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U.S. attitude about standards

Randall Twede
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why is it the U.S. resists standards that it did not create? two examples come to mind offhand. the metric system and GSM cellphones. almost the whole world is standardised except the U.S.
on other hand, the U.S. expects the rest of the world to embrace any standards it has.


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Anonymous
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Mark Milan
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Jason Menard
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Just a guess, but often times we are using a competing standard for awhile before Europe or somebody jumps in the game and decides to settle on a different standard. Cell phones are a good example. We already had significant investment in a particular standard before the rest of the world got into the cell phone business. So should we spend the money required to invest in equipment that makes GSM possible? Maybe it would be better in the long term, maybe it doesn't really matter.
The other thing is, we are in many cases a self-sustaining market. In most other places in the world, like Europe, it is far more important that they can use their cell phones all across Europe. The vast majority of us will only ever use our phones inside the continental USm so this is not a big deal for us. We can sell plenty of phones for our particular standard without having to really worry that they are not GDM compatible.
Maybe an equally valid question is why don't they just use our standards when they choose to adopt the technology that we've been using for some time already?
[ October 30, 2002: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Randall Twede:
on other hand, the U.S. expects the rest of the world to embrace any standards it has.
And when did the US start its program of pushing the English system on everyone to replace the metric system? So let me see a list of standards that the US is pushing on the world.


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Gregg Bolinger
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The only thing I see the US possibly "pushing" (which may not even be the right word), is our ideals, way of life, and government. It appearntly has worked for the US so why not the rest of the world? (Sarcasm).
As far as Technology and Scientific standards, I haven't seen it. In fact, the US at one time I believe tried to adopt the metric system as it's standard, and it just didn't fly because Standard was so ground in to our Western brains.


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Mark Fletcher
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:

Maybe an equally valid question is why don't they just use our standards when they choose to adopt the technology that we've been using for some time already?
[ October 30, 2002: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]

Umm... could it be something to do with the fact that the biggest company in the cellphone market (Nokia) is European... and so it has to be able to compete in its home market before spreading to other markets (like the US)?
I cant speak for other European markets, but Nokia have certainly got it sewn up in the UK. Im on my third mobile phone (a Sony Ericcson, my previous two were Nokia) and Im pretty sure that my next phone will also be a Nokia. Id say 90% of the people in my office have Nokia's.
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Mark Milan
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Originally posted by Gregg Bolinger:
In fact, the US at one time I believe tried to adopt the metric system as it's standard, and it just didn't fly because Standard was so ground in to our Western brains.

I live in the shadow of the US, and we manage to think in two systems. Snowfall is in centimeters, home projects are in feet and inches. Outdoors is Celsius, ovens are Farenheit. Gas is in litres, beer is in pints.
Should the US try and adopt the metric system? It won't be adopted 100%, but it can be done.
Alan Williamson
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For the telephone system, every country has a country code. Who has the country code = 1?
Originally posted by Randall Twede:
why is it the U.S. resists standards that it did not create? two examples come to mind offhand. the metric system and GSM cellphones. almost the whole world is standardised except the U.S.
on other hand, the U.S. expects the rest of the world to embrace any standards it has.
Cindy Glass
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Originally posted by Mark Milan:

Should the US try and adopt the metric system? It won't be adopted 100%, but it can be done.


Hey It's not like we aren't TRYING. We buy our Soda Pop in 2 Litres!


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Thomas Paul
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I hope we never go to centigrade. Fahrenheit is much more sensible as a scale for normal weather conditions. The centigrade scale for normal weather in most parts of the US would rum from from about -15 to +40. That same range in fahrenheit is +5 to +104. So there is a much greater range in fahrenheit. If I say that it is in the 90's in fahrenheit then you know that it is hot. If I say that it is in the 30's in centigrade, the range is from the nice to the unbearably hot.
Mark Fletcher
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Originally posted by Cindy Glass:

Hey It's not like we aren't TRYING. We buy our Soda Pop in 2 Litres!

I think the uptake of the metric system would be greater if we could get beer served in litre glasses rather than pint glasses for the same price
Mark Milan
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
I hope we never go to centigrade. Fahrenheit is much more sensible as a scale for normal weather conditions. The centigrade scale for normal weather in most parts of the US would rum from from about -15 to +40. That same range in fahrenheit is +5 to +104. So there is a much greater range in fahrenheit. If I say that it is in the 90's in fahrenheit then you know that it is hot. If I say that it is in the 30's in centigrade, the range is from the nice to the unbearably hot.

The way we handle that is to say "It feels like the temperature is in the mid 30's", or, more commonly - "hot, eh?"
Randall Twede
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actually i started this thread just for discussion, its not like ive been stressing over it.
the manufacturing industry IS using metric mostly now. personally i would like to see us embrace the metric system.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Embrace it.. like a boa embraces her prey... until its lifeless body is all that is left.
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Randall Twede:
actually i started this thread just for discussion, its not like ive been stressing over it.
Ok, so "the U.S. expects the rest of the world to embrace any standards it has" was just a load of crap that you decided to throw into the conversation.
Randall Twede
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not really, it is true in a vague sort of way i cant exactly pinpoint (classified). we use our financial support (or withdrawl of) and other means (including black ops) to get other countries to do what we want.
Cindy Glass
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Yeah - and I flirt with my husband to get him to do what I want. What's wrong with that ???
PS: Sometimes HE doesn't think that my way is logical either. He is wrong too. .
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Originally posted by Randall Twede:
not really, it is true in a vague sort of way i cant exactly pinpoint (classified). we use our financial support (or withdrawl of) and other means (including black ops) to get other countries to do what we want.

If we are using black ops to get countries to convert to feet and inches it isn't working very well.
Shura Balaganov
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Jason Menard: Cell phones are a good example. We already had significant investment in a particular standard before the rest of the world got into the cell phone business.
I hope you don't refere to that piece of crap 10 pound satellite phones backed by Motorola..can't remember the name of the company, they spun it off and it went bancrupt probably 3 times....Obviously you guys paid for this "new standard" with your taxpayer money (that would be Billions, by the time they figured it doesn't work they already lanched 9 space satellites).
As far as the rest of the story, ATT and BellLabs did first demostration of the system using land towers in 1977, and Japan launched first commercial system (in the World) in 1979.
[added comment]
I knew it'll come to me: Iridium. Bancrupt 3 times over, backed by US Department of Defense, satellites are operated by Boeing, back in business sinse March 2001... Enron my arse.
Shura
[ October 31, 2002: Message edited by: Shura Balaganov ]

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Jason Menard
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No I'm not talking about Iridium. Randle mentioned GSM as being a standard outside of the US. My point was that since we apparently invented cell phone technology, we were the first to deploy it, and we were the first to adopt it for wide scale usage, citing that we are not using the same standard as those who came after us, as if to say that we should be using what they are using, doesn't make much sense to me.
The fact that Nokia is a European company, as mentioned in an earlier response to my previous post, doesn't seem to have anything to do with anything. Nokia makes phones that use multiple standards, GSM being one of them.
[ October 31, 2002: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
Michael Matola
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
If I say that it is in the 30's in centigrade, the range is from the nice to the unbearably hot.

In my small experience in the matter, people in Celsius countries don't say "in the 30s" when giving a temperature range -- if they're giving that big a range, it's going to be a range of 5. (Remember, a Celsius degree is almost twice as big as a Fahrenheit degree (actually, 9/5).)
10-15 -> in the 50s
15-20 -> in the 60s
20-25 -> in the 70s
25-30, OK, the "*almost* twice" effect is starting to offset things too much, but you get the idea.
Mark Fletcher
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:
No I'm not talking about Iridium. Randle mentioned GSM as being a standard outside of the US. My point was that since we apparently invented cell phone technology, we were the first to deploy it, and we were the first to adopt it for wide scale usage, citing that we are not using the same standard as those who came after us, as if to say that we should be using what they are using, doesn't make much sense to me.
The fact that Nokia is a European company, as mentioned in an earlier response to my previous post, doesn't seem to have anything to do with anything. Nokia makes phones that use multiple standards, GSM being one of them.
[ October 31, 2002: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]

I think this article explains the reasons why we (Europe) chose GSM over CDMA/TDMA:
http://www.mcommercetimes.com/Technology/95
Put simply, GSM is a better technology than CDMA. Id also question that Cellular phones are in more widespread use in North America than Europe, youre more than invited to provide statistics to back it up
Michael Ernest
High Plains Drifter
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:

If we are using black ops to get countries to convert to feet and inches it isn't working very well.

I hear there's a secret worldwide consortium of retired conglomerate execs trying to unite the world under the Imperial gallon. I wonder how that's going? Links, anyone?
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Mark Fletcher:

I think this article explains the reasons why we (Europe) chose GSM over CDMA/TDMA:
http://www.mcommercetimes.com/Technology/95
Put simply, GSM is a better technology than CDMA. Id also question that Cellular phones are in more widespread use in North America than Europe, youre more than invited to provide statistics to back it up

I don't doubt that GSM is better than CDMA. Again, my comments were only regarding Randle's suggestion that we were somehow doing something wrong by not adopting GSM. My view is that while GSM may be superior, we have to take into account the fact that we have already made a significant economic investment in another system. So it has nothing to do with the fact that we "refuse" to adopt the other standard, it's just that we already had a different technology in place.
The real problem in the US anyway, is that we don't have a single standard even for ourselves. We use GSM, CDMA, TDMA, and probably some others for all I know. Whatever we do, I hope we pick some standard and go with it.
Oh yeah, I didn't mean to suggest that cell phones are currently more widely used in one place or another, all was saying is that I believe cell phones in general achieved widespread use in North America before Europe.
Randall Twede
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yeah we have CSM but its a different freqency than the rest of the world
Jose Velarde
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Originally posted by Randall Twede:
yeah we have CSM but its a different freqency than the rest of the world

Is it because the frequency is being used by the military
Kyle Brown
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Originally posted by Mark Fletcher:

I think this article explains the reasons why we (Europe) chose GSM over CDMA/TDMA:
http://www.mcommercetimes.com/Technology/95
Put simply, GSM is a better technology than CDMA. Id also question that Cellular phones are in more widespread use in North America than Europe, youre more than invited to provide statistics to back it up

I'll top yours with mine stating the opposite opinion about the technologies:
http://denbeste.nu/cd_log_entries/2002/10/GSM3G.shtml
However, you are right about there being more cell phones in Europe than in North America:
http://www.inq7.net/inf/2002/oct/07/inf_1-1.htm
Kyle
[ October 31, 2002: Message edited by: Kyle Brown ]

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Scott Duffy
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Originally posted by Mark Milan:

Snowfall is in centimeters, home projects are in feet and inches. Outdoors is Celsius, ovens are Farenheit. Gas is in litres, beer is in pints.

Also, we Canadians measure human height in feet and inches, and human weight in pounds. But groceries (fresh fish and meat) are puchased in grams. Distances are measured in kilometers, but coffee is purchased in ounces. Yes, we're a weird country...
By the way, this reminds me of something that has been bothering me for a while. Hopefully someone can supply an answer. Why do Miami drug dealers use kilograms when measuring Cocaine? Why did drug dealers convert to the metric system?
Scott


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Scott Duffy
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
I hope we never go to centigrade. Fahrenheit is much more sensible as a scale for normal weather conditions.

Centrigrade is actually a more sensible scale.
0 degrees Celcius = the temperature at which water freezes
100 degrees Celcius = the temperature at which water boils
That doesn't mean it's better or worse. It's just more sensible (i.e.: makes sense). The people who came up with the metric system put a lot of thought into it.
I don't know how Fahrenheit was developed. I'd be interested to hear if someone knows.
Scott
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Scott Duffy:
Centrigrade is actually a more sensible scale.
100 degrees Celcius = the temperature at which water boils
And how often does it rain boiling water?

Fahrenheit's scale was based on this:
0 was the lowest winter temperature in his home town of Amsterdam. 100 was the temperature of the human body. (At least Fahrenheit thought it was. Maybe he had a cold that day.)
Mark Milan
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
[QB]And how often does it rain boiling water?[QB]

What does that have to do with anything?
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Originally posted by Mark Milan:
What does that have to do with anything?
I said: Fahrenheit is much more sensible as a scale for normal weather conditions. To which Scott then claimed that centigrade was a more sensible scale because it ranged from the freezing point to the boiling point of water. It seemed to me that a scale where 0 and 100 are the range of normal weather conditions is more useful as a scale for the weather than one where 0 to 100 is from the freezing point of water to the boiling point of water.
Jim Yingst
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Thomas' statement was that Fahrenheit is much more sensible as a scale for normal weather conditions. Scott apparently disagreed, citing the boiling temperature of water - which is obviously outside the range Thomas was talking about. Hence his reply.
Not that I really buy Thomas' argument. It's easy enough to specify a general range in either unit system, as vaguely or specifically as desired. You can say "twenties", "low twenties", "about 22", or "22.3" depending on the situation. Not a big deal. I think this really just boils down to the fact that it's easier to speak in terms of unit systems you're familiar with, and a bit harder to use something new. Well, duh.


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Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
Not that I really buy Thomas' argument.
The argument is that having the range of 0 to 100 be the freezing point to the boiling point of water makes sense somehow. I can count on one hand the number of times in the last 10 years that I have needed to know the boiling point of water. It simply isn't useful to most people in normal situations. The range of 0 to 100 for being normal weather conditions makes a lot more sense to normal people living normal lives. In fahrenheit, 0 is really cold and 100 is really hot. In centigrade, 0 is fairly cold and 100 is the oceans are boiling off and we are all dead. The second of these rarely comes up in normal conversation for some reason.
Andreas Johansson
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I don't agree. I think centigrade is a better scale for countries with normal(?) winters at least. If the temperature is negative then it will snow, when positive it will rain instead. Easy to know by only checking the thermometer. Ang good to know if the road will be icy or not.
No one usually wants to know the temperature of the body, as little as the boiling point of water.
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Andreas Johansson:
I don't agree. I think centigrade is a better scale for countries with normal(?) winters at least. If the temperature is negative then it will snow, when positive it will rain instead. Easy to know by only checking the thermometer. Ang good to know if the road will be icy or not.
No one usually wants to know the temperature of the body, as little as the boiling point of water.

The Fahrenheit scale, IMHO works best for the US because of the size of our country and the wide difference in climatic conditions which may be present on any given day within US borders. There could be freezing conditions in Alaska while it is quite balmy in the US Virgin Islands or Hawaii, for example. Because of this wide difference, having a finer scale of measurement generally conveys more meaningful information, particularly when trying to make comparissons across different parts of the country. Centigrade is probably just a bit too coarse of a scale for many of our tastes.
Btw, water freezes around 32F, I don't need a "0" on the thermometer to tell me at what temp water freezes. While we all know that water boils somewhere around 212F, setting a scale where 100C is the temp at which water boils is rather arbitrary, as for one thing, saltier water boils at a higher temp, and additionally, the lower the air pressure, the lower the temp at which water boils (water on Mt Everest will begin to boil around 71C or 159.8F). Of course we also know that the average human body temperature is 98.6F and average room temp is considered to be 72F, without some pesky centigrade scale to tell us otherwise.
Jim Yingst
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Let me put it another way - I don't buy either argument that one system is superior to the other based on how easy it is to refer to commonly-experienced temperatures. It's trivial to find ways to refer to desired temperature ranges. For the layperson, both systems are equally easy to use once you've got an intuitive feel for the ranges.
For scientific and engineering applications, Celcius has an edge, but only a slight one. Sure, it's a bit simpler to work with if you're dealing with freezing or boiling water - assuming you don't need to deal with effects of nonstandard pressure as well. If you're specifically working with water and want to calculate heat amounts in calories, then using Celsius and grams makes things nice and simple. But for just about anything else you're going to need one or more arbitrary-seeming conversion factors anyway, whether you use Celsius or Fahrenheit.
Mark Milan
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
Fahrenheit is much more sensible as a scale for normal weather conditions.


Weather one standard or another (Celsius or Farenhiet) makes more "sense", it all comes down to your definition of what makes sense - WHICH IS USUALLY WHY WE HAVE STANDARDS. My context is Canada, temperatures ranging from -40 C to +40 C, your context is America, temperatures -5 F to +110 F. (Note that 0 F to 100 F as "average" does not apply everywhere - I would hardly consider it average).
If your context is interstellar space, then you could have a standard scale where 0 is defined as the temperature at which atoms cease to move (or some such thing) and 1000 is defined as the temperature of the core of white dwarf. We could use it for everyday life, but it would hardly be useful. Both the Celsius and Farenhiet scales are useful for both environments.
You can argue about the sense and sensibility of Celsius and Fahrenhiet, but neither is better. They're standards, Weather you use either, they're both useful.

And don't pick on my spelling of weather. It's intentional.
Thomas Paul
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The idea is that the scale of 0 to 100 has some significance. It isn't just some arbitrary scale. The boiling and freezing points of water were chosen for centigrade because a scientist thought that the range made sense. The problem is that what makes sense for a scientist doesn't always make sense to a non-scientist. It makes more sense for the scale of 1 to 100 to be something more meaningful to a typical person. The fahrenheit scale fits the normal range of everyday temperatures encountered by Americans. Therefore, I see no reason to change other than to be "just like everyone else." And as my mother used to say, "Are you going to walk off a cliff just because everyone else does?"
 
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