Warning: Ruler is not to scale


Some time ago, I received a promotional can of powdered baby formula that included the following complimentary growth ruler. I display it here next to an actual ruler.

Makes me wonder how accurate their measuring cups are.

Comments (27)
  1. Brian_EE says:

    Puts your kid on the low-end of the growth chart.

    1. JAS says:

      And tries to persuade you to feed the kid even more of the synthetic crap.

    2. Roger says:

      Yup. Oh, your child should be 36 inches by now but look, our chart says 33… feed it more of our formula so it can catch up to where it should be!

  2. Brian_EE says:

    Just like Imperial gallons are bigger than US gallons, maybe Imperial inches are bigger than US inches?

    1. French Guy says:

      Inches are supposed to be the same, but such discrepancies are one of the reasons the metric system was created. From wikipedia: “It has been estimated that on the eve of the Revolution in 1789, the eight hundred, or so, units of measure in use in France had up to a quarter of a million different definitions because the quantity associated with each unit could differ from town to town, and even from trade to trade.”

      1. Brian_EE says:

        You missed the implied /s

        1. French Guy says:

          I encountered too much sarcasm on the internet, so my detector was broken.

      2. Zan Lynx' says:

        This is one of the reasons I start to yell at people who want to define “kilo” as 1024 in computer world. We had enough of that garbage in the past, there’s no need for more confusion.

        1. M says:

          Kilo is 1024 in the computer world (unless you’re talking about network or advertised disk space, obviously!). I will use kibi when…never actually

  3. Jedak says:

    Wow that’s not even close.

  4. This blog is strange! I bet you guys have seen my comments complaining about not being able to insert line breaks or having multi-paragraph comments and thought to yourself “What the hell is the guy talking about?”

    It turns out the blog eats my line breaks and joins my separate paragraphs only when I log into my Microsoft account. When I log out the comment is rendered correctly.

  5. Are you sure its your “actual ruler” that’s correct? It could be the other way around.

    (Sounds like we need an atomic clock and a light source to settle which measure is the accurate one!)

  6. guest says:

    The ruler is being displayed at 125% scale resolution. You just need to adjust your world settings or ask the ruler manufacturer to use the AdjustToRealWorldScale API.

  7. Erik F says:

    When I first saw the measuring tape, I tried to figure out why the scales were the same on both sides of the tape. The measuring tape looked strange to me, and I just realized why: in Canada, most measuring tapes have centimetres and inches on them!

    1. viila says:

      That, unfortunately, applies to the rest of the world too (especially for cheap ones, probably because then they can sell the same rulers in both inch and non inch countries). I hate dual scale rulers and measuring tapes. The times I’ve actually used the inch side can be counted with one hand.

      1. cheong00 says:

        We measure most things in metric (cm), but clothes dimensions (especially waistline) in inches.

        Btw, apparently shoes are not clothes because it uses neither unit.

      2. French Guy says:

        Around here, rulers only have metric on them. I’m guessing dual-scaled rulers only make sense if the manufacturers expect non-metric customers to buy their product.

      3. Erik F says:

        It’s more of a feature than a bug in Canada, because inches/feet are used in construction-related tasks all the time, but we also have to measure stuff in metric too.

        1. Brian says:

          And, the reason inches/feet continue for use in construction related things was when they tried to change things to metric (changing florescent bulbs from 4 ft to 1200 mm, for example), they realized that they’d have to sell two versions of nearly every product (4 ft for existing buildings and 1200 mm for new) that were incompatible, but indistinguishable to humans.

  8. Keith Patrick says:

    Maybe it’s in Troy inches :)

  9. Erik Pitti says:

    Looks like whoever laid out the growth ruler didn’t space the hash marks 1″ apart, but instead placed 1 inch between the top of the lower number and the bottom of the upper number, Since it appears that each of the inch numbers are approximately 1/4inch in height (18pt), this would account for the nearly 3 inch discrepancy after 12 instances, ostensibly one “foot”.

  10. ptousig says:

    Those are metric inches.

    1. Joker_vD says:

      Nah, those are Imperial centimeters.

    2. DWalker07 says:

      I have a metric crescent wrench! Now if I could only find a US crescent wrench…

  11. cheong00 says:

    That’s what you’d get with “resize to fit paper” type of options.

  12. Adrian says:

    At 25, the rulers match. By 29, the actual ruler is 30. That’s 1/4 or 125% magnification.

    My psychic powers tell me the artwork was designed on a PC with “Large Fonts” setting, meaning there were 120 pixels per logical inch. It was saved to a file without noting the design resolution, so the default of 96 pixels per inch was assumed during the printing process.

    The scale at my doctor’s office has a similar problem. ;-)

  13. Marble Giant says:

    At first glance it looks like it’s using cùns as the unit (aka chinese inches) they are ~1.3 inches, which is somewhat in line with the 125% magnification comments.

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