The concept of this page is A v B: Who would win? Which is better? For many of these I think there is a clear winner.

This page is related to the various "Religious Wars" that are often discussed for "fun" at places like this xkcd forum on "Religious Wars" [http://forums.xkcd.com/viewforum.php?f=40].

ISO 8601 v RFC 822

Here is an example of ISO 8601: 2003-06-22T21:13:45Z. Pro: ISO 8601 goes from largest units to smallest units. This means that you can sort by string directly instead of having to convert the information into a date object first. ISO formatting is also shorter than RFC formatting.

Here is an example of RFC 822: 22 Jun 2003 21:13:45 UTC. Pro: The presence of "Jun" make month unmistakable from day of month.

See also my section on Time.

See also: [http://forums.xkcd.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=100553&hilit=8601].

My vote is for ISO 8601.

System Internationale (Metric) v UK/US System

Q: Given a room 15 ft. 3-3/4 in. by 21 ft. 7-1/2 in., what is the area in square yards? A: 36.79 sq. yd. attained with difficulty.

Q: Given a room 4.667 m by 6.591 m, what is the area in square meters? A: 30.76 m2 attained with ease.

Who could not love the fact that specific gravity of water is 1 while the density of water at specific conditions (4 C and 1 atm) is 1 kg/L = 1000 kg/m3 = 1 g/mL = 1 g/cm3? It's so sweet that 1 g of water is 1 mL = 1 cm3 under specific conditions. In contrast, the density of water as 62.4 lb/ft3 has no beauty to it.

SI (the metric system) is superior in many other ways to the UK System. See also my section on Measurements.

My vote is for System Internationale.

English v Esperanto

The idea of Esperanto (or equivalent constructed language) is beautiful but given that people already have their native natural languages, and will probably learn English if it isn't their native language, then I don't think Esperanto will ever win out over English.

English, as ugly and beautiful as it is, will rule this planet. Plus as far as computer character encoding, English fits fine into ISO 8859-1, whereas Esperanto has to use Unicode.

On a side note: Languages that need say 26 characters, are superior to languages (EGs: Chinese) that require thousands of characters.

My vote is for English.

HTML v XHTML

XHTML enforces better coding than HTML. .... No wait, it's just been a lexical annoyance and time waster with no real benefit, especially since hand formed "bad" HTML doesn't go away.

My vote is HTML 5.

Krispy Kreme v Dunkin Donuts

This one is so easy. It's not about the coffee... it's about the donuts.

The fine donuts of DunkinDonuts.com can't touch the heavenly creations of KrispyKreme.com. A DD KO of KK is impossible.

My vote is Krispy Kreme.

CE v AD

In the most common calendar on the globe, the years start at 1 AD or 1 CE. Years prior to that start at 1 BC or 1 BCE.

AD is an abbreviation of Anno Domini in Latin or "The year of the Lord" in English. CE is an abbreviation of "Common Era", which is a non-secular description.

BC is an abbreviation of "Before Christ". BCE is an abbreviation of "Before the Common Era".

My vote is for CE.

ISO 216 v North American Paper Sizes

"The United States and Canada [plus Mexico and the Philippines] are today the only industrialized nations in which the ISO standard paper sizes are not yet widely used."

"While all ISO paper formats have consistently the same aspect ratio of sqrt(2)=1.414, the U.S. format series has two different alternating aspect ratios 17/11=1.545 and 22/17=1.294. Therefore you cannot reduce or magnify from one U.S. format to the next higher or lower without leaving an empty margin, which is rather inconvenient."

ISO 216 paper sizes include: 4A0, 2A0, A0, ..., A4, ..., A9, A10, B0, ..., B10, C0, ..., C10. A0 is the largest and base size of 1 square meter (the larger sizes (such as 2A0) comes from the German DIN standard). Mathematically folding a hypothetical size in half yields the same aspect ratio and the next lower size, plus the diagonal will always be the shorter side times sqrt(3). The actual paper sizes are approximations in millimeters. EG: A0 is actually 999949 mm^2, i.e. 51 mm^2 or 0.0051% short of 1 square meter. The relative sizes are B > C > A -- this way an A4 letter can fit in a C4 envelope, which can in turn fit in a B4 envelope.

Also since paper is specified in g/m^2, ISO 216 makes it easy to calculate the mass for a given amount of paper.

North American paper sizes include: letter, legal, executive, tabloid, A, ..., E.

Check out this beautiful illustration from Wikipedia:
ISO 216 Paper Sizes

ISO/DIN paper sizes (in mm)
A- B- C-
-0 841 x 1189 1000 x 1414 917 x 1297
-1 594 x 841 707 x 1000 648 x 917
-2 420 x 594 500 x 707 458 x 648
-3 297 x 420 353 x 500 324 x 458
-4 210 x 297 250 x 353 229 x 324
-5 148 x 210 176 x 250 162 x 229
-6 105 x 148 125 x 176 114 x 162
-7 74 x 105 88 x 125 81 x 114
-8 52 x 74 62 x 88 57 x 81
-9 37 x 52 44 x 62 40 x 57
-10 26 x 37 31 x 44 28 x 40

See also:

My vote is for ISO 216 Paper Sizes.

Fork v Chopsticks

Before I go on with this discussion, it should be noted that I'm very proficient with chopsticks.

Lets compare these utensils:

Summary: The fork has 4 wins, chopsticks have 2 wins, and there are 4 ties. It seems that chopsticks are more server oriented while forks are more consumer oriented. Both must be supplemented with more specialized utensils depending on the dish.

My vote is for the fork.

Butter v Margarine

Refs:

Butter and margarine (aka vegetable spread and the like) are equivalent in calories and both get their calories from fat. However, there are differences in the fat.

Margarine costs roughly twice as much as butter. Hence for the sake of money, I think margarine is the clear winner.

For melting onto foods, I think a soft margarine would work better better than butter. For making flaky crusts and such, butter is necessary.

For pure taste, butter is preferred. This is the best reason to choose butter.

My vote is for butter in moderation.

Breast Milk v Formula

Formula is artificial breast milk that became popular during WWII because of the extreme labor contributions that women had to make then. Formula is convenient and consistent. Formula is not free.

Breast milk is so much, much, much, much, much better than formula.

Breast feeding is difficult logistically, technically, and physically. If a mother has difficulty, then she should seek advice and support:

BTW: No cow's milk until the baby is 1 year old. Whole milk until the child is 2 years old.

See also these off-site related links:

My vote is for Breast Milk.

Progressive Scan v Interlaced Scan

This is sort of like the lossless v lossy argument. Storage, bandwidth, and processing rates get better all the time, so why sacrifice quality? This image from the Wikipedia article on Progressive Scan [W] is worth a thousand words:

Animation comparing Progressive Scan v Interlaced Scan

My vote is for Progressive Scan.

Toilet Paper Hangs from the Front v the Back

The paper is more conveniently located from the front, and further away from scraping the wall.

My vote is to hang toilet should hang from the front.

Chronological Order v Reverse Chronological Order

You normally read and live in chronological order. If you have want to see the latest items on a long list, then just go to the end of the list. The only time you might want reverese chronological order is when you want to see just the latest few items.

My vote is for Chronological Order.

Blank line at EOF v No blank line at EOF

For some people the main reason that they put a blank line at the end of file (EOF) is because their tool expects one. However my main reason is because it produces cleaner results when you concatenate 2 file.

See also: "Blank Line at the End" [http://forums.xkcd.com/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=26876]

My vote is for Blank line at EOF.

!= v <>

In coding the operator for "not equal" is most commonly represented as either != or <>. I prefer != because the exclamation mark has a coding history of meaning negation. Furthermore with the prevalence of HTML, != comes out even stronger because <> requires encoding as &lt;&gt;.

My vote is for !=.

1 space v 2 spaces between sentences

Historically typesetters used an emspace between sentences. When typewriters came around, the look was copied with 2 spaces and impressed upon thousands of typists. Computers can be set where the space can be visually set as wider or narrower regardless of how many spaces a human enters.

For me the visual difference is moot. The extra key press however is not insignificant, especially when coding and using mon-spaced fonts. Also not insignificant are the little hacks you have to do that vary by environment, in order to make 2 spaces.

See also "How Many Spaces Should There Be at the End of a Sentence?" [http://mentalfloss.com/article/52994/how-many-spaces-should-there-be-end-sentence].

My vote is for 1 space --unless your boss, editor, teacher, etc. insists on otherwise.

Sustainable Energy v Unsustainable Energy

Sustainable energy includes energy conservation, renewable energy, alternative energy, etc. The sun, the wind, the waves, and geothermal are essentially free. The core of the Sun fuses over 600 million tons of hydrogen per second -- it is a free giant fusion bomb in the sky. Artifical photosynthesis (splitting water), Hydrogen fuel, Fuel cells.

Unsustainable energy includes fossil fuels, wood, coal, oil, fracking. Burning wood makes a lot of greenhouse gas. Hydroelectric interferes with ecosystems. Nuclear has immortal wastes, try to use the waste? Fossils are in museums becaue they are rare; There is a finite amount of fossil fuels: Why ruin the Earth for fossil fuels?

My vote is for Sustainable Energy.

UTF-8 v Any other character encoding

A character encoding is used to represent a repertoire of characters by some kind of an encoding system. This can include things like Braille and Morse code, but for computers character encodiing usually refers to things like ASCII, code page 437, code page 1252 (Windows-1252), ISO 8859, etc.

UTF-8 was made by Ken Thompson (of Unix fame) and presented in 1993. The first byte is just like ASCII and additional bytes can be used to represent any Unicode character. UTF-8 avoids issues of endianness and byte order marks that come with UTF-16 and UTF-32. As of 2015-08 85% of text on the Web is UTF-8. UTF-8 should become the native character encoding everywhere.

See also utf8everywhere.org.

My vote is for UTF-8.

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