(In The Life Of The Church)
The New Standard
Then the Lord said, See, I am setting a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel; I will never again pass them by; Amos 7:8
The following was originally posted on Neotorama in September of 2013
Hidden in a vault outside Paris, vacuum-sealed under three bell jars, sits a palm-sized metal cylinder known as the International Prototype Kilogram, or “Le Grand K.” Forged in 1879 from an alloy of platinum and iridium, it was hailed as the “perfect” kilogram—the gold standard by which other kilograms would be judged.
Although it’s arguably the world’s most famous weight, Le Grand K doesn’t get out much. Since hydrocarbons on fingertips or moisture in the air could contaminate its pristine surface, it goes untouched for decades, under triple lock and key at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures. Every 40 years, however, it makes an appearance.
The weight is ushered from its chamber, washed with alcohol, polished, and weighed against 80 official replicas hand-delivered from laboratories around the world. Today, whenever scientists need to verify something is precisely one kilogram, they turn to one of these replicas, over which Le Grand K reigns supreme.
This system sounds absurd, but not too long ago, lots of units relied on similar methods. The kilogram was just one of seven standards of measurement established by the French Academy of Sciences in 1791, all based on physical prototypes. These benchmarks caught on worldwide because standardization was sorely needed. At the time, some 250,000 different units of weights and measures existed in France alone, which meant that the only constant was complete chaos.
While basing measurements on tangible benchmarks was an improvement, using physical standards wasn’t without its flaws. For one, they have a nasty habit of changing. In Le Grand K’s case, it’s been losing weight. At its most recent weigh-in in 1988, it was found to be 0.05 milligrams—about the weight of a grain of sand—lighter than its underling replicas. Experts aren’t sure where this weight went, but some theorize that the replicas have been handled more often, which could subtly add weight. Others postulate Le Grand K’s alloy is “outgassing,” which means air is gradually escaping the metal.
Whatever the reason for Le Grand K’s gradual wasting away, it’s got scientists scrambling for a more reliable standard. Some argue that this is long overdue, since all other units of measurement are already defined by fundamental constants of nature that can be reproduced anywhere anytime (provided you’ve got some sophisticated lab equipment). The meter, for example, used to be defined by a metal rod stored alongside Le Grand K. But in 1983, it was redefined as the distance light travels in a vacuum during 1/299,792,458 of a second.
Standardizing the kilogram has been trickier, though. Australian scientists are polishing a one-kilogram sphere of silicon, hoping that they’ll be able to count the number of atoms it contains to create a more accurate standard. American physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are attempting to redefine a kilogram in terms of the amount of voltage required to levitate a weight. But so far, neither approach can match Le Grand K’s accuracy.
Why should we care whether a kilogram in a vault is “perfect” or not? Because it’s bad news when your standard is no longer standardized. While no one’s worried whether a single kilogram of apples is a hair lighter or heavier at the produce stand, a small discrepancy can become a gargantuan one if you’re dealing with, say, a whole tanker of wheat. The kilogram is also used as a building block in other measurements. The joule, for instance, is the amount of energy required to move a one-kilogram weight one meter. The candela, a measure of the brightness of light, is measured in joules per second.
These links mean that if the kilogram is flawed, so are the joule and candela, which could eventually cause problems in an array of industries, particularly in technology. As microchips process more information at higher speeds, even tiny deviations will lead to catastrophes. Le Grand K’s unreliability “will start to be noticeable in the next decade or two in the electronics industry,” warns NIST physicist Richard Steiner. If your next smartphone is buggy, you’ll know which hunk of metal to blame.
So scientists continue to chase the perfect kilogram. “Maybe we have all been looking for too high-tech an answer,” says Stuart Davidson of England’s National Physical Laboratory. “There could be something really obvious out there we’ve missed.” The NPL’s website encourages others to give it a shot: Any better ideas on a postcard please. Until then, Le Grand K will remain king—short of true perfection, but as perfect as it gets.
Painters, Poets, Singers and Beauty Lovers. Calling all artists and art appreciators to the SummerSide July 15th @ 7:00 PM. UBC will host a space to display art with either wall space or mic space. So if you have a talent that you'd like to display or if you'd like to come and appreciate the work of others join us for SummerSide at UBC. For more information about attending or performing email email@example.com.
Looking for a New L-Team Member
The time has come for the amazing Kristin Dodson to rotate off the leadership team. We are grateful for the time energy and careful thought that Kristin has given our community. If you would like to serve on the Leadership Team please discern by reading the following and sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to let him know you are interested. The new leadership team rep will be selected by leadership team at our August 7th meeting.
(A) Purpose. The Leadership Team shall be the primary decision-making body of UBC. The Leadership Team will oversee all the business and property of the church, as well as make the final decisions regarding hiring and dismissal of staff and the acquisition and selling of assets that are beyond budgetary provisions.
(C) Qualifications. Each member of Leadership Team shall have been a member of UBC for at least one year, exhibited an understanding and commitment to the mission and values of the church, and be willing to fulfill all responsibilities in the Leadership Team job description.
(E) Term. Members of Leadership Team may serve for a duration lasting up to three years. While they are encouraged to remain the full three years, members may voluntarily remove themselves from their position at any time.
Looking for a New HR Team Member
The fearless Callie Schrank has served us well, but now her time is up. We are grateful for Callie and her help in launching and refining the review process. If you would like to serve on the HR Team please discern by reading the following and sending an email to email@example.com to let him know you are interested. The new HR rep will be selected by leadership team at our August 7th meeting.
(A) Purpose. The Human Resources/Staff Support Team shall exist for the following purposes:
a. To establish procedures for the hiring of ministerial and non-ministerial staff, and to enact those procedures when advised by Leadership Team to do so.
b. To advise Leadership and Finance teams on issues regarding long-term staff needs.
c. To create and implement staff review procedures.
d. To advise Leadership and Finance teams on matters regarding staff compensation, benefits, grievances and termination.
e. To be a liaison between the congregation and staff during times of conflict after all attempts at personal, one-on-one resolution has been made.
(C) Qualifications. HR/Staff Support Team members shall have been an active participant in the life of UBC for no less than one year, have received a bachelor’s degree (or roughly an equivalent amount of experience in personnel management, ministry, or other related field,) and have a demonstrable understanding of organizational management.
(E) Term. HR/Staff Support Team members shall serve for a duration lasting up to five years. All efforts shall be made by the HR/Staff Support Team to ensure that no more than two members in a given year rotate off of the team due to duration requirements. While they are encouraged to remain the full five years, members may voluntarily remove themselves from their position at any time.
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Work is Worship
Coffee Makers: Emmy
Mug Cleaners: Leigh & the Cooleys
Money Counter: Anna Tilson
- Sunday Sermon Text: 1 Corinthians 8: Special Guest Preacher Rev. Dr. Burt Burlesson
- MD Chains Location: Pot Belly
- Next Leadership Team Meeting: August 7th
- Harry Potter Party @ UBC on July 30th @ 6:00 PM
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If you have a concern or an idea for UBC that you’d like to share with someone that is not on staff, feel free to contact one of our leadership team members.
Chair- Kristin Dodson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Joy Wineman: email@example.com
Stan Denman: Stan_Denman@baylor.edu
David Wilhite: David_Wilhite@baylor.edu
Bridget Heins: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharyl Loeung: email@example.com
Jon Davis: firstname.lastname@example.org
UBC Finance Team
Do you have a question about UBC’s financial affairs? Please feel free to contact any of your finance team members.
Josh McCormick: Josh.McCormick@dwyergroup.com
Hannah Kuhl: HannahKuhl@hotmail.com
Justin Pond: email@example.com
Anna Tilson: Anna_Tilson@jrbt.com
Doug McNamee: firstname.lastname@example.org
UBC HR Team
If you have concerns about staff and would like contact our human resources team, please feel free to email any of the following members.
Maxcey Blaylock: email@example.com
Mathew Crawford: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rob Engblom: Rob_Engblom@baylor.edu
Ross Van Dyke: Ross_Vandyke@baylor.edu