Measurement is independent of effect. It is simply a convention
applied if, as and when people choose to apply it. It's accuracy,
meaning, repulsiveness or whatever has to do with interpretation.
Whether the measurement is in apples or nano-elephants is beside
the point, as long as a convention is used.

A case in point is Canada where both the imperial and
metric methods are in effect. Carpenters & their ilk have
to have two sets of tools and two quantities of goodies
to get their work done, and so mistakes are made,
sometimes very bad ones.

Remember Apollo 13 and the different conventions
used for air-cleaning in the command module
and the lunar module?

I look forward to the day when Canadians will be allowed
to drive on both sides of the road in either direction.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Carrol Cox" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, January 10, 2010 8:22 AM
Subject: Re: Eliot's poetry: the medium & the message

> One of the worst intellectual vices of the 20th-c was the promiscuous
> transference of "scientific" notions to other fields. Measurement
> (though not the unit of mesurement) is of course utterly unrelated to
> the consciousness of the measurer. In quantum mechanics it is not the
> scientist who affects the results; its the equipment. The scientist has
> no effect on what he/she measurs or observes. What Einstein called
> "spooky action at a distance" is not in the least affected by the the
> human observer observing it. The equipment not the observer affects it.
> If you w ant to think about observer affecting the observed, the
> relevant field is not physics but social relations. For example, poll
> results can affect public opinion.
> And incidentally the "uncertainty" principle goes back to the
> philosophical thought of the first decade of the 20th century.
> Heisenberg merely provided a convenient metaphor for a tendency of
> thought already well-developed when he made his discovery in physics. 
> Carrol