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Letters to the Editor

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»   Letters to the Editor
Sound Waves—April, 2000
»   English and Metric Units and the Press
Sound Waves—March, 2000
Reply to Feet vs. Meters Issue
I admit to being a guy who still thinks in feet and inches and then roughly multiplies by 3 something in order to discuss results with the metric-minded. Steve Eittreim commented that the oil industry is "mired" in the use of feet and is somehow holding us back from adopting the metric system. Being an ex-oil guy, I point out that oil companies have little choice. Drill pipe in the U.S. is marketed in feet. Here in St. Pete we do our coring with an NX wireline coring device that uses '5-ft' lengths of drill pipe and casing. The next larger length is '10 ft.' Because of these constraints, it is easier for us to do our field notes (and thinking) in feet and inches and then convert to meters for publication. I really don't know when NX drill pipe will be available in 1.524- or 3.048-m lengths and am not looking forward to dealing with such numbers. It would be nice, however, if they came in even 2- or 3-m lengths but don't hold your breath. However, if you think it is the oil companies holding us back, here is a shocker. The last time I visited MIT, I found that the most esteemed engineers in the land work in feet and inches(!) as do machinists. Students learn engineering in feet, inches, and thousands of an inch. No wonder the Mars probe crashed! So if you want to single out a group that is retarding our migration toward the metric system, blame the engineers. I wanted to blame lawyers but didn't know how. Lawyers are flexible and will give the client any number needed.

Gene Shinn

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in this issue: Fieldwork cover story:
NY Bight Cruise

Honduras Coral Reefs

Outreach Letter to the Editor

Nat'l Ocean Sciences Bowl Winner

Earth Day, Tampa Bay

Meetings Gulf of Mexico

Great Lakes Mapping

Interagency Pollution Work

Awards Edgar Receives RSAS Award

Shinn, Reich, & Hickey Receive SEPM Award

Work With High School Students

Staff & Center News New Post-Doc

New ECO Interns at WHFC

Talk by Richie Williams

Ellen Mecray Completes Boston Marathon


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