fresh bytes
Subscribe Now

Scientists are about to change what a kilogram is

If Jon Pratt were an international criminal mastermind, he would fly to Paris, don an all-black suit and ski mask and sneak into the elegant French baroque building that serves as headquarters for the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures.

His mission: “To set the whole world’s system of mass into disarray,” Pratt said. “This is my dastardly plan.”

In this hypothetical scenario, Pratt slips past the security guards, disables the alarm system and picks the lock on a temperature-controlled, airtight safe deep in the bowels of the BIPM. Inside, he finds his target: a small platinum and iridium cylinder weighing exactly one kilogram. It’s the kilogram, crafted in 1889 to serve as the single standard by which all other kilograms are measured. People call it “le grand K.”

“I’d take out a nail file, and I’d scratch a little bit off,” Pratt said. Then he’d slip back into the night. “And the next time they take the thing out” (to test the accuracy of the world’s other kilograms) “everything else will be wrong.”

Continue reading at The Washington Post

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Jun 22, 2018
A myriad of mechanical and electrical specifications must be considered when selecting the best connector system for your design. An incomplete, first-pass list of considerations include the type of termination, available footprint space, processing and operating temperature...
Jun 22, 2018
You can't finish the board before the schematic, but you want it done pretty much right away, before marketing changes their minds again!...
Jun 22, 2018
Last time I worked for Cadence in the early 2000s, Adriaan Ligtenberg ran methodology services and, in particular, something we called Virtual CAD. The idea of Virtual CAD was to allow companies to outsource their CAD group to Cadence. In effect, we would be the CAD group for...
Jun 7, 2018
If integrating an embedded FPGA (eFPGA) into your ASIC or SoC design strikes you as odd, it shouldn'€™t. ICs have been absorbing almost every component on a circuit board for decades, starting with transistors, resistors, and capacitors '€” then progressing to gates, ALUs...
May 24, 2018
Amazon has apparently had an Echo hiccup of the sort that would give customers bad dreams. It sent a random conversation to a random contact. A couple had installed numerous Alexa-enabled devices in the home. At some point, they had a conversation '€“ as couples are wont to...