Jacob Rees-Mogg issues style guide to staff

1. Organizations are SINGULAR

2. All non-titled males — Esq.

3. There is no . after Miss or Ms

4. M.P.s — There is no need to write M.P. after their name in body of text

5. Male M.P.s (non-privy councillors) — in the address they should have Esq. before M.P. (e.g., Tobias Ellwood, Esq., M.P.)

6. Double space after fullstops

7. No comma after ‘and’

8. CHECK your work

9. Use imperial measurements


Among the list of bizarre rules, he asks staff not to use the words “got”, “very” or “equal”.

Here is the full story, don’t even ask about “Hopefully,” and for the pointer I thank Esq. Kevin Lewis.


“6. Double space after fullstops”

Impeach this monster now.

Half of this is garbage, the rest is so obvious I’m puzzled by why it needs to be there at all. No comma after “and”? I mean, who is the target audience for this style guide, trained monkeys?

It's hard to respect someone who prides themselves on their intellect and erudition after they ask for that silly double space rule, that reeks of complete ignorance of basic typography.

It's correct for nonproportional (fixed width) fonts, incorrect for proportional fonts. Maybe he's using a typewriter.

Rees-Mogg appears to take pride in traditionalism above anything else, and this rule is in line with that. Yes, it's a silly rule.

A Double space after fullstops is visually appealing and a single space is visually confusing. This is especially true on a computer screen where the period does not stand out as well as it does on paper.

If this guy is the leader of the House of Commons, the English have way bigger problems than Brexit.

I'd use a comma after "and" in the likes of this - 'I shall not do as you bid me and, let me emphasise, I shall bust you on the snoot if you repeat such an instruction.' But then any moderately mischievous schoolboy could come up with silly exceptions like that.

Otherwise the list seems to be a mixture of mild idiosyncrasy and good sense. Banning "very" is sensible - it's usually a primary school word that should play little part in adult discussions. "Unacceptable" is as bloody as "inappropriate" and "significant" - almost always affectations or mere weaselling.

I don't know the logic of Imperial units. At a guess he means that if someone writes to you using Imperial units it is courteous to use Imperial units in the reply. Using metric units would smack too much of prissily correcting the original correspondent. And likewise vice versa.

My only thought is that there’s some common colloquial UK construction in which “and” is followed by a comma, eg starting a sentence with “And, ...” instead of something like “Additionally, ...”. But I’m not British, so this is just a guess.

It is always correct to use the Oxford Comma, as he should know given that he went to Trinity College, Oxford. In variable width fonts, the use of two spaces after a period is incorrect and leads to ugly typography. Imperial measures? Pull the other one.

Rees-Mogg is a silly person.

An Oxford comma would go before the 'and'.
Presumably these are problems noted in what the British Civil Service regularly publishes.

Studies show greater ease of comprehension at two spaces. So ,I switched back. One had appealed to me on efficiency grounds.


The other rules seem fine as well.

I guess I failed Item 8. Again.

I think my "special eyes" reinforce the natural tendency to see what I think I typed.

Nearsighted, with some macular degeneration.

Oh, MR takes out the spaces? I guess I could see some blog plug-in doing a "normalize whitespaces," but as science shows, at some loss of readability.

"Most notably, the test subjects read paragraphs in Courier New, a fixed-width font similar to the old typewriters, and rarely used on modern computers."

There you go. Modern fonts already have a double-space width built into a single space, so by double spacing you are in effect triple or quadruple spacing, and anyone knowingly arguing for quadruple spacing is simply a buffoon.

What you did there was classic comments behavior. You rejected a study and claimed an unsubstantiated "fact."

I know enough about fonts and CSS to know that you can't make a claim about there being just one presentation. You'd need a study. Probably one using Apple, Android, and Microsoft rendering engines.

Got one?

"Johnson, one of the authors, told Douglas that the fixed-width font was standard for eye-tracking tests, and the benefits of two-spacing should carry over to any modern font."

Sounds reasonable, pending any survey to say it ain't true.

In what way does it sound reasonable?? Everyone knows you two-space fixed-width font and not variable-width font. If you know "enough" (anything) about fonts, you know this and why. Arguing that variable-width font should be expected to behave identically to a typewriter (i.e. courier) is asinine.

Disagreeing with an author's completely unjustified assertion, totally outside of any study, which flies in the face of accepted wisdom, is not "rejecting a study"

Maybe later I'll screenshot and pixel count this page, but it looks like my two spaces are reduced to one here. Equal to word-word spacing. On ASUS and Android.

I speculate that his staff will meet with a lot of disappointment due to the ongoing imposition of a lot of these rules. For their own sake, hopefully the organization will invest in learning them, otherwise they are no longer fit for the purpose of serving Esq. Rees-Mogg, which would be very unacceptable. How about yourself? Got a problem with that?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Esq.
The esquire comes after the full name, not randomly before a surname.
One I would like to add is when people write 'Lord Chris Patten' rather than 'Lord Patten' or 'Chris Patten'. Unless he is the son of an Earl, which he is not.

Its Kevin Lewis Esq.

It's "it's."


It's "it's".

No, no it's not.

I'm in America as is the writer of this blog. In any case, a period outside of the quotation marks looks god awful regardless of one's chosen rule.

No, it looks idiotic inside the quotation as if it's part of it.

"You're not hunting him.... he's hunting you.".

The American choice looks to be made for visual appeal, but has this one ever been RCT'd for comprehension? Or would we care?

Love it. Set high standards on day 1. It's a sad testament to educational standards that these things need to be said, although the comma after "and" thing and the no periods after Miss ans Ms is a British vs. American English thing, so not universal. Also, because it's not American, it's obviously stupid (I still don't understand them styling AIDS as Aids).

No comma after "and" is definitely universal. Maybe you're confused with before "and".

You're right. I was confused and drunk. The latter is the only way to enjoy this site, but not the best state of mind for commenting.

It confused me too at first. I assumed he was opposed to the Oxford/Harvard comma, (which, again: wrong), but on re-reading was completely puzzled as to WHAT this rule was about.

I guess one could use a comma for pause and, drama?

No doesn't quite work.

There are plenty of appropriate times to use a comma after an and, but if you think your staff are idiots then it makes sense to outlaw it

And, this is the right answer.

Why do very old-style conservatives get attached to such absurd old grammatical rules and objectively worse systems of measurement?

It is such a hideously elitist idea that has thankfully mostly died with mass education and literacy.

Ben: You are claiming (at least as you’ve written here) that along with the death of these prescriptive rules, mass education and literacy have also died! Perhaps a little prescriptivism would help here!

That's what conservatives do: conserve things as they are or used to be.

Correct (not here in America, of course, where conservatives break things).

1. "The Dallas Cowboys is awesome."

Yeah, you go ahead and say that.

Well, of course he would, being British. And wait until you learn how he would pronounce 'z.'

Sadly, I did not notice about how his staff is supposed to use billions properly, and start referring to thousand millions (one assumes that a leading Brexiter is unlikely to use the more or less Europe wide 'milliard' for that number).

No, most British people would not say that.

This is not even a British vs. American thing, and to the extent that it is, to my ear the British tend to use the plural more often than Americans.

Consider all of the following:

1. The Cowboys are terrible.

2. The Cowboys is terrible.

3. Dallas is terrible.

4. Dallas are terrible.

Both Brits and Americans would use 1. and 3. Neither would use 2. Brits might use 4., but Americans almost never would.

No, this is absolutely a UK vs. US thing. Americans generally refer to e.g. corporations in the singular (“Google hasn’t responded to my letter”) whereas Brits generally use the plural (“Google haven’t responded to my letter”). The former evokes the corporation as a unified legal person; the latter evokes the corporation as an assembly of human beings. So R-M is advocating the American usage in his style guide. Personally I’m torn between the two, but working in North America I’m usually compelled to follow the local convention.

As an American living in Britain for a long time, I agree that the use of the plural is greater in Britain, but it's far from universal. I would say that the British use singular with reference to organisations the majority of the time. Americans may also use the plural in certain limited cases.

In any case, the main point is that prior got it backwards.

Hoorah! The Dallas Cowboys is a machine that produces football entertainment (sort of). It is singular. Possibly unique (I hope so).

How do you order wine in imperial measurements at a restaurant or bar? Ordering "one deci" referring to deciliter is common in the EU. Same for spirits: half-deci. What is the imperial unit for drinks?

'What is the imperial unit for drinks?'

Pints, obviously. Which are 20 ounces, in much the same fashion that one takes the lift to the first floor in the UK. The US and the UK may have a special relationship, but it does not extend to fluid measures (apart from ounces).

And deciliter is a particularly French thing, in contrast to Germany, where you tend to use liter as a base measure - beer will be marked as being .5l, or wine .2l, or for spirits, centiliter, such as 2cl. Of course, the metric measure is simple to convert, in comparison to dealing with the difference between 'standard' gallons (what Americans apparently call their anything but standard system) and imperial gallons.

Who drinks a pint of blauburgunder or primitivo?

I was expecting a folksy English word for a volume around 0.1L or 1 deci.

People in the continent order wine by the ml rather than the glass or bottle?

How much wine is "a glass" ? Take into account glasses have a withe line and white characters indicating the volume.

Well, in Britain I think at most it's like large glass / small glass etc, and it seems people don't worry about it to the degree of "Zweihundert millilitre danke!". You kind of get what you're given.

(Although some places will list the ml capacity of their glass on the menu... it seems to lack class to do so though).

clearly you don't drink much. You may find glasses without the official weights and measures stamps in a restaurant, but in that case the law ( Weights and Measures Act of 1964) states alcohol must first be measured separately using a measure and then poured into the glass.
The establishment must advertise the size of the measure.

Well more that I've never kept bar or ordered wine much or questioned what a large glass really means.

But in any case, you still don't order wine by the measure. Which is the point.

How do you tell someone what time to meetup at the bar in metric? And how many times have you ever done so?

The Metric vs Imperial debates are a bit silly. Almost no one uses the pure form of either.

If the staff in question are ghostwriting communications in the boss's name for his signature, it's reasonable to ask them to imitate his personal style. Perhaps that's their entire job.

But who would ever put a comma after "and"? Is that a misphrased attempt to prohibit Oxford commas?

'1. Organizations are SINGULAR'

Brexiter prefers British English usage. Film at 11.

'3. There is no . after Miss or Ms'

Brexiter prefers British English usage. Film at 11.

'9. Use imperial measurements'

Brexiter prefers British measurements. Film at 11.

What is funny is to realize that after Brexit, and assuming the UK decides to give up all the advantages of using SI, that at least no authority will need to change the speed limits, as the officially metric UK currently uses miles for its speed limits.

10. And if you absolutely must have sex, for god's sake, do it with the lights off. We are British, you know.

we understand your concerns

9. Use imperial measurements.

ie. We hate young people.

So are they now required to state that 10 pence is actually 0.83333 of a shilling?

'ie. We hate young people. '

Actually, it is much broader than that. SI is an elegant ongoing attempt to make measurements pretty much convertible at a fundamental level.

Compare that to acre/foot. And yes, I am quoting the entire portion of the link that shows just how useful all of those 'standard' or imperial measures are in use. 'As the name suggests, an acre-foot is defined as the volume of one acre of surface area to a depth of one foot.

Since an acre is defined as a chain by a furlong (i.e. 66 ft × 660 ft or 20.12 m × 201.17 m), an acre-foot is 43,560 cubic feet (1,233 m3).

There are two definitions of an acre-foot (differing by about 0.0006%), depending on whether the "foot" used is an "international foot" or a "U.S. survey foot".
1 acre-foot = 43,560 cubic feet = 75,271,680 cu in
1 international acre-foot = 43,560 international cubic feet
= 1,233.48183754752 m3
≈ 271,328.072596 imp gal
= 325,851 3⁄7 US gal
1 U.S. survey acre-foot = 43,560 U.S. survey cubic feet
≈ 1233.4892384681 m3
≈ 271,329.700571 imp gal
≈ 325,853.383688 U.S. gal'

And really, you have to love a unit defined using 3/7 of a gallon. Not to mention using chains and furlongs. And remember, there are 8 furlongs in a mile, just like there are 5,280 feet, or 1,760 yards in a mile. Though, not a nautical mile, of course.

It took about 20 years after conversion to metric was completed in Australia for the last old person to realize they sounded like an idiot when they said they preferred imperial measurements.

Of course, in Australia it helped that we had a large migrant population that was familiar with the system. Sticking it to the wogs is probably the entire point of this effort to make the UK a worse place.

I wonder what the pounds of nose to ounces of spite ratio is these days?

Amusingly, the U.S. and Canada were going to switch to the metric system together in the 70s/80s, which is one reason I was taught the metric system in school.

Then Reagan got elected, and the U.S. scrapped all its plans to use a global system - something that the rest of the world did not actually care about, of course, as there was no way the rest of the world would use something as crazy as Fahrenheit degrees or different versions of gallons ever again. (Yep, North American gas cans had two gallon measures - just like the gas pumps in the US and Canada would pump different amounts of gasoline as 10 gallons.)

Canada, however, did complete its conversion (with the occasional not so amusing moments - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gimli_Glider). Canadians I have talked to who are my age, who also learned things like Fahrenheit and (imperial) gallons as children, have basically no memory of those old systems at all.

The imperial gallons one is a special case, though. Basically, an American quart - liquid (0.946352946 liters), not dry (1.101220942715 liters) - is 32 fluid ounces (yes, an ounce represents two different measures, leaving aside that ounces for weight also have two different scales), while a liter is 33.8 ounces. Basically, the American system is adaptable enough to metric with some simple shortcuts. The British liquid measures, however, are a bit absurd after conversion - if you read British cooking recipes these days, they will talk about adding 560ml of a liquid to a mix - that being the metric amount representing a British pint.

Wrong. The first thing i have to teach young people are Imperial measures. Btus, cfm, gpm, degrees f, R factor for insulation. Equivalent length charts, psi. Lbs per gallon. Etc. A length of pipe is 12 ft.

The government produced exams for certification use these.

Interesting - what grade? And for what purpose?

And I wonder why the couple of Canadians I know my age have absolutely no idea what 75F means, for example.

And it is interesting to think that the Canadianr gpm would not be the same as the American gpm - any reason (apart from the benefit of being able to use older equipment, which makes complete sense) to teach it? It certainly would have no value when looking at American measures.

Fahrenheit is far superior to Celsius when it comes to describing the weather. Canadians were dopes for switching to that.

Yeah I mean if you want to shoehorn all measurements into a base-ten fetish then metric is great, if you want to actually describe things in an accurate, easily understandable manner then use the measures that developed naturally without them being forced down peoples' throats.

And this is new to me - 'Lbs per gallon.'

Oh wait - do you mean something along the lines of density? Still would not be accurate in American terms, of course, which really makes one wonder why the Canadians seem less consistent than the Australians (again, only ones I have talked to, who really do not seem to know any of the old fashioned measures at all). After all, the world uses metric, and the U.S. does not use imperial liquid measures, so it seems (again, apart from the sense of knowing older equipment) a waste of time, basically.

And of course not every measure is metric - AWG is a common enough way to refer to wire size in metric Germany too. However, I do not believe it is taught in schools particularly (another question to ask whenever I get the chance, actually).

Construction trades. In my case refrigeration. Imperial gallons are pretty well gone. USg is common though. For heating, you buy a pump rated at gpm at feet head, your heater is treated in BTUs, 1 degree F per lb of water. Your load is calculated based on insulation values btu / sq ft / td F. Etc. Lots of calculations, formulas simplified to constants. If i spec a capacity in kw of cooling, the vendor will do a conversion into btu/hr.

Most everyone is conversant in both systems but the rules of thumb typically are the US system.

Retreating to "This is because we hate foreigners" immediately after being told it is dumb to suggest "This is because we hate young people" (because they largely understand imperial still) is... pretty striking behavior.

'because they largely understand imperial still'

Recognizing that my personal sample of under 30 British people is a bit skewed, but also recognizing that this is actually the sort of thing I have been asking for a couple of decades (the U.S. really stands out in sticking to its measurement system - the UK, far less, except for older people), I would not be so certain that many younger British citizens 'understand' the imperial system. They have some shorthand conversions, the same way that Germans use 'Pfund' to refer to a half kilogram, particularly when talking about something like coffee. As for Fahrenheit, forget it.

The really amusing thing is that the obvious disadvantages of using an utterly antiquated measurement system can be seen when looking at the U.S. - where, oddly enough, any part of its economy that interfaces with North America, or the rest of the world, has little choice but to use metric.

As a younger Briton (well, near enough, taking your definition) who deals with younger Britons every day, I would imagine my sample is somewhat less skewed than yours here.

I'd readily say understanding of imperial is neither all or nothing among younger Britons though - farenheit, yards and acres are long forgotten, pints, miles, feet, inches, pounds are all well understood.

Largely for idiosyncratic reasons, but generally those which are connected to services continually used in daily life are remembered, while those that were used to measure large scale projects in the past are forgotten. Miles matter for travel, square feet for the sale and rent of properties, pints for buying alcohol or milk, pounds for buying meat, flour, drugs, etc.

It's like how in Japan the young will still understand measuring an apartment's size in tatami, more or less understand how much rice is in a koku, etc. even though many other pre-SI measurements will be long forgotten.

Well, yards are easily replaced by meters (or metres, as the case may be). Which makes one wonder how strict Rees-Moog plans to be with his staff if they need to order concrete - or maybe cubic yards are more of an American measure.

FWIW, in Canada one orders concrete by the cubic metre. Construction drawings are sometimes in SI (govt work, like highway projects), sometimes in Imperial (private developers).

Alas, when one orders a pint, we normally get beer in American quantities, not in the correct Imperial sizes.

It's not so confusing once you get used to it.

Oh please.

The metric system is a fine 19th century solution to 18th century problems with non-standardized systems in post-feudal Europe. In this day and age its utility over any other unit system is basically nil.

For instance, you quote some silly numbers about how hard it is to scale units against each other. Yet 1.602176634×10−19 J somehow is sufficient for particle physicists and many others working a highly bastard unit. Likewise the Dalton is only 1.660539040(20)×10−27 kg, yet nobody bats an eye at using these units either. Or consider the AU, 149,597,870,700 m; yet it serves astronomers quite well. And of course there are decibels which do not even scale linearly.

Why do scientists use such horridly hard to convert units? Because converting between units is rare, and trivially easy to do so when done. We name units so we have an appropriate sense of scale and can reasonably infer ranges. This is after all, why we have both the Sievert (dose emitted) and the Gray (dose absorbed) even though they have same derivative units (J/kg). When you do the conversions, you can use what any native of the 21st century has and just plug them into an automatic calculator and find your answer.

Unit conversion is a basically a conceptual task at this point, the arithmetic burden died in the 90s and you should be using software regardless. After all the vast majority of real world applications involve volume, mass, and current combinations that deal with some substance other than water at STP. You are going to be doing fiddly arithmetic regardless and if the answers matter they should be calculated formally.

But what about everyday use? I refer you to the SI units for time, degree, angle, and solid angle. None of these use the strict decimalization of the SI units. Yet they are among the least likely sources of recording and computation error. We have 3600 seconds in the hour and 86,400 seconds in the day without issue. I could mention the year, but then we realize that we use multiple different years (e.g. Gregorian calendar year of either 31,536,000 or 31,622,400 seconds, Julian year of 31,557,600 seconds, or tropical/sidereal/draconic/etc. years which are not even consistent year to year). I see a lot of things that kill people and I have never seen difficulty with time units kill a patient.

No the measurement I most frequently see killing patients (which is thankfully quite rare) are micrograms. The flaw of the metric system is that units are batched by 1000 which is easy computation, but not an order of magnitude set where humans can easily spot errors. So we see patients who were prescribed something like 2 micrograms/mL but end of receiving 2 mg/mL. Because the numerical portion looks identical you are basically relying on fallible (and often overworked/tired) human eyes to catch the difference between an "m' and a mu. Some small percentage of the time, they don't, and that can necessitate a visit to me or the morgue why you get 1000x the intended amount of opiate (or whatever). And many drugs are formulated across 3 orders of magnitude so it can be quite reasonable to write for one or the other. By having some similar phonemes (milli vs micro) and worse exceedingly similar abbreviations you will kill a small number of people by using SI Units.

Another way I have actually seen units kill people is the much vaunted "factor of 10". People make mistakes and nobody wants to be the idiot who needs a calculator for a factor of ten … yet I have seen multiple neonates get doses off because people juggle around 5 decimal places between length, BSA, weight and dosing. Given that neonates can easily range a full order of magnitude in the NICU this means that an error in the doseage can look quite reasonable to the administering nurse.

In today's world, arithmetic is cheap. Metric is flawed in that different units look and sound too much the same which results in far more computational and data entry errors than if units were distinct and required more arithmetic. Metric units also tempt people to do chain calculations rapidly in situations where a factor of 10 error will not be caught context.

Metric is terrible at preventing the unit errors that actually kill us.

Now, all that being said, I support measurement stasis. Unit errors are uncommon and the error rates with changing are going to be vastly higher than just maintaining the status quo.

But let's no kid ourselves. Unit conversions are trivial (you can literally just type them into Google or ask Siri), use whatever units are the easiest for the human doing whatever task is at hand to notice computational or data entry errors. Electron volts, daltons, AUs, dBs, pounds, or Rankine are all fine as long as the units are such that the scalar component is informative for estimating correctness. Just use the bloody calculations if its important and whatever rule of thumb is quickest when it isn't. But rest assured that the metric system contributes many errors and fatalities solely by virtue of its "cleverness".

'In this day and age its utility over any other unit system is basically nil.'

You seem to have missed (or be unaware of) the point that SI is based on the older measures, and is not the 'metric system' (or is, in the sense of continuity, so as to not replace a couple of centuries of work involving measurements). And it is a 20th century attempt to create a system of measurement based on physical constants that (theoretically) are truly universal - a kilogram is no longer based on a physical object for example. Fairly recent, of course - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_redefinition_of_the_SI_base_units For SF lovers, it would be possible to transmit the necessary information for those in another star system to determine a kilogram accurately, so as to share measurement data to an extremely high degree of accuracy (even if one were to use computation to convert between systems, the conversion would be based on an accurate basis).

'None of these use the strict decimalization of the SI units.'

And where did I write anything about 'decimalization'? SI is not about 'decimalization,' it is about being able to easily convert different measures to compare results. Foot-pounds are considerably less useful than newtons, which can be trivially derived from knowing how fast a weight is moving (OK, admittedly the decimal system does come into play, but one assumes you are not actually objecting to the decimal numeral system per se, seeing how it predates metric measures by a thousand years or so). Admittedly, my knowledge of SI comes mainly from how it is now taught to German mechanical engineers or biochemists - that at least some Americans still, seemingly, believe that SI is about 'decimalization' is kind of sad, to be honest.

'By having some similar phonemes (milli vs micro)'

Um, they have quite dissimilar phonemes - phoneme being a unit of speech, not writing.

Oh please.

"The Système International d'Unités is the modern form of the metric system"

By definition the BIPM defines SI as the metric system units calibrated to 7 physical constants. You can try to BS, but the reality is the BIPM acknowledges that SI is a refinement and evolution of the metric system.

You decried how hard it is to figure out conversions like feet to acres. Though this is trivial multiplication, it somehow is a horrid feature of any non-decimalized system like the metric SI system. Yet within the scientific community we routinely use non-standard units. A light-year is not easily interconvertible with either AU or meters … yet it is by far a more useful unit for discussing many astronomical phenomena than trying to work out petameters. Similarly parsecs still see use due to their utility. If having crappy conversion factors is good enough CERN, it is good enough for the grocery store.

Even when you stay on mks (as opposed to the more intuitive cgs units) for most real world calculations you need non-trivial conversions regardless. How many grams to the mol? What how many L in a kg of some solution at non-STP conditions? We end up having to reach for a calculator regardless that the time saved is basically nil.

Converting units is no longer a problem in need of a solution.

I get, back in the dark ages it would take actual time and effort to go from one unit to another it might have made sense to swap to a less intuitive, more error prone system scaled to early industrial societies.

But those days are gone.

Nowadays the major unit issues are data entry and mental calculation. On both counts metric is decidedly inferior. Units sound vastly similar, for instance milligram and microgram differ in exactly two of seven phonemes, which means that with a normal human error rate you should expect people to make a first pass error a small percentage of the time (these sorts of error rates are why NATO-phonetics require numerals to be pronounce tree, fo-wer, fife, and niner). So what happens if you muck up the units? Depends on how well calibrated the system is for what you are doing. If I screw up ounces pretty much any value over 16 is an obvious error, similarly with values under an ounce. Putting that into grams means I need to have in mind that anything under 30 might be calculation errors and somewhere around 450 grams I am getting out of whack. To whit, the expanded range for grams makes them very poor at error checking. We could circumvent this with prefixes - deci and deca for instance - but these are themselves highly prone to error (almost as those using closing related monikers with inverse meanings was a terrible idea for real world application). You could try using abbreviations … but mu and m look terribly close to the same and again, there is no information content in the scalar portion to point you towards a unit error.

And of course, there is the whole "multiply by 10" aspect of things. Sure it makes it easier for you to do in your head. But when you are actually calculating things, how often should you trust your head? I would venture that in this era, you should not. You have a 1 kg neonate, he has scalded skin over ~10% of BSA and you want to dose him at 2 micrograms/mL/hr. You need to start from % weight (roughly mg/mL) from the stock before you dilute and set up the pump at mL/min. Well all this is just multiples of 10 (except for that pesky time thing). Should be easy, but I have seen this literally kill a kid.

SOP in many hospitals now is to do all these calculations formally. It cuts down on dosing errors for a trivial investment of time. It would help if the scalar portions of quantities were more informative. It would help if units sounded more dissimilar (particularly in the presence of a shrieking patient). But instead we continue with a terrible system and ban the abbreviations, readback the units (sometimes with intentional mispronunciation), and do everything the long way regardless.

Metric was developed for the troubles of feudal measurements in Europe. It was uniform throughout the country(ies). Its units were sized according to artillery, boats, and other implements in heavy use (and had basically nothing approaching microscopic sizes). This basically brought continental Europe up to the level that the British Empire and the US had enjoyed long before. It was refined to idiotic degrees of precisions; helpful for a reference system but useless or worse for practical matters.

Ideally we would keep our day to day measures in ones that intuitive and human scaled. Our precision units would be ones that are unique and scaled to the task at hand. Underneath all of that would be a stable reference system pegged to universal constants.

And the end of the day SI units are easier to learn and easier to do already trivial calculations; they just kill more people.

'You can try to BS, but the reality is the BIPM acknowledges that SI is a refinement and evolution of the metric system.'

Which is why everyone (at least when teaching it) calls it SI, and not the metric system, but hey, that must be bullshit too.

'You decried how hard it is to figure out conversions like feet to acres.'

No. I actually wrote this - 'And really, you have to love a unit defined using 3/7 of a gallon.' That is, a measure that literally can only be represented at the very limits of its precision by a fraction. Depending on whether one uses an international acre-foot compared to an U.S. survey acre-foot, of course. Oddly, hectares and cubic meters do not need such fine distinctions to be precise. Or even more oddly, just cubic meters is enough for division over an area. Or how rainfall is measured in l/m - pretty simple to know how many liters/cbm/kgs of waters are involved over a defined area, without needing to worry about chains or furlongs at all, much less the definition of a gallon.

'it somehow is a horrid feature of any non-decimalized system like the metric SI system'

So what? This would be like pointing out that a non-decimal monetary system is just as good as a decimal one. Bizarre how the British, or even Rees-Moog apparently, do not believe that. Of course, time is not a decimal system, as you already pointed out, and we all seem to be able to handle it just fine. Even as part of SI, which is not primarily about decimalization at this point.

'Converting units is no longer a problem in need of a solution. '

Why do you keep harping on this? SI is essentially an attempt to replace physical reference objects with knowledge - that is, knowing some basic information, one can recreate SI units anywhere in the universe, at any time in the future.

'Metric was developed for the troubles of feudal measurements in Europe.'

And to repeat concerning SI - 'And it is a 20th century attempt to create a system of measurement based on physical constants that (theoretically) are truly universal ....'

'Ideally we would keep our day to day measures in ones that intuitive and human scaled.'

Oddly, 95% of humanity thinks the system of measures they use can be described that way. Of course, that they are all wrong must be obvious to everyone else. What is really bizarre is that at the very end, you actually seem to grasp what SI is really all about - 'Underneath all of that would be a stable reference system pegged to universal constants.'

"Which is why everyone (at least when teaching it) calls it SI, and not the metric system,"

Funny the actual teaching standard by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (you know the people who actually do teach this) is:

Students need to develop an understanding of metric units and their relationships, as well as fluency in applying the metric system to real-world situations. Because some non-metric units of measure are common in particular contexts, students need to develop familiarity with multiple systems of measure, including metric and customary systems and their relationships.

I suggest you turn your efforts regarding this perfidy of definitions against the actual teachers who explicitly teach the "metric system".

Or you could, stop being deliberately obtuse and acknowledge that SI is wholly contained within the metric system.

"Oddly, 95% of humanity thinks the system of measures they use can be described that way"
And yet I have seen far more people killed by metric units than imperial or customary.

For 90% of human life you can use any consistent set of measures. After all people cook remarkedly well with "handfuls", "dashes", and "pinches". For things that are important, there are few units systems worse for human use than metric and its 20th century evolution of SI.

"What is really bizarre is that at the very end, you actually seem to grasp what SI is really all about - 'Underneath all of that would be a stable reference system pegged to universal constants.'"

Not at all. SI was adopted in 1960. The official resolution said nothing about pegging the system to universal constraints, that had already begun before SI was announced. SI per the official memorandum was about naming the six fundamental units, their standardized abbreviations (m, kg, s, A, deg K, cd), the standardized prefixes with associated prefixes, uniformity of mks derived units, and formalizing abbreviations for solid and planar angles.

Nothing was said regarding pegging to constants in the definition of SI. Those occur elsewhere in the 1960 report and are notably not required for adoption of SI. Further the attempt to peg to universal constant began prior to the formulation of SI with notable resolutions in 1948 and 1954.

If all you want is a measurement system pegged to universal constants. US customary is the best in the world (NIST having better funding and equipment). If, as in resolution 12 of the 1960 CGPM, you want a unit system defined by prefixes, mathematics, and arbitrary standards that degrade performance; then SI is the form of metric that has you covered.

Frankly, I do not understand why you keep going for such obviously wrong things. SI is metric without the cgs units. That is how it is formally defined by the governing body. You can retain the legacy definitions and still be SI. You cannot use the cgs units, even with universal constant pegging, and be SI.

But I am sure you will find another pithy way to ignore actual history, governing authorities, and praxis to refuse, again, to acknowledge that unit conversion (be it 3/7ths or not) is a trivial concern today while non-intuitive units and similar prefixes are a major source of unit error.

I like SI measurements, but it's a bit odd to claim that young people in UK don't understand most imperial measurements - young folk still measure their weight in stone and ounces and pounds, height in feet and inches, distance in miles and understand them.

SI are an admirable means to build easy magnitude scaling into every measurement, necessary within science, but matter less for everyday use in a world where computation is everywhere and conversion between magnitude scales lacks practical application.

Just as describing time in kilosecs, etc. would be an admirable way to build easy scaling into our understanding of time, but has little practical application, and even SI enthusiasts balk somewhat at this.

Rees-Mogg is such a phony. He pretends like he's from an old aristocratic family. He's a pathetic LARPer.

it's "Phoney"

He may be a phony, oops, phoney but he happens to be correct on all those points except "esquire," which in traditional usage means someone who owns land. At least he cares about usage, which is more than I can say for any other politician I know.

9. It is a recipe to lose millions of dollars like NASA

Or it could just be a sham, of the variety used by Harley. Basically, all of the world's machine tool and manufacturing industries are metric (including the US and UK), but Harley is special, and sticks to the old ways. That is, you need a 7/16ths, 1/2, etc wrench to match the head of a bolt used by Harley. Just don't look at anything but the size of the bolt head however, as everything else is metric (at least according to the person across the street who owns two newer model Harleys).

In other words, there is no way that the UK auto industry (or what remains of it after a no-deal Brexit) will care in the least about what Rees-Moog's staff uses for measurement units.

How very "Politics and the English Language" of him. Somewhere Orwell is smiling at the Right Honorable Rees-Mogg's attempt to remove some of the hackneyed usage and figures of speech that no longer provide meaning. He'll probably fail. Pearls, Swine...you know the rest.

An eccentric British politician declares the style of written communications to be used by his staff, with no indication of what punishment might be exacted for its violation, and MR and its commentariat take notice. He may very well be pranking his staff but he's definitely pulled something over on others.

'He may very well be pranking his staff'

Several of his rules are what one would expect from a leading Brexiter - his staff are to use standard British English usage, not some inferior colonial version, or quelle horror, Euro English.

What is interesting is how many apparently American commenters are unaware that restoring the UK to its former glory seemingly includes purging the UK of inferior American grammatical conventions.

Let the English be English. That’s rather the point, is it not?

Yes, in the interest of real diversity.

I like it.

The whole thing sounds like a gag. 😂🤣

No comma after "and." Ever? That isn't conservative; that's giving in to the philistines and the unwashed masses. An outrage.

And, while most of these rules are sensible, there are always exceptions.

Is this even allowed while Britain is still in the EU? Doesn't the Withdrawal Agreement prevent this?

This is why Britain must leave the EU. Important reforms such as these can never be made if Britain remains in the EU. Britain must be Independent.

Hey, I thought imposition of silly rules and regs on doughty John Bull was a major reason for Brexit...

There are two authorities for grammar/clarity in writing: Harbrace and Strunk and White; and when they conflict, it's (the contraction for it is) Strunk and White. Of course, there are those who are not seeking clarity. Who might that be? On this side of the pond, the prize for the most pompous is Pompeo, who is incensed by the improper use of commas, as well as by the Iranians and their friends in al Qaeda. https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/19/politics/pompeo-commas-state-department/index.html

Yes, clarity from the State Dept would be confusing.

Avoiding "very" is not at all "bizarre," it's good solid training. Now if we could just crack down on "free gift" and "completely destroyed" ... not to mention the deliberately obfuscatory "shots rang out" and "protests erupted."

How about if we crack down on "pet peeves".

I heard an interview with some guy who had just turned 105 or whatever -- he said nursing some pet peeves and minor grudges helps keep you sharp.

It shouldn't need to be said. However all the evidence one needs of the potentially horrific consequences of going metric in Canada can be found by googling Gimli Glider.

Good of you to ignore the comments, it isn't as if there is anything of worth in them anyways, like links to wikipedia.

If Jacob Rees Mogg had a sense of humor he would have added "use Greenwich Mean Time, not UTC". Valuable time would be saved by some rationalization of time zones, but time isn't valuable. Ask any bureaucrat or regulator.

the title "Esq." is kind of a black thing. I often see black attorneys inserting it after their names.

I expect these deckchairs to sparkle, gentlemen, even as they are shuffled.

The only thing worse than that stupid double-space rule is imperial measurements. I'd quit in protest! METRIC FOREVER

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