Zerosum gets stoned/Stone, Pfund, Kilo

A commenter on an article on clothes sizes is angry about the UK use of stones to refer to a person’s weight:

I really do wish you Brits would stop using this bizarre measure of weight the stone. You do realize that nobody else in the rest of the world knows what the hell this means. I’ve lived 30 years in foreign countries, speak 3 foreign languages fluently, am at home in both the metric and non-UK imperial systems, and can convert effortlessly between a dozen different currencies, but I throw up my hands at this stone nonsense. Even looking it up and learning that 1 stone equals 14 lbs doesn’t make it any more comprehensible. Do you people really tell each other that your 183 lb body weighs 13.07 stone, or is everything rounded off to the nearest 14 lbs?

Reactions vary.

Is everything OK in other areas of your life Zerosum?

It’s seems that I’m the only person that understands you.
The issue here isn’t stones or pounds.
What’s important for people to know is that you speak three languages, fluently, . lived for 30 years in foreign countries and can effortlessly convert 20 different currencies at one time.

Later note: here’s an American review of the Ottolenghi cookbook from

I bought this book as a gift for my wife. She’s a former professional chef and caterer, and now a superb home cook. These recipes are sensational across the board. Especially notable are the chicken w/ sumac, za’atar & lemon, as well as the marinated turkey breast w/ cumin, etc. However, there is a challenge for us Americans because the measures are metric and the temps are in celcius. This book is published in England. Didn’t the Brits invent our system of standard measure? Anyhow, it’s worth the trouble for me to convert these recipes for her because these dishes are outstanding.

Yes, it should have been converted if it was a US publisher. But I find this some compensation for the irritation I always feel on reading recipes measured in CUPS. A cup of butter! I certainly hope they didn’t get that from us.

Still later note: I have heard that Americans don’t usually possess scales. Amy describes some here:

I use a digital kitchen scale practically every day. If you’re serious about baking or developing recipes, it’s a necessity. You may notice some of the more professional baking cookbooks show the weights of ingredients. It’s a much more accurate way to measure than by using cups and spoons. When I develop a recipe using an ingredient like fish or chicken, I specify the weight because it makes a big difference in cooking time and also in terms of servings. For example, a salmon steak could be as small as 6 ounces or over a pound.

11 thoughts on “Zerosum gets stoned/Stone, Pfund, Kilo

  1. Stone vereinfachte mein Leben in England enorm – und in Amerika sah ich mit diesem Wissen dumm aus. Die Cups und Spoons sind tats

  2. “The cup system of measurement was invented by a 19th century American cookery school owner and food writer called Fanny Farmer, who decided she did not like measuring by weight. She devised a system of measuring every single ingredient in cups, even butter and onions.”

    *The International Cookbook Revue, September-October 1996*

    In fact Americans I’ve spoken to measure butter in “sticks” (which is as bad as or worse than cups) based on a standard US pack of butter and modern US recipes certainly reflect this.

  3. We often use the DB online route calculator to figure out Spanish connections which cannot be extracted from the website of Renfe, the Spanish national operator. However, and perhaps curiously, ticket price information and purchase are still a problem.

  4. I would have made the same mistake as well. Especially since the previous screen uses the words “Einzelkarten” and “Gruppenkarten”.

  5. sorry, that may be tactless. I understand you anger, but no software in the world can help people who just buy something without looking and thinking. Before you pay DB shows you a screen with all the information including the price. So if you know it will cost you 22 euros but the price is 28….

    I can understand that people have trouble using these machines, but DBs is very user friendly in my opinion. It clearly shows you everything, you have time too look at every option, you can print out offers for free and compare later, you have access to timetables from all over europe, you can book the regional public transport stuff, you can use your Bahncard without hassle.

    And the liimitations for travel outside Germany: No wonder. DB is not allowed to sell most of the tickets outside germany. Exceptions are DB services outside Germany, but Eurostar tickets can only be booked via eurostar (and should be booked there, because they use a british train ticketing system whereby tickets are systematically cheaper when booked earlier…(the more tickets are still available, like in an cheap airline).

    • Ferdinand, I take your point. I did see 28 euros before I paid, but I assumed the price had gone up. I should have realized that the people in the booking office would not have made a mistake, of course.
      But take it a stage back: I had no way of knowing that the Bayern-Ticket existed. I had heard of such a thing but associated it with groups of students going to Munich for the day and weekend reductions.
      It’s quite understandable that the machine is not going to show every detail in advance, because the options change from year to year.
      However, I stand by my point: I wasn’t even able to book a return ticket to Regensburg for 40 euros without help, and had the booking office not still been open, I would never have paid as little as 28 euros (can’t complain about the price).

      Time to look at every option? It would take hours to check all the screens, and although there were three machines, there were other people using them. And finally, they should think what the word ‘single’ means in English. The conductor asked me why I didn’t get an ‘Einzelticket’, which I would have understood. Or why don’t they write ‘Gruppenticket’ beside the other?

  6. Back from Dusseldorf (left the umlaut there).

    @Ferdinand: “Exceptions are DB services outside Germany, but Eurostar tickets can only be booked via eurostar (and should be booked there, because they use a british train ticketing system whereby tickets are *systematically cheaper when booked earlier*”

    Really? But I still managed to get a good deal when purchasing from DB in UK. The only drawback is that the German tickets don’t fit into the machines at Brussels/St. Pancras. More of a prob in Brl than Ldn.

    DB rocks, IMO. When I asked in Ddf how much a return ticket to Duisburg costs, I was asked “Are you travelling alone.” ;-)) Is there something in Germany about this ‘single’ thing whereby Joe Average traditionally thought that one ticket would be enough for him/her + entire Kegelverein? UK machines only ask for the number of passengers towards the end of the interrogation.

    That trip (Ddf>DU approx. the same distance as from my station to London) – cost about half!

    I look forward to the DB invading UK railspace!

  7. See that English flag in your first picture? Try pressing it next time. It will change the language to *shock* *horror* English!

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