Grand Complications, Part 1

Sep 08, 2022,00:24 AM

Grand Complications, Part 1

In our world of mechanical watches, there's an honorary title known as the Grand Complication . It means that the watch performs several difficult functions, IN ADDITION to keeping the time, such as chiming the time of day, showing the phase of the moon, perpetual calendar, and serving as a split-second stopwatch. It has to be able to do all these things at once, and run for days on a winding, and operate reliably for years, proving that its maker is highly skilled in design, fabrication, marketing, sales and support of tiny mechanisms.

Now most of us are just watch wearers, or collectors so we won't be designing a grand complication. But even moderately-skilled among us can do grand complication calculations (the more common description is higher-order thinking skills ).

 This kind of problem-solving requires us to analyze the situation, learn some new facts that we've never known before, and combine multiple techniques or skills.

Here's an example for a WPS member:

Let's say I'm on vacation in the UK somewhere, it's hot, and I am in the pub garden having a pint of bitter with Captain Scarlet. The glass seems larger than a pint glass in the USA.The price seems reasonable, but I'm not sure how it translate to the cost of a pint back home. How can I compare them? I want to know the equivalent cost per unit of beverage.

A fair amount of time (and pints) elapsed before I solved this grandly-complicated issue. Here are the calculations:

A pint glass in the UK  and a pint glass in the USA - are they the same volume? Research tells me that a pint glass is:
  • 20 fluid ounces (570 mL) in the UK [ a UK ounce=28.41 ml ]
  • 16 fluid ounces (473 mL) in the USA [ a US ounce=  29.57 ml ]
No, the glasses do not contain the same volume of liquid. WHO LET THIS HAPPEN?

The volume of the pints are different and the volume of the ounces are different! )(_&*&%^$

The best way to find an equivalent price is to compare equivalent volumes. Let's use a liter. We need a conversion factor we'll call V, so we can change each of the so-called "pints" to a liter. This is becoming algebra.
  • How many UK pints to a liter?  1000 ÷ 570 ml=V so V_UK=1.75
  • How many US pints to a liter?  1000 ÷ 473 ml=V so V_US=2.11
A pint glass of bitter cost £5.50 in this pub. How much is that in US dollars?
  • the exchange rate today is 1.15 US dollars to 1 pound sterling (Yay!)
  • therefore 1.15 x  £5.50=$6.33 US dollars for a UK pint
A US pint glass of imported bitters in my local restaurant is $7.50 US

 How much is the price, in US dollars, per liter of bitters?
  •  UK $6.33 x 1.75=$11.07
  •  US $5.00 x 2.11=$15.83
It's cheaper in England. This is a very complicated problem to solve, but only simple math computation skills were needed - I used multiplication, division, solving for a variable, ratios, volume, price per unit and foreign exchange.

Just as the watch manufacturer might want to add a split-second chrono function to UP the complication rating of his watch,

  • I could ask you to time the consumption rate, using your grand complication watch, in newly-found Liter equivalents
  • I could ask you the number of "units of alcohol" for all the beer we have consumed while solving this problem. 
  • Or we could just take a nap
This is indeed a Grand Complication Math Problem but don't worry, I'll tie this back into watches in my next post.


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EVERYTHING costs more in CA!

 By: patrick_y : September 8th, 2022-02:22

I’d love to have a beer in a tavern

 By: Cookies : September 8th, 2022-05:13
Those pubs in UK are the best traps for me, especially if they have 20 or more types of beer on tap.

A pain in my head. ;)

 By: amanico : September 8th, 2022-07:32

Contemplating this conundrum …

 By: Cpt Scarlet : September 8th, 2022-09:48
Good conclusion Mike, As you know, at the Crown & Hands WristScan pub we spend many hours contemplating these important scientific questions and solving the worlds problems…. Our research continues ;-)) ...  

our local was the Hand & Spear

 By: cazalea : September 8th, 2022-17:53
But Broadlands Gardens was our favorite place (home of friend & co-worker) We would hang out in the garden - 3 generations of folk In this case, three corners of the globe - UK, US & OZ Our hosts always cooked the meat on the barbeque while I always provi...  

Patek cheated this test

 By: andrea~ : September 8th, 2022-10:19
Great post!