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16.05.2019

When is a Kilogramme not a Kilogramme? | Connecting with Culture

If you’re planning to do any baking, this weekend might be a good time. After that all your cookery books will be worthless. Why? Because on Monday the kilogramme is being redefined.

Of course, it won’t really affect the household baker. The magazine Scientific American explains it like this:

The official object that defines the mass of a kilogram is a tiny, 139-year-old cylinder of platinum and iridium that resides in a triple-locked vault near Paris. Because it is so important, scientists almost never take it out; instead they use copies called working standards. But the last time they did inspect the real kilogram, they found it is roughly five parts in 100 million heavier than all the working standards, which have been leaving behind a few atoms of metal every time they are put on scales.

To put that in perspective, it has been calculated that there are about 100 million specks of flour in a kilo. So your supermarket has been cheating you out of around five specks of flour per bag. That’s not going to make much difference to your average Victoria Sponge.

So why change it?

Because truth matters. That’s why we have an agreed measure in the first place. We need to know that when you and I buy a kilogramme of flour, no one will cheat me or show you extra favour. It’s a justice issue.

It mattered so much to God that he wrote it into his law: ‘You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt’ (Leviticus 19:35-36).

God bases this command – like many others – on his character. ‘Be just, because I am the Lord.’

Every time you weigh out ingredients to bake with, or hop on the scales, or buy pick-n-mix, that act is whispering to you something of God’s character. His holiness, his justice, his truthfulness.

It may not seem as though five specks in 100 million would matter that much – just as it may be hard to understand why God is so bothered by our ‘small sins’. But his standard is perfection.

And we are called to be the same – holy as he is holy. Not mostly holy, but wholly holy. When we are faithful in the small things, we show that we’re being conformed into his likeness, one speck of flour at a time.

 

Jennie Pollock
Jennie is a freelance writer and editor who lives in London and worships at Grace London. She blogs at jenniepollock.com and tweets as @missjenniep

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Author

Jennie Pollock

Comments

  1. Best weight related news ever, was when they found the stone was rolled away!

    By John from Belfast - 17th May 2019
  2. The Bureau International des Poids et Measures is based in a lovely old chateau in a Paris park.
    For the geeks this link describes how the new measurement of the kilo will be done using a Kibble balance which will weigh mass against an electromagnetic force instead of a physical piece of metal.
    https://www.bipm.org/utils/en/pdf/CGPM-Press-Kit.pdf
    In practical terms it matters if you are buying or selling millions of Kilos of steel or coffee per year
    Accurate weights are a matter of social equity: unequal weights are an abomination to the Lord and false scales are not good. Prov 20:23. and part of His rule Prov 16:11. In Mich 6:11 God will judge those who defraud with false scales. Jews were not to have different weights for buying and selling!!
    In the 1800’s measurement was simpler and the attached link has pictures of the standard yard measure at Greenwich
    https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/public-standards-of-length
    The Hebrew word shekel has its derivation in the word for weight and from around 2000BC until the Roman empire the silver and gold shekel became the standard for trade in the ancient world and examples have been found from Scandinavia to India.

    By David - 17th May 2019
  3. Great post, Jennie!

    By Cynthia Tews - 18th May 2019

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