Imperial numbers and measurement: Distance/length

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Imperial measure owes nothing to any Earth system of measurement. The Imperial system was designed in an already scientific and technological era for much the same reasons Earth's metric units were designed - to simplify a complex system of historical measures.

The numeration system is base sixty - 3 times 4 times 5. This makes numbers more easily manipulated than previous systems. It works upon the same positional basis as our Hindu-Arabic system, and the same concepts apply, with multiples of 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 (and 10, 12, 15, 20 and 30) having intermediate importance in thought between the unit and the system base of sixty. For all units, the digital places are described thus:

Prime: 60 times the base unit

Square: 3600 times the base unit

Cube: 216,000 times the base unit

Fourth: 12,960,000 times the base unit, and so on.

For fractional numbers, iprime is 1/60th of the base unit, isquare is 1/3600th, ithird is 1/216,000th, ifourth is 1/12,960,000th, and so on. If there's an 'i' in front of the multiplier, it relates to a fractional number.

For situations requiring more precision than a single digit, the spoken convention is to specify the magnitude of the leading digit, and following digits are presumed to be immediately decreasing in magnitude. "Two minutes thirty" can be two and a half minutes of time, or two and a half light-minutes of distance. "Seven ithirds fortysix fourteen" would be seven 216,000ths, forty-six 12,960,000ths, fourteen 777,600,000ths of the relevant units. If the relevant digit is a zero, the zero is spoken, so "seven ithirds zero fourteen" would be seven 216,000ths, zero 12,960,000ths, fourteen 777,600,000ths of the relevant units

Most of the time, measures are context sensitive in translations to English. For instance, a range is assumed to be given in distance units, a mass or weight in terms of mass units, and so on. In Technical, the fact of what you are measuring requires the units of measurement to match, and this has, over time, leaked over to conversations in Traditional as well. In Mindlord, everything is context sensitive anyway, and nobody uses Concept for technical or technological purposes, as the 'language' is entirely unsuitable for that purpose.


The basic unit of length is the light-second, called the "second". This being the case, everyday measures are pretty much universally in terms of partial light-seconds.

second 510,000 km 316,900 mi
iprime 8500 km 5282 mi
isquare 141.667 km 88.03 mi
ithird 2.361 km or 2361.11 m 7746 ft or 1.467 mi
ifourth 39.3518 m 129.1 ft (43.04 yards)
ififth .6559 m or 65.59 cm 25.82 in or 2.152 ft
isixth 1.093 cm 0.4304 in

minute 30.6 million km 19.014 million miles
hour 1.836 billion km 1.14 billion miles
week 110.16 billion km 68.45 billion mi


The Empire tends to think more in three dimensional, and less in two dimensional terms than we do. Their worlds and living spaces are defined in terms of layers and height as much as length and width. The entire concept of owning from the center of the planet outwards to infinity, like Earth nations and real estate, is alien to them. From length, you have to add an interim concept for area, two interim concepts for volume, as the ratios between (for instance) square ifourths to square ithirds is 3600 to one (not 60), and for cubic measure, the ratio is 216,000. So the terms of prime and square are brought in as interim concepts, compounding the basic measure, multiplying them by 60 and 3600, respectively. Prime is used for both area and volume, square for volume only, as a factor of 3600 brings area up to the next base unit.

isixth squared = 1.1946 sq cm .18524 sq in
ififth squared = .43020 sq m or 4302.0 sq cm 4.6311 sq ft
ifourth squared = 1548.6 sq m (.15486 ha) 16,667 sq ft (.38262 ac)
ithird squared = 5.5743 sq km 2.1521 sq mi
isquare squared = 20,070 sq km 7749.3 sq mi

isixth cubed = 1.30575 cubic centimeters 0.079729 cubic in
ififth cubed = 282171 cc (282.171 liters) (.282 cu m) 9.966 cubic feet
ifourth cubed = 44,181 cu meters 1,560,200 cu ft
ithird cubed = 13.161 cu km 3.1571 cu mi

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