Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Measurement/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3

Contents

WikiProject or Task Force (or workgroup)

I set this up as a WikiProject because of its interdisciplinary nature: it is hard to find a good "parent" project for this one. Even if most of the work will cover articles which have already been identified by WP:PHYSICS, the articles are of general interest in science and, for many, beyond. For myself, the exact form of cooperation is unimportant: rather, this project/task force/workgroup should be a place to discuss editing problems which will reoccur accross several disciplines in relation to the scope of articles which we take onboard. The initial worklists which I have posted are outputs from personal databases: in other words, the format can be changed quite easily depending on what participants wish (no-one has to retype everything!). What do others think? Physchim62 (talk) 16:46, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Comment:

Wikipedia needs to establish the strict use of SI in all articles that state a measurement. Articles in English are a mess. I've seen such a mixture of unit use it makes the articles look and feel unintelligent. I've uncounted within an article units in UK imperial only, US Customary only, SI only as well as a mix of all three. It is equally bad for date/time formatting.

Not everyone who speaks English understands or uses non-metric units. Countries in Africa, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa have successfully switched to metric over a generation ago and most people don't understand old units. Other countries like the UK and Canada are lost in the middle, but understand metric quite well even if they pretend not to.

Looking at the articles in the other languages, there is only SI in use. This is the way it should be for English as well. Those people who don't know SI should make the effort to learn and understand it and not use their backwardness to clutter up the articles with unit confusion.

When can we expect to see some reform? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 72.196.128.54 (talk) 21:01, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

New member

I'm interested in helping out, but I'm heading out of town tomorrow for a couple weeks. I'll check back here when I return to see what's going on and how I can help. — Zaui (talk) 22:00, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

Temperature scales timeline?

This new project looks like the perfect place to ask a question I asked a long ago at Talk:Celsius that went unanswered. The question is, is there any article in Wikipedia that lists all the temperature scales ordered by the date when they were proposed? If not, should we create one? (Or add it as a section to an existing article?) --Itub 12:05, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

I would assume if there was one, someone would have responded in the past 4+ months. A separate article probably isn't necessary, unless there's a compelling story that can't be told in the individual temperature scale articles. How about adding a row to this table with the year of creation? — Zaui (talk) 14:25, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

Action on worklists

(transferred from /SI worklist)

I'm guessing this worklist was posted by Physchim62. I'm not sure what kind of actions the project members should be performing on each item on the worklist. --Gerry Ashton 22:27, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

The worklists were generated for a project which is mostly dealing with referencing and accuracy issues, hence the suggested reference templates. On the other hand, they may well be other things we need to think about: article assesment, general article improvement, coverage, etc. All suggestions/comments welcome! Physchim62 (talk) 16:29, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

Change to Manual of Style on measurement systems

The section on choosing measurement systems has been changed from:

  • In scientific articles, SI units are the main units of measure, unless there are compelling historical or pragmatic reasons not to use them (for example, Hubble's constant should be quoted in its most common unit of (km/s)/Mpc rather than its SI unit of s−1)

Into:

  • In scientific articles, use the units employed in the current scientific literature on that topic. This will usually be SI, but not always. For example, natural units are often used: ångströms (or angstroms) are widely used in such fields as x-ray crystallography and structural chemistry, and Hubble's constant should be quoted in its most common unit of (km/s)/Mpc rather than its SI unit of s−1.

Comments on this change are welcome at Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style#Units_of_measurement. Thank you Tim Vickers 18:12, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Greenspun illustration project: requests now open

Dear Wikimedians,

This is a (belated) announcement that requests are now being taken for illustrations to be created for the Philip Greenspun illustration project (PGIP).

The aim of the project is to create and improve illustrations on Wikimedia projects. You can help by identifying which important articles or concepts are missing illustrations (diagrams) that could make them a lot easier to understand. Requests should be made on this page: Philip_Greenspun_illustration_project/Requests

If there's a topic area you know a lot about or are involved with as a Wikiproject, why not conduct a review to see which illustrations are missing and needed for that topic? Existing content can be checked by using Mayflower to search Wikimedia Commons, or use the Free Image Search Tool to quickly check for images of a given topic in other-language projects.

The community suggestions will be used to shape the final list, which will be finalised to 50 specific requests for Round 1, due to start in January. People will be able to make suggestions for the duration of the project, not just in the lead-up to Round 1.

thanks, pfctdayelise (talk) 12:54, 13 December 2007 (UTC) (Project coordinator)

Proposed Unit Conversion Control

For infoboxes. Suggesting an "English/Metric" conversion control be provided as an option in Infoboxes, so that users can have stats displayed to their preference. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Infoboxes#English.2FMetric_Conversion_Feature.3F Rep07 (talk) 21:44, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Use of Template:Lowercase for SI prefix- and unit articles

At present, measurement articles vary in their use of {{lowercase}}, leading to vagaries of presentation. I've been discussing this at some length with User:Greg L, both on his talk and more recently on Talk:Kilogram. I was overly WP:BOLD in edits to that article and accept that was a blunder, but the underlying concern remains: absent a systemic decision we will have continued variation of Kilo- vice kilo-, Kilogram vice kilogram and yocto- vice Yocto-.

My preference would be to see article names reflecting the standard SI usage of capitals or, failing that, to have them consistently use a capital first letter and include a direct statement about the case useage either as a hatnote or in the lead. For the former to be adopted a minor change to MOS would be in order to bring clarity to the eBay and iPod examples as to just how rare should the usage be — presently there are over 4000 articles using the template, mostly for technical terms, not trademarks. See the template's "What links here" for the current list.

It strikes me that the members of this project likely would have useful perspectives on this matter and I look forward to a lively debate.LeadSongDog (talk) 16:49, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

It has also been suggested that this discussion should be at Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions. If editors here think so, I've no major objection to it.LeadSongDog (talk) 17:38, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
You'll probably get more responses there because this project is not very active. My opinion is that these titles should be capitalized like any other word when they occur at the beginning of the sentence, unless there is an SI rule somewhere that says explicitly that they always are lowercase, even at the beginning of a sentence or in an otherwise all-uppercase sentence. I've seen rules like that for biological species names, but never for units. --Itub (talk) 19:02, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
To display lowercase for an SI spelled-out unit or prefix in a situation where it is supposed to be capitalized would imply that it may never be capitalized under any circumstance. This rule actually does apply to symbols. Consider the following badly worded sentence. s is the SI unit of time. It would be wrong to capitalize the "s", because then it would be the symbol for Siemens.
By capitalizing SI spelled-out units and prefixes when normal rules of grammer call for them to be capitalized, we show by example that those normal rules do indeed apply. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 21:32, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Indeed. The sentences "Seconds are a useful measure of time" and "Milligrams are a useful meausre of mass" should have capitals at the start in English and hence capitals at the start of a Wikipedia title. We could have article titles such as Kilogram redefinition or Mole–kilogram redefinition dilemma, for example. On the other hand "pH is a scale of acidity or basicity" can only start with a lower case "p", and so the article correctly uses {{lowercase}}.
What is missing here, IMHO, from LeadSongDog is a specific reason why these articles should be treated differently from other articles on WP. Why should candela be treated any different from proportionality, government or sex? If that were made clear, there might be a point in taking the question to WT:NC but, for the moment, it isn't clear to me. Physchim62 (talk) 22:22, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

  • Articles like iPhone and eBay are exceptions to the rule. I see no reason why Kilogram (or for that matter, Kilometer, Pound (unit), and Newton) would join the ranks of these exceptions. This is separate from whether or not it might have been wiser if Wikipedia’s article titles had put non-proper nouns in lowercase and only proper nouns in uppercase. Instead, they (*virtually*) all use sentence-case. But that’s another story. Short of changing all of Wikipedia’s convention for the case that ought to be use for article titles, I view this as strictly an issue of conformity. Doing otherwise would imply some special distinction that doesn’t exist. Greg L (talk) 22:41, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
  • For Gerry Ashton: An article title is not a sentence, so normal rules of grammar do not prescribe for capitals. Better sentences would be "The second is a useful measure of time", "The milligram is a useful measure of mass", or "The degree of acidity or alkalinity is denoted on the pH scale". Most usage of a unit name, however, is in the expression of a quantity, as in "The test was over in only seven seconds" or "He was prescribed two 325 milligram asprin and told to call in the morning". In fact, I can't think of a case where there is a strong reason to start a sentence with the unit name.
  • For Physchim62: In use, the caps matter but they do not reflect the normal linguistic practice applied for other kinds of words. "A gravitational force of 9.8 kilonewton accelerates a 1 Megagram mass in free fall above the earth's sea level" is correct usage, while "A gravitational force of 9.8 KiloNewton accelerates a 1 megagram mass in free fall above the earth's sea level" is incorrect usage. A well written article should therefore make clear the expected use of caps for that unit or prefix. A reader unfamiliar with the units would not know that "seven candela" should not have caps but "six microTesla" should. By contrast, "sex", "government", or "proportionality" all follow the normal rules of English, so that the reader requires no special explanation to know when caps are used on their respective first letters.
  • For Greg L: Quite simply, the use of caps in SI units and prefixes is often confusing to newcomers. My stylistic sense is that we should attempt to avoid aggravating that confusion and indeed make it WP:Clear how caps should apply to each unit and each prefix. Presently Kilo- does that in a less than ideal way. I would seek to replace "Kilo- (symbol: k) is a prefix in the SI and other systems of units ..." with "The prefix kilo- (symbol: k) in the SI and other systems of units ..." and establish a redirect from "Kilo-" to an article at "kilo-" so the reader would see kilo- as the title and "Kilo- redirects here". Naturally, the inverse would apply for Mega- and mega- LeadSongDog (talk) 07:19, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
An article title may not be a sentence, but the agreed convention, followed by millions of articles, is to write titles in "sentence case". Your example "...accelerates a 1 Megagram mass..." is not correct usage. Unit names are common nouns and are normally lowercase when they are in the middle of a sentence, regardless of whether the symbol for the prefix or for the unit is capitalized or not. Hence, it should be "megagram". --Itub (talk) 09:13, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
And "microtesla" for that matter. Another misconception that LeadSongDog seems to hold is that redirects are required when using {{lowercase}}: he's not alone on this, as fully one-quarter of the uses of this template are through redirects! I'll go and take them off when I get a moment. In the database, the article titles are EBay, IPod and PH; the template is just a fix to get the title line to display differently. I agree with LSD about avoiding starting sentences with the unit name or prefix. Physchim62 (talk) 11:25, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

People are so dead set against starting a sentence with a unit symbol that they cannot see past it to get my point, so let me give a different example. A person creates a table and decides to capitalize the first letter of each column heading. The column headings are:

Runner                    | Time |
Surname     | Forename    | s    |

The symbol for seconds must be lowercase even though the convention adopted for this particular table would call for it to be uppercase. Had the unit been spelled out, it could have been uppercased. Hence, our article titles should uppercase spelled-out units whenever that is allowed, to help distinguish works or symbols which must never be uppercased no matter what. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 14:32, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

(ec)::::I stand corrected. As Itub says, "a 1 Megagram mass" is incorrect. Even after all these years, I got confused, transfering the "Mg" caps to megagram. Indeed, none of the spelled-out prefixes should be in caps. That'll teach me to check my memory. See BIPM on SI base units where each of the base units is used as a tabular heading in lowerecase and linked to its own article, e.g. "kelvin" links to a page entitled "Unit of thermodynamic temperature (kelvin)". It appears that even the BIPM "SI brochure" is troubled by this question. In the text of Section 5.2 it says "In English, the names of units start with a lower-case letter (even when the symbol for the unit begins with a capital letter), except at the beginning of a sentence or in capitalized material such as a title", yet the brochure neatly avoids using a unit name as one of the section titles by the abovementioned device. LeadSongDog (talk) 15:31, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

Proposal

After doing a bit of digging around, I think the best way forward is to propose a change at the Manual of Style to clarify the issue. The MOS already has a section "SI symbols and unit abbreviations", and I propose adding a further bullet point there. I've split the proposal by sentences to make it easier for people to disagree with one part but not another.

  1. The names (but not the symbols) of SI units are treated as common nouns, and should not be capitalized except at the beginning of a sentence (degree Celsius is an exception): it is rarely necessary, or advisable, to begin a sentence with a unit name, except in direct quotations.
  2. The same applies to SI prefixes.
  3. The titles of articles about units are capitalized according to the normal guidelines.

What do people think? Physchim62 (talk) 21:43, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

Unacceptable. If you did that in commerce, the weights and measures inspectors could raid your store and seize your merchandise. The section you linked to is about symbols and abbreviations. Except for liter, there is only one correct case for an SI symbol or prefix, and the case must never be changed. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 22:05, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
(ec) Despite the title of the section, it also treats the names of units (and not just SI units at that). I think my wording is clear enough to keep me out of the way of Trading Standards officials. Physchim62 (talk) 22:22, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
I've modified the proposal to address this concern. Physchim62 (talk) 22:24, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps Physchim62 was intending the spelled-out unit names, not their symbols? LeadSongDog (talk) 22:16, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

I have removed the advice that is not specific to symbols and abbreviations from that section. It all had to do with ambiguous units, so I gave it an appropriate title. Advice about spelled-out words should certainly not go in a section about symbols and abbreviations, no matter how it is worded. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 22:40, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

OK, let's strike the references to SI and put it right at the top of WP:UNITS then. Physchim62 (talk) 22:49, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
  • My World Book two-volume dictionary has all entry titles in all-cap; it has an entry for KILOGRAM. But the definition instructs that it is a noun and gives an example of proper usage (where it is used in lowercase). I haven’t met anyone walking around who thinks all words in the English language should be in all-cap because they own a World Book dictionary in which each and every entry title is all-cap.

    This whole discussion seems quite unnecessary; it is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. I abstain on any proposals here because this venue is too remote of a backwater. I’ve seen that all change on Wikipedia does not come easy. Change for the sake of chasing windmills seems like a waste of time. Greg L (talk) 01:02, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

  • The issue I have is inconsistency. Greg rightly observes that World Book has all entry titles in the same format and that it doesn't cause people to believe every English word is in allcaps. In contrast, we have a mix even amongst the SI units. A thinking reader will infer that the mix actually means something. I'd like to follow what BIPM, NIST, IUPAC and the others do quite consistently, which is to dodge starting the title of unit articles with the unit name if we can find an acceptable way to do that. But even if we must start them with the names, they should still have a consistent format.
  • We've twice shifted venue already. Rather than shift a third time, why not simply notify editors in other venues that the discussion is ongoing here? Say, Wikipedia talk:MOS and Wikipedia talk:Village pump? LeadSongDog (talk) 03:29, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
  • BIPM can use titles like "The unit of length", but that isn't an option for us, because we have more than one unit of length. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 03:52, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Created a banner

I've created a banner for this project, {{WPMeasure}}. -- Army1987 – Deeds, not words. 17:15, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Help requested

I was going to wikify Integrated instrumentation system, but it defeats me. I don't know enough about the subject to work out which of the seemingly overlapping sentences to delete etc. Grateful if someone from this project could help. Heds (talk) 02:03, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

Apothecaries' system

I've been doing some article tagging and assessment, and I came across this article, which seems pretty damn good to me. I've tagged it as A-class for the moment, but I would appreciate it others could read through it to check that it really is complete. The criterion should be "can I think of anything else that should be in there but isn't?", although all comments are welcome of course. Physchim62 (talk) 13:17, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

BTW, you shouldn't open PR and GA at once. PR should do at this point, to get some feedback on completeness (I don't know anything about it). Then GA.Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβς – WP Physics} 10:11, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
The peer review is here. I've notified the following WikiProjects to see if any of their members know anything about the topic: Physics; Chemistry; Pharmacology; History of science; Medicine; Science. Physchim62 (talk) 12:22, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Bot tagging

Someone should look into making a WP:BOTREQ for tagging categories such as Category:Systems of units and subcategories (and all other relevant categories, many of which can be found in Category:Measurement). It'll probably have a few non-units articles tagged but we can remove those afterwards. Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβς – WP Physics} 13:41, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

For the moment, I'm slowly going through "by hand" so that I can do assessments at the same time. I'm not a great fan of bot-tagging runs, but I won't oppose if there are more people who want it done that way. Physchim62 (talk) 14:08, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
Hate (hyperbole) bot-tagging??? I'm pretty flabbergasted by this, especially how extensively we use them at WP:PHYS. As for assessing quality things, you can ask for quality to be filled in from other templates or to leave that alone. Considering only 3 articles are covered right now, I'd say to auto-assess, then after the bots are done, you can review things to make sure that the assessment makes sense.Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβς – WP Physics} 14:21, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
I wouldn't say that I "hate" autotagging either! We've done a few runs in the past on WP:CHEM, although we don't use it routinely. On the other hand, measurement is only a small subject area, so the benefits of a bot run are less obvious. I wouldn't have found Apothecaries' system by a bot run, for example, now I'm left with having to improvise an A-class review system! That article, btw, wasn't tagged by any project until I came along yesterday, and the same goes for more than half the articles I'm finding. Physchim62 (talk) 08:54, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
Well obviously the bot doesn't pick up everything, but it certainly helps to build a "base", both in article and in users. Others see the wikiproject tags, some join the project, and many will still tag articles with the banner even if they don't join. Also it would allow to monitor some articles through WP:AAlerts. Still I'd rather you (or someone else) build the categories-to-be-tagged lists, as I'm pretty busy on other areas of WP, namely deploying WP:AAlerts and reviving the physics taskforces. Plus I also have a master's degree I need to work on :P. Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβς – WP Physics} 10:08, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

Coordinators' working group

Hi! I'd like to draw your attention to the new WikiProject coordinators' working group, an effort to bring both official and unofficial WikiProject coordinators together so that the projects can more easily develop consensus and collaborate. This group has been created after discussion regarding possible changes to the A-Class review system, and that may be one of the first things discussed by interested coordinators.

All designated project coordinators are invited to join this working group. If your project hasn't formally designated any editors as coordinators, but you are someone who regularly deals with coordination tasks in the project, please feel free to join as well. — Delievered by §hepBot (Disable) on behalf of the WikiProject coordinators' working group at 05:57, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

Review of article Standard

Could someone take a look at Standard? I can't quite decide if it should be split into two different articles or if it just needs a little cleanup. RJFJR (talk) 19:49, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

I can't really see where you'd split it. There is no useful distinction at the general level between de jure standards and industry standards, as the same types of documents occur in both. Nor can I see a useful distinction between standards in different subject areas. Don't forget that we have many, many articles on important technical standards (see Category:Standards).
I would remove "standard units" as a colloquialism with no real technical sense.
There is a pertinent question on the talk page as to whether this article should be squatting the article title, or whether Standard (disambiguation) should be moved there and the current article be moved to Standard (technical) or something similar. Physchim62 (talk) 20:08, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

Consistency and diversity in weights and measures

Wikipedia rightly strives for both consistency and diversity in usage. In some cases this means making a choice between competing usages; in other cases, the differing usages are accepted. So, the differences between British and American spelling is accommodated, while, sensibly, the rules state that individual articles should be internally consistent. The same rule applies to weights and measures, only here we generally need to supply both SI and Imperial/US Customary units for the sake of readers who often are not familiar with one or the others.

However, there is a problem with inconsistency between similar articles, which can quite arbitrarily swing between metric and Imperial measures. This may be seen in the following table:

Metric first Imperial first

Cornwall

Devon

Skye

Lewis and Harris

Shetland

Orkney

Cambridgeshire

Oxfordshire

Staffordshire

Leicestershire

Dorset

Hampshire

Jersey

Guernsey, Alderney, Sark

Niagara River

Niagara Falls

East Falkland, West Falkland

Falkland Islands

Now a certain amount of inconsistency is inevitable when editors have different preferences for weights and measures, but these variations are more Monty Python than encyclopedic. Now I know full well that we can't impose a rigid rule on people. However, I believe that we could put in place guidelines that would nudge editors towards more consistency.

What do people think of a policy that UK based articles should have both SI related measures and Imperial measures, and that in general, the measures be placed in that order. What do others think? Michael Glass (talk) 11:35, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

  • There was a debate about this somewhere esle a little while ago: can you provide a link to it? Physchim62 (talk) 14:36, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

It's copy-pased from WT:MOSNUM.Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβς – WP Physics} 19:33, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

I hope that people will express their opinions about my proposal here. This would be helpful in working out whether the small change in policy that I propose is feasible. Michael Glass (talk) 10:03, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

Scottish units of length

We have a large number of articles that spread the misinformation – which was state of scientific knowledge until five years ago – that the Scottish national units of length which were abolished by the Acts of Union 1707 were slightly longer than the English equivalents. R. D. Connor made a compelling argument that this idea is due to a mistake by 19th century antiquarians who misinterpreted the only surviving ell standard; see Connor, R.D. (2004). Weights and Measures in Scotland. East Linton. ISBN 978-1901663884.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help). (To be precise, no ell standard survived, only a container for an ell standard, which had to be slightly longer to contain the standard itself. The antiquarians simply took the length of the container. From extant similar English objects it's clear that the resulting error accounts for the 0.16% which the Scottish inch is supposed to be longer.) The Scottish units date back to a time when the larger Scottish burghs were something like English colonies (I don't have the book with me now, and I don't remember the exact terminology) and the English were using both yards and ells. In England the yard survived, in Scotland the ell. There are similar issues with some units of weight, which also seem to be closely related, if not identical, to certain English units of weight.

There is a proliferation of articles on individual Scottish units, linked from Obsolete Scottish units of measurement. Many of them need correcting (or merging), perhaps most blatantly inch (Scots) and the main article itself. Problems: This is a very recent scientific result. Connor's findings appear to be highly plausible and scientifically uncontroversial, but they will not be liked by Scottish nationalists. They are also so new that I found only one (formally not very reliable) online source which gets this right [1], while dozens of formally reliable sources (such as museum websites) say that a Scottish inch was 1.0016 Imperial inches.

Without the complications this would be a relatively straightforward clean-up job, but as it is I don't dare embark on this without first seeing if there is some support from this project. If anyone is sufficiently interested, I really recommend reading Connor's book. It's huge and quite heavy, but also beautiful (the coauthor contributed the photos, I believe) and absolutely riveting. --Hans Adler (talk) 22:54, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

I've been looking at many of these articles as part of my recent tagging spree. I think you missed the most ridiculous, which is Mile (Scots)! The idea that normal weights and measures in the early eighteenth century were defined to two parts in a thousand (as in the purported Scots inch) rather stretches credibility. The Scots measures were not abolished with the Act of Union in 1707, but unified with English measures during the nineteenth century. Some live on to this day (eg, the "wee dram", which is significantly larger than its English counterpart).
I general, I think we need to be merging a lot of the sub-stubs on customary units into longer articles. Not just Scots units, but also the thirty-or-so articles of 3–5 lines that we have on South Asian customary units for example. It's a big job, and I'm still working through our article pool looking for the problems.
If and when we do the merges for Scots units, we need to be careful about NPOV. Wikipedia cannae determine what the value of a unit was 400 years ago! Light-year does a fairly good job of this, I think, explaining why WP chooses one particular definition, rather than others that are also supported by reliable sources. Physchim62 (talk) 14:02, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
It was your tagging that reminded me of the problem. I agree it's not restricted to Scottish units at all, and perhaps we should do them last, when we have gathered some experience with the others. I think we should have one set of articles describing the various systems of units, and another set describing the various individual units with all local variations. E.g. an article on traditional English units (perhaps with subarticles about pre-Imperial, Imperial and American), traditional French units etc., and foot, inch, ell (actually one article for all three might be better) discussing these units as they existed in England, France, Spain, Roman Empire, ancient Greece, Egypt etc. Perhaps we can make an exception for units that are still in use.
I don't think the level of precision about the Scottish inch is ridiculous at all. The actual physical standards were for the ell of 37 inches, which like the yard of 36 inches is roughly a metre. 0.16% of that is 1.6 mm. The surviving yard standards consist of the standard itself and a container whose inside is roughly 2 mm longer so it fits comfortably. These matters were always connected with taxation and royal authority, so it seems natural that people always used the highest practicable degree of precision. (On the other hand the 15th century French national weight standard [2] has internal inconsistencies. Unfortunately I can't find the source with the detailed information about this.)
I don't know what you mean by unification as opposed to abolishment. Connor describes that Scottish units such as the ell (which by then had died out in England) became illegal and English units such as the yard (which by then had died out in Scotland) had to be used. The physical standards had to be destroyed. I believe only the master standards survived, were later distributed to many different castles, and then lost; only a few including an ell bed survived. (Not sure about the details here, as this is from memory.)
We also need to distinguish between units for different purposes. Units for measuring gold or medicine were defined to a much higher level of precision than units for measuring corn or wood. We need to take this into account especially for anthropocentric units such as local variants of the acre; I think I once saw sources for this in the UK; in Germany we had the Morgen ("morning"), also called "Tagwerk" ("day's work"). These were highly variable because they tended to adjust to the average quality of the land, the typical crops, and the typical methods used by the farmers. It's probably better not to discuss these local units along with the national units. (And we should also dispel the silly 17th century myth/polemic that the "Royal foot" changed when there was a new king.) --Hans Adler (talk) 15:15, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
Interesting. The Scots units of length were not abolished by the Act of Union 1707, or by the Weights and Measures Act 1824. They were unified with the English system by an Act of the Parliament of Scotland in 1685.
"Our sovereign lord, thinking it fit that there should be a fixed standard for measuring and computation of miles, and that the whole isle of Britain should be under one certain kind of commensuration, does therefore, with consent of the estates of parliament, statute and ordain that three barley corns set lengthwise shall make an inch, as it is already used, that twelve inches shall make a foot of measure, which is to be the only foot by which all workmen, especially masons, wrights, glaziers and others are ordained to measure their work in all time coming, under the pain of £100 on each occasion, three of these foots are to make a yard, as three foot and one inch makes a Scots ell, and 1,760 yards are to make a mile, which is to be made the standard of computation from place to place in all time coming." 1 Jac. VII c. 44, APS viii 494, c.59, RPS 1685/4/83
I'm rather dubious about the homogeneity of the Scottish standards before the 17th century. There are Acts in 1555 and 1563 forcing the burghs to obtain standard measures from Edinburgh; in 1587 a Royal Commission was set up to harmonise the different measures from around Scotland; in 1607, there was another Act to try and enforce the use of standard measures; and in 1663 there was an Act which specifically forbade the division of the ell into 42 inches instead of 37! In other words, there is no basis for saying that there were any national standards which could be meaningfully expressed in SI units. Physchim62 (talk) 22:55, 16 May 2009 (UTC)
If I remember correctly (and it seems you just caught me misremembering the Scottish conversion to English units), Connor argues that there were island-wide units already in the first millennium. (This seems quite plausible, since trade would have caused the uniform units introduced by the Romans to survive for a long time.) The important thing is to remember that for some uses there are local forces (e.g. an acre should be how much you can typically plough in a day, and that's a different amount of square metres in different parts of the country), and for others there are trade-related forces (e.g. British, and especially Scottish, cloth was traded mainly in Cologne, and the unit for this may well have been the Rhenish foot; and while the yard of 36 inches was used for some purposes, the curious ell of 37 inches ≈ 3 Rhenish feet was used for others including cloth). And therefore local and (inter)national units existed in parallel, exactly like the survey and international yard in the US, and for the same reasons. While much of this may be speculation when going so far back, the ell of 42 inches doesn't convince me at all. Standards tend to compete with each other, and this may well have been an instance of a regional standard becoming a danger to a national one. --Hans Adler (talk) 23:37, 16 May 2009 (UTC)
There are two main problems with the Scots units: 1) there is a lot of folklore that surrounds them, which is attractive to a certain nationalist fringe; 2) the control of the centre (the Crown) seems to have been fairly weak in the face of the merchants and their representatives in the burghs, especially after the Union of the Crowns in 1603. This is a fascinating discussion by the co-author of Connor's text, which you might already be aware of (I can't remember how I found it now, so it could well have been one of your links!). To illustrate point (2), the Scots mile was formally abolished in 1685, but continued to be used well into the 18th century (including in one act of the Parliament of Scotland): needless to say, the idea that it was based on the length of a street in Edinburgh, however important the street, is metrological idiocy. The Dictionary of the Scots Language (free online here) appears to provide some brief but balanced discussion and examples of (written) use of the various units.
As for South Asian units, I've been having fun this week, and you can see the best result at candy (unit) ;) Physchim62 (talk) 01:28, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the link to Simpson's text – I didn't know it, and I have bookmarked it now. I agree with your point 1 and I don't doubt 2. But for me a central authority isn't all that important. What I learned from Connor's book is that it makes sense to think of units as a language; they are held compatible by the need of people living in different places to communicate/trade with each other, not by by written grammars, or by laws and assizes. There is a complex interplay between regional dialects/regional units and the language itself/widely used units. The essential point for me is that during much of Scottish history (since we are discussing this problematic example) there were some units that were used almost everywhere, but not to the exclusion of other, more local standards, and by no means restricted to Scotland. It's probably not the most logical way to organise this information in articles about Scottish units, but that's what we have now, and that's where most readers will look for the obsolete (politically attractive) information that I would like to replace with what we know today.
Candy (unit) looks great! --Hans Adler (talk) 11:49, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

RfC pointer: units derived from U.S. survey foot

A Request for Comments is in progress at Talk:United States customary units about whether the units link, rod, chain, acre, and statute mile are derived from the international foot or the survey foot. --Jc3s5h (talk) 20:04, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

World Metrology Day

Well, it looks like we've missed in for this year [3]! In was 20 May. Maybe someone can look out for it next year… Physchim62 (talk) 12:03, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

Foundry Sand testing equipments

We may need to include Foundry sand testing equipments which test bulk and prepared foundry sand and have unique testing parameters Pushkraj.janwadkar (talk) 10:05, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

No. --Hans Adler (talk) 10:56, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

Might be interesting for you guys

Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Physics#Stuff_that_is_missing_in_a_lot_of_physics_articles. See also {{Infobox Physical quantity}} and {{Infobox Unit}}. Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβς – WP Physics} 00:41, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

Old units

Anybody have a legitimate reference discussing the difference between a Dutch mile and an English mile? This essentially states that a Dutch mile was 4.61 times greater than an English mile, but it's only in passing. An article for each (or at least a redirect to the right section in an article) would be really handy in my efforts to expand articles on New Netherland. wadester16 14:45, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

According to Dutch units of measurement#Mijl the mile wasn't really standardised in the Netherlands but was very roughly 5 km. The Dutch article nl:Mijl (Nederland) has exactly the same information and is also unreferenced. Your "Dutch mile" of 4.61 English miles (7.4 km) would be considerably more than any of the examples given, so there is reason for caution. Interesting problem. I will see if I can look it up somewhere else. Hans Adler 15:21, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
According to one source, "the Dutch mile was very variable but usually taken as the equivalent of the English league (3 miles) in the 17th century". [4] That would be 4.8 km.
In another source it's clear that a Dutch mile was roughly 4 English miles, i.e. 6.4 km. [5] And another. [6]
Both sources seem highly relevant, as they talk about the Dutch empire or North America, respectively. Hans Adler 15:31, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
A Dutch mile as 414 English miles. [7] Hans Adler 15:36, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
Yet another source goes into great detail: Previously variable, the Dutch mile was standardised as 1 league (unit) in the 17th century. According to the source, 1 league was 3.18 nautical miles (is that true?), which was in practice taken as 3 nautical miles. [8] What the source doesn't say is that this applies only in a nautical context (on land a league was 3 land miles). Presumably, following this source, a Dutch mile was an English sea league, whether on land or on sea. That would have been 5.89 km (3.18 nm) or 5.56 (3 nm). The last number is the first that is consistent with one from our article: It's the one referred to as the French sea league. I think I had better stop here. Hans Adler 15:50, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for all the help. Oddly, here it says a Dutch mijle was only 0.62 English mile. Sigh... wadester16 20:32, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Convert it into kilometres and it will make sense. Metrication generally comes with the introduction of customary units that have the old names but are redefined to easily remembered multiples of metric units. E.g. throughout Europe the older people still think in terms of [metric] pounds, which are exactly 1/2 kg. If you remember that a US pint is 473 ml and a UK/Canada pint is 568 ml, then it's easy to predict that once North America and the UK are fully metric they will use a metric pint of 1/2 litre. This metric "mijle" is only a bit unusual in that it was so much less than the previously used unit. Hans Adler 08:17, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

It seems fairly clear that this "Dutch mile" is actually the Dutch equivalent of the German geographische Meile and the Danish geografisk mil, that is almost exactly four English nautical miles or 7.4 kilometres. This unit was widely used in Northern Europe, especially for measurements at sea. Note that the correspondance between "Dutch miles" and English miles is not exact: page 34 of the Van Rensselaer Bowier manuscripts gives the conversion factor as 13529, which is marginally different from the 18.444 quoted above. I have another reference from the late 19th century which gives the Dutch mile as almost exactly one kilometre, but I don't think it's relevant here for the reasons Hans explains. Physchim62 (talk) 14:47, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

It's apparent from reading the decision in Van Gorden v. Jackson pp.315-340 that the term "Dutch mile", as used in 1678, had at best a vague meaning which that NY State Supreme Court eventually took as 4 English miles (p.324 refers), reversing a lower court in February 1809. I'd be reluctant to ascribe a specific value given that the usage was so confusing even at that time. It was an interesting read, though.LeadSongDog come howl 18:33, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Digit grouping style (notice of discussion)

In case anyone is interested, a discussion about digit grouping styles is taking place at Village Pump (policy), related to this question:

On Wikipedia, should the selection of digit grouping styles depend upon regional and topical conventions used in the English language?

Please refer to that page for details and discussion. TheFeds 04:30, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

Move proposal - additional input wanted

I've proposed Shaku to be moved to Chi (length) based on my reasoning on the talk page. Currently it seems there may be conflict of interest among the editors (including myself), so I would like some neutral input in the matter and also help establish whether shaku is an established usage in English. Thanks. --antilivedT | C | G 13:13, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

Jupiter mass

Someone merged Jupiter mass into the planet Jupiter. This was the second attempt at a forced merge without discussion.

User:Spacepotato reverted it, but it's still being pushed at the Jupiter talk page, with complaints that there has always been resistance to the move. If the proposer can't be persuaded of the ilogic of such a merge, at least let weight of numbers dissuade him. HarryAlffa (talk) 16:39, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

Mass articles merge into Astronomical system of units

Proposal that Solar mass, Jupiter mass, Earth mass & Lunar mass be merged into Astronomical system of units.

Discussion here. -- HarryAlffa (talk) 11:52, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

WP 1.0 bot announcement

This message is being sent to each WikiProject that participates in the WP 1.0 assessment system. On Saturday, January 23, 2010, the WP 1.0 bot will be upgraded. Your project does not need to take any action, but the appearance of your project's summary table will change. The upgrade will make many new, optional features available to all WikiProjects. Additional information is available at the WP 1.0 project homepage. — Carl (CBM · talk) 03:35, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

Definition of second: classical or quantum vacuum?

The article Second seems to imply that the definition is supposed to apply to classical free space, not quantum vacuum, so that one has to correct the measurements for the Lamb shift. This sounds weird to me; I would have assumed that it applied to quantum vacuum, i.e. space without particles or photons. Can anyone who knows better shed light on Talk:Second#Classical or quantum vacuum?? ― A._di_M.2nd Dramaout (formerly Army1987) 11:45, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

AfD nomination of Ancient Arabic units of measurement

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A standard for the disambiguation of units of measurement

Units of measurement often require disambiguation. Currently we don't have a uniform standard for this. Some examples:

The Man in Question has started renaming articles to the form "(measurement)", which seems fine, although I haven't seen it much in use previously. But he was reverted, which makes me ask: Can we agree on some standard? Hans Adler 10:35, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

There is guidance in WP:NCDAB:
A disambiguating word or phrase can be added in parentheses. The word or phrase in parentheses should be:
I suggest that we normally follow this advice, giving us a choice between "(unit)" or "unit of measurement" on one hand (the generic class), and "measurement" on the other hand (the subject/context). All three are equally fine for me, but we should choose one and stick to it.
This would imply that we rename articles that give more specific information in the disambiguator, such as Foot (length) or Carat (mass), unless several units must be disambiguated from each other.
I have not found any subject-specific disambiguation rules that say anything about units. However, disambiguations such as dBZ (meteorology), S number (wool), Peg (drinking) should be respected if they fit into a uniform disambiguation scheme for a subject other than metrology. Hans Adler 10:47, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
I would prefer a standard disambiguator on "(unit)". In general, we don't have to disambiguate between two units with the same name and measuring different quantities: these are common in traditional measurement systems, where the same unit can be used for length, area and dry volume (ie, mass), but we usually only have a single article.
The third set of examples you give are arguably not units of measurement at all, but scales: as such, I think we can leave the reasonable disambiguations which are used at present and still have a coherent system for true units of measurement. Physchim62 (talk) 11:04, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
  • This was previously discussed here: Wikipedia talk:Article titles/Archive 11#Units of measure. The consensus seemed to be that, to the extent that we really want/need a uniform disambiguating phrase, it should be "(unit)", as is also the de facto standard for virtually all modern scientific units (newton (unit), pascal (unit), mole (unit), etc.). There is less uniformity for historical/domain-specific units, especially of length. I'm somewhat opposed to a blanket move of all of those to "(unit)" without a compelling reason, though some harmonization is probably advisable. For example, for typographical units of length, we currently have point (typography) and pica (unit of measure), even though 1 pica is always 12 points. (The meaning of "point", however, is not the same in all typographical contexts.) On the other hand, em (typography) is not really a physical unit at all, but refers to a characteristic dimension of the current font, and should almost certainly stay disambiguated as it is. This is a good example of why uninspected mass moves of all articles in a category "for uniformity" are particularly inadvisable. Hqb (talk) 11:43, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
A good reason for me to move "(length)" or "(mass)" to "(unit)" would be that it makes article titles more predictable and the naming scheme more obvious to editors. Not to forget it's what the site-wide standard WP:NCDAB tells us to do. (Edited: This made no sense. The example is seal (mammal), not seal (animal). 12:17, 7 February 2010 (UTC)) I guess the recent moves to "(measurement)" would not have happened if it had been clear that we already have "(unit)" as a standard. And the best way to advertise a standard is by using it.
In the case of "(mass)" or "(weight)" there is another reasons: For many of these units it is not clearly defined whether they measure mass or weight, since they only exist(ed) in a context where the distinction is unnecessary. IMO they are really units of mass, but we often get editors who insist it's a unit of weight because the measurement was done by weighing.
I don't really see the problem with typographic units, including the em, since some physical units are also not very clearly defined. But I would plead for treating all of them in the same way. Since we need to disambiguate point (typography) and point (gemstone) from each other, it seems reasonable to use "(typography)" as the uniform disambiguator in this case. Hans Adler 12:05, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
It's certainly very frustrating when you're writing an article to have to check every link to find out what the article title is, especially when you end up changing foobar (unit) to foobar (unit of measurement). The discussion at Wikipedia talk:Article titles/Archive 11#Units of measure seems to give a consensus for preferring "(unit)" to "(unit of measurement)" or "(unit of measure)". It's less clear as to what should be done with articles disambiguated as "(quantity)". As we have the hugely linked foot (length) in this set of articles, we would certainly need to tread carefully. Physchim62 (talk) 12:15, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
I tend to be a bit mergist, so in this case I would prefer a single article for both units. I am not sure how feasible this is. Both articles are in a very bad state at the moment, reflecting the poor quality of most "reliable" sources on these units. Hans Adler 12:49, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
In cases were there is more than one unit of measurement, if John Smith (politician)John Smith (Conservative politician), John Smith (Welsh politician), etc., then Foobar (measurement) or Foobar (unit)Foobar (length measurement), Foobar (mass measurement), etc., or Foobar (length unit), Foobar (mass unit), etc. — the Man in Question (in question) 13:16, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
Yes, of course. (Although it's probably not being done consistently at the moment.) But there was probably a reason why people started applying the word "carat" in a metal purity context. It might be a good idea to have a single article discussing all units that are called "carat", and how they are related, and separate articles about weight systems for diamonds/jewels/gold and the issue of the purity of metals, respectively. Hans Adler 13:22, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

List of current cases

I've made a list of the currently disambiguated articles at Wikipedia:WikiProject Measurement/Disambiguated units. Physchim62 (talk) 14:11, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

Thanks, that's very helpful and must have been a lot of work. In a first step we could rename everything with "(measurement)" or "(unit of measure)", or similar, to "(unit)". Perhaps we should leave the "(length)" articles alone for the moment, also anything with a region name or subject area. But I suggest replacing "(mass)", "(weight)" or "(volume)" by "(unit)" wherever we don't have separate articles covering these different aspects. For most traditional units there is no objective way of telling whether they measure mass or weight, and it's common to translate between mass/weight and volume by using the specific weight of water under (often unspecified) conditions. Also "(area)" isn't used much and is potentially misleading, so I would replace that by "(unit)" as well. Hans Adler 15:17, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
There's a fair number that can't be done without admin intervention: for example Perch (unit of measure), Talent (measurement) and Stadion (unit of length) just from the most obvious bunch. I'll keep on working through them in roughly the order you suggest above. Physchim62 (talk) 12:39, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, I saw you doing it and concentrated on a few tricky cases to avoid clashes. But it has been a bit frustrating, most notably in the case of Pao (mass) and Pau (unit), which are clearly etymologically the same unit, sometimes used for volume and sometimes for mass, and should be merged as soon as we have evidence fot that. But it's very hard to find any information about them. Hans Adler 12:54, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
I can't find any evidence for those two in Prinsep's Useful Tables, so no help there. Southeast Asian units are often (if not usually) more cognate to Chinese units that to Indian units, so I shouldn't merge too hastily. On the other hand, I think we can safely say that Homer (volume) and Omer (volume) are referring to the same biblical unit, and that the target should be Omer (unit)! Physchim62 (talk) 13:51, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
Oops! It appears that the homer (or chomer) and the omer are different units after all, and that the former is about 100 times larger than the latter. Note to self to fix this tomorrow, once I've got the Hebrew script to display properly! Physchim62 (talk) 23:54, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
Now that's weird. I have no display problems with Hebrew, so I will try to fix it. Hans Adler 08:30, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

It wasn't so much display problems as such: I just find the typeface very small to read as sans serif Hebrew (especially on the laptop I was using when I wrote the comment). Apparently, we're only supposed to increase the type size when using niqqud (diacritics), so I'll just leave that one! Still no news on Pau (unit), but I have confirmed (from several sources) that the batman and the maund are variants of the same unit. Physchim62 (talk) 15:28, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

Conducting research on WikiProjects

We are professors at Carnegie Mellon University conducting research on how online groups operate, with a strong history of research on Wikipedia.

We would like to discuss collaborating with you with the goals of both improving integration of new members into your WikiProject as well as advancing the understanding of the science behind online groups.

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We have identified your project as an initial candidate that we would love to work with moving forward based on your participants and the amount of assessment work your project needs accomplished. Please feel free to contact me (Prof. Robert E. Kraut robert.kraut@cmu.edu) with any questions and to find out more.

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If you are interested in this collaboration please contact Rosta Farzan at rfarzan@cs.cmu.edu.

Thank you,

Rostaf (talk) 19:08, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

Template:Unit of length/SI3

FYI, {{Unit of length/SI3}} has been nominated for deletion as unused and broken, at WP:TFD even though it works and has one transclusion....

70.29.210.242 (talk) 11:26, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

Yes, we occasionally have trouble with those templates. I've closed the deletion discussion as a snowball keep, because the nomination was made on the basis of a misconception, and I've enclosed the works of the template behind <includeonly> tags so that it doesn't spout great chunks of red text at anyone looking at the page! Physchim62 (talk) 13:10, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

SI system categories at CfD for renaming

A bunch of SI categories have been nominated for renaming, see Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2010 March 7.

70.29.210.242 (talk) 09:18, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

Template:Unit of area ?

Can someone create a {{Unit of area}} like {{Unit of length}} ? That would be useful in relating traditional units of areal measure (also another set for volume...)

65.94.253.16 (talk) 10:38, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

Looking at the way that {{Unit of length}} is constructed, a possible {{Unit of area}} would/could convert between m2 (and areas based on SI multiples of the metre) and the units in Category:Units of area. Is that what you are after? Pyrotec (talk) 11:01, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
See if {{Convert}} does what you need. Jc3s5h (talk) 15:51, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
The template {{Unit of length}} appears to be used as an "Infobox" - see for example Furlong rather than as an transclusion into a line of text. The template {{Unit of length}} can be copied and pasted to make a new one for {{Unit of area}}, which is a rather trival part of the overall work but the data needs updating and that is the most involved part - its, obviously, likely to use the same data as {{Convert}}. Pyrotec (talk) 16:00, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

Intelligence Citations Bibliography for Articles Related to IQ Testing

One interesting aspect of human intelligence testing is whether that involves "measurement" at all, and if so what Level of measurement. I have posted a bibliography of Intelligence Citations for the use of all Wikipedians who have occasion to edit articles on human intelligence and related issues. I happen to have circulating access to a huge academic research library at a university with an active research program in those issues (and to another library that is one of the ten largest public library systems in the United States) and have been researching these issues since 1989. You are welcome to use these citations for your own research and to suggest new sources to me by comments on that page. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 23:51, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

Article titles

Is there a guideline somewhere that states article titles about units of measure should be disambiguated, when necessary, with simply "(unit)"? Or is this just something that has become standard without discussion?

I bring it up because it seems to me this convention was adopted because it was short and not because it was clear. For example, I'm currently working to clean up the disambiguation page Bar, which includes an entry for Bar (unit). It seems to me that simply listing it as Bar (unit) is likely to be confusing, and it would be both clearer and easier to identify if it were titled Bar (unit of pressure) or Bar (unit of measurement). Of course, I can list it as "Bar (unit), a unit of measurement", but what is the point of including the parenthetical in the title of this article, and similar articles, if it is still always going to be necessary to offer additional explanation beyond the title in order for the user to identify what the article is actually about? Am I the only one who doesn't instantly equate "unit" to "unit of measurement"? (Certainly, I may be the only one here.) If you were defining this topic, would you say "it's a unit" or would you say "it's a unit of measurement"? Propaniac (talk) 19:42, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

  • Sorry, I don't see a problem with this article name. When there is a need for disambiguation, its usual to take the simplest naming approach (see Wikipedia:Disambiguation and Wikipedia:Article titles).
  • Ignoring Bar for the moment. If I were to write an article about the Bar. I would give it the title "Bar" and using the WP:MOS, the WP:Lead would state: "The Bar is a unit of pressure measurement, which can be absolute or relative. One Bar (absolute) is now defined as 100 KPa, and the Bar has also been accepted as being approximately atmospheric pressure ....". No doubt someone will wish to dispute this, but that is not my main point. Bar is now a disambig page, so the relevant article is now Bar (unit); however, I am still able to use the same lead. Anyone wishing to find about about the Bar, will be directed via Bar to Bar (unit). There is only, to my knowledge, one unit of measurement named "Bar" so there is no need to further disambig Bar (unit of measurement) into Bar (unit of pressure) and other variants. Obviously when I wish to wikilink to Bar in an article I pipeline the name using [[Bar (unit)|Bar]]. I'm happy to debate this further, if necessary/or if it helps. Pyrotec (talk) 20:20, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

There's quite a long discussion about this further up the page. To summarize, Foo (unit) is the normal form of disambiguation, although there are some articles which are disambiguated differently. The main goal is to have a disambiguation which is short to type and the same for as many articles as possible (so that editors don't have to look up the target article to known how to disambiguate the title). We don't usually use forms like Bar (unit of pressure) because its longer to type and some units have been used to measure several different physical quantities. For the DABpage at Bar, I would say "Bar (unit), a unit of pressure"; the article starts "The bar (symbol: bar) is a unit of pressure..." Physchim62 (talk) 20:51, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

So, in other words, it was chosen because it's short rather than because it's good. It's stupid to disambiguate it with a term that's so ambiguous that it needs to be defined further ("a unit of pressure") in order for you to know what it's talking about. It's not disambiguating, it's just giving it a unique name; that's not the same thing. But I am sure I'm not going to effect any change, and I don't care enough to keep arguing about it. I wanted to mention it just in case it hadn't actually been considered or pointed out that it is stupid to do it this way (I did miss the earlier discussion when I was scanning the TOC), but now I'm done. Propaniac (talk) 13:56, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
The whole point of disambiguation is to create unique titles where there would otherwise be duplicate titles. The role of explaining athe subject falls to the article, not to the title. The idea that we should make editors type more characters than is necessary to give unambiguous titles, now that is stupid: this encyclopedia does not exist for the benefit of its disambiguation pages, I'm sorry, if you can't be bothered to type a few simple words of explanation – to help our users, in other words – on a disambiguation page then don't bother even editing them. Physchim62 (talk) 16:05, 23 July 2010 (UTC)

Merger proposal related to this project

It has been proposed to merge Inch (Scots) into Inch. See Talk:Inch#Merger proposal for the discussion. Hans Adler 21:25, 25 July 2010 (UTC)

merge proposal

Okay, we have Angular distance and Angular diameter distance and Angular diameter. I am proposing the first two be merged into the third. Discuss at:

Talk:Angular_diameter#Merge_discussion Casliber (talk · contribs) 20:56, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

Rename Atomic Mass Unit article to Dalton (unit)

As a result of a decision made in 2005, the article Dalton (unit) was merged into and redirected to the article Atomic mass unit. Since then the standards bodies appear to have changed their stance. I have proposed that the Dalton (unit) become the definitive article and that Atomic mass unit consists of a redirection. Please comment on this proposal at talk:Atomic mass unit.

This notice appears at both the Physics and the Chemistry Wikiproject pages. Martinvl (talk) 15:26, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

Engineering Units

Should there be a page that collects all the units used in engineering? Many are covered under the article Conversion of units, but there are others, such as hardness, that don't relate to SI units. Some of the units in the List of unusual units of measurement can probably be moved here, too. (I apologize if such an article already exists, but I didn't find it.) BW95 (talk) 08:47, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

There are other "ratio" scales in Category:Scales, which has a lead article Scale (ratio). Possibly hardness could be accommodated into that; however I don't see any objections to creating an Engineering Units article. I'm not aware of any better match than Scale (ratio). Are you interested in contributing? Pyrotec (talk) 09:58, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

History of measurement

A dreadful article, anyone interested in having a go at it? Virtually unreferenced. Dougweller (talk) 18:11, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

I haven't read it, but if the huge graphic "Hindu units of time on a logarithmic scale" is indicative of the general quality, then no doubt you are right. Unfortunately the topic has not been very fashionable over the last 100 years or so. Does anybody know a book that gives a good overview which we could base a rewrite on? Hans Adler 19:36, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

Measurement articles have been selected for the Wikipedia 0.8 release

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Probable error

Would someone please check article probable error which I created and which contains an interpretation of this term in the context of "measurement" that I found on a website. I guess this could be wrong and anyway the article can certainly be improved. Melcombe (talk) 15:38, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

In measurement terms, you seem to be using "probable error" as a synonym of "estimated uncertainty". It's a complicated topic, so I'll have a look at the authoritative sources to see how we can expand that section. In the meantime, what you've said is not obviously wrong: it's just a question of how we can phrase it to be more encyclopedic. Physchim62 (talk) 15:54, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
I've had a quick look and it's (i.e. probable error) a short article. It would suggest a minor change/addition. Your measurement section contains the comment: "In the context of measurement, the probable error of a measurement made on an instrument having a scale, is defined as being one-half of the finest division on that scale". OK, in general its an accepted way of handing error in analogue (as in Analog signal) instruments/displays, such as scales, rulers, verniers, etc, timers, clock. I think, the "analog" part needs to be highlighted; and, also a comment about the "digital" side added. In contrast to analogue scales, digital devices typically have an error statement such as: error is plus or minus one unit and 2.5% (or 5%, etc); where the uncertainty band (2.5%, 5%, etc) is inversely related to the cost of the digital device: more expensive instruments generally tend to have lower uncertainties. It also takes into account that digital systems that "measurement" is carried out by a transducer that converts a physical unit of measurement into an electrical signal of some type that needs to be compared against one or more "internal standards" within the measurment system and then used to provide a display output - and all of these steps have in built uncertainities (like the GPS, refered to in the next section). Pyrotec (talk) 16:13, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

Invitation to participate!

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Proposed deletion of Joug

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The article Joug has been proposed for deletion because of the following concern:

A search for references failed to find any support for any of the content in this article, fails WP:N and WP:V

While all contributions to Wikipedia are appreciated, content or articles may be deleted for any of several reasons.

You may prevent the proposed deletion by removing the {{proposed deletion/dated}} notice, but please explain why in your edit summary or on the article's talk page.

Please consider improving the article to address the issues raised. Removing {{proposed deletion/dated}} will stop the proposed deletion process, but other deletion processes exist. The speedy deletion process can result in deletion without discussion, and articles for deletion allows discussion to reach consensus for deletion. JeepdaySock (AKA, Jeepday) 16:32, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

I found the ref. The see also article had the references. They where not difficult to find. Zginder 2010-11-18T23:47Z (UTC)

Hoole chest

Is Hoole chest genuine, a neologism, or a downright hoax? -- Finlay McWalterTalk 21:54, 3 December 2010 (UTC)

It was the sole article that a "new" editor worked on; and I can't find it via Google. I therefore suspect that it is a hoax, or possibly Hoole is the name of someone known to the article's creator. Pyrotec (talk) 22:02, 3 December 2010 (UTC)

Pseudoscientific metrology

I had no idea that this article exists. I has just come up at WP:FRINGE/N, and I am sure it can do with some attention, or at least people watchlisting it. Hans Adler 07:06, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Why 5280 feet in a mile? Consider pi as 22/7, and you will find the "prime" factors of 5280 to be 2,2,2,2,5,7,3and pi. you can thusly tie a ribbon to a spoke of 2,3,4,5,6,7 feet in diameter and count an interger value of wheel revolutions to the mile, furlong, etc. measurements. Very useful in the old days! 71.17.26.146 (talk) 02:59, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

radioactivity and units

Should there be an article relating rad, rem, roentgen, curie, gray, sievert, rutherford, becquerel ? We don't seem to have an overarching article to cover the differences between these units. We have a current nuclear event in the news. As older disasters did not use sieverts (Three Mile Island, Chernobyl) in news broadcasts from that period, people looking up resources on those events may end up needing some sort of guide on the issue. 184.144.160.156 (talk) 12:19, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

I agree. We really should have an article covering approximately this, and probably more. Hans Adler 20:11, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
The AfD for Banana equivalent dose has reminded me that this is rather pressing, so I have started a draft at User:Hans Adler/Units of measurement related to ionizing radiation. Everybody is invited to constructive collaboration. Let's hope that we can take the article live soon. (I won't insist on the current title. Note that the title is descriptive, so per the MOS there is no reason to press it into the first sentence just to make it bold.) Hans Adler 11:52, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

Metirc System - what is missing

I have completed a major overhaul of the article Metric system. Would other members of the group please review to see if it can be categorised as a "B" quality article with a view to submitting is as a GA level article (or better). Martinvl (talk) 15:29, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

I will repeat myself from my talk page: I think it's a good B quality article. I can't say whether it already has GA quality, as I would first have to convince myself it's basically complete, and that requires research. But it's probably not far away. Just one minor point: The article doesn't have a proper ending, but just stops after a table. Some reordering or a new conclusion section (not officially named that way, but serving that function) could help. Hans Adler 15:39, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

Proposal for Template:Convert to convert inches to centimetres rather than millimetres by default

See Template talk:Convert#Default target unit for inch conversions. A. di M.plédréachtaí 20:12, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

A template for physical constants?

I was editing a few articles to update the values of physical constants to the CODATA 2010 values, and I thought that a template for that would be a good idea. (See User:A. di M./physconst for an idea of what I'm thinking about.) This way, one wouldn't have to look up and copy the values each time; as a bonus, when CODATA 2014 comes out all that'll be needed would be just editing the template, rather than lots of articles. What do you think? A. di M.plédréachtaí 14:28, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

Looks good, a few points
  • Do you plan to only give CODATA as the reference, or do you plan to use the most recent definition, regardless of whether it is BIPM or CODATA.
  • I noticed an inconsistency in the use of the "/" symbol - you wrote "m/s", but you also wrote "m s3 kg-1.
Martinvl (talk) 14:46, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
I'd give the most recent values. Right now, the reference links to the NIST website giving the CODATA 2010 values, even if the paper by CODATA themselves won't be published until late 2011/early 2012.[9]. As for divisions, I thought of using slashes for ‘simpler’ units and exponents for more ‘complicated’ ones, but small details like this can be ironed out at the template talk page: here I'm more interested in whether there's support for the general idea. — Preceding unsigned comment added by A. di M. (talkcontribs) 16:59, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
The New SI definitions might well change some of the the values, or at any rate the uncertainty associated with them. I think it worth noting this in the documentation and also how the template will handle the change. In my view when (and if) the changes come about, the values in the existing template should be replaced with the new values (and uncertainties). In particular editors should be warned that some of the values (such as charge of an electron) will become exact and that others (such as triple point of water) will acquire an uncertainty. This is best done in the documentation (and possibly also in an article). Martinvl (talk) 17:27, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
Of course! That's an even better reason for the template than ‘when CODATA14 comes along’. (Though IIRC someone said they weren't going to redefine the kilogram until the Planck constant/Avogadro number/whatever was known to within 20 ppb, and their uncertainty in CODATA10 is 44 ppb.) A. di M.plédréachtaí 11:55, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
Sounds good. Re: slashes vs neg exponents, why not have it controlled by a parameter? JIMp talk·cont 21:05, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
Maybe, even if that would make the template more complicated. Anyway, even if each constant has a default unit, one can still use |unit=no and then supply their own. A. di M.plédréachtaí 11:55, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

Anyway, seeing no opposition to the idea, I'm going to move it into the template space. A. di M.plédréachtaí 10:36, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

It's at {{physconst}} now. Now I have to take a break for a few days, but feel free to edit the template (that's why I moved it out of my user space, after all). A. di M.plédréachtaí 18:01, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
I'm really not a fan of having a template handle physical constants. Consider a passage like 2 × μN = 2 × 5.05078353(11)×10−27 J/T =1.010156706(22)×10−26 J/T, with the underlined part being handled through the template. The nuclear magneton then get an update in 2012 to 5.05078351(5)×10−27 J/T, and the article automatically becomes updated to 2 × μN = 2 × 5.05078351(5)×10−27 J/T = 1.010156706(22)×10−26 J/T, which is wrong. Or alternatively, consider a passage such as The 2010 CODATA value for the nuclear magneton is μN = 5.05078353(11)×10−27 J/T. In 2012, the template gets an update, but not the article, and this reads The 2010 CODATA value for the nuclear magneton is μN = 5.05078351(5)×10−27 J/T, which is again wrong. Template like these seem to "simplify" maintenance at first, but really all it does is create more work to make sure the use of these templates don't introduce falsehoods in articles. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 01:56, 20 June 2011 (UTC)