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Units of Length
  • Length can be defined as the distance between two points.  
  • What is essential to measuring length is having a unit of measurement.  
  • The European system uses the centimeter, meter, and kilometer as the fundamental units of length. 
  • While the units of length vary from one society to another, they are derived in a similar way.  
  • In order to establish a unit of measurement, whether it is an inch, a foot, a meter, or any other measurement unit, the unit has to be defined in terms of some known standard.  
  • In ancient times, units of measurement were defined in terms of parts of the body. 
  • It is generally accepted that the standard for a foot was the length of the average manís foot, although the 12-inch foot as defined today is somewhat longer the length of the modern human foot. 
  • The definition of a foot as consisting of 12 inches goes back to Roman times.  Read the article...

Units of Area

  • Area can be defined as the amount of space a two-dimensional figure or object takes up.  
  • Area is typically calculated in terms of square units, such as inches, feet, meters, miles, etc. 
  • In many cases, determining area by treating the borders of a figure as having a line with no width works well. 
  • Treating a boundary line as one with no width works quite well in some cases, particularly when the boundary line is so thin relative to what it is borders that no purpose would be served by treating the boundary line as having width. 
  • However, the case may be different when what lies on the boundary becomes important, or when the boundary line is large relative to the size of the marked area. For example, if gold lies on the boundary line between two properties, it may become important to try to specify which portion belongs to which property.
  • So does it make sense to treat lines as having width? 
  • If we treat lines as having no width, this may have no practical impact in some situations. If someone wishes to divide a piece of cake into two equal slices, he or she may simply mark a line in the middle and physically divide the cake by cutting along the line. 
  • When the quantities are not being physically divided but only divided by a line, as in the border between two towns, the width of the line may make a difference.  Read the article...


For more information on units of length and area, consult The Tao of Measurement, by Dr. Jesse Yoder and Dick Morley, forthcoming from ISA. (www.taoofflow.com).


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