Thursday September 1st 2011 Tim Candler
Too easy to say that
decimalization reduces nuance and subtlety by simplifying day to day
arithmetic, and should therefore be appreciated for doing so.
However once a standard is set, it becomes almost impossible to get away
from it without an intensity of thinking and perhaps loss of temper.
If I am told I need
sixteen grams of chat masala, my first reaction is irritation, and my
second reaction is to go elsewhere for a recipe. It's just not that easy
to make the conversion, nor through the years have I been able to retain
an idea of gram that might suggest a teaspoon, or half a cup, or a
And this is a situation made more
passionate when a person contends that much confusion of thinking stems from
the Latin language and its ignoble idea of a straight line, which was to get
from A to B as simply as possible and damn the consequence.
From the detention room I once envied
those minds which took to Latin. "It's so obvious," they'd say and
proceed to rabbit on with enthusiasm enough to fill a table, or a "he, she
or it". But I do find it soothing to think that I am more able
with a tangled hose pipe than many I could mention, which suggests that in
some things I am able to take a reasonable approach and therefore should not
runaway in disgust whenever I see the word gram or kilogram or milligram.