Friday, June 08, 2007

What Unit has Dimensions of Force Times Irony?

Those of you who embrace arcane units of measure---for example, if your "car gets forty rods to the hogshead, and that's the way [you] likes it"---might be interested to know that, at Newton's last checkup, he weighed exactly one stone (st). Meanwhile, those of you who are science geeks are aware that the SI unit of force is the newton (N). Doing a little math reveals that the standard conversion between these units is
1 st = 62.232873164 N .
But now, members of Team Grondul, by contrast, have a simpler, alternative conversion available:
1 st = 1 N .


  1. So, were Newton placed on a planet whose surface gravity is 0.016068678 times Earth normal (that is to say, where a free falling body is accelerated at 0.1565799 m/s^2), he would exert 1 N of force on the ground. Obviously, you must move prompty to such a place; perhaps the asteriod Pallas would be close enough?

  2. Anonymous10:17 PM

    You don't need to move off-planet just yet. The definition of newton employed in your calculations is predicated on the metric system. Since you are measuring in stones (and rightly so), you should employ the imperial newton. Happily, under typical Earth conditions, the weight of one curly haired puppy is exactly equal to the value of one 17th century natural philosopher/alchemist.

    The road to hell may be paved with good intentions, but it is measured in meters! Britannia may have fallen under the sway of the insidious "metric" system and it may even creep up to our borders, but American stands strong with imperial rule(rs)!


  3. I like K's idea for an Imperial newton for 3 reasons:

    1 It solves the problem of making Newton's weight exactly 1 newton., thus making Equation 2 in my original post correct.

    2 It creates a confusing situation where multiple units have nearly identical names. See also the short ton/long ton/metric ton and the avoirdupois once/troy ounce/fluid ounce, among others.

    3 The adjective "Imperial" properly describes how regal and majestic our pup is. Especially when he's chasing his own tail, which he's doing as I write this.