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Old 2008-05-16, 16:04   #1
davieddy
 
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Anyone else spot a discrepancy in China's response?
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Old 2008-05-16, 19:47   #2
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You mean the whole "instead of doing everything possible to frustrate international aid efforts and let the army steal the aid that does arrive, here's a radical idea: let's actually try helping the victims!" thing?

If ever there were justification for a "humanitarian regime change", Myanmar is it - but because of Bush's regime-change misadventures in the middle east, I'm afraid it's a no-no for the U.S. to consider it, and no other country will take the risk. Also, humanitarian regime change appears to fall way outside the UN's current purview - unprecedented actions have that quality, you'll never get a bunch of UN bureaucrats to go out on a limb like that. These are the same folks who only recognize genocide in hindsight, after all.

Last fiddled with by ewmayer on 2008-05-16 at 19:47
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Old 2008-05-18, 09:47   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davieddy View Post
Anyone else spot a discrepancy in China's response?
Do you mean that they're welcoming aid from outside, in contrast to the past when they blocked it out, and broadcasting information instead of concealing it as in the past, or are you referring to something else?
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Old 2008-05-18, 11:03   #4
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I was primarily referring to the fact that the Burmese regime is
closer to China that anyone else, and so China might have been
more successful in aiding the cyclone victims.
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Old 2008-05-18, 22:33   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davieddy View Post
I was primarily referring to the fact that the Burmese regime is closer to China that anyone else,
I hadn't known that.

Most of what I've known about Burma/Myanmar was that, for most of my life, it has been the second-largest country (of only three) that had not yet shifted from a traditional system of weights and measures to the metric system (metrication).

Quote:
and so China might have been more successful in aiding the cyclone victims.
... in view of the joint statement on the framework of future bilateral relations and cooperation (http://english.people.com.cn/english...606_42385.html) that China and Myanmar issued in 2000, anyway. After reading all the areas on which they mutually agreed, one might think that emergency humanitarian assistance ought to fit in there somewhere, even though not specifically mentioned.

A sudden, and probably best forgotten, thought: perhaps instead of sending aid, China's having a sympathy catastrophe?

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2008-05-18 at 23:28
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Old 2008-05-20, 18:05   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheesehead View Post
Most of what I've known about Burma/Myanmar was that, for most of my life, it has been the second-largest country (of only three) that had not yet shifted from a traditional system of weights and measures to the metric system (metrication).
That is a load .
Brits still drink pints of ale, buy pounds of meat at the butchers, drive miles, weigh 10 stone 5, etc.

US law reads:
Quote:
§ 205b. Declaration of policy. - It is therefore the declared policy of the United States-


(1) to designate the metric system of measurement as the preferred system of weights and measures for United States trade and commerce;

(2) to require that each Federal agency 2 ,by a date certain and to the extent economically feasible by the end of the fiscal year 1992, use the metric system of measurement in its procurements, grants, and other business-related activities, except to the extent that such use is impractical or is likely to cause significant inefficiencies or loss of markets to United States firms, such as when foreign competitors are producing competing products in non-metric units;

(3) to seek out ways to increase understanding of the metric system of measurement through educational information and guidance and in Government publications; and

(4) to permit the continued use of traditional systems of weights and measures in non-business activities.
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Old 2008-05-21, 10:11   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncwilly View Post
That is a load .
No, it is not!

1) Because it was off-topic for this thread, I condensed my statement rather than spelling out in detail each country's metrication status.

2) I was referring to governmental decisions/actions rather than individuals' behavior.

3) I was referring to a general bit of information (right or wrong) that I carried in my memory over a long period of time, not to some absolute standard of truth.

Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metrication) indicates that the current situation is more complex than my statement, and I am not disputing that. (But see below the current statement from the Central Intelligence Agency's The World Factbook.)

4) By "shifted from a traditional system of weights and measures to the metric system (metrication)", I meant that the country had officially adopted the metric system to the extent that, for example, the speed limit signs were posted as km/h ... or that the CIA considered the country to have adopted SI.

There was a brief period in the 1970s when a few U.S. speed limit signs were updated to both metric and non-metric (I saw some), but AFAIK all such signs were replaced by non-metric ones. To the best of my knowledge, there are no such signs posted in the U.S. currently unless some minor municipality has its non-highway streets so posted.

http://primes.utm.edu/ has a photo of a "SPEED LIMIT 31" sign, which might (if authentic) have been the result of someplace's declaring a speed limit of 50 km/h, then reconverting to miles per hour with rounding to the nearest integer rather than to the nearest multiple of 5.

Quote:
Brits still drink pints of ale, buy pounds of meat at the butchers, drive miles, weigh 10 stone 5, etc.
Of course the ale was in pints -- metrication does not require that all individuals abandon any use of non-metric weights and measures.

From my visit to England in 1983, I know first-hand that the speed limit signs I saw were metric and many of the grocery store produce signs were metric ... and that was 25 years ago. Therefore, the UK is not one of the three countries to which I referred. (Besides Burma, the other two were United States and Liberia.)

From The World Factbook, published by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, Appendix G (https://www.cia.gov/library/publicat...endix-g.html):

Quote:
Originally Posted by CIA's "The World Factbook"
Note: At this time, only three countries - Burma, Liberia, and the US - have not adopted the International System of Units (SI, or metric system) as their official system of weights and measures. Although use of the metric system has been sanctioned by law in the US since 1866, it has been slow in displacing the American adaptation of the British Imperial System known as the US Customary System. ...

.
.
.

This page was last updated on 21 February, 2008
- - - - - - -

Quote:
US law reads:
(1) Actually, the metric system has been legal to use (but not mandatory, obviously) in the U.S. since 1866, as shown by the unquoted first section of that law.

According to my sources, one will not find any U.S. law that specifically authorizes any system of weights and measures other than SI. (The U.S. customary units were carried over from Britain in common law, so have never needed to be specifically authorized for use.)

(2) Unless I've missed something, that law does not mandate the use of metric by anyone other than the federal government in certain limited areas. It does not, for example, require the posting of metric speed limit signs.

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2008-05-21 at 10:18
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Old 2008-05-21, 11:36   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheesehead View Post
No, Of course the ale was in pints -- metrication does not require that all individuals abandon any use of non-metric weights and measures.
Beer is exceptional: Beer and Milk can be sold in imperial pints. Draft beer MUST be sold in third- half- or full pints.

Nothing else can be sold in pints.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheesehead View Post
From my visit to England in 1983, I know first-hand that the speed limit signs I saw were metric...
I don't know what to make of this. I wasn't driving in 1983 but I have driven since. AFAIK speed limits in UK have always been in miles per hour. There are no plans to change this (the Wikipedia article gives a reference). I think distances to junctions are in hundreds of metres now, (rather than hundreds of yards as previously) but no-one's going to notice the difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheesehead View Post
...and many of the grocery store produce signs were metric ... and that was 25 years ago.
Yes. Labelling in metric has been mandatory for some time. For goods sold lose however it is totally acceptable to ask for, say, 'pound of cheese'. The scale has to be metric, but the assistant does the conversion.

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Old 2008-05-21, 23:40   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Cameron View Post
I don't know what to make of this. I wasn't driving in 1983 but I have driven since. AFAIK speed limits in UK have always been in miles per hour.
1) I have a distinct recollection of seeing a metric speed limit sign through the window of a tour bus (I did no driving there). However, I readily concede that my memory could be faulty -- I've discovered that a few other clear memories are definitely factually incorrect, and I don't claim exemption from studies that show that eyewitness testimony is unreliable. My use of the plural "signs" could easily be an invalid generalization from that single observation.

2) Perhaps it was a test case ... that there were at that time a few metric speed limit signs on certain highways? ... perhaps they were placed alongside mile-per-hour signs? Indeed, that might be why I remember that sign but not others.

- - - - -

davieddy,

I apologize for sidetracking this thread.

- - - - -

Moderators,

Can you split out the metric comments into a separate "Status of Metrication" thread?

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2008-05-21 at 23:51
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Old 2008-05-29, 13:01   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheesehead View Post
A sudden, and probably best forgotten, thought: perhaps instead of sending aid, China's having a sympathy catastrophe?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7425574.stm
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Old 2008-05-29, 17:33   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davieddy View Post
Is Ms. Stone familiar with plate tectonics?
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