Trust NIST on 911 Truth? You Tell Me: School Supplies vs. Kalashnikov Round

Click to zoom:

Four pictures appear below for your consideration. Without blaming anyone in particular for this measurement miff I submit that the lesson to be learned is to question EVERYTHING -ESPECIALLY if the U.S. Government is to be depended on at any level as a factor in your judgement of what the truth of any matter is. I don't blame the government for the mis-measure below since I have no faith in them anyway. I just wonder what they are doing with all our tax money if, in the end, a simple student ruler cannot be trusted.

Let's say you wanted to buy your kid a school ruler and you went down to the local supermarket and bought one of two available. I bought both. Let's say you gave one of these rulers to your kid and they used it at school. Simple enough right? Did you really give them what you thought you were giving them? After all somebody is making sure that weights and measures in America are dependable - right? I checked out the NIST site and the Department of Commerce under which they are a division. I found even more departments - maybe one of those departments/divisions is to blame. I didn't bother linking the websites since the pictures below are worth thousands of their website assurances.

Take a look specifically the lengths of the rulers - the purpose for which they are designed. Which is right? A girl I asked laughed and told me "take the cheaper one!"

Just so you can determine for yourself if I can depend on either school ruler I've put a live round from a Kalashnikov in the picture because I wanted to provide a standard for you to judge measurement accuracy by.

By the way, I didn't know the camera was that horrible either.


UPDATE JUNE 8, 2009 Panel finds lax oversight re war profiteers
UPDATE JUNE 8, 2009 NASA has money to burn, maybe they can make rulers for the kids
UPDATE JUNE 10, 2009 Read this UK article - still an irrelevant point?
UPDATE JULY 20, 2009 Graeme MacQueen takes NIST apart brick by brick

Top Blogs


  1. I want to tell you that there is no such thing as "exactly" one inch. These rulers are for imprecise projects that do not require much more accuracy than each exhibits.

    There are much more important things to think about as far as I am concerned.

  2. Thanks anonymous - my standards are higher.

  3. For some reason only the bottom picture allows zoom for my browser.

  4. I see your point. Unless school rulers are made with at least eyeball precision, American kids might grow up to be such ignorant dumbshits that they would actually believe there's no such thing as 'exactly' an inch.

  5. I didn't use the centimeter scale - is there also no such thing as "exactly" a centimeter?

    What if both students were building halves of a modular home, each half built in a different area, and assembled onsite to complete the final product? Perhaps anonymous #1 would be our first buyer?

    One school I attended had a carpentry shop. Each year they built a modular home.

  6. I just Wiki'd "meter" and found this:
    The metre or meter (from the Greek μέτρον /΄metron/)[1] is a unit of proper length.[2] It is the basic unit of length in the metric system and in the International System of Units (SI), used around the world for general and scientific purposes. Historically, the metre was defined by the French Academy of Sciences as the length between two marks on a platinum-iridium bar, which was designed to represent 1⁄10,000,000 of the distance from the equator to the north pole through Paris. In 1983, it was redefined by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) as the distance travelled by light in free space in 1⁄299,792,458 of a second.[3]

  7. Only engineering rulers are accurate.

    I am more accurate measuring a yard by the distance from my left fingers (grasping fabric) to my nose than most yardsticks.


  8. Um yeah the standards are pretty low on things like biology for non-majors and non professional tools. It's sort of like buying a Dewalt top of the line drill versus harbor frieght. They both will service for light duty, but if your building things day in and day out then you should be very careful buying things in Harbor Frieght. Great for the occassional weekend handy man.... If only my $99 telescope had the same capability as hubble. On the other hand about all the messed up ruler is good for is worksheets in school, it's too bad the kids don't get an opportunity to do something useful and appreciate the abilities good tools actually give you and the short comings of using measured versus relative instruments (read string) for making something square....

  9. What about building an Estes model rocket? Which to choose?

  10. Doesn't matter which you choose, just don't switch mid project! Consistancy is more important in this example.

  11. Huh? I don't see the problem, apart from the parallax optical error you've illustrated. The two rulers are different thicknesses at the edge. The pink one is thinner, so at the edge it's gradations are below the level of the wooden one. Since you've taken the picture from just a couple of feet away, the further off-center in the picture, the more the two sets of gradations will seem to be 'out'. If you want to do the picture right, tilt the pink ruler up till it's top edge is exactly aligned with the top edge of the wooden one.

    Sure, cheap school rulers may not be exact to .01", but those rulers are better than your very poor photographic skills portray. The fault is with you and your ignorance (or your deliberate deception.) Didn't anyone teach you about parallax error in school? Perhaps more to the point, why didn't you figure it out for yourself?

    Also, using a Kalashnikov round as a visual length standard is really stupid - and further suggests possible deliberate intent to mislead. For one thing, it's bound to be emotionally non-neutral for some people, thus getting them all excited - over nothing to do with the issue - accuracy of rulers. Secondly, it's a very poor length standard. There's no way to determine if the bullet is seated to standard depth in the casing. And the round tip and base are even further from the 'measurement plane' than the error of the ruler edge heights. Why didn't you obtain a real engineering ruler (eg a flat steel ruler), or vernier calipers, and place them against the supposedly 'out' wooden ruler?

    Answer: because you are just making noise, with no intent or ability to investigate fairly and actually inform.

    BTW, there's nothing wrong with the camera. That's called barrel distortion, and is a universally present effect of short focal length lenses. You've probably just never paid attention to the way close-up straight objects in photos always look more curved as they appear towards the edge of shots. Maybe it's a conspiracy, eh?

    (Yes, there are many real and heinous conspiracies in the world. But stupidity like your article doesn't help deal with them.)


  12. TerraHertz: Thanks for your comment. OK lemme rack up the round in a Kalashnikov - if it works, and the others from the same box work in the gun, and other guns, I'll have to side with the AK round as the standard.

    So the moral of the story is that nobody is responsible for rulers in America available through commercial outlets labeled "School Ruler" inches/metric. On which system are these measuring "instruments" based? Who makes sure they meet that standard. ISO?

  13. Oh by the way, I had four people look at this over the last four days before I decided to post this, just to make sure my eyes were not lying to me as Terrawhatever says they are. No, sorry, the error is THAT BAD!

  14. What are you talking about? The Kalashnikov round is only 39 mm long and on the picture it is over 55 mm. Can't believe that the ruler could be so inaccurate!

  15. I guess the "parallax" error increases from left to right? That's odd...

  16. Don't look at the rulers anyone! Look at the "idiot" who noticed that they don't match up!

    All I did was pick up two rulers at the supermarket and lay them side by side. Oh yeah, I had others verify this simple observation anyone can do to make sure my eyes, or logic was working because I myself didn't "want" to believe what I observed.

    Now we have the commenters who have to "shoot the messenger", me, for pointing out that two rulers don't match. Ad hominem.

    Ad hominem attacks, to me at least, are the sign of the shill. I'm sorry but this isn't that complicated and I think the public knows the implications of the post.

  17. http://ask.reference.com/web?q=Optical%20parallax&l=dir&qsrc=2891&o=10616

  18. To anon who said:
    "The Kalashnikov round is only 39 mm long and on the picture it is over 55 mm. "

    So you are using the ruler the round is lying next to, the very same one who's accuracy I bring into question, as the basis for your argument?

    GZUS Kryst you are missing the point.

    My point is that the AK round is more reliable than a ruler you can buy at the supermarket, because the rulers at the supermarket don't agree, but the bullets all fire in similar rifles, meaning they fit precise standards, and this is a Kalashnikov we're talking about here where "precise" isn't the point. Also that we can have precision in bullets which are used for purposes leading to death, where a ruler may be used to build rather than destroy things. Since America can accurately produce things for purposes leading to death, but can't produce things used for building for life, like a national health insurance policy, it makes me wonder why we're so good at killing but not good at things humanitarian.

    If this escapes you I can't help you in any way - but I'll never stop trying. I will also defend your right to debate me.

    Thanks for the discussion!

  19. Yeah, if parallax were the problem I'd at least expect the 6" (six inch) mark to line up and both ends to be off for the camera. Parallax has to do with the position of two eyes and binocular vision. The camera is only one focus - so if there were error having to do with the position of the "observer" I'd expect perfection at the 6 inch mark and error at the edges, not evident in the pics I might add. Not evident, because, the pics are a good representation of the truth, and by the way I didn't take them. Why? To remove my own bias from the pics. My nephew took the pics, he also, did a double take. His eyes are WAY better than mine.

  20. o why do we need NIST or anyone like them if our weights and measures are irrelevant? What is NIST here for if they don't exist to make sure all rulers measure twelve inches, or use centimeters if you want a unit of measurement of distance with real meaning.
    The point is that this topic is sensitive because we cannot, as Galileo discovered, question the "high priests" of truth, NIST - NIST IS ABOVE QUESTION, and if I understand the case of those who don't think this matters, I'm gonna measure your next gasoline purchase with a dixie cup and laugh at you because you are the reason this country is such a disaster. Your standards are beneath any thinking citizen. But perfect for the fat potato-chip eating consumer. Keep up the good shill-work.
    The AK round is a measurement that one can trust to specific, stated tolerances.
    The rulers are typical garbage sold to lax Amerikans, unaware of their economic peril, and unaware that their government can't even make sure that a foot is a foot.
    HA HA HA

  21. I guess since rulers don't have to meet any standard we can all just guess what a "gallon" of gas is for 4 bucks a whack. Who cares if we are paying for a quart of milk? Who cares if a surveyor "verifies" we have an acre of land? Who cares if an egg boils for ten minutes or 15 minutes? Why was the fusee invented? Why move from an escapement to an atomic clock? Why did we need chronometers for pilots in WWII? Who cares if the cop that gives you a ticket for one mile over the limit had his radar gun calibrated - after all - this is just quibbling right? Who cares what interest has accrued compounded daily on your credit card account? Who cares if the temperature in your refrigerator is cold enough to prevent bacterial growth? Who cares if the tires on your car can't pass inspection because measurements are irrelevant - that is - according to some commenters.

    I was trained to take exact and precise measurements, measure twice cut once (on the waste side of the line) by people who took measurements very seriously. And I am grateful to them for that. I am also grateful that I didn't have the commenters who refuse to see the relevance of inconsistent weights and measures for a civilized society. But I will concede one point - if we continue to torture we are not civilized.

  22. I forgot the end of this sentence:
    I am also grateful that I didn't have the commenters who refuse to see the relevance of inconsistent weights and measures for a civilized society

    "as teachers"

    because teachers who ignore precision in measurement are not serving their students. If one isn't interested in precision or consistency - what is the point of measuring anything?

  23. Wow Jack Rabbit, 15 out of 22 comments on this post are you, including 8 in a row. It almost seems as though you should just edit the post. Or think through your answer, construct it, and then post it...

  24. Nah, I like it the way it is. It is the comments we bloggers live for and the debate. So what is it you have to offer anonymous 1:31?

  25. But remember - DO NOT LOOK AT THE RULERS IN THE PICS! Focus all energy, as did Hitler, on shooting the messenger! Don't focus on the debate, the issue at hand or the implications thereof: Shoot the messenger quickly.

  26. IN response to:
    "Wow Jack Rabbit, 15 out of 22 comments on this post are you, including 8 in a row. It almost seems as though you should just edit the post. Or think through your answer, construct it, and then post it..."

    JR "How am I supposed to think through my answer to comments to a post when the comments appear AFTER THE POSTING?"

    This advice sounds like the advice of those insisting NIST is to be trusted and that parallax is to blame for a camera error.

  27. Education is aimed at the individual - reinforcing the citizen whereas Propaganda is aimed at the masses - reinforcing the conformist - alienating the individual non-conformist.

    Citizens verify the accuracy of their rulers, whether the "rulers" in question are used for measuring - or rulers used for "governing" - in each case the citizen "trusts but verifies" (R Reagan)

    The consumer (as opposed to the citizen) buys cheap garbage and believes shills who tell them weights and measures are not important for a functioning economy.

  28. Hey Jack, I agree with you. When it comes to killing, we're the bestest. We are also the biggest arms merchants. Everyone wants our guns and bombs. It's the one thing we still make that everyone wants. Too bad the same can't be said for everything else we make.
    The shills are everywhere. Every time you make any comment that sounds even a little negative about our saintly government, they crawl out from the rocks and start calling names and making personal comments. They had a field day when Ron Paul ran for President. Remember a little while back when they was calling for people who criticised George Bush and the war in Iraq with being locked up and charged with sedition. Some went even farther and called for executing people.
    Your point was well made and I suspect the critics know exactly what you are getting at and that is why they have problems with it!

  29. Thanks anon 2:54 - truth has a way of penetrating propaganda - but it really helps to hear a word of agreement once in a while. I wonder what it is about the human thought process, on an individual level, that makes it so hard to stand alone against opposition - even organized irrational opposition?

  30. To Anonymous above who said: " If only my $99 telescope had the same capability as hubble."

    Who in their right mind expects a $99 telescope to have the same capability as Hubble? Are you serious?

    By the way, I like telescopes. One bit of advice given to me early on was to never waste money on a cheap $99 telescope because the product is so useless and frustrating that the end effect is to crush any budding astronomer's interest in astronomy - because they exposed to garbage equipment leading them to believe this is the state of the art in the field. Also they can't see any cool stuff, there is no motor to sync with the rotation of earth so the object remains steady, there is no computer to help find interesting astronomical objects with a minimum of pain -

  31. gosh!!are you still up and running jacob wabbit ???????????

  32. To Anonymous above:

    Define "Up and Running" please. What's with the "Jacob" thing? Gosh? I didn't know people still used anachronistic terms like "Gosh" anymore in the US.

  33. hear hear terrahertz, what a load of nonsense !!

  34. I am impressed with terrahertz's eye for detail - but what appears to be about 1/32 of an inch error over one foot seems invisible.

    I just lined the rulers up again and looked at them - yes they are way off

  35. Some points in reply, since I'm being accused of ad hominem.

    * Wood expands and contracts, depending on the humidity of the air. Plastic generally doesn't. This is supposed to be obvious, and so complaining about a 1/32" error over a foot (3.8% out) of a wooden ruler is silly.

    * Parallax error does NOT have anything to do with binocular vision. It's purely a geometrical effect of looking at things from a single viewpoint, where the things are in planes at different distances and angles from that viewpoint. Anyone who needs accurate measurement in their work knows that one has to move the eye to perpendicular of the point being measured. Yes, close the other eye if need be. Your rulers may indeed be missmatched, but _we_ can't tell how much, really, unless you take pictures with the camera directly over both endpoints of the scales. You haven't.
    Or, as I said, pack under the pink one so it's scale edge is the same height as the other.

    * Even as a schoolkid (in Australia, in the 60s and 70s) I knew wooden rulers suck. That's why I got myself a steel one way back then. But as someone else commented, it's consistency, not precision that matters for schoolkids. Also, perhaps discovering that all measurement systems have an inherent level of inaccuracy, and it's a good idea to know what this is, could be a valuable lesson for a child, don't you think?

    * Vernier calipers. Do you have them? How about doing a serious measurement of the absolute error in the rulers, if you really care so much.

    * Ad hominem means 'to the man' - to claim that someone's argument must be invalid because they personally are in some way flawed. What I said is that your argument is flawed, and therefore you are an idiot. Not the same thing.

    * At least your rulers are straight. I once bought a meter-rule (stainless steel, made in China) and later discovered it was about half a mm off straight over the length.

  36. Oh, sorry, I should have noted that you are confusing 'parallax error', and depth perception, which is constructed in the mind based on the differences in images seen by each eye. Not what one would call an 'error', though it is a parallax effect.

    Btw, did you try contacting the NIST weights and measures dept? http://ts.nist.gov/WeightsAndMeasures/index.cfm

    You never know, they might be good for something. Yes, NIST did manage to ignore all witnesses reporting explosions in the WTC prior to the impacts, ignore videos of white hot liquid steel pouring out of the buildings, ignore pictures of clearly thermite-cut structural beams, fail to enquire into where all the serial-numbered aircraft parts vanished to, fail to notice that the much-photographed aircraft engine in the NY street was from the wrong model of plane, fail to even mention WTC7s 'collapse' or it's mysterious preannouncement by the media, absolutely refuse to see or hear anything to do with peer-reviewed scientific papers proving the existence of US-military nano-thermite powder in the WTC dust, and so on.

    But they might just be able to deal with a wooden ruler that's maybe 1mm out. Perhaps. Why not give them a try?

  37. Terra,

    I just saw the part where you said I confused parallax - yes I was writing too fast there. I was actually answering your picture-debunking attempt and meant to answer your actual question where you mis-used the term parallax - I tried to answer your intended question.

  38. I'm not defending poor quality. I'm attacking it. 'Poor quality in a Truth Blog.'

    My point is that while you are complaining about inaccuracy in wooden school rulers, you have done it in a way that is itself inaccurate and misleading. You didn't position the rulers and camera shots to eliminate parallax error. You used an object (the round) as a backup reference that is totally unsuited for that use. Both because it isn't intrinsicly a known length (I'm sure it would work fine regardless of the bullet seating being a little in or out) and also because it's axis *cannot* be brought directly against the ruler. AND it emotionally confuses the issue. (It pisses me off because I live in a country that deprives me of my right to self defense, period, let alone with any weapon I choose.)

    You are writing a blog that purports to be an antidote to propaganda. Yet here you have used *exactly* the kinds of techniques used by anti-truth propagandists and shills. You've picked a trivial aspect of our troubled times, and blown it up out of proportion. You've presented your case in a flawed manner (failing to ensure there isn't any opportunity for readers to dismiss your argument due to an obvious flaw, such as parallax - which you could easily have eliminated if you'd thought about the photo arrangement better.) You've dragged in unrelated and emotive issues (the Kalashnikov round.) You've entirely neglected core issues (were those rulers even made in America? Or are they job-destroying imports like almost everything else in the shops?) Then in your replies you are going off on absurd tangents (such as imagining that anyone would measure out gold chain with a wooden school ruler.)

    The point is, if you are going to stand on a box labelled 'Truth', you'd better be very careful to keep your standards high.

    It's too bad there isn't a standard measure for truth. Cos you're a little bit off the mark.

  39. I suppose there is no convincing my friend Terra, who had to finally resort to name-calling (idiot) above. He said:
    "What I said is that your argument is flawed, and therefore you are an idiot. "

    I'm sorry but your logic isn't adding up for me. How is my argument flawed?

    The metric side looks to be off by (indicated) one millimeter. Does this observation also make me an idiot?

    Am I an "idiot" because I pointed out that two rulers don't match - though they both are marketed as measuring devices.

    You base your assumptions on the ultimate use to which the ruler will be used. You keep trivializing what you imagine the use to be - but the fact is you cannot know what anyone will use a ruler for, or how they may need to depend on it. That is where your argument is flawed. But I won't call you an idiot simply because you will have to call yourself an idiot based on your own logic.

  40. Sorry to say it but ruler standards are not that high in China where the rulers were probably made.

  41. Thanks Davol - I expect low standards from China - I expect excellent standards in the US.

    Take a look at the "ruler" on a Victorinox Swisstool - what are your expectations for using that particular ruler? Mine are high.

    An INCH is a DEFINED UNIT - anything posing as a ruler marked in INCHES should simply display its assumed, advertised unit.

    Again - we cannot assume the use to which a ruler will ultimately be used - we have standards for very good reasons.

    Inch, metric, cm - these units appear on the rulers depicted - why are those units stamped onto the rulers if the rulers don't actually reproduce those very units? It is not acceptable at any level for a ruler to display millimeters, yet be off one millimeter of a 30 cm distance -

    This example reminds me of the effort years back to stamp out crime in NY city - the approach that proved successful included cracking down on petty crimes, graffiti and other "minor" crimes in addition to the "major" ones. The philosophy as I understood it was based on the idea that lax enforcement of these "petty" crimes leads to disrespect for "major" crimes.

    So - if rulers don't matter, do measuring cups matter? Does it matter if a bag of flour really weighs 5 pounds?

    As I said above - I was trained to measure precisely - ensure instruments are calibrated to traceable standards etc...

    What message is sent to students by those who don't care if an inch is an inch?

  42. To anon from above who said:
    "What are you talking about? The Kalashnikov round is only 39 mm long and on the picture it is over 55 mm. Can't believe that the ruler could be so inaccurate!"

    JR says: Don't you mean that the Kalashnikov SHELL CASING = 39mm long, overall length plus bullet is different number.

  43. To Terra:

    How is it that you determined the wooden ruler to be the defective one? I can't find where above I made that statement - why do you attribute this claim to me? I asked "Which is Right?" YOU said the wooden one was off. How can you determine that?

  44. Pfff.

    Whiskey and rainwater, son. You have lost your tiny tiny mind from drinking the stuff out of the taps. When you're looking at those rulers differently, you're going to like the wooden one better.

    It'll burn for heat.

  45. Thank you oh Lord for your words of discouragement and belittlement.

    Perhaps you can go back to abusing your usual victims now.

    Only a person with a "tiny mind" questions the value of consistent weights and measure.


  46. I just realized how smart Lord is... he knows that..."WOOD BURNS!"


  47. Regarding wooden student "rulers" check this out - I have an old one out in the garage:

  48. The rulers were probably made in China! This is kind of boring as a subject matter. Maybe even a waste of time????

  49. Maybe a waste of time? Perhaps. But not when I went to school. Stress was placed on proper use of measuring instruments and their limitations. Also respect for "significant digits" was important.

    So can we now eliminate the zero in front of 0.13?

  50. To anonymous who said:
    "The rulers were probably made in China! This is kind of boring as a subject matter. Maybe even a waste of time????"

    Boeing now manufactures aircraft parts in China.

  51. Looks like the variation is better than 5%.
    I doubt that the 12 inches on 1 ruler is half inch different from the 12 inches on the other ruler; just the individual inches varying less than 5%.

  52. Oh well, since the rulers are from China we can excuse it. We already dealt with the lead paint in kids toys from China.

    So I guess if it says "inches" on it in America it really doesn't mean "inches"


Only by exercising YOUR freedom of speech shall you keep it. Comment now - I can handle it....

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.