And by the by in my own early schooling we had to learn pounds shillings and pence and chains and furlongs which at least had the organising principle of the cricket pitch which we knew, and I am happy to no longer have to think avoirdupois. They say Australian girls are bad at math because they are told by their boyfriends that six inches is a foot.
From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Ken Armstrong
Sent: Wednesday, 13 February 2013 3:28 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Phrasal help wanted, s.v.p.
On 2/11/2013 6:48 PM, Peter Dillane wrote:
> Jerry Seinfeld asked why we were still measuring the power of the space shuttle in horses too.
Memory won't let me put my finger on it today ("where the hand of
man never set foot"), but Walter Ong gave a pretty good commentary on
that and on the staying power of English measures vs. metrics. Units of
measure like the foot, the yard, the mile, horsepower, however
"imprecise" they are, are based in sense experience. Even "right" and
"left" vs. compass points are more grounded in our orientation to the
body. When I went to school as a youngster in elementary school, the
math instruction still included making measurements with body parts:
second to third knuckle for an inch, a foot for a foot, a stride for a
yard, and etc. However unscientific these measures are, they provide a
sense of measurement closer to our lived experience.