Taking correct measurements has been one of the biggest problems for mankind. In ancient days, difficulties with measurements were limited to the marketplace; the markets still remains at the center of measurement related challenges: How much milk/water is there in the milk, what is the actual weight of old newspapers you have sold to the kabadiwala, how many carats were their in the supposedly 24 carats wedding jewellery? One frequently comes across stories of even small bags showing well over the allowed baggage limit in airport weighing machines. Problems with accurately measuring times of birth mean supposedly incorrect horoscopes for millions of Indians and thereby potentially thousands of rupees worth of astrologer stones and cancelled marriages. Sometimes measurement challenges are much personal: who has the largest genitalia in the batch?
When it comes to organized efforts like corporations, measurement related problems pose bigger challenges: How much revenues and profits has a company made? Very difficult to say, if you remember Enron and more recently Apple. Which channel has the maximum viewership? Ask any channel and they will have sufficient data to prove that the honor goes to their channel. Scientists especially are masters of deception by disclosing measurements that support their theory and blissfully forgetting those that don’t.
Nations and national feelings are frequently involved in measurement related controversies. The world is yet unclear as to which is the tallest building in the world: Sears, Petronas, 101, or CN tower??? And which is the largest fountain in the world: Singapore Suntec,
Countless efforts have been made to overcome measurement related challenges: Expensive and hi-fi arrangements at International bureau of weights and measures,