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First, I am a proponent of the metric system. I work in engineering, where metric units are de rigueur. I use metric units when I design things in my workshop. I have a fricking metric tape measure with no imperial markings on it, and I use it when doing projects around the house.

And, of course, I ride a metric bike.

That said, I've been pondering Celsius for a while. For the life of me, I can't think of a single redeeming quality of Celsius, except that it has been adopted as part of the pantheon of metric measurements. It is, as near as I can tell, metric for the sake of being metric, without actually offering anything in return.

When I'm working with length units, metric offers a clear win. Fractions of a centimeter are easily and effortlessly converted to millimeters. Or centimeters turned into fractions of a meter. Even the relationship between liters and centimeters is neat and tidy.

What does Celsius offer in the way of convenience? Nothing. Not a damn thing. Ever work in kilocelsius? No. Probably not. Does Celsius have meaningful relationships to other metric units? No. Certainly not. Celsius merely swaps one set of constant end points for another set of constant end points, and I'll bet money that most of you don't even know that it's not based on the freezing and boiling points of water any more.

Celsius is easily the least useful metric unit. It accomplishes nothing. Not one redeeming quality.

Can anyone else think of any redeeming qualities, other than "I grew up with it" or some such?
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Well, It's easier to spell than Farenheight.
Fairenhight?
Ummm...
Fahrenhite!
Shit!
.
.
.
F



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It makes for a good laugh for everybody else when you're the only one in the room not familiar with it.

I visited my friend for a week near Toronto a few years ago, in August, to attend her wedding. As we were having brunch one day...

Her: It's supposed to get to 15 today.
Me: WHAT?!? I didn't bring any jackets or anything!!
Her: 15 Celsius.
Me: Oh... whew. You really freaked me out there for a minute.
:laughter from everyone else in the room:
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Witch wrote:
It makes for a good laugh for everybody else when you're the only one in the room not familiar with it.
That doesn't really seem like a redeeming quality. Clown emoticon
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Everybody else sure seemed to think so!

I agree with you, though. I don't know what it's got going for it.
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Here's another point: metric time would make far more sense than Celsius, and offer far more utility. Converting small units of time to larger units is laborious, and the summation of multiple pieces of time into a whole is a veritable nightmare. Add the gregorian calendar to the mix, and the rather retroactive way we've defined the past in terms of a present calendar system that didn't actually exist at the time, coupled with varying rates of adoption throughout Europe for the catch-up period between the old form of counting leap years to the new one, and wow, you've got a real mess. Metric time could improve many of those problems (though not the retroactive calendar ones).

That said, It'll never happen, not in my lifetime. Metric time is doomed to failure. Truthfully, it's a stupid idea, despite its obvious utility.

And yet, Celsius is orders of magnitude less useful than metric time would be.

What does that say about Celsius?
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water freezes at zero and boils at 100. c


when amercens say its fkn freezing here its 35, im thinking itd be a nice day to go to the beach



what is farenheight based on anyway
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I didn't grow up with Celsius.

It was centigrade.

Or Hertz, either, for that matter. (cycles per second).

And while we're on the calendar, I think we should start it at 8,000 BCE - roughly the start of civilization. That would make this year 10013 and we wouldn't have to deal with historical dates before or after anything.
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Who said Celsius is metric?

Just because it uses 100 for a certain heat level?

Fahrenheit has zero and 100. Therefore it is just as metric. Or not.
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joshzingzing wrote:
water freezes at zero and boils at 100. c
False. The melting point of water is −0.0001 °C (the triple point is approximately -- but not exactly -- 0.01° C) and the boiling point is at 99.9839 °C. And then only if we're talking about Vienna Standard Mean Ocean Water (VSMOW).

Look it up.
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Arno1 wrote:
Who said Celsius is metric?

Just because it uses 100 for a certain heat level?

Fahrenheit has zero and 100. Therefore it is just as metric. Or not.
I agree with the sentiment, even though intellectually I know that Celsius is part of the metric system.

How do I know this? Because it was foisted on us in school here in the US as part of the Great Metric Conversion experiment of the 1970s.
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joshzingzing wrote:
what is farenheight based on anyway
One story goes like this: Daniel G. Fahrenheit needed a zero and a 100 mark for his thermometer. It was a darned cold night that day, coldest he ever had, so he called that zero. Then he figured the human body's temperature, a pretty standard unit, would make a good 100. Too bad he had a little fever that day. Probably getting a cold
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jess wrote:
joshzingzing wrote:
water freezes at zero and boils at 100. c
False. Water freezes at −0.0001 °C and boils at 99.9839 °C. And then only if we're talking about Vienna Standard Mean Ocean Water (VSMOW).

Look it up.
Laughing emoticon id better get a new thermometer then
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Arno1 wrote:
joshzingzing wrote:
what is farenheight based on anyway
One story goes like this: Daniel G. Fahrenheit needed a zero and a 100 mark for his thermometer. It was a darned cold night that day, coldest he ever had, so he called that zero. Then he figured the human body's temperature, a pretty standard unit, would make a good 100. Too bad he had a little fever that day. Probably getting a cold
If only it were as straightforward as that.

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1266/on-the-fahrenheit-scale-do-0-and-100-have-any-special-significance
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joshzingzing wrote:
jess wrote:
joshzingzing wrote:
water freezes at zero and boils at 100. c
False. Water freezes at −0.0001 °C and boils at 99.9839 °C. And then only if we're talking about Vienna Standard Mean Ocean Water (VSMOW).

Look it up.
Laughing emoticon id better get a new thermometer then
My point being that when scientific measurements are involved, precision matters. The constants that originally defined Celsius were based on the freeze and boil points of water, but they aren't any more, and the original measurements were wrong regardless. At this point, the endpoints are defined in terms of Kelvin. The increment (one degree, Celsius or Kelvin) is now essentially arbitrary. The imprecision of Celsius with respect to water's properties makes it all but useless in a scientific setting. Which is why they use Kelvin. Except, Kelvin uses the Celsius increments. Gah!

Another factoid: the joker that originally came up with the Celsius scale (or at least the guy that it's named for) had 0° C as the boiling point of water, and 100° C as the freezing point.

Idiot.
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At least Kelvin gets the lower endpoint right, set at absolute zero, the coldest that cold can be. I mean, seriously -- what practical reason is there to have negative temperatures? Rulers don't have negative centimeters.

Celsius fail. Again.
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jess wrote:
. I mean, seriously -- what practical reason is there to have negative temperatures? Rulers don't have negative centimeters.

Celsius fail. Again.
I like the concept of negative temperatures. Just not the current scales. Any temperature that is too cold for my taste should be negative. So, about below 25.

Celsius, of course.
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makes sense here , last time i experienced minus temperatures was 25yrs ago



but yeh its not really metric to my way of thinking even if its supposed to be part of the metric system
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History of Celsius
Anders Celsius created the Celsius temperature scale in 1742. When he first created it, he set 100 as the temperature at which water froze and zero as the temperature at which it boiled but reversed it a year later. He chose zero and 100 so that the temperature range between water freezing and boiling could be divided into 100 degrees so it would fit with the metric system



Read more: Fahrenheit Vs. Celsius | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_5418990_fahrenheit-vs-celsius.html#ixzz2J3MQlaXH
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mpfrank wrote:
And while we're on the calendar, I think we should start it at 8,000 BCE - roughly the start of civilization. That would make this year 10013 and we wouldn't have to deal with historical dates before or after anything.
Like it
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jess wrote:
...Because it was foisted on us in school here in the US as part of the Great Metric Conversion experiment of the 1970s.
I remember that grand success story.
It ranks right up there with the revolutionary open classroom. Razz emoticon

Like you though, I found it a lot easier to do my home remodeling by the metric system. I had a metric folding ruler that I used often...at least until I accidentally sawed it in half.
At some point, I got a job as an installations manager at a masonry company and was forced to work with foot/inches measurements all day every day. I never got around to replacing that ruler.

Luckily I inherited a nice proportional divider which at least made measurement divisions for small projects easy peasy. Not to mention that it was an indispensable tool while I was trying to teach myself navigation for that big kayak trip I wanted to take. I've since forgotten the former and given up on the latter. So sad.

But I digress....again.
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175mws wrote:
History of Celsius
Anders Celsius created the Celsius temperature scale in 1742. When he first created it, he set 100 as the temperature at which water froze and zero as the temperature at which it boiled but reversed it a year later. He chose zero and 100 so that the temperature range between water freezing and boiling could be divided into 100 degrees so it would fit with the metric system



Read more: Fahrenheit Vs. Celsius | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_5418990_fahrenheit-vs-celsius.html#ixzz2J3MQlaXH
If Wikipedia is considered occasionally unreliable on the accuracy scale, eHow is deeply into negative territory on that same scale. Their content is just garbage, and it ranks highly in Google searches for no good reason at all.

Anders Celsius didn't reverse it a year later -- another scientist (Jean-Pierre Christin, working independently of Celsius) came up with the more rationale direction of the scale a year after Celsius came up with the plainly idiotic version. A year after that, in 1744 (the year Celsius died, as it happens) the Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus deliberately reversed Celsius's scale.
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Sonofabitch!!! I won't be able to sleep a wink tonight knowing Jeff is so upset about centigrade, or as we now have to call it, celsius.
Just remember *C=5/9 (*F-32), and *F=9/5 *c+32

Sorry about that brain fart, Jess.
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Richard H. Lemmon wrote:
Sonofabitch!!! I won't be able to sleep a wink tonight knowing Jeff is so upset about centigrade, or as we now have to call it, celsius.
It's Jess, actually.

Sarcasm aside, I'm making a point: the standards bodies that adopted Celsius and incorporated it into the world of metric did so without actually thinking very hard about whether it was actually useful. Those people adopted Celsius for no other reason than that its endpoints were numerically convenient and tied to water. Except that it's not actually any more convenient than any other arbitrary scale, and quite a bit less convenient than other scales (like the dreaded Fahrenheit, even) for things like ambient air temperature. Oh, and not actually tied to water after all. Replacing one set of arbitrary constants for another set of arbitrary constants -- and not even the right constants, at that -- is a sure sign that the standards bodies were asleep at the wheel.

Idiots.

Furthermore, the countries that adopted metric should be applauded for doing so. It was a brave move. That said, those same countries were also fairly dumb in not really thinking about what utility Celsius actually had. It has none. It is merely not Fahrenheit. So those countries get three merit points and one demerit point for their conversion.

Idiots.

And nearly the whole world just says "Celsius is better", and accepts it blindly.

Idiots.
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I have a cousin who is a Physics Professor. I decided to get his view of things so I PMed him Jess's post. Here's some of his thoughts on the subject.

I agree in everyday use that Fahrenheit is actually a better scale. 0 is about as cold as it ever gets for a normal person on this planet...and 100 is about as hot. That makes for a good scale.

A lot can be said about the imperial fractional units actually making more sense in every day life though as well. The only fraction that humans are good at making by eye is one half. So the fact that the metric units are divided into tenths actually makes gauging it harder. Also it's interesting as to why a foot has 12 inches...it's because twelve has so many factors 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 12 which is a lot of factors for a number its size. And why we use 60 for seconds. It has factors of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 15, 20, 30, 60 which is amazing for a number its size. 360 degrees in a circle etc. The traditional systems were based off of having nice ratios with lots of fractions that can simplify instead of the ratios necessarily being consistent.

I actually think that being able to think in both units is actually really useful...in the same sorta ways that being able to use multiple languages is useful. Some things are easier in one than the other. Also thinking about one system leads you to realize advantages and disadvantages in the other as well as things you just didn't know/took for granted.
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heinlein wrote:
I actually think that being able to think in both units is actually really useful...in the same sorta ways that being able to use multiple languages is useful. Some things are easier in one than the other. Also thinking about one system leads you to realize advantages and disadvantages in the other as well as things you just didn't know/took for granted.
This is true for many systems of measurement.

But not Celsius. It is not better in any objective measure (hah!) than any other temperature scale, and possibly worse than others.
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jess wrote:
175mws wrote:
History of Celsius
Anders Celsius created the Celsius temperature scale in 1742. When he first created it, he set 100 as the temperature at which water froze and zero as the temperature at which it boiled but reversed it a year later. He chose zero and 100 so that the temperature range between water freezing and boiling could be divided into 100 degrees so it would fit with the metric system



Read more: Fahrenheit Vs. Celsius | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_5418990_fahrenheit-vs-celsius.html#ixzz2J3MQlaXH
If Wikipedia is considered occasionally unreliable on the accuracy scale, eHow is deeply into negative territory on that same scale. Their content is just garbage, and it ranks highly in Google searches for no good reason at all.

Anders Celsius didn't reverse it a year later -- another scientist (Jean-Pierre Christin, working independently of Celsius) came up with the more rationale direction of the scale a year after Celsius came up with the plainly idiotic version. A year after that, in 1744 (the year Celsius died, as it happens) the Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus deliberately reversed Celsius's scale.
I agree BTW I like Fahrenheit. it is what I use in the power plant.
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Probes
It's a pain when you're in the medical profession.

We had ear thermometers set to degrees C, because all our other measurements are metric (mg/kg, liters/hr, etc.) but explaining to a patient or a family member that 37 C is a normal body temp got to be a pain, and many residents still had problems recognizing that 39C was not a good sign. So we set them back to Fahrenheit.

The temp probes used for cardiac output and the like are still centigrade, though.

I've forgotten the conversion formula for it, though. I can convert pretty much anything else, from teaspoons to ml or pounds to kilograms and inches to cm quick as you please. but I balk at in-your-head temp conversions.
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Re: [NSR] Celsius. Fail.
jess wrote:
Celsius is easily the least useful metric unit. It accomplishes nothing. Not one redeeming quality.

Can anyone else think of any redeeming qualities, other than "I grew up with it" or some such?
I can fairly easily imagine someone who grew up with the metric system claiming:
fictional metricist wrote:
Fahrenheit is easily the least useful imperial unit. It accomplishes nothing. Not one redeeming quality.

Can anyone else think of any redeeming qualities, other than "I grew up with it" or some such?
It seems like they are both fairly arbitrary and only make sense due to our extended usage.
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Re: Probes
BleuBelle wrote:
It's a pain when you're in the medical profession.

We had ear thermometers set to degrees C, because all our other measurements are metric (mg/kg, liters/hr, etc.) but explaining to a patient or a family member that 37 C is a normal body temp got to be a pain, and many residents still had problems recognizing that 39C was not a good sign. So we set them back to Fahrenheit.

The temp probes used for cardiac output and the like are still centigrade, though.

I've forgotten the conversion formula for it, though. I can convert pretty much anything else, from teaspoons to ml or pounds to kilograms and inches to cm quick as you please. but I balk at in-your-head temp conversions.
I know what your talking about. in my past life I worked for Sicor lot of conversion formula all day long
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Re: [NSR] Celsius. Fail.
heinlein wrote:
It seems like they are both fairly arbitrary and only make sense due to our extended usage.
This is, in fact, the essence of my argument. I'm not arguing for Fahrenheit, I'm arguing against Celsius because it serves no practical purpose. It accomplishes nothing, and (unlike many other metric units) Celsius doesn't tie in to the rest of the metric system in any way that I've been able to discern.

It is change for the sake of change, and that's a very dumb reason to change.

And I'll say this for Fahrenheit: it is far more useful for ambient temperatures.
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Re: Probes
BleuBelle wrote:
It's a pain when you're in the medical profession.

We had ear thermometers set to degrees C, because all our other measurements are metric (mg/kg, liters/hr, etc.)
This is a classic example of the idiotic thought process that pervades the use of Celsius.

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
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jess wrote:
Except that [Celsius is] not actually any more convenient than any other arbitrary scale, and quite a bit less convenient than other scales (like the dreaded Fahrenheit, even) for things like ambient air temperature.
I accept that as your personal opinion, but it don't understand it. Open to hear where you see a benefit of Fahrenheit for things like ambient air temperature (other than that you are probably used to it, while Celsius numbers don't immediately mean much to you until you convert).

I, by coincidence, grew up with Celsius and feel much more at home with that scale. That is my only reason why I prefer it.
heinlein wrote:
I have a cousin who is a Physics Professor
"0 is about as cold as it ever gets for a normal person on this planet...and 100 is about as hot."

The majority of people in this world, by location alone, are thus not normal, in his view.

"The only fraction that humans are good at making by eye is one half. So the fact that the metric units are divided into tenths actually makes gauging it harder". Last time I looked at a metric scale, it is easily divided in half. Or smaller, if necessary. If you grow up with it, even e.g., .4 or .7 is easily understood and gauged. Obviously not by this professor. Quite likely because he didn't grow up with it. Not a fault. But he is a professor of physics!
⚠️ Last edited by Arno1 on UTC; edited 1 time
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Okay, next volley in my increasingly hostile tirade against Celsius.

Why is the endpoint (the original endpoint, anyway) defined as 100? Why not 10? I thought metric was all about base 10?

Anyone?
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jess wrote:
Okay, next volley in my increasingly hostile tirade against Celsius.

Why is the endpoint (the original endpoint, anyway) defined as 100? Why not 10? I thought metric was all about base 10?

Anyone?
Finer graduation?
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Arno1 wrote:
I accept that as your personal opinion, but it don't understand it. Open to hear where you see a benefit of Fahrenheit for things like ambient air temperature (other than that you are probably used to it, while Celsius numbers don't immediately mean much to you until you convert).
Resolution. The ambient air temperature for most of Earth is crammed into a fraction of the supposedly superior range of Celsius, with quite a bit of it well below the 0 point. Australia's record heat is, what -- 50° C or thereabouts?

To state a temperature in Celsius with reasonable -- not absolute, just reasonable -- accuracy, you have to use a decimal point.
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Arno1 wrote:
jess wrote:
Okay, next volley in my increasingly hostile tirade against Celsius.

Why is the endpoint (the original endpoint, anyway) defined as 100? Why not 10? I thought metric was all about base 10?

Anyone?
Finer graduation?
It was a loaded question, as my post above this one will probably demonstrate.
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jess wrote:
Arno1 wrote:
jess wrote:
Okay, next volley in my increasingly hostile tirade against Celsius.

Why is the endpoint (the original endpoint, anyway) defined as 100? Why not 10? I thought metric was all about base 10?

Anyone?
Finer graduation?
It was a loaded question, as my post above this one will probably demonstrate.
To put a finer point on it: If you don't mind using a decimal point for reasonably precise Celsius measurements, then surely you wouldn't mind two places behind that decimal point. Right?

So why isn't it 0 to 10? That would be much more in keeping with the philosophy of Metric. We don't have 100 fingers, after all.
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jess wrote:
To state a temperature in Celsius with reasonable -- not absolute, just reasonable -- accuracy, you have to use a decimal point.
I see your point and think an engineer or a physicist may look at it that way. For the everyday use of ambient temperatures, I think one does not need the accuracy of differentiating between, say, 63° and 64° F.

For all other purposes, it is absolutely okay and easily comprehensible to state a temperature of, say, 32.4°C.

Again, I think this really boils down to what one is used to.

Jess, if you were to design a new, globally used temperature scale for general use by engineers, scientists, women and men on the street, what would it look like?
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jess wrote:
jess wrote:
Arno1 wrote:
jess wrote:
Okay, next volley in my increasingly hostile tirade against Celsius.

Why is the endpoint (the original endpoint, anyway) defined as 100? Why not 10? I thought metric was all about base 10?

Anyone?
Finer graduation?
It was a loaded question, as my post above this one will probably demonstrate.
To put a finer point on it: If you don't mind using a decimal point for reasonably precise Celsius measurements, then surely you wouldn't mind two places behind that decimal point. Right?

So why isn't it 0 to 10? That would be much more in keeping with the philosophy of Metric. We don't have 100 fingers, after all.
I never saw the Celsius temperature scale as metric and still don't. I see it as an approach to anchor a scale at two commonly understood and easily reproducible points and, at the same time, allow for more room below and above. If, as you say, there is one absolute coldest point that cannot get colder (which I have difficulty to believe)-and the Celsius scale surely allows for defining it-then this negates the notion of it being metric, no matter how hard some people (not you, but long before you) try to sell it as that.
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