January 31, 2006

Horse 487 - One Hundred


A friend of mine has an American exchange student living with them for six months. I took them down the M4 out to Penrith and I guess that she must have seen the speedo and panicked a little.
"Are you sure this is safe? The dial says we're doing 105!"
"Yeah, that's about right, the limit is 110."
"110?! That's dangerous!"

It made me think a little bit and it seems that she either didn't realise or know that we use the metric system and kilometers and not miles. The signposted is only 68mph but somehow 100 seems scary. On the motorways in Britain traffic is limited to 70mph but cars will sit on 85 without nary a regard for the limit at all, even in fog.Move to Germany and 100km/h doesn't seem like a problem at all. In fact the little A3 Turbo I had was quite happy to cruise at 209km/h without skipping a beat. 209km/h works out to a shade under 130mph which is quite daunting indeed.

On the cricker field, 100 runs is a notable feat. At 100 most batsmen will be given a standing ovation. In fact so terrible is 100 to grasp that there are more batsmen who've fallen from 90-99 than there are from 80-89. The nervous nineties certainly exist.

In Britain 100 pounds requires two notes. In the US the 100 is the highest regular note (and the most commonly forged) as it is in Australia. In Australia its common to pull a couple of hundred dollars out of the bank to pay the electric or the rates, but you're more likely to see Uncle David than you are to see a budgie. In Japan on the other hand ¥100 is the standard coin, so you're more than likely to see loads of these pass through your wallet.

100°F means that you're running a fever or that it's very hot outside. 100°F sounds a lot nastier than 37.7°C which is precisely the same. Water boils at 100°C which I guess is when metric gets it's own back because 212°F just sounds dumb.

Mind you a Quarter Pounder at McDonalds sounds more appetising than a 113.5g-er and Hundreds & Thousands sound far more fun than nonpareils, Jimmies or sprinkles.

Maybe it's because in our decimal world, 100 with it's three digits looks big and impressive. Whatever the case, 100 is big and chunky.

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