Saturday, January 29, 2011

Melting! Melting!

What a world: The kilogram is shrinking. That is, either it's shrinking or the other kilos it is compared to are growing; there's no way to be certain.

To add to the fun, there's no consensus on what should replace the present physical standard. Most of the other basic units have some derivable definition, such that given a physics lab and a few tens of thousands of dollars, you could dope out your own Meter or Second (and feed a starving grad student). Not so with the unit of mass.

You realize that if each kilogram is lighter, it looks like I'm getting heavier, don't you? So unfair!

13 comments:

Alan said...

So that's why I've been gaining weight. I'm so relieved.

Stretch said...

Harumph! Just remember "The pint's a pound the world around."

I blame the Hadron Collider for the reducing mass.

Gewehr98 said...

The original kilogram reference standard is shielded, but the copies are experiencing neutron capture, increasing their mass?

(I'll be here all week. Try the veal!)

warlocketx said...

Actually, there is something to make immutable kilograms out of: Plank's Constant.

Scaling up is a bit tedious.

Regards,
Ric

perlhaqr said...

Massier, not heavier. If you retain the same volume, technically you're just becoming denser. Also, your inertia is higher. See, you're just harder to push around now!

Roberta X said...

Denser. Oh, soooo much better to be the dense girl and not the fat girl, oh yes.

perlhaqr said...

Ok, so, I fail at comforting. Doh. ;)

Stranger said...

I have never understood why a system based on the known to be incorrect distance from the inaccessible at the time North Pole, and the obvious Center of the Universe, Paris, should be considered any more desirable standard of distance than the dubious length of a dead king's foot.

Nor does it follow that other measurements based on that incorrect distance are in some way holy, natural, or anything else. They are convenient - to some. And no more or less than convenient. To some.

But a pint's still just right and 500 CC's is too much.

Stranger

WV, scadvir. One of the Frost Giants children.

Roberta X said...

Factors of ten, Stranger, factors of ten.

It really does make for fewer errors.

Ian Argent said...

I thought a gram was defined as 1 CC of H2O @ 0 C - or at least 1 g was equal to &c...

Or have I filed an incorrect "fact"?

Mousie762 said...

Ian, it was. Then it was redefined as the mass of the same volume at 4 degrees C, then the weight of the reference standard made from that.



I'm not clear what the problem with the 4 degrees C Vienna Standard Mean Ocean Water definition was. I guess it must be difficult to measure with enough precision.

CGHill said...

Yeah, but factors of ten can be applied anywhere, should you so desire. Consider, for instance, the millifortnight (approximately 20 minutes).

Ian Argent said...

I prefer factors of 12, myself, or factors of 60...

It makes arbitrary decision ever so much easier.

If I can't have those, given a factor of 8 (2^2^2)