Sunday, 30 January 2011

If you think you've got a weight problem......

.....you should have been at the Royal Society this last week when the brain boxes among us scratched their heads and worried themselves about the kilo.

You see the kilo has been putting on weight.... or may be perhaps losing weight. Who knows? You see the international standard for the kilo is set by a lump of platinum which has been kept inside three dome like bell jars at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures near Paris since 1879.

It is held under lock and key and every now and then taken out for comparison with official copies. And that is when the boffins notice all is not well. A few micrograms not well, in fact, up to 69 micrograms not well.

It is going to take a few years to sort all this out by giving up on the good old platinum and working out a new standard based on Planck's constant.

So when you tip the scales after a shower and wonder why the reading seems to show a few more micrograms or perhaps even an odd extra kilo just put it down to those goings on near Paris. When Planck his done his stuff then is the time to give up on the biscuit barrel and the cake box. Until then who knows if the scales are right or wrong. And if old Schrodinger is to be believed who knows if there are really any biscuits in the barrel?

Which reminds me of the old question. How many kinds of physicists are there?  Answer three. Those who can count and those who can't!

Happy weight watching..

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