Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

We are incredibly ignorant whichever way you measure it

News that nasa's $125 million Mars Climate Orbiter fell into a black hole because one of the two teams responsible for telemetry worked in imperial while the other used metric mensuration can have come as no surprise to veterans of the construction industry's own wonder years. In the decade of decimalisation, such errors were common on building sites and widely publicised. Then, after the Metrication Board was wound up, an eerie silence fell, broken only by gasp-making episodes that ...

Already a subscriber? Login here or activate your digital account