Hi there! Welcome to my very miscellaneous blog. Here, I write about everything from mis-used words to gardening, to bad habits in society to going places and seeing things! Enjoy my ramblings.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Silly Counting

Have you ever stopped to consider the ridiculous ways many things are counted? We have many units of measure for counting everything from the passing of years to the water in a swimming pool, and the dimensions of everything.

Smaller units have been grouped into larger units for ease of understanding and handling, reducing or eliminating the need to work with huge figures.

Given this, it never ceases to amaze and confound me, that there seems to be a preponderance of preference for using the smaller units!! For example, feet and inches: I am 5'6" tall. Does it make me sound any taller if I claim I am "66 inches tall?" I think not.

A woman's pregnancy lasts 9 months.....(that's 36 weeks, for the calendar-challenged among you). There are 4 weeks in a month...so, a pregnancy 12 weeks along, is,...come on--you can do it--3 months gone! See? Wasn't that easy? Months are easier to count: smaller numbers to work with!!
Possible error/confusion could arise when accouting for the couple of months of the year that have 5 weeks instead of 4, but for practical purposes, most figuring is based on a 4-week month.

A child is born, grows past the 1,2,3 month milestones, to 11 months of age. The first birthday, therefore, that child is 1
year old. (12 months is also technically correct, ...but why insist on continuing to use the smaller unit of measure, when we have developed a perfectly good measure of "years" in which to group each period of 12 consecutive months? This cumbersome counting nonsense is all-encompassing. Even clothing for young children up to the age of 2 years is labeled by size as "18 months" and "24 months." This is foolish! A child of 18 months is a year-and-a-half old, and a child of 24 months is--hello-o-o...2 years old!!
Is this perhaps an attempt to keep the illusion that the child will remain a baby/toddler if we
count its age only in months? Oh, please! Let me see, then....I am 713 months old--just a youngster! Do you see how ridiculous this is?

We might as well measure the contents of a swimming pool in quarts or pints. How
unwieldy that measurement would be!! Let's see: a pool holding 100,000 gallons (already a large number as it is)...that's 400,000 quarts, or worse yet, 800,000 pints! Why make things more complicated than they need to be?

An average full-sized pickup truck is 276 inches long. How many advertisements, dealership quotes, or owner-bragging statements have you seen using this kind of figure? Correct! None at all. That's because the truck is more sensibly measured at 23 feet in length! (Or, for you football nuts, maybe you'd prefer 7.66 yards--just short of a first down!)

It is not as if the
proponents and perpetrators of this goofy counting do not know better: think back to elementary school arithmetic class--knowledge of measurements, and demonstration of the ability to convert various measures into equivalent units was required!
Most any homemaker knows, for example, that when doubling a recipe, 2 x ¾ of a cup = 1½ cups. It can also be stated as six-quarter cups...but no recipe reads that way, no one uses kitchen measures that way, because it is too clumsy and cumbersome.

A related issue is the lease/rental of commercial/retail/industrial space. The monthly cost is usually handed to the business owner as on a per-foot basis. Come on, people! Who is going to rent or lease only a single square foot or two???? Can you even do that? Doubtful. Why put the burden of figuring the cost onto the potential customer? Residential rentals are not handled in this way: the landlord simply states the full price per month. Commercial space should be no different. I don't give a hoot how much it breaks down to by the square foot: I am only interested in the total monthly cost. Put it out there straight, please!

Therefore, I am on a 1-person mission/campaign to try and change this bad habit. If you mean 1½, say so! If you mean yards, feet, inches, or miles, call it by its largest possible unit, and avoid confusion, and the need for people to have to stop and calculate what you are really saying. There is no need for this obfuscation!

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