# Cubits

Discussion in 'General' started by Seamus Donohue, Mar 5, 2017.

This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.
1. ### Seamus DonohueTrainee Engineer

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Too Long; Didn't Read: Hey, the edge length of a small block is 0.5 meters. Several ancient Cubits were around that length. Interesting coincidence.

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Something just occurred to me.

Several ancient measurement systems had units of length based on the length of a man's forearm. For the sake of discussion, I'll refer to all of these as a "cubit", though different cultures had different names AND lengths for the cubit. According to Wikipedia, the cubit could be anywhere from 443.8 millimeters to 529.2 millimeters depending on whose Cubit you were using.

What does this have to do with Space Engineers? Well, when building ships, we're always dealing in multiples of either 2.5 meters (for large blocks) or 0.5 meters (for small blocks). To say that a construct is 25 blocks long by 13 blocks wide by 10 blocks high is insufficient unless I also specify the grid size, either large or small. So, this construct is either twelve-point-five by six-point-five by five meters, or it's sixty-two-point-five by thirty-two-point-five by twenty-five meters. That's a lot of "point-fives" floating about. ...or "and-a-halves", whichever you prefer.

0.5 meters falls neatly into the range of lengths for ancient cubits, so it *might* make sense to define the Space Engineers Cubit as being exactly 500 millimeters, so the above example is either twenty-five by thirteen by ten cubits, or one-hundred-twenty-five by sixty-five by fifty cubits, depending on the grid size.

It would also help avoid confusion when talking about block types that exist in both large and small variants for both large and small grids. So, Reactors exist in 4 diameters:
The 1-Cubit Reactor (Smallblock Small Reactor)
The 3-Cubit Reactor (Smallblock Large Reactor)
The 5-Cubit Reactor (Largeblock Small Reactor)
The 15-Cubit Reactor (Largeblock Large Reactor)

Similarly for Thrusters, if we talk about the length of the Thruster:
The 2-Cubit Thruster (Smallblock Small Thruster)
The 4-Cubit Thruster (Smallblock Large Thruster)
The 10-Cubit Thruster (Largeblock Small Thruster)
The 20-Cubit Thruster (Largeblock Large Thruster)

Now, I don't expect Cubits to replace Meters in all contexts (nor do I advise such a change, even if we could overcome institutional/cultural inertia), but when talking about different sizes of block types and comparing the sizes of small ships to large ships or stations (for example, in talking about the difficulty of squeezing a 14-by-14 cubit ship through a 15-by-15 cubit hole for a docking bay), it would avoid a lot of cumbersome "-point-fives" and "-and-a-halves" all over the place.

For all other applications, such as positions, velocities, and accelerations, I still like meters. Meters are awesome. But anyway, just a thought.

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2. ### Ronin1973Master Engineer

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Why don't you build an ark and put two of every block on it?

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3. ### REDSHEILDJunior Engineer

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Space Engineers is one of the few instances in my life where I will actually accept use of the metric system.

Suffice it to say I find bringing cubits into this to be silly. Especially since if you're using a .5m measurement you could also just say small block.

4. ### Ronin1973Master Engineer

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That cubit thing won't even be relevant until we get atmospheric effects and volumetric water.

The only god we worship around here is Klang... and he is a jealous god. He will smite you for trying to apply any kind of physics wizardry.

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5. ### FarindarkApprentice Engineer

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Greetings

Whut? Ah I praise your efforts in mental exercises and brain stimulation but I'm just going to get my mop and bucket now. */goes off and mops melted brain ooze from the floor. (joke ok)

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6. ### BumberSenior Engineer

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The rotors and pistons might get feisty.

7. ### Ronin1973Master Engineer

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From what I heard pistons and rotors are dinosaurs... you know what happened to them on the ark don't you? All the other animals snuffed them out. They got shanked on the 38th night.

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8. ### PLPMJunior Engineer

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You make it sound like it´s an horrible system, lol.

9. ### bigsteveTrainee Engineer

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Only 3 countries still use that ancient system of measurements, why the hold out?

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10. ### REDSHEILDJunior Engineer

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Because I like it better. It is no more arbitrary than metric or SI, and being old doesn't equate to obsolescence.

As far as worldwide standards, metric is not entirely universal outside of the US. Only three countries use metric for altitude reporting in aviation whereas the rest of the world uses feet, the nautical mile* is the standard for aviation distance, and most of the world reports windspeed in knots. Frankly I have always found the "everyone uses it!" argument pretty damn silly and rather ignorant of both the way the modern world works (I can dig up more use of the English and US customary units worldwide, such as in containerized shipping) in addition to being quite ignorant to the rather divisive campaigns that put metric in such wide use to begin with.

*I know that it's be redefined as an SI-derived unit nowadays despite the redefinition being unneeded. Seems like the metric folks couldn't cope with using a non-metric unit. I can at least use metric when it suits me, despite working entirely in US customary.

Last edited: Mar 8, 2017
11. ### PLPMJunior Engineer

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Give me an advantage of imperial over metric, I don´t use it myself, so I wouldn´t know.

12. ### BumberSenior Engineer

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Only this time the ark will end up in a thousand tiny fragments scattered among the stars.

13. ### PLPMJunior Engineer

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And a corrupted world

14. ### REDSHEILDJunior Engineer

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The unit used for weights (pound) by the general populace in US customary or Imperial nations is an actual unit of weight, whereas to this day many people in metric countries state "weights" in kilograms, grams, or milligrams when they should know full well what a newton is.

English fractional measurement allows for more whole-number fractions of a given unit of which two must be represented using repeating decimals in metric.

Fractional measurements are also more intuitive to people who are not mathematically inclined compared to decimals.

To those who will object to my last two examples as being an appeal to arbitrary standards of ease based on people who aren't educated: so is metric's oft-lauded base ten, which is often portrayed as easier to use in spite of the fact that many people even in metric countries don't actually understand the prefix system at all or the powers of ten it represents.

15. ### bigsteveTrainee Engineer

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No...................
kilograms, grams, or milligrams are a unit of measurement of wieght, Newton is Measurement of Forse.

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16. ### REDSHEILDJunior Engineer

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Weight and force are the same. The gram is a measure of mass.

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Thing about metric is you can very easily go up and down in unit magnitudes without having nutty conversions

Being a Canadian born the son of a general contractor I've become accustomed to both and personally I find that each have the uses and where to use them. I find metric to be much better for things like machine(d) parts and assemblies, but for larger objects or things like carpentry i prefer to use imperial...

I mean imperial conversions kinda leave a bad taste in my mouth...

1 in = 1/12 ft / 1 ft = 12 in
3 ft = 1 yard
1 mile = 1760 yards or 5280 ft

and so on...

whereas metric

(smaller less common units before mm)

1 mm = 1/10 cm

10 mm = 1 cm

10 cm = 1 decimeter

10 decimeters = 1 m

1000 m = 1km

Fluids work in a similar way.

Though pressure i'd prefer PSI...

God i wish i could standardize more (towards either)

18. ### REDSHEILDJunior Engineer

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I really only use metric with electronics and chemistry. For anything physical* I have a much better grasp on US/Imperial units. I have even started switching over to US units for energy-related calculations, i.e. kinetic energy, etc. despite being only taught them with metric in school.

*Electricity is considered abstract for the purposes of this statement

Also, at least in my usage, I find the prefixes a bit redundant when scientific notation works just fine.

Last edited: Mar 8, 2017
19. ### Ronin1973Master Engineer

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The English system was so good that our military (USA) switched to metric.

Weight is relative to the amount force placed upon a mass. In different gravitational environments your weight or at least your perceived weight is different. But force, is force and it's measured in Newtons.

No, the Imperial system of measurement is completely fubared. If you want to calculate a distance, try converting miles and fractions of a mile. Do you measure in miles and yards, miles and feet, or miles and inches? How many feet in a mile? The metric system makes a whole hell of a lot more sense since everything is base ten, the same as our numerical system. There are a thousand meters in a kilometer and the units themselves describe their relationship to the standard measurement (kilo, milli, centi, etc.).

Don't even get into the Imperial systems for measuring mass and volume. So ummm which ounce am I suppose to use? Cup, pint, quart, gallon? Pounds and ounces? Hmmm how many pounds in a ton? Wait... what?

The only reason why the USA is still imperial is because a bunch of cranky old farts didn't want to have to get used to a new system and fucked generations after them. Basically how we roll in the USA most days of the week.

20. ### PharapApprentice Engineer

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Technically it was originally French, but more countries (specifically their scientists) started contributing, of which Britain was one.

Every time I see the word 'Fahrenheit' I point and laugh. Sometimes I see American shows on the TV discussing '100 degrees outside' and it takes me a few seconds to realise why they're still alive.

In fairness though it's not 100% metric in Britain, alcohol is still served in pints, and humans are still measured using stones, pounds, feet and inches. (Also many older recipes are stuck using imperial measurements.)

21. ### REDSHEILDJunior Engineer

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Weight is not relative to the amount of force on a mass, weight is the force due to the acceleration of a mass under gravity. Force and weight are identical in their units because they are both the same part of the same relation between mass and acceleration. The only difference is that in cases of force being exerted, force is prior to acceleration and the acceleration is the result of force interacting with mass. With weight the case is reciprocal; acceleration is prior to weight and weight is the result of an acceleration upon a mass.

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22. ### bigsteveTrainee Engineer

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Keep up the good work!!!!

23. ### Timotei~Apprentice Engineer

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I like the idea of cubits. It's can be a nice touch to RP jargon. However, I wouldn't use it for other things than ship designation.

Also, to add to the mass vs. weight debate, here is a Wikipedia article.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_versus_weight
I believe people often confound mass and weight because, in our earth-based normal life, mass is proportional to weight. ( 1 kg apply ~1 kg-force = 9.81N )
That is because our most common weight unit ( the "kg-force" AKA "kg" ) is based on the force applied by a 1kg object on earth's sea level. I believe the confusion come from the fact that we regularly call those two units the same names "kg".

Finally, I think I eared once the actual imperial mass unit is the "slug".

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24. ### REDSHEILDJunior Engineer

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There's also the pound-mass. Under the English Engineering system the pound is both force and mass, but that gets into some strange bits such as acceleration being in gs instead of ft/s^2.

25. ### DDP-158Master Engineer

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Cubits sounds more confusing than using feet and inches (which I only switch to when I want to watch cross ponders lose their shit). Can't really see why it's so hard to just say 'I made a 10x30x15 large ship'.

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26. ### Ronin1973Master Engineer

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And horse power... because horses all had common standards in strength... you know you could substitute a Clydesdale for an Arabian.

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27. ### PharapApprentice Engineer

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That only works on the really young ones (i.e. under 12 years old), almost every Brit knows that 12 inches = 30cm because of the rulers we use at school and because human height is still generally measured in feet and inches.

28. ### DDP-158Master Engineer

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Oh I dont know, I think we already have some good examples happening in this thread. The first thing I usually see them do is try to calculate some extreme example which makes me scratch my head as to what the hell theyre trying to accomplish. If a person who is native to the measurement is confused as to you intentions that should probably be a clue that you aren't using it right.
I see measurements as akin to learning another language. It takes time to learn how that language works and once you understand it, it becomes less confusing.

I also agree with grindy's usage of units. During my short time as a mechanical drafter I much preferred metric over imperial. And it makes a lot of sense in the grand scheme when you consider how global many of our products are. Creating parts in metric is just easier and more precise.
But when it comes to architecture I'm all over the imperial. I'm sure I could replace sq ft with sq meters but I like my sq ft. Tell me you want a 2000 sq ft house with 3 beds, 2 bath with a large kitchen/dining/living room and I can bust it out in no time.

My little truck is in metric. My big truck is in imperial. My highway is in metric or imperial depending on what state youre in. My electronics are in metric. My living space is in imperial. And I can understand all of them because I took the time to learn the language.

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29. ### PharapApprentice Engineer

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My previous comment was entirely about the usage of imperial measurements in Britain, not about spengies.

You're overestimating how much metric is used in Britain. Stuff like architecture is still measured in feet because it's one of the historical cases. Pretty much everything with historic weight is still imperial (pints, housing, people, the roads, car speeds), anything scientific, standardised or involving manufacturing is metric. And people's daily choices reflect their age, my generation would almost certainly pick metric, my parents' generation would probably pick imperial.

(Sidenote: I'm not sure it quite equates to a different language level of difficulty since it's only a matter of remembering a few conversion methods (e.g. in the case of feet to cm it's divide by 12, multiply by 30, or if you've got a calculator just multiply by 0.4), rather than an entire dictionary accompanied by complex grammar rules.)

30. ### DDP-158Master Engineer

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I'm speaking of globally, not just US vs Britain. Though truth be told, I didn't actually know that Britain also did a mix of both until very, very recently when popsci's idiotic Facebook article about the us using imperial units popped up on my Facebook feed for the millionth time and I decided to peruse the comments. But the argument is usully held by people from all over Europe. I just always find it hilarious that when using metrics everyone is cool because it's all part of the plan, but if you add imperial everyone suddenly loses their minds.