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    Re: [Fwd: Re: Ah, give someone a calculator.......]
    From: Marcel Tschudin
    Date: 2010 Aug 17, 13:14 +0300

    Gary, I think the preferred system is generally the one you have grown
    up with. Whether practical or not. In the UK and may be some other
    countries people indicate their weight in stones instead of kg. This
    is a familiar unit for them.
    1 st. = 14 lb. = 224 oz. = 3584 dr. = 6,35029318 kg
    1 long ton = 160 st. = 2240 lb.
    But is this really practical? For me units which differ only by some
    powers of ten are really more practical, like metric ton, kg, g, mg. I
    guess that's a matter of taste but more likely a matter of tradition.
    IMHO, the examples you mention regarding the rail road tracks or the
    electric plugs are a completely different issue. This refers to the
    subject of standardisation. Standardisation has advantages for the
    industry and the consumers. Problems arise when companies wont decide,
    and each one is fighting for his system to become the standard. For a
    company it is an important economical advantage if their system
    becomes the standard. There used to be (may be still is) also a
    political aspect. A country tries to protect his own industry. That's
    the reason for having so many different television systems in Europe.
    In my opinion this is at least partially also the reason for countries
    having different electrical plugs. You mentioned the "European
    connectors". I don't know whether this has really been achieved by
    now. In continental Europe may be for the 2-pole connectors. Until
    some years back the 3-pole connectors still differed from country to
    country, and the UK connectors are still completely different. There
    are also other examples. You can't buy a telephone in Germany and
    expect it would work in Switzerland without opening it and changing
    its wiring. This means that the ancient choices were not all so
    arbitrary as you may think.

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