how long is a mile?

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logandsawman

Well-Known Member
#23

My early background is land surveying: 1 square mile is 640 acres,easily divided into 16 40 acre parcels; an acre easily calculated by
chains (66') in length by chains in breadth: 10 square chains being equal to one acre. There being 4 rods to a chain, and everyone knows the practical length of a rod by the length of a common portage in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness being posted in rods.

Furthermore, 80 chains equals one mile, a parcel of ground 20 chains by 20 chains is equal to 40 acres in size, ie; 1/4 mile by 1/4 mile equals 40 acres.

This all becomes very easy with practice. Try converting these to kilometers and hectares, and you have a real mathematical jungle gym.

Have fun with this---lasm
 

fcwilt

Active Member
#25
Like many folks you are making a fundamental error - why would I convert those imperial units? In a metric culture you start with metric units and from that point things are very easy.
 

logandsawman

Well-Known Member
#26
In a metric culture you start with metric units and from that point things are very easy.
In America, fortunately, we start with feet and stay that way.

Trying to change everything to someone else' culture may be easy if it is just your wrench set; but when we try to rewrite the entire historical record of land survey; the job in insurmountable. In land survey, the most ancient evidence is given the greatest weight. In my current position in transportation engineering; all the plans in metric are a major pain in the bottom.

Back in the sixties some narrow sighted academics decided something was going to be easier for them and tried to shove it down the rest of us. Obviously, a failed journey.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#28
Who's to really say 2+2=4? Isn't math nothing more than a theory?:confused:
Ok if you want to go that route: I'll agree to pay you $200 an hour, but after you work for two hours and come to get your pay check, instead of giving you $400 I'll give you a $1 and tell you the math isn't real it is only a theory. If 2+2=4 wasn't true then there would have been no railroads built, or bridges, or sky scrapers, or anything else that involves engineering, there would be no commerce, no sports, nor anything considered an attribute of a civilization. I am not even certain nature would work right.

Math, as we think of it, is a compiled set of proven theories, and as such is the most exact science. The science of numbers.
 
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wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#30
Just a small correction on the miles - kilometers thing:

There is a little over 1.609 Kilometers to a Mile,
1609 Meters to a Mile and
39.3 something Inches to a Meter.

In reverse, there is 0.62 Miles to a Kilometer, OR
37.55 Feet per Kilometer (in HO Scale) - give or take.

Therefore, if you have a layout that is, say 30 Feet long, you would have the equivalent of about 1/2 a mile of actual track OR about .72 Kilometers of actual track, roughly.
 
#31
Why does the US use a measurement method that was determined by the size of the foot of the king of England? Being the nation that fought the red coats and separated ourselves, one would think that it made sense, even then, to convert to metric. Or did the English already use metric units in the mid-1700s?

Since the measured foot of a king was the measured foot of a tape measure, it would be the oldest method of measurement only proving lasm's theory of "it's easier to use that of which we already have" than to change to a system that makes more sense.

I work in the automotive industry, where EVERYTHING is metric. Then I go home to work around the house where EVERYTHING is imperial. Honestly, I don't find any one system more difficult to use, but metric is far more convenient.

Drive a car from Michigan to Canada. When you see the speed limit sign, think before pressing the gas pedal!!

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#32
Why does the US use a measurement method that was determined by the size of the foot of the king of England? Being the nation that fought the red coats and separated ourselves, one would think that it made sense, even then, to convert to metric. Or did the English already use metric units in the mid-1700s?
The Metric system is French. The French even had it "patented" until 1875 or so. I'm pretty certain that buying a new method of measure from the French and converting everything everyone knew was the last thing on the rebel's minds.
 
#33
The Metric system is French. The French even had it "patented" until 1875 or so. I'm pretty certain that buying a new method of measure from the French and converting everything everyone knew was the last thing on the rebel's minds
Very true, rebels typically don't think of things like this.
I can't lie, I always thought the only thing the French gave us was bottled water. So I had to look into it. Disclaimner: I only read Wikipedia, so the information isn't exactly written in stone as solid history (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metric_system).
The French didn't come up with the metric system, but instead were the first ones to decide it was a good idea to have the entire country use the same system of measuring. Ironically enough, Iron Horseman, the lack of standard measuring is also considered to be one of the reasons for the outbreak of the French Revolution. Anyhow, when trying to set the standard for their own country, they invited other countries to adopt the same system. Thomas Jefferson was one of the people included in these meetings, and proceeded to propose the system to Congress in 1790 as the Plan for Establishing Uniformity in the Coinage, Weights, and Measures of the United States.
Some things never change, as congress sat on the proposal for so long that people lost interest and nothing ever happened.
The mathematician who came up with the system was Flemish. In 1586, he published a paper describing the need for one standard system. He concluded that after a period of time, all current methods (of the time) would fail, as no two cities had the same method. This would lead to the collapse of trade routes, and limit industrial growth ("industrial" having a very different meaning at that time than it does now, but still the implications are understood). He was right, as later in the 1700s, Russia started complaining about the inability to easily transfer goods. Again, some things never change - companies that specialized in converting the measurements of one city to another's put up a strong fight against uniformity, and won. Thus, the most advanced nations in the world at the time remained stuck with no uniform method of measurement.

Not really sure how much this has to do with the original "How long is a mile?" question that started this thread, but interesting nevertheless.

The more you know...
 
#34
Sirfoldalot.

I agree! If a ship leaves port A at... Ah screw it I'm going to float my trains and see how my boats run the rails!

Iron Horseman,
I threw furlong in as a joke nothing more! But for argument's sake a furlong is an 1/8th mile long and they do drag race the 1/8th mile! Although its not accepted as a measurement of speed, it is a measurement of distance which can be used to calculate speed. Just sayin:cool:
 

Bruette

Well-Known Member
#35
We certainly have an eclectic group of intellectuals on this forum.

Iron Horsemen, I learned years ago in high school (if I remember correctly) that part of the motivation of the French to adopt the metric system was to promote trade throughout the continent of Europe rather then with Great Britain. Does this idea have any basis in fact?

As this is a train forum I will point out there are still differences between the US, Europe and Great Britain. O scale in the US it is 1:48, Europe 1:45 and Great Britain 1:43, seems we can't agree on much of anything.

Even in the US O scale is confusing with Lionel's Standard O and Traditional O. I won't even try to name the other manufactures of US O scale. Semi-scale, full scale, God only knows what scale and on and on

Carry on gentlemen, this is, if nothing else, entertaining.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#36
WIron Horsemen, I learned years ago in high school (if I remember correctly) that part of the motivation of the French to adopt the metric system was to promote trade throughout the continent of Europe rather then with Great Britain. Does this idea have any basis in fact?
I do not know. The French were definitely in a mad rush to be the "best" of everything in the world. For a time they were the world leaders in science, especially electricity. Names like Ampere, François-Marie Arouet (Voltaire), Coulomb, Laplace, Pixxi should sound familiar. 1800s was a good time to be an electrical engineer in France.
 
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#37
Bruette:

I would suspect that France's attempts to get the continent to adopt a common measurement that excluded Britain has some basis in fact, historically speaking. The French and British have a history of invading each other and not getting along. It's not until modern times, starting with Queen Victoria, that they began to work towards common goals and resolving their differences. It didn't hurt that the rise of an industrialized, united Germany and the pre-WWI naval arms races helped bring this about.

And I've decided to offer this tidbit for your consumption: A mile is as long as I say it is on my layout!

Photoman475

And remember our veterans today and in history, as this week now ending saw the 1864 Cold Harbor battle, the 1942 Battle of Midway, and D-Day. Later this month will mark the anniversary of the Korean War's start.
 

Rico

BN Modeller
#38
Well this has to be the tastiest can o' worms I've seen in a long time! :)
I'm not going to touch the French/English thing, being I live in Canada and have spent time in Quebec... but I am wondering now if the US is the last remaining country to still use the old system of measure?
 

Sirfoldalot

CEO ACME Corporation
Staff member
#39
Feet & inches, miles per hour & feet per second, gallons & quarts ... Etc.
I'm too old and stubborn to change now.
Just the way it is.
 
#40
Per the question, the answer is actually one mile. A scale mile is the answers given. Btw, the best math question is: Train A left the station at Town A at 1000 hours Zulu. Train B left the station at Town B at 1400 Zulu. They meet at a point 1/3 of the way to Town B. Define a set of equations that will determine 1) the distance between Town A and Town B; and 2) the speed of each train, assuming acceleration from a complete stop of 10 feet per second per second from a dead stop. 3) Determine optimal results given real world parameters of train speed over track in the US. :-D
 



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