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Glossary: Home Tables A B C D E F
G H I J K L M N O
P Q R S T Th U V W X
- scale *
A division for measuring things.
In physical systems, one creates a definition based on some setup of
measures, and defines the result to be a number of units. For example, a
force of one poundal will accelerate one pound by one foot per second squared.
A force of one pound is the force experienced under gravity by one pound.
These two scales of force have dimensions of ML/T² and M respectively.
Note that the quantity of force does not have a dimension attached.
Some scales become obsolete, and the unit is regarded as a detatched
unit, eg the scale of gee-force (dimensions M), is obsolete, but there are
still coherent units there-in.
- Scientific *
Scientific units tend to be aimed at more knowledgable readers. The units
are typically unnamed, and largely context-driven. For example, it is not
unknown to say something is in 'cgse units', and let the reader use the
way cgse units are defined to derive the unit itself.
Unlike engineering, one can use a variety of units that
have not been given legal or community sanction.
Scientific notation is centred around the powers of the base, rather
than some higher comma-unit, thus eg 46,656 becomes 4.665 6E4 rather than
- Score *
A system of counting, typically found in the west of Europe (celts, gauls), being
divided into iv hands, of v in number, or ii decades of x in number. Such is seen
in french, where one reckons 72 as sixty-twelve, and 98 as four-score-ten-eight.
In the middle ages, the English reckoned numbers in roman runes, but as a number
of twenties and a remaineder, eg 112 as vxx xii.
Words for score, when reckoned in numbers are derived from IE roots for two-tig,
eg cymru uigan, french vingt both come from these stems.
- Seam *
A weight approximately the load for a packhorse. This is typically in the
order of 4800 oz, being 300 lb, where the pound is 16 ounces, or 400 of the
older 12-oz pound.
A seam in cloth comes from the sewing on the pack.
The unit hight also cargo or charge.
Sears, Jolly and Johnson prepared the 1922 conversion factors described
in this glossary as UK. The Sears foot is used in Geodetic survey.
The second division of a larger unit, usually by repeating the first. Normally,
this is applied to the sexagesimal division, but use with divisions into 10th
and 12th have also been recorded.
- Segment *
A fragment for deriving units one from an other. For example, a the Roman
practice of dividing a foot into 12 inches is a segment. A measurement
system may consist of many unstated segments, all of which seemed a good
idea at the time.
An example of a modern segment is to divide currency units into 100 lesser
The metric system is comprised of the LMT and prefix
Sometimes the segment boundries are clear. For example, the imperial
system has a segment based on a traditional cadastral units [40 perches
= 1 furlong, 8 furlongs = 1 mile, 1 acre = 160 perches], and a duodecimally
divided foot, but the 11 in the guise of 5 1/2 makes for a segment boundary
that does not naturally occur. One looks therefore for different origions
for the foot and perch.
- Sexagesimal *
A system based on 60, usually derived from the Sumerian system.
- Sexagesimal Time *
The time and angle system currently in use. The system decends from the
Greek mixing of the Egyptian Hour system, with the Sumerian sexagesimal
system. It has further undergone changes and expansions.
day \ 24 hours \ 60 minutes \ 60 seconds \ 60 thirds
circle \ 360 degrees \ 60 minutes \ 60 seconds \ 60 thirds
sphere \ 720 degrees \ 60 minutes \ 60 seconds \ 60 thirds, excess
Eventually the division sixty-wise became not in use, and those units
not in regular use (thirds and higher), became supplanted with decimal
divisions. In more recent times, modern calculators have greatly encouraged
the decimal division of the degree.
The geographic system of measurement based on the sixtywise division of
the circle makes 1 mile = 1 minute of earth, or 6000 geographic feet.
Earth circle \ 21600 miles \ 60 chains \ 60 cubits \ 60 barleycorns, or
Earth circle \ 21600 mile \ 6000 feet \ 12 inch \ 3 barleycorn
- silver money *
The rate for conversion of silver bullion is 90 grains to the shilling.
By this reckoning, one has:
French frank, at 154.32 grains, at 1 s 8 d, the sou being a penny.
US dollar, at 436 grains, at 4 s 10 d: the pound becomes 140 d (1050 gr)
Indian Rupee, at 1 toli = 180 grains, 2 s
Australian Dollar, at 720 gt, 96 d: 1 l AUS = 16 s stg.
German Mark is near 1 s [MS], being 90 grains.
Austrian Crown is near 10 d [MS], being 75 grains
The troy oz, 5s 4d, the tower ounce 5 s, the tael, 6 s 8 d.
Silver money is made to 5s 6d to the ounce, the equation of one shilling
being 90 gt, makes the troy ounce some 5s 4d.
In the 19th century, the international monies were in the gold standard,
so that these currencies were converted by weight.
US money is based on a scheme where a US dollar is an avoirde poise ounce.
Even during WW2, the US dollar was still near enough 5 s that a crown hight
dollar. A US dollar equates to 8 s, US money, whence the $ rune.
The US cent, by copper, is 48 gt, but the new PbZn model is 2.5g. The nickel
rates 5g, and since 1965, dimes, 2bits, and 4bits at 20$ per pound.
German and Austrian money is converted by the tables in Muret-Sanders,
against the US and sterling.
French money is based as defined in the metric weights and measures, as
10 grams of silver. The resulting pound (which the franc equals), is the
same as the scottish pound: such that a shilling gives a penny sterling.
At 2006.12.28, the ounce of silver yields 16 $AU. At 5s 4d to the ounce
this yields the penny as 25c, and the shilling at $3.
- solidus *
A coin from roman times and since, equal to a shilling.
As a weight, equal to 1/6 ounce, or 24 carats. The sterling shilling
makes only 5 1/2 to the troy ounce, while there is 151.5, not 144 carats
to the same ounce. 6 shillings, then weigh 528 gr, the pound then 6336 gr
The rune /, a forward sloping slash, comes from the long s, and
was formerly used to represent accounts in shillings, eg 5/6d and 5s 6d
both stand for five shillings, six pence.
- spheric *
A coherent class of units, based on the root-sum-square product of figures.
The standard and alternate names are as follows:
spherolatric or diametric
spherohedric or circular
spherochoric or spherical
spheroteric or glomic
The cylinder unit is not a coherent product.
- Sterling *
English money, rated at 20s = 113 gr gold, or 5s 6d = 1 oz troy. Ratings of
foreign monies against stg:
Haliflax rating: 1 dollar = 5s.
York rating: 1 dollar = 8s. [eg Australia pound = 2$ = 16s. stg]
London rating: 1 dollar = 4s. 2d. later 4s. 6d.
- strine *
A dilect formed by a mixture of London and Irish accents, exported with
the speakers to the remote end of the world. Coupled with home grown and
native words, such forms the form of English spoken in darkest Australia.
A smaller unit intended to be counted or multiplied. Such units appeared
with radix-systems, where the notional fraction unit is such that 1,0 of
them make a unit.
Submultiples are closely allied with radix-fractions,
such as the decimal-metric system. See also superdivision
- Sumerian *
The sumerian use of base 60 is that of a division system, designed to avoid
In a division system, the named column is the most siginficant column,
this then has divisions. We see this from the use of the sentence period
to designate leading and medial, but not trailing zeros.
The avoidance of division, is seen by the large number of recriprocal
tables, and further multiplication tables for these. In practice, one
would effect a division by 8 by multiplying by 7,30. Neugebauer also
reports the existance of a paper discussing the 'seven brothers' problem,
which concludes that 1/7 lies between 8C4A7 and 8C4A8: ie between 0:0834.17
- Sumerian Fractions *
A system of fractions, by using additional columns of the abacus. That is,
a number with more digits represents more places of decimal, not a larger
The system is characterised by significant leading and medial, but not
final zeros, eg 36 and 036 are different numbers (eg 3.6 vs 0,36), while
36 and 360 represent the same number, eg 3.6 vs 3.60.
The Sumerians used a system of alternation of 6 and 10 on their abacus,
but used a division system, so that 1 and 1:0 were the same number.
Coupled with a table of recriprocals, various multiplication tables,
and the art of interpolation, the Sumerians were able to avoid division.
A modern implementation of the system might be a coordinate system, where
extra places give a finer division, eg 22038 might represent 220deg 38min,
while 220 might be 220 degree.
Another example is the time system, eg 1800 hours is not 75 days, but
the same as 18 hours.
- Sumerian Time *
Sumerian time consists of a day divided into powers of 60, the circle being
divided into 360, thence powers of 60.
day \60 an-minutes \ 60 an-seconds \ 60 an-thirds.
circle \ 360 degrees \ 60 minutes \ 60 seconds \ 60 thirds
There is an Indian astronomy calculations based on a year = 12 month
of 30 days, divided 60-wise into minutes, seconds, and thirds. One
simply selects the defining year, month or day, and derive proportional
- superdivision *
A larger unit intended to be divided into lesser ones.
In terms of the
latinate panchet of using duodecimal divisions and decimal multiples, the
Dozen and gross are superdivisions of the unit.
fraction and submultiple
- Supplemental Units *
Units that are not defined specifically for the system, but belong to the
mathematics or culture the units are derived from. Supplemental units
appear in more than one system.
Currently: angle, solid angle
- SWS -- Standard Water System*
A system based around setting some of the more important constants to
unity. Because these constants are rubbery, this sets up a degrees of
freedom for the base units.
Although the system is never intended to have electrical units, the
TILF system fits electrical units.
The derivation of these set of units can be seen from this table.
|time|| fraction of a day, typically .05 to 0.1 seconds
|length|| that gravity is length/time**2
|mass|| that the density of water is 1
|temperature|| that the specific heat of water is 1 energy/mass.temperature.
The temperature units are typically small, about 0.0001 kelvin.
A system with a time unit of day/6**8 has also been proposed.
|System|| Length || Mass || Time || Thremm || Notes
|Moon|| dm || kg || ds || mK || System uses Kelvins in practice
|dkts|| Dkm || kt || s || K || Never used, but home to many names.
|viof|| m/40 || kg/64 || s/20 || K/16000 || A base 20 system
|tiof|| m/40.8 || kg/68 || s/20 || K/17424 || First real approximation
|tilf|| m/40.8 || 14.688 g || s/20 || K/17424 || Adjusted to allow MI=120**4
|isws|| ft/7 || lb/5.5 || s/15 || R/5454.5454 || FPS system
|dsws|| m/13.660 || kg/2.548916 || 0.0864 s || K/5832 || A decimal system
- Sydney Harbour
A unit of water such as floods or dams. The unit is 400,000 acrefeet, or 493390
cubical ares A cubic mile is 8.448 sydney harbours. It is sometimes taken
to be 500,000 cubical ares, or half a kilometre.
The actual harbour has been since measured at 562,000 cubical ares, or
- System *
A group of units that are intended to be used together. In practice, these
are generated by a number of segments, all of which were current
at the time the system froze.
© 2003-2004 Wendy Krieger