Friday, August 19, 2011

I hate the English unit system

Written on 10/6/2010


Here is the perfect example: MBtu and MMBtu

Btu = British Thermal Unit. A British unit which quantifies heat energy.
M = 10^6 (where “M” means million or Mega) or it could mean 10^3 (where “M” comes from Roman numeral lettering i.e. M = 1,000). The latter definition is the most commonly used. It mainly depends on what mood you are in though.
MM = thousand thousands which gets its meaning from implied multiplication (1,000*1,000 = 10^6). This implied multiplication comes from the Arabic algebra style of mathematics. Using the Roman style of mathematics “MM” would mean 2,000.

Thus we see that the English unit MMBtu uses the Roman numeral system with the implied operations of the Arabic algebraic system followed by the British energy quanta.  Was the person who invented this unit doing drugs at the time? I think so.