# Snake Oil Department, Top This

#### antcollinet

##### Master Contributor
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Trivia time - it had 28 toilets which smelt so bad that any clothing infested with fleas or moths would be hung there to kill said bugs.
Wan't the smell - it was the ammonia

#### CedarX

##### Addicted to Fun and Learning
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Good point -- I'm behind enemy lines over here, you know?

View attachment 351210

You know, I am just sitting here musing about the precision* of a measurement (ostensibly) presented in the media as "roughly the size of six or seven" washing machines. Our washing machine is 27 inches, umm, I mean ,about 67.8 cm wide.
6 x 67.8 cm = 406.8 cm
7 x 67.8 cm = 474.6 cm

so... the hole is 440.7 cm +/- 15.4% wide (or long, as the case may be)
We can determine the location of a cell phone within inches (or whatever ) -- but +/- 15% is the best we can do to measure a fricking four-ish meter long hole in a road?
"ROUGHLY"

An interesting point related to snake oil: the above 41 Action News report does not say that "size" is the width or length of the sinkhole. The calculations assume that's what they mean, but I'm reading it as being the volume of the hole--6 or 7 washing machines would fit into the hole. Now... is it 4 machines on top of 2 or 3? One layer of 7 machines? 7 machines on top of each other? Is a sinkhole the size of 6 to 7 washing machines bigger or smaller than a sinkhole the size of 6 to 7 kitchen tables? I need answers...!!!

Snake oil vendors master this art of playing with words and assumptions made by incredulous users like me: "this @mhardy6647 cable is going to improve your sound by 6 or 7 Stradivarius." Woooahh, that's so much better than the 2 or 3 kitchen blenders I got from my regular cables !!! Where do I buy it?

Because it "speaks to us" doesn't mean it is correct, objective, and non-misleading. Same thing with imperial vs. metric units: where I work (US), we have all switched to metric units... Imperial units may "speak", but are mostly confusing and error-prone--try to do some remotely sophisticated engineering calculations using imperial units and fractions...

#### mhardy6647

##### Grand Contributor
Love a southpaw
We are not to be trusted unreservedly.
Trust me on that.

#### mhardy6647

##### Grand Contributor
An interesting point related to snake oil: the above 41 Action News report does not say that "size" is the width or length of the sinkhole. The calculations assume that's what they mean, but I'm reading it as being the volume of the hole--6 or 7 washing machines would fit into the hole. Now... is it 4 machines on top of 2 or 3? One layer of 7 machines? 7 machines on top of each other? Is a sinkhole the size of 6 to 7 washing machines bigger or smaller than a sinkhole the size of 6 to 7 kitchen tables? I need answers...!!!

Snake oil vendors master this art of playing with words and assumptions made by incredulous users like me: "this @mhardy6647 cable is going to improve your sound by 6 or 7 Stradivarius." Woooahh, that's so much better than the 2 or 3 kitchen blenders I got from my regular cables !!! Where do I buy it?

Because it "speaks to us" doesn't mean it is correct, objective, and non-misleading. Same thing with imperial vs. metric units: where I work (US), we have all switched to metric units... Imperial units may "speak", but are mostly confusing and error-prone--try to do some remotely sophisticated engineering calculations using imperial units and fractions...
You are probably right vis-a-vis the volumetric measurement implicit in the report.
That said, I was too effing lazy to measure h x w x l of the washing machine this morning.
Besides, I was in the midst of defrosting our frost-free refrigerator* and cleaning its duck bill check valve.

_____________________
* Our 'fridge has become incontinent due to a well-known design flaw in feature of its energy-efficient condensation drain system. I actually wouldn't mind pushing it (the fridge) into a handy sink hole (or filling in one of the ruts in our road with it -- mud season's come early to the Upper Valley this year), truth be told.

#### mhardy6647

##### Grand Contributor
Oh.
Plus, we all know that the figure of merit for snake oil improvements is determined using life partner from the kitchen units.

#### theREALdotnet

##### Major Contributor
I suggest a new and interesting topic on which to disagree: driving on the right or on the left?

If you want other drivers to respect you, you should drive in the middle!

#### Victor Martell

##### Active Member
I'm glad we still use the better system here. Inches are useful more often than centimeters and millimeters. Feet are useful more often than meters. Yards work fine instead of meters. The same with miles. This is a big country. Kilometers are too small. Our signs would need to be bigger to handle all those digits.

The same goes for Fahrenheit vs celsius. We have big temperature swings here. There is not enough detail in celsius. Have to add too many decimals. It makes sense having a lot of numbers between freezing, cold, ok, warm, hot and August.

I'm not going outside = -x to 15, too damn cold = 16 to 28, cold = 29 to 39, water freezing/snow sticking = 32, cool = 40 to 58, ok = 59 to 69, warm = 70 to 79, hot = 80 to 95, August = 95 to 110.

Here in Oklahoma, we sometimes get down to 0F in the winter and usually hit 108F in the summer. 108F with 80% humidity is another "I'm not going outside".

Celsius compacts those down too much. 0 for freezing and 38 for too hot. That's crazy.

Temperatures need a wider range so we know what to wear or whether we need to stay inside.

Not to start a beef or anything - hope I don't, but respectfully pointing out that while you seem to be serious about the post, the rest of the world would see it as a parody of U.S.A ( America is a continent) thinking!

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D

#### Deleted member 21219

##### Guest
We are not to be trusted unreservedly.
Trust me on that.

Yes, they're very ... sinister.

Jim

#### CedarX

##### Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Thinking about the above example of a sinkhole "the size of several washing machines"... The unit used is laughable, but they try to relate the sinkhole size to something people can understand...
Rather than trying to push the snake oilers to characterize their stuff in measurable, scientifically correct, units--a thing they invariably reject--would it be a better strategy to ask them to characterize their stuff in units people can relate to?

Example, Post #1 (3 years ago!):

A \$3500 power cord
"This power cord brings an accuracy of timbre and harmony, a musical veracity, that I’ve simply not experienced before. Yes, it’s got all the audiophile virtues I’ve described in my previous experiences with Shunyata power cables. But those attributes really don’t speak to what the Sigma NR v2 is about. "

[Me]: I have house appliances experience...
• Accuracy of timbre... [Me]: How accurate in washing machines?
• Harmony... [Me]: How many harmonious coffee machines?
• Musical veracity.... [Me]: What size of veracity in refrigerators?

#### mhardy6647

##### Grand Contributor
Yes, they're very ... sinister.

Jim
how gauche.

awkward...

#### Brian Hall

##### Addicted to Fun and Learning
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Not to start a beef or anything - hope I don't, but respectfully pointing out that while you seem to be serious about the post, the rest of the world would see it as a parody of U.S.A ( America is a continent) thinking!

Go ahead and see it as a parody. It doesn't bother me at all. I am mostly serious. Especially about millimeters and centimeters vs inches and kilometers vs miles. They are too small to be as useful for what we normally deal with on a daily basis. At the same time, a meter is not as handy as feet. That would be like us measuring room size in yards or square yards. I've never heard anyone do that.

#### Brian Hall

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how gauche.

awkward...

I not only prefer to use inches and feet for every day usage. I am also left handed.

Had an English teacher that would always mark my grade down because I wrote on the back side of pages in spiral and 3 ring notebooks. The high school accounting teacher marked my grade down for using a pen instead of a pencil because I hated getting pencil lead all over my hand.

#### IPunchCholla

##### Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Go ahead and see it as a parody. It doesn't bother me at all. I am mostly serious. Especially about millimeters and centimeters vs inches and kilometers vs miles. They are too small to be as useful for what we normally deal with on a daily basis. At the same time, a meter is not as handy as feet. That would be like us measuring room size in yards or square yards. I've never heard anyone do that.
It’s all just a matter of familiarity. If you live with either system long enough the units become intuitive. Well maybe not the imperial system. I’ve lived with that all my life and I still couldn’t tell you how many yards in a mile. Kilometers make nice intermediary units between yards and miles.

And while fractions of inches are intuitive multiplying them sucks and I have no intuitive sense decimal imperial.

Anyway thinking imperial is better than metric is like thinking English is the best language just because it is the only one you speak.

#### Brian Hall

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It’s all just a matter of familiarity. If you live with either system long enough the units become intuitive. Well maybe not the imperial system. I’ve lived with that all my life and I still couldn’t tell you how many yards in a mile. Kilometers make nice intermediary units between yards and miles.

And while fractions of inches are intuitive multiplying them sucks and I have no intuitive sense decimal imperial.

Anyway thinking imperial is better than metric is like thinking English is the best language just because it is the only one you speak.

I know that metric is better for small scales that require precise measurements. That is not something that is useful to me on a day to day basis. Larger units are handier. I don't use meters because I can picture a yard easily just like I can picture 3 feet or 6 feet. A football field is also a useful measure. It is 100 yards long and I can easily picture and measure larger distances with that. I know that my gravel driveway is ~1.5 football fields in length and my mailbox is 10 yards from the end of my driveway on the opposite side of the road.

Edited to add: A mile = 15 football fields (including both end zones, 120 yards).

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#### IPunchCholla

##### Major Contributor
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I know that metric is better for small scales that require precise measurements. That is not something that is useful to me on a day to day basis. Larger units are handier. I don't use meters because I can picture a yard easily just like I can picture 3 feet or 6 feet. A football field is also a useful measure. It is 100 yards long and I can easily picture and measure larger distances with that. I know that my gravel driveway is ~1.5 football fields in length and my mailbox is 10 yards from the end of my driveway on the opposite side of the road.
And my point is, if you just switch to metric all of the units become intuitive and equally useful. That’s what I did. I just switched all of my apps to metric and after a year it was as intuitive as imperial. everything was as easy to describe (actually easier) and I can translate back and forth no problem. The math is definitely easier in metric.

#### cochlea

##### Active Member
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Here is why I really like the metric system even though I’m an American:

1 cubic centimeter of water at 1 degree celsius weighs 1gram.

It all related; volume, length, weight, and temperature. What’s not to like?

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#### antcollinet

##### Master Contributor
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Go ahead and see it as a parody. It doesn't bother me at all. I am mostly serious. Especially about millimeters and centimeters vs inches and kilometers vs miles. They are too small to be as useful for what we normally deal with on a daily basis. At the same time, a meter is not as handy as feet. That would be like us measuring room size in yards or square yards. I've never heard anyone do that.
Really?

My room size is about 3.4m by 4m. In what way is that worse than "about 11ft by 13ft.? As an approximation, it has more precision. (1 decimal place of m is about 1/3 of a foot), and is represented in the same number of characters.

When you get to more accurate measurements, how is 11ft 3 1/2inch better than 3.44m

I put it to you that the bias you are showing is simply born of familiarity.

#### xray

##### Active Member
Really?

My room size is about 3.4m by 4m. In what way is that worse than "about 11ft by 13ft.? As an approximation, it has more precision. (1 decimal place of m is about 1/3 of a foot), and is represented in the same number of characters.

When you get to more accurate measurements, how is 11ft 3 1/2inch better than 3.44m

I put it to you that the bias you are showing is simply born of familiarity.
It's very common to need the mid point of a measurement. How long would it take for the average person to mentally calculate the midpoint of 5ft 1-3/8 inches vs the midpoint of 155.9 cm (or 1.559 m)? The contrast is even more evident when dividing by 3, 4, etc.