Monday, August 29, 2005

Metric v. Imperial System in the UK and the USA

EUobserver reports in an article by Lisbeth Kirk that Brussels pressures Britain to go metric.

We have never understood what advantage this is supposed to bring to the UK or anyone else for that matter. After all, the two leading nations of the world, the US and the UK, both still use the ancient inches and feet sexagesimal-type "imperial" system, which is still also visible in the fact that we have 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, and so on. Imagine - for the sake of consistency - now changing those as well to the metric system, e.g. so that we would have 100 deci-minutes in an hour or 30 deci-hours in a day.

It would be chaos.

To this we can add the powerful worldwide prevalence of the 360-degree circle, the change of which to a 300 or 400 degree circle would wreak absolute havoc in all the world's mathematics and measurement.

At the level of computer users, various attempts have been made here in continental Europe to replace the inch descriptions of computer monitors and screens with metric equivalents, to no avail, since it simply leads to mass confusion and time-wasting relearning with no logical benefit. Computer monitors are advertised and almost everywhere in Europe still described to be 15, 17, 19, 20, 21, etc. inches.

We not only print by dpi = dots per inch, but the well-known pixel = one dot. Our screen resolution is given in pixels. It would then be completely idiotic not to also measure monitor and screen sizes by the imperial system.

It would be even worse for our use and understanding of text fonts if also here we had to go from the imperial to the metric system, since font sizes are give in points, and 72 points = 1 inch. The standard 12-point type is thus 1/6 of an inch, except that Microsoft Windows magnifies fonts by 33% so that only Macs actually render 12-point type accurately, which in the past led to different website text resolution on Macs than on PCs.

The American Bar Association has an excellent article by Mark Senn on its website entitled "Reflections on Some Forgotten Terms of Land Measurement" (published in Probate Property, March/April 2002, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp 8-11, here as a .pdf, and based on a similar article originally published in 19 ACREL News No. 3, Aug. 2001, at 5) which contains a useful summary of the development of both the imperial and metric systems in human and land measurement.

In Germany, e.g. the inch is called a "Zoll" and so now the "new" meter-measuring folding rule is still called a "Zollstock", even though it generally no longer measures inches but rather centimeters and meters.

The inches and feet system will long be with us in one form or another.

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Cross posted to LawPundit.
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Saturday, August 20, 2005

The EU and One Language - Euro-English?

This news was just received from a friend....

The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5-year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.
Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem
of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.

If zis mad you smil, pleas pas on to oza pepl
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.eu Internet Domain Sunrise Period to Start in October

Note: This is a repost. We deleted the previous version of this identical post to remove spam comments, such as are hitting Blogger at the moment and as are being sent by some of the apparently limitless supply of idiots who populate our planet. We have changed our comment settings (validation required) to limit the recurrence of such spam comment postings. We thank our readers for their understanding. Lawmakers around the world should be confined to their chambers until they pass strict and effective criminal laws putting all spammers into jail for long periods of time. Spammers are one of the plagues of the modern age and should be clearly treated by law and society as the criminals they are.

The .eu internet top level domain (euTLD) name sunrise period is to start in October according to the August 15, 2005 report by Lisbeth Kirk at EUobserver.com.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers, who provides validation services for EURid (that last link shows that .eu already works), has an official FAQ for .eu domain name questions.

To apply for an .eu domain see here for general instructions and then go to the list of accredited registrars, but note first the following:

During the Sunrise Period:

"Start phase 1 of sunrise
(public bodies and holders of trademarks may apply for the corresponding name)

Start of sunrise + 2 months : Start phase 2 of sunrise period
(those eligible to apply in phase 1 plus holders of other rights recognised in the national law of a member state may apply for the corresponding name)

Start of sunrise + 4 months
Sunrise period closes and registrations open on a first-come-first-served basis. Validation of names applied for during sunrise continues until task completed."


The idea behind the .eu domain is to create a European domain identity in Europe to replace (viz. supplant over time) the currently used .com, .org and .net domains, which are registered in the USA.

The .eu domain will operate under the auspices of the European Commission of the EU (European Union). "EURid, a consortium of Belgian, Italian and Swedish organisations will operate as the .eu registry." EURid was selected by the European Commission and is the body which has made the appropriate agreements with ICANN, the governing body of the internet.

EURid has already accredited 200 registrars throughout Europe to allocate the .eu domains. See here for accreditation.

European Union institutions will ultimately shift their websites to new .eu domains. Currently, websites of institutions of the European Union are found at the .int domain.

Numerous .eu domain name websites are already specifically reserved for European Union bodies:

"In accordance with EU Regulation 733/2002 and EC Regulation 874/2004, some names are blocked from ever being registered and some are reserved for use by the institutions of the EU or the governments of member states, EEA countries and candidate countries."

Such restrictions do not apply to business or private websites. Hence, we definitely expect some fierce legal battles over .eu domain registrations down the road.

Nevertheless, the .eu domain may create more of a "European Union" feeling in Europe than any comparable political or technological move which could otherwise currently be made.

It remains to be seen how the mass of Europeans will adapt to the new .eu top level domain name in terms of both domain registrations as well as surfing behavior.

Cross posted to LawPundit.
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