Cultural Dilemma LO5607

Jerry Gerstmann (
Mon, 12 Feb 1996 14:09:49 -0600

Replying to LO5367 --

John Prins in a stream of conscious post was contemplating the difficulty
of moving from one measurement system to another . . .

If the relationship between a specific set of numbers, say Celsius and
Fahrenheit were singular, what you say would be true. However, you should
consider that these numbers represent a language that is learned from a
very early age. If it is below x, yo u must wear a jacket or if it is not
above you cannot go swimming. I think it is these relationships that make
changing measurement systems more than just numbers. Several years ago I
was working on the design of an offshore development. The delivered
products were required to be in metric units. However all of the work was
done in english units and converted for the delivered products. It was
extremely difficult to overcome years of education and schooling to
develop an intuitive feel for how the de sign worked when the units were
not english.

So the resistence to metrics may be more than just tooling and standards,
it may be resistence to breaking the mental models accumulated over the
years and rebuilding them.

| Jerry Gerstmann             | |
| Rockwell Space Operations   |   (713) 282-4369             |
| Houston, TX                 |                              |

An approximate answer to the right question is worth a great deal more than the exact answer to the wrong question. John Turkey

-- (Jerry Gerstmann)

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