Wednesday, January 19, 2000, 7:57:24 AM, you wrote:
KA> I'm beginning to think most societies use a mix of systems, as you
KA> say, depending what people are comfortable with.
What they are used to. Thought processes take a while to change and
must be applied to take effect.
KA> I really struggled with local measures when I did a farming
KA> research project in an old village here in Hong Kong some years
KA> ago. Everything was measured in "mo", even Chairman Mau did it:
KA> "One pig per mo." Fields, yields, planting rates, everything was
KA> in mo. How big is a mo? "About 15 to the hectare." About? Yes,
KA> about. It turned out a mo is the amount of land you could sow with
KA> one basket of rice seed.
When I arrived in an isolated rural village in the mountains of
western Mexico 26 years ago, land was (and probably still is) measured
in "medidas", or measures, which was the amount of corn it took to
plant an amount equivalent to 1/5 of a hectare. The "medida" was a
wooden box made to a standard size, the measurements of which I
forget. (It may be 5 liters). Corn was sold by the itrolitro or onega
(synonyms), baskets containg 100 liters, I believe, or 20 medidas. The
same basket would hold 1 onega of pure grain or 1/2 onega of hard corn
The metric system of course is based on water. One liter of water is a
kilo at sea level and measures 10 cubic centimeters, freezing at 0° C
and boiling at 100° C. The rest of the system can be extrapolated from
KA> I ended up much preferring such measures, they mean something real -
KA> You're right, acres are much earthier than hectares.
A hectare is 100 meters x 100 meters, or 10,000 sq. meters. A
kilometer is 1000 meters of course. Unlike feet etc. metric is logical
but requires one to begin thinking in thsoe terms and apply that to
ones everyday life. A hectare contains 2-4 acres. As a city boy, I
never got used to acres and am comfortable with hectares. But to this
day I think in Farenheit, mostly; and still think of mph in terms of
KA> ... before we all got so separated from nature.
No one is separated from nature, it's the only game in town. Is it
true that 20 story buildings are (or were) raised in Hong Kong using
bamboo scaffolds? Bamboo is amazingly strong.
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