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Birth of a New Relegion …

Posted on June 3, 2019. Filed under: Business |

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Weights n Measures Stand Changed …

Posted on May 20, 2019. Filed under: Business |

The Way We Define Kilogram, Metres and Seconds Changes Today –

May 20, 2019, marks one of the biggest shake-ups in the history of measurement – and the new standards on how we define units of mass, length, time and so on are not easy to explain.

We measure stuff all the time – how long, how heavy, how hot, and so on – because we need to for things such as trade, health and knowledge. But making sure our measurements compare apples with apples has been a challenge: how to know if my kilogram weight or metre length is the same as yours.

Attempts have been made to define the units of measurement over the years. But today – International Metrology Day – sees the complete revision of those standards come into play.

You won’t notice anything – you will not be heavier or lighter than yesterday – because the transition has been made to be seamless.

Just the definitions of the seven base units of the SI (Système International d’Unités, or the International System of Units) are now completely different from yesterday.

Humans have always been able to count, but as we evolved we quickly moved to measuring lengths, weights and time.

The Egyptian Pharaohs caused pyramids to be built based on the length of the royal forearm, known as the Royal Cubit. This was kept and promulgated by engineer priests who maintained the standard under pain of death.

But the cubit wasn’t a fixed unit over time – it was about half a metre, plus or minus a few tens of millimetres by today’s measure.

The first suggestion of a universal set of decimal measures was made by John Wilkins, in 1668, then Secretary of the Royal Society in London.

The impetus for doing something practical came with the French Revolution. It was the French who defined the first standards of length and mass, with two platinum standards representing the metre  and the kilogram on June 22, 1799, in the Archives de la République in Paris.

Scientists backed the idea, the German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss being particularly keen. Representatives of 17 nations came together to create the International System of Units by signing the Metre Convention treaty on May 20, 1875.

France, whose street cred had taken a battering in the Franco-Prussian war and was not the scientific power it once was, offered a beaten-up chateau in the Forest of Saint-Cloud as an international home for the new system.

The Pavilion de Breteuil still houses the Bureau International de Poids et Mesures (BIPM), where resides the International Prototype of the Kilogram (henceforth the Big K) in two safes and three glass bell jars.

The Big K is a polished block of platinum-iridium used to define the kilogram, against which all kilogram weights are ultimately measured. (The original has only been weighed three times against a number of near-identical copies.)

The Pavilion de Breteuil still houses the Bureau International de Poids et Mesures (BIPM), where resides the International Prototype of the Kilogram (henceforth the Big K) in two safes and three glass bell jars.

The Big K is a polished block of platinum-iridium used to define the kilogram, against which all kilogram weights are ultimately measured. (The original has only been weighed three times against a number of near-identical copies.) Imperial system, which it still mostly uses today.

The US may have rued that decision in 1999, however, when the Mars Climate Orbiter (MCO) went missing in action. The report into the incident, quaintly called a “mishap” (which cost $193.1 million in 1999), said: […] the root cause for the loss of the MCO spacecraft was the failure to use metric units in the coding of a ground software file, “Small Forces”, used in trajectory models.

Essentially the spacecraft was lost in the atmosphere of Mars as it entered orbit lower than planned.

So why the change today? The main problems with the previous definitions were, in the case of the kilogram, they were not stable and, for the unit of electric current, the ampere, could not be realised.

And from weighings against official copies, we think the Big K was slowly losing mass.

All the units are now defined in a common way using what the BIPM calls the “explicit constant” formulation.

The idea is that we take a universal constant – for example, the speed of light in a vacuum – and from now on fix its numerical value at our best-measured value, without uncertainty.

Reality is fixed, the number is fixed, and so the units are now defined.

We therefore needed to find seven constants and make sure all  measurements are consistent, within measurement uncertainty, and then start the countdown to today. (All the technical details are available here.)

Australia had a hand in fashioning the roundest macroscopic object on the Earth, a silicon sphere used to measure the Avogadro constant, the number of entities in a fixed amount of substance. This now defines the SI unit, mole, used largely in chemistry.

We measure stuff all the time – how long, how heavy, how hot, and so on – because we need to for things such as trade, health and knowledge. But making sure our measurements compare apples with apples has been a challenge: how to know if my kilogram weight or metre length is the same as yours.

Attempts have been made to define the units of measurement over the years. But today – International Metrology Day – sees the complete revision of those standards come into play.

You won’t notice anything – you will not be heavier or lighter than yesterday – because the transition has been made to be seamless.

Just the definitions of the seven base units of the SI (Système International d’Unités, or the International System of Units) are now completely different from yesterday.

How we used to measure

Humans have always been able to count, but as we evolved we quickly moved to measuring lengths, weights and time.

The Egyptian Pharaohs caused pyramids to be built based on the length of the royal forearm, known as the Royal Cubit. This was kept and promulgated by engineer priests who maintained the standard under pain of death.

But the cubit wasn’t a fixed unit over time – it was about half a metre, plus or minus a few tens of millimetres by today’s measure.

The first suggestion of a universal set of decimal measures was made by John Wilkins, in 1668, then Secretary of the Royal Society in London.

The impetus for doing something practical came with the French Revolution. It was the French who defined the first standards of length and mass, with two platinum standards representing the metre and the kilogram on June 22, 1799, in the Archives de la République in Paris.

Agreed standards

Scientists backed the idea, the German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss being particularly keen. Representatives of 17 nations came together to create the International System of Units by signing the Metre Convention treaty on May 20, 1875.

France, whose street cred had taken a battering in the Franco-Prussian war and was not the scientific power it once was, offered a beaten-up chateau in the Forest of Saint-Cloud as an international home for the new system.

The Pavilion de Breteuil still houses the Bureau International de Poids et Mesures (BIPM), where resides the International Prototype of the Kilogram (henceforth the Big K) in two safes and three glass bell jars.

The Big K is a polished block of platinum-iridium used to define the kilogram, against which all kilogram weights are ultimately measured. (The original has only been weighed three times against a number of near-identical copies.)

The British, who had been prominent in the discussions and had provided the platinum-iridium kilogram, refused to sign the Treaty until 1884.

Even then the new system was only used by scientists, with everyday life being measured in traditional Imperial units such as pounds and ounces, feet and inches.

The United States signed the Treaty on the day, but then never actually implemented it, hanging on to its own version of the British Imperial system, which it still mostly uses today.

The US may have rued that decision in 1999, however, when the Mars Climate Orbiter (MCO) went missing in action. The report into the incident, quaintly called a “mishap” (which cost $193.1 million in 1999), said:

[…] the root cause for the loss of the MCO spacecraft was the failure to use metric units in the coding of a ground software file, “Small Forces”, used in trajectory models.

Essentially the spacecraft was lost in the atmosphere of Mars as it entered orbit lower than planned.

The new SI definitions

So why the change today? The main problems with the previous definitions were, in the case of the kilogram, they were not stable and, for the unit of electric current, the ampere, could not be realised.

And from weighings against official copies, we think the Big K was slowly losing mass.

All the units are now defined in a common way using what the BIPM calls the “explicit constant” formulation.

The idea is that we take a universal constant – for example, the speed of light in a vacuum – and from now on fix its numerical value at our best-measured value, without uncertainty.

Reality is fixed, the number is fixed, and so the units are now defined.

We therefore needed to find seven constants and make sure all measurements are consistent, within measurement uncertainty, and then start the countdown to today. (All the technical details are available here.)

Australia had a hand in fashioning the roundest macroscopic object on the Earth, a silicon sphere used to measure the Avogadro constant, the number of entities in a fixed amount of substance. This now defines the SI unit, mole, used largely in chemistry.

From standard to artefact

What of the Big K – the standard kilogram? Today it becomes an object of great historical significance that can be weighed and its mass will have measurement uncertainty.

From today the kilogram is defined using the Planck constant, something that doesn’t change from quantum physics.

The challenge now though is to explain these new definitions to people – especially non-scientists – so they understand. Comparing a kilogram to a metal block is easy.

Technically a kilogram (kg) is now defined:

[…] by taking the fixed numerical value of the Planck constant hto be 6.626 070 15 × 10–34 when expressed in the unit J s, which is equal to kg m2 s–1, where the metre and the second are defined in terms of c and ΔνCs.

Try explaining that to someone!

David Brynn Hibbert, Emeritus Professor of Analytical Chemistry, UNSW



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The Green Back – How longer will it Remain World Currency …

Posted on October 7, 2018. Filed under: Business |

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-03/the-tyranny-of-the-u-s-dollar?utm_campaign=news&utm_medium=bd&utm_source=applenews

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Well, Well, Well – Facebook is Really an Ad Biz!!! …

Posted on July 19, 2018. Filed under: Business |

https://slate.com/technology/2018/07/zuckerberg-called-trump-to-congratulate-him-after-winning-the-election-because-facebook-is-an-ad-u.html

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Trumps US – China Trade War …

Posted on July 11, 2018. Filed under: Business |

President Trump is doing what hardly any US President has ever done …. ….. ….  He just might end up making the US once again, Great …

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-trump-china-tariffs-20180711-story.html

 

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US – China: Trade War …

Posted on July 5, 2018. Filed under: Business |

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/trumps-trade-war-with-china-is-finally-here–and-it-wont-be-pretty/2018/07/05/0e43048c-802c-11e8-b9f0-61b08cdd0ea1_story.html?utm_term=.4363754ab492

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An Economists Grand Child …

Posted on July 4, 2018. Filed under: Business, Personalities |

From Live Mint –

The economics profession is in a tizzy. Chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian’s announcement that he was quitting his post because he was expecting a grandchild in the US in September has bitterly divided economists.

Some have speculated whether there could be other reasons for Subramanian’s exit. An economics student, for instance, wondered aloud whether Arvind Subramanian, Arun Jaitley and Piyush Goyal constitute—what in economics is known as—the impossible trinity.

Some believe Goyal to be exogenous variable that upset the general equilibrium. But ceteris paribus, we must take Subramanian at his word.

A guilt-ridden macroeconomist, shedding tears of repentance, regretted he had missed his daughter’s childhood because he was busy giving lectures on free markets. “I thought the invisible hand would take care of it,” he sobbed.

But many of his colleagues disagree. “It’s a matter of comparative advantage,” said a trade economist. “Does Subramanian think he has a comparative advantage in nappy changing or gurgling and cooing to his grandchild, rather than being a chief economic adviser?” he asked rhetorically.

He claimed global productivity would rise if everybody did the things they were good at—economic advisers at dishing out economic advice and baby-sitters at baby-sitting. Adam Smith, he said, was a firm believer in division of labour, subtly adding there is no record of Smith having played with his grandchildren.

It is not only trade theorists who believe Subramanian has made a sub-Pareto-optimal choice. A neoclassical economist wondered whether it was good for children to be around economists.

“After all, it IS the dismal science, you know,” he cautioned, warning that they could cloud the child’s outlook, making her gloomy and stingy, thus lowering effective demand. “We call it the grandfather’s dilemma,” said a game theorist solemnly.

A rational expectations expert said the whole thing was highly irrational. “Subramanian says being the economic adviser to the Indian government is the best job in the world, but he then goes and leaves it for being a grandfather,” he said, shaking his head sadly.

When I suggested that much depends on the marginal rate of substitution of advising vis-a-vis grandfathering, he aimed an arsenal of algebra at me.

This is not the first time an economist has talked about grandchildren. John Maynard Keynes, who wrote ‘Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren as far back as 1930, was a pioneer in the field.

But a monetarist was quick to rubbish the essay. “That article was silly to think the economic problem would be solved in a hundred years. It proves Keynes knew nothing about either economics or grandchildren,” he ranted. He said the best way of keeping Arvind in India was to increase his money supply.

All this discord has led to attempts to find middle ground. A confused economist said being a grandparent may be a necessary, but not a sufficient condition for Arvind. A behavioural economist asserted that talking to children and talking to the government is much the same, because both of them don’t listen.

Some believe playing with a grandchild could strengthen the feel-good factor for economists, which could trickle down and ultimately increase gross domestic product.

A free market economist hypothesised that playing with grandchildren would have a mellowing influence and Karl Marx’s Das Kapitalmay well have enthusiastically endorsed capitalism if he had dandled a child on his knee while writing it.

A policy economist said the need of the hour was grandpaternity leave, which would have allowed Subramanian both to keep his job and do some quality grandparenting.

However, another Subramanian, an anti-Arvind one, tweeted that swadeshi economists with swadeshi grandchildren would not have quit their posts. As for the impact on India, he predicted that India’s GDP would improve after his namesake quits.

While wishing Arvind Subramanian all the best in his new venture, we need to track closely where exactly in the US he finally ends up.

As Dave Barry said: “The best baby-sitters, of course, are the baby’s grandparents. You feel completely comfortable entrusting your baby to them for long periods, which is why most grandparents flee to Florida.”

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Petrol Diesel Prices – the Truth …

Posted on May 22, 2018. Filed under: Business, Uncategorized |

Govt can only give you a small part of what it first Takes Away from You …

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/heres-why-petrol-price-relief-is-possible-and-painless/articleshow/64269415.cms

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Colonialism in 21st Century …

Posted on May 18, 2018. Filed under: Business |

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/internet/how-a-nationalist-govt-lets-india-be-digitally-colonised/articleshow/64155509.cms

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Walmart in India …

Posted on May 12, 2018. Filed under: Business |

You Never Win with Walmart –

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/services/retail/you-never-win-with-walmart-warns-man-who-tracked-american-behemoth/articleshow/64134786.cms

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