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The only call to the Listener Log about last night's programme:

Eddie Mair | 10:11 UK time, Thursday, 18 June 2009

TX Date: 17/06/09
"The presenter said it is twelve degrees. This use of Celsius is European


  • 1. At 10:25am on 18 Jun 2009, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Oh deary deary me!

    Actually, is it convention to say "twelve Celsius" and "twelve degrees Centigrade" or is it the other way round?

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  • 2. At 10:27am on 18 Jun 2009, T8-eh-T8 wrote:

    As long as we are clear the we must use Celcius for when it is cold and Farenheit for when it is warm.

    That way we all know where we are.

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  • 3. At 10:46am on 18 Jun 2009, Scotch Get wrote:

    For anything below or slightly above freezing point the Celsius scale is, I think, easier to understand.
    In hot weather I much prefer the Fahrenheit scale.
    Also, I would rather buy petrol and/or diesel in gallons.
    Working out my M.P.G. has become unnecessarily complicated.
    Plus, I strongly suspect that if petrol and diesel were still sold in imperial gallons they would not be as expensive.
    Decimalisation was the biggest rip off in British history.

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  • 4. At 11:36am on 18 Jun 2009, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Bah. It's not the Europeans (which continent are the British Isles a part of again?) it's Young People.

    Young People want to confuse me by forcing me to stand staring into space at every weather forecast as I work out F=((C/5)*9)+32 in my head.

    Young people want to confuse me by measuring things in metres which I proxy with yards and then worry that the cumulative discrepancy will cause me trouble somehow.

    Young people want to confuse and disappoint me by letting me hear the intro to a much favoured song - e.g. You Only Live Twice or Echo Beach - only to have it turn out to be someone ripping off the tune for their own song (where you can't hear the words...).

    I'm old.

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  • 5. At 11:57am on 18 Jun 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Young People. Ugh.

    They weren't like that when I were a lass.

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  • 6. At 12:01pm on 18 Jun 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    SSC 4, I just double and add 30. That's close enough for the temperatures we normally see.

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  • 7. At 12:07pm on 18 Jun 2009, Dr Bee wrote:

    Guess I qualify as young then - I need to work the equation the other way whenever I hear temperatures quoted in deg F - and I what's worse is that I can never even remember the conversion!

    I can never understand why on earth we seem to cling to the imperial systems of measurement - metric is soo much simpler - and has the added advantage of aligning us with our neighbours. Granted the US is stuck in the imperial system too - but I'm pretty sure that their scientists must have to work using the metric system. Maybe someone can enlighten me on that?!

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  • 8. At 12:07pm on 18 Jun 2009, gossipmistress wrote:

    I use old money for cooking weights, and animal temperatures but KG and Celcius for animal weights and cooking temperatures.

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  • 9. At 12:10pm on 18 Jun 2009, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    David (6):

    At 25C - which England had not long ago - that would give a 5F error. That seems a lot.

    A better idea would just be to memorise a conversion table between say 26F to 80F. I may try that if my memory feels up to it and the BBC continues pandering to these dreadful under-30s...

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  • 10. At 12:11pm on 18 Jun 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    gm 8, How much do 100 old pennies weigh?

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  • 11. At 12:13pm on 18 Jun 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    DB 7, Er, subtract 30 and divide by 2. Close enough.

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  • 12. At 12:16pm on 18 Jun 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    SSC 9, I'll stick with what I use. I know the higher it gets the more off it is, but as I know that I just think a bit less.

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  • 13. At 12:20pm on 18 Jun 2009, Dr Bee wrote:

    oh thanks David - I even think i might be able to remember that :D

    Seriously though - I think that the presenter saying 12 degrees is totally justified. I mean - using your rule, assuming that the poor listener was confused and thought that the 12 might have referred to deg F then that would give -9 deg C - I can't say that I remember the context, but it seems sufficiently low that it would seem obvious in context which scale was being used. And we are supposed to have converted to metric a looong time ago!

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  • 14. At 12:23pm on 18 Jun 2009, gossipmistress wrote:

    BTW re 8 I don't cook the animals... well not the patients anyway

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  • 15. At 12:25pm on 18 Jun 2009, T8-eh-T8 wrote:

    I use the converter application on my mobile.

    ds tht mk me yng or old?

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  • 16. At 12:29pm on 18 Jun 2009, Fearless Fred wrote:

    A couple of useful conversions are:
    16C = 61F
    28C = 82F

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  • 17. At 12:45pm on 18 Jun 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    I simply don't understand why things haven't changed to Celsius. I get annoyed when Farenheit is quoted. Why cling on to the old system? It's outdated!

    Moving rapidly along...

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  • 18. At 1:03pm on 18 Jun 2009, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    FF (16):

    So in my case all I need to remember is:
    >15C = Too hot for me.

    That works. Now all I need is to find X, Y and Z in:

    >Xkg = Too heavy to carry
    >Ykm = Too far to walk
    >Zkw = Too many horses to handle

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  • 19. At 1:15pm on 18 Jun 2009, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Lady Sue (17):

    That's fine if you haven't spent most of your life with the old measures and find the new measures are just numbers unrelated to anything real.

    I *know* how hot 70F feels. I *know* how heavy a 2lb bag of sugar is. I *know* I can easily walk 5 miles at a time.

    21.1C, 4.41kg, 8km are pretty meaningless to me. Even if I learn the conversion (as above) I still have to do the conversion before I find meaning in them.

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  • 20. At 1:20pm on 18 Jun 2009, annasee wrote:

    NZ changed to metric many years ago. I grew up with metric, apart from my mother's old recipe books. Hence I'm like GM - cook most recipes in imperial, but weigh the animals ( e g leg of lamb) in kg since that's what's on the cooking instructions on the wrapper.

    Currently doing conversions between precentages, fractions and decimals with mpb, and frankly it's doing my head in. Thankfully she seems to be getting faster than me, so I suppose that means she's learnt something?

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  • 21. At 1:46pm on 18 Jun 2009, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    I have a Medieval recipe that starts "Take enough onions", and that's the sort of accuracy that cooking is reverting to when one wants to know about the heat.

    For oven temperatures I have long ago reverted to "low", "medium" and "high", because although ovens are all carefully marked on one of the three scales that are used for that sort of thing, each individual oven means a different cooking heat really even if it says the same on the dial as any other given oven.

    For hob temperatures only gas is sensible, because only gas means that you can see what it is doing; electric hobs say something completely random on each knob, and might mean anything. Only after several weeks or months of using one particular electric hob will you have any idea how it relates to reality, and even then each of the four hotplates will be different from each of the other three.

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  • 22. At 1:47pm on 18 Jun 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    (19) TSSCat: I do sympathise! I know exactly what you mean. Like annasee, I grew up "in another place" and had to change.

    When I was little everything was Imperial, then the temperatures (for some reason this seemed to come first) changed from degrees F to degrees C. Confusing at first but I soon got the hang of it. Then I came over here and was thrown back into Fs again, with the promise of Cs to come.

    What I can't understand is the time it has taken (is it ever going to happen?) to change into Cs over here. If the weather forecasters keep giving the weather in F and not C, people will never get the hang of it.

    BTW: your 2lbs bags of sugar are really heavy in metric.

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  • 23. At 1:59pm on 18 Jun 2009, Charlie wrote:

    Dr_Bee 07

    Enlightenment I'll leave to Buddha. However, it's odd you should raise the following:

    "Granted the US is stuck in the imperial system too - but I'm pretty sure that their scientists must have to work using the metric system. Maybe someone can enlighten me on that?!"

    Anyway, 10 years ago, some of them (US Scientists that is) did, whilst others, didn't. Consequences..? Disasterous:


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  • 24. At 2:05pm on 18 Jun 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Vhat is point?

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  • 25. At 2:54pm on 18 Jun 2009, Stewart_M wrote:

    I work in what ever measure is most convenient at the time.

    I smidgin if this. A dash of that.

    Works most of the time

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  • 26. At 2:59pm on 18 Jun 2009, U12196018 wrote:

    When baking, my mother only ever had two measurements - a pinch and a handful.

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  • 27. At 3:24pm on 18 Jun 2009, Dr Bee wrote:

    Charlie - very good example of why we all need to be using the same convention! Interesting that NASA had been using metric for so long...

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  • 28. At 3:35pm on 18 Jun 2009, Thunderbird wrote:

    The problem is that the metric system is just too bloody logical.......

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  • 29. At 3:44pm on 18 Jun 2009, Sid wrote:

    TIH - what about a knob of butter?

    And re young people - why don't they pull their trousers up?

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  • 30. At 3:47pm on 18 Jun 2009, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Stewart M @ 25, but are they metric smidgens and dashes, or imperial ones? I find that there is a big difference between a metric dollop and an imperial one, and it generally depends on the age of whoever is mixing the cocktails.

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  • 31. At 3:47pm on 18 Jun 2009, Sid wrote:

    And the only temperature I remember is -40, as it's the same in C and F. It's really handy.

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  • 32. At 3:49pm on 18 Jun 2009, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Sid @ 29, the naughty step is over there


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  • 33. At 3:49pm on 18 Jun 2009, Sid wrote:

    Chris Ghoti - you should write a cocktail book ... I'm thinking, 'Pour enough gin ...'

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  • 34. At 3:58pm on 18 Jun 2009, U12196018 wrote:

    Sid (29) - As I recall my mother's measuring unit of butter was - 'some'.

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  • 35. At 4:00pm on 18 Jun 2009, Looternite wrote:

    Look I have a tape measure with both feet/inches and metres. I have a thermometer with degrees C and F. Oh and a look at my kitchen scales both Imperial and metric. Where's the problem.

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  • 36. At 4:06pm on 18 Jun 2009, DI_Wyman wrote:

    Why bother with all this measurement stuff?

    Bung it on the BBQ or in the oven and when it is black, it's done.

    If you drink three glasses of the stuff and you fall over, it's strong.

    If there is a blue sky with a round glowing thingy in it and you are all red and sweaty, it's hot.

    If everything out side is all covered in white and you are shivering, it's cold.


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  • 37. At 4:07pm on 18 Jun 2009, Dr Bee wrote:

    ooh - I noticed just before the WAO that the forecaster ( I think it was Laura Tobin) didn't even say degrees most of the time...

    "temperatures of 12 to 16"

    I mean - that could've been Kelvins, pink elephants, Kg, farthings. Who knows :P

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  • 38. At 4:35pm on 18 Jun 2009, mittfh wrote:

    Just to throw the cat among the pigeons, Anders Celsius's original scale (1742) had water freezing at 100 degrees and boiling at 0 degrees.

    It was Carolus Linnaeus in 1744 (the same year Anders died) who had a thermometer made with the current "forward" scale.

    And now the unit is a subset of the Kelvin, which means that the reference points are no longer the melting / boiling points of water (which are now a few thousandths of a degree below 0 and 100 respectively).

    Of course, Celsius Fahrenheit and Kelvins aren't the only temperature scales...

    Newton scale - melting snow = 0 degrees, boiling water = 33 degrees.

    Rankine scale - Absolute zero is 0 degrees, but then it increments in Farenheit units rather than Kelvin units.

    And several others that are rarely used nowadays...

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  • 39. At 4:53pm on 18 Jun 2009, U12196018 wrote:

    I like this - maybe written by a Newcastle supporter.

    The Geordie Thermometer
    50 Degrees. Southerners turn on their heating. Geordies plant their gardens.
    40 Degrees. Southerners shiver uncontrollably Geordies Sunbathe.
    30 Degrees. Southern cars will not start. Geordies drive with their windows down
    20 Degrees. Southerners wear coats, gloves, and wool hats. Geordies throw a t-shirt on (Girls start wearing mini-skirts)
    10 Degrees. Southerners begin to Evacuate. Geordies go swimming in the North Sea.
    Zero degrees. Southern landlords turn up the heat. Geordies have the last barbecue before it gets cold.
    Minus 10 Degrees. Southerners cease to exist. Geordies throw on a lightweight jacket.
    Minus 80 Degrees. Polar bears wonder if its worth it. Geordie Boy scouts start wearing long trousers.
    Minus 100 Degrees. Santa Claus abandons the North Pole. Geordies put on their long johns.
    Minus 173 Degrees. Alcohol freezes. Geordies become frustrated because the pubs are shut.
    Minus 217 Degrees. Microbiological life starts to disappear. The cows on Newcastle town moor complain of vets with cold hands.
    Minus 268 Degrees. All atomic motion stops. Geordies start to stamp their feet and blow on their hands.
    Minus 273 Degrees. Hell freezes over.Sunderland qualify for Europe.

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  • 40. At 6:33pm on 18 Jun 2009, Charlie wrote:

    mittfh 38
    Horse 39

    Great stuff!

    Had never heard about either before.

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  • 41. At 7:25pm on 18 Jun 2009, Stewart_M wrote:

    chris, if it's cooking it's all proportions so does not matter if it's metric or imperial. If it's alcholol, my measures are always the right size.

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  • 42. At 7:48pm on 18 Jun 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Horsey - love it!

    PS: is your height measured in hands or metric?

    (Oh, dear, I have tried to phrase that in a way that won't attract innuendo and naughty step occupation for someone... but I suspect, knowing the sewer-loke minds of some here, that I might have failed...)

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  • 43. At 7:58pm on 18 Jun 2009, Cossackgirl wrote:

    I was brought up on metric, came over to this country and learned to love imperial (lovely inches, feet, miles, pounds, stones) to such a degree that when the UK moved to metric I remained resolutely bilingual (I know my height in metric but my weight in stones). But I NEVER ever learned to move from Celsius to Farengheit and TSSC at (4) has just reminded me why.
    39 TIH
    To thank you for that delight, here is a truly ancient Imperial Russian joke:
    When Napoleon began his retreat from Moscow into the teeth of the Russian winter, the people in the salons of St Petersburg were telling each other with raised eyebrows, "Those Frenchmen are terribly gullible: apparently somebody has told them that you are meant to freeze to death at minus 3 degrees Celsius. And they do..."

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  • 44. At 8:00pm on 18 Jun 2009, Cossackgirl wrote:

    to my 43: Fahrenheit, of course, I can't even spell it!!

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  • 45. At 1:48pm on 20 Jun 2009, gossipmistress wrote:

    Stewart (25) I find that a dash is somtimes too large and also have a smidgeon, soupcon and an ant's niffnoff, in decresing order of size

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