousand Leagues Whilst Under The Sea" isn't quite as pithy.
***
pithy. Verne consistently used a metric league (lieue, if you wish) of exactly 4 km in his works, thus the name translates into 80,000 km or ~50,000 statute miles, or almost exactly double circumnavigation (there's only a single one in the book, due to inevitable deviations from the shortest route). However this again brings the confusion as in Belgium the metric lieue is defined differently than in France and corresponds to five kilometers instead of four.
* ''Literature/TheCulture''. ''Literature/TheCulture'': In ''LookToWindward'', ''Look to Windward'', Hub frequently refers to interstellar distances in large numbers of "year". Not light-years, YEARS.
**
YEARS. Culture Minds like abbreviations. Besides, the light of something happening e.g. 5 years ago (and 5 light-years away) arrives 5 years after the event. Hub has settled down "centuries" away from a war zone it was in.
* In the original version of Creator/MarionZimmerBradley's ''[[Literature/{{Darkover}} The Bloody Sun]]'', the protagonist is told that his matrix jewel can probably emit "only a few grams of energy."
**
" It ''could'' make sense since [[UsefulNotes/{{Relativity}} mass and energy are equivalent]] (''E''=''mc''[-[[superscript:2]]-]). But the speed of light is so large (300 megameters per second) that even a few grams of mass, converted to energy, would be tremendous. The bomb dropped on Hiroshima released as much energy as about 15 thousand tons of TNT ... by converting less than ''one'' gram of mass into energy.



* Parodied in StarWreck, where the twist in the maggothole (''sic!'') is stated to be several mega-parsec-seconds in the Finnish original, and googol-fluxoms in English translation. Naturally, neither of those make any sense.



[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Bones}}'' once referred to "Force in Newton-Meters." Unfortunately, the newton-meter is a unit of ''torque'', equivalent to one joule per radian.
** The Newton-meter is also a unit of energy equivalent to the joule (as radians are dimensionless); in this case, the meter is the linear distance over which the force is applied rather than the distance from the fulcrum. Nevertheless, it's still not a unit of force, which is simply Newtons.

to:

[[folder:Live Action [[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Bones}}'' once referred to "Force in Newton-Meters." Unfortunately, the newton-meter is a unit of ''torque'', equivalent to one joule per radian.
**
radian. The Newton-meter is also a unit of energy equivalent to the joule (as radians are dimensionless); in this case, the meter is the linear distance over which the force is applied rather than the distance from the fulcrum. Nevertheless, it's still not a unit of force, which is simply Newtons.



[[folder:StandUpComedy]]
* Comedian [[http://drpetecomedy.com Dr. Pete Ludovice]] has a routine where he suggests that men try to invoke UnitConfusion by reporting their [[GagPenis penis size in nanometers]].
** There is a joke where a woman is telling her friend about a guy's penis and claims it's 700 nanometers. The other woman is astonished that it's so small, but the first woman replies that the penis is that red (the wavelength of the color red is 620750 nm). Somewhat of a subversion- both use the same system of measurement, and it's used correctly, but the ''context'' was what was missing.
* In one of his routines, Tim Steeves opined that Americans think Canada is so cold because weather maps measure Canadian temperatures in Celsius and American in Fahrenheit, extrapolating that to a scenario where colonial explorers demarcated the border between the US and Canada because the temperature abruptly dropped forty degrees. [[note]]As it happens, Canadian weather reports actually give ''both'' measurements for the benefit of visitors from the United States and/or older folks who never got the hang of metric.[[/note]]

to:

[[folder:StandUpComedy]]
[[folder:Web Animation]]
* Comedian [[http://drpetecomedy.com Dr. Pete Ludovice]] has a routine Parodied in ''WebAnimation/StarWreck, where he suggests that men try the twist in the maggothole (''sic!'') is stated to invoke UnitConfusion by reporting their [[GagPenis penis size be several mega-parsec-seconds in nanometers]].
** There is a joke where a woman is telling her friend about a guy's penis
the Finnish original, and claims it's 700 nanometers. The other woman is astonished that it's so small, but the first woman replies that the penis is that red (the wavelength googol-fluxoms in English translation. Naturally, neither of the color red is 620750 nm). Somewhat of a subversion- both use the same system of measurement, and it's used correctly, but the ''context'' was what was missing.
* In one of his routines, Tim Steeves opined that Americans think Canada is so cold because weather maps measure Canadian temperatures in Celsius and American in Fahrenheit, extrapolating that to a scenario where colonial explorers demarcated the border between the US and Canada because the temperature abruptly dropped forty degrees. [[note]]As it happens, Canadian weather reports actually give ''both'' measurements for the benefit of visitors from the United States and/or older folks who never got the hang of metric.[[/note]]
those make any sense.



[[folder:Webcomics]]

to:

[[folder:Webcomics]][[folder:Web Comics]]



* Happens in universe in an Wiki/SCPFoundation story. There is a big difference between mA and MA. Exactly how he managed to set the circuit to nine orders of magnitude lower than normal isn't given.
* {{Hadriex}} tried to convert the vague system ''VideoGame/HeroesOfMightAndMagic 3'' uses to count enemy units into something he could wrap his head around. Like Metric. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xetp4WsUD6Q&t=3m40s It didn't work out so well]]

to:

* Happens in universe in an Wiki/SCPFoundation ''Wiki/SCPFoundation'' story. There is a big difference between mA and MA. Exactly how he managed to set the circuit to nine orders of magnitude lower than normal isn't given.
* {{Hadriex}} WebVideo/{{Hadriex}} tried to convert the vague system ''VideoGame/HeroesOfMightAndMagic 3'' uses to count enemy units into something he could wrap his head around. Like Metric. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xetp4WsUD6Q&t=3m40s It didn't work out so well]]



29th Nov '16 2:10:07 PM StFan
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[[folder:Anime and Manga]]

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[[folder:Anime and & Manga]]



* Anime/{{Pokemon}} also makes the same Hertz/decibels mistake in an episode centered around Marill. This is especially egregious as the person making the mistake is supposedly an expert on this sort of thing; yet Marill had previously appeared in the series without the error being made.
* In ''[[LightNovel/DirtyPair The Dirty Pair]]'' original TV series episode ''Lots of Danger, Lots of Decoys'', the bomb Kei plants in the [[FakinMacGuffin decoy container]] counts down in metric time; e.g. 2:99:99.

to:

* Anime/{{Pokemon}} ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' also makes the same Hertz/decibels mistake in an episode centered around Marill. This is especially egregious as the person making the mistake is supposedly an expert on this sort of thing; yet Marill had previously appeared in the series without the error being made.
* In ''[[LightNovel/DirtyPair The Dirty Pair]]'' the ''LightNovel/DirtyPair'' original TV series episode ''Lots "Lots of Danger, Lots of Decoys'', Decoys", the bomb Kei plants in the [[FakinMacGuffin decoy container]] counts down in metric time; e.g. 2:99:99.



[[folder:Comics]]

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[[folder:Comics]][[folder:Comic Books]]



[[folder:Fan Fiction]]

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[[folder:Fan Fiction]]Works]]



[[folder:Film]]

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[[folder:Film]][[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
26th Oct '16 1:49:54 PM sanddorn
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** Culture Minds like abbreviations. Besides, the light of something happening e.g. 5 years ago (and 5 light-years away) arrives 5 years after the event. Hub is a former Battleship Mind.

to:

** Culture Minds like abbreviations. Besides, the light of something happening e.g. 5 years ago (and 5 light-years away) arrives 5 years after the event. Hub is has settled down "centuries" away from a former Battleship Mind.war zone it was in.
26th Oct '16 1:45:50 PM sanddorn
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Added DiffLines:

** Culture Minds like abbreviations. Besides, the light of something happening e.g. 5 years ago (and 5 light-years away) arrives 5 years after the event. Hub is a former Battleship Mind.
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