Subscribe to
Posts

## QotD: Metric System for the U.S.?

Question: Are you in favor of making the metric system the "default" measurement system in the U.S.?

My Answer: Hell yeah. Nothing about the English system is "good" except for the familiarity of it. Plus, it'll be hella neat to drive "100" legally and my TV will suddenly seem larger ((Other men may enjoy the, uhh, "enlargement" of other "gadgets" in their life.)) - 152.4cm! Jokes aside, the metric system makes sense while the English system relies on all sorts of unusual numbers - 12, 5280, 4, 6, 3. Did you know that an acre is an area of land equal to one chain (four rods) by one furlong? Huh? I studied chemistry in school, and believe me - base 10 is where it's at. Heck, I wish I could have gotten my Touareg in the metric system.

Thanks to /. for the question.

You are encouraged to answer the Question of the Day for yourself in the comments or on your blog.

### 44 Responses to "QotD: Metric System for the U.S.?"

1. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

But what about dry and liquid measure? Nobody uses metrics for that--and it wouldn't be any easier. We wouldn't have a hard time converting to metric distances, but who would want to try baking a cake by measuring milk in deciliters?

And as far as distances are concerned--how much trouble does the English system really cause people? Are we really that precise in our thinking that it matters at all? Who needs to use furlongs anyway? Would changing to meters help? If it could, why not use yards?

2. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Jerry: Somehow the rest of the world has successfully baked cake by measuring milk in deciliters the last forty years.

3. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

jerry said on January 13, 2007:

But what about dry and liquid measure? Nobody uses metrics for that - and it wouldn't be any easier.

Yes they do, and yes it would. Ever buy a 2L bottle of pop?

jerry said on January 13, 2007:

but who would want to try baking a cake by measuring milk in deciliters?

If your measuring cup was metric, it'd have deciliters measured. Plus, chemists have been "baking cakes" in the metric system for years. The metric system provides smaller units, too - cm versus inch (and mm below that), dL (or cL or mL) versus "cup" (or even "teaspoon"). All much easier and more practical for a wider variety of tasks.

In fact, measuring of virtually everything is easier in metric. The only somewhat easy liquid volume measurement in the English system is "quarts" because they have the same base as "quarter" - and even then you have to remember what the unit above and below it is (gallon, pint). And then again you're into a system where 2 cups = 1 pint, 2 pints = 1 quart, 4 quarts = 1 gallon: 2 2 4? That's not easier than "10 for everything."

jerry said on January 13, 2007:

And as far as distances are concerned--how much trouble does the English system really cause people? Are we really that precise in our thinking that it matters at all? Who needs to use furlongs anyway? Would changing to meters help? If it could, why not use yards?

How is 36 inches a valuable measurement or in any way "easier" than 1m = 100cm. A yard is an arbitrary unit of measurement. A meter is a logical one. That is the difference. That's practically sums up the entire English vs. Metric argument: arbitrary vs. logical.

As far as I see it, the only argument in sticking with the English system is the cost (and annoyance) of the transition period. And since it need not be done immediately - and things like cars and rulers have both measurement systems - it wouldn't really be that difficult.

4. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

It amazes me how hard it is to switch the US to the metric system. I think Presidenet Carter had a metric initiative but it went nowhere. The military is pretty metrified. Things were always about 10 klicks away. Just change all the signs.

5. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Although I wholeheartedly agree with you, we're pretty firmly entrenched in our backwards system of measurement. For example, who could remember that the iPhone has a 8.89 cm screen? Try doing interface design for a 182.88 dot per cm screen. I'm going to go buy a 0.6096x1.2192m piece of plywood at the store.

6. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Richard Neal said on January 13, 2007:

For example, who could remember that the iPhone has a 8.89 cm screen? Try doing interface design for a 182.88 dot per cm screen.

You do realize that the 160 is probably an approximation (rounded), right? Just as "183" would be an approximation. Doing interface design for 183ppcm is no more difficult than 160ppi.

We're only "entrenched" because people like yourself don't (seem to) want to expend the mental effort to convert. Other countries have done it - some as recently as the 80s. Check out this image.

7. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Richard: Screens actually remain measured in inches diagonally. I think this is not because of convention but because the inch is practically sized for this purpose - an inch diagonally is more or less likely to mean 1 cm higher.

As for 2x4s, you don't think they're actually 2x4 NOW, are you? They're made from wood pieces originally 2x4. What happens is that industries in which this is possible will re-adjust their produce by a small margin or so to line up correctly with a unit (like liters of milk) and then get on with their lives.

8. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Having come from a country (New Zealand) which is so metric it's not funny (you don't see lbs anywhere but on scales for weighing humans, and pretty much the only place you see inches is in describing screens) to another (Canada) which is ever so slightly less metric (most things are, but fruit/vegetables and meat still seem to be sold by the pound) and then going to the US where it's all... not is quite strange.

Can I think of a good reason not to change? Nope, sure there's some initial confusion, and you'll have some time in school spent teaching both, and I'm sure to those learning for the first time it'll make more sense.

9. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Jesper said on January 13, 2007:

Jerry: Somehow the rest of the world has successfully baked cake by measuring milk in deciliters the last forty years.

make that 150 years with out the brits (they've switched very recently).

10. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

I work in the construction industry (consulting architects on how to build theatres), every once in a while we get to do a project internationally and the whole thing is metric. Everything is round millimeters. You don't need precision less than a 1/16th of an inch in construction (tolerance is at best 2mm). So instead of measurements like 3'- 4 3/16" you get measurements like "1026" (not the right conversion, but you get the point). Every time we walk away going "wow, all of our projects should be like that."

Metrification is a pretty refined science. For the US, you'd define a Quart to be 1 Liter, a pound to be 500gm, and a foot to be 300mm. (We don't use yards except in football, so it'd be a little strange to define a foot as 333.33mm). About a generation later, grandpa is still talking about pounds and feet and gallons, but the kids know that he means 1/2 kilos, 300mm, and 4 Liters.

11. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

When you say your Taureg isn't metric, do you mean the speedometer and the odometer aren't metric. I would imagine most of the nuts, bolts and threading are metric. My first car was a used 1971 Beetle convertible. All of the original parts were metric some of the replacement parts were standard. Talk about a pain in the ass! The first time I bled the brakes I went under with my metric wrenches to find the first wheel cylinder I tried was standard. Got out from under the car, got the standard wrench and bled the brake. Of course the other three were still metric!

12. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Sean said on January 13, 2007:

When you say your Taureg isn't metric, do you mean the speedometer and the odometer aren't metric.

I mean that the primary speedometer is still English. I can set the little display to metric (and have).

13. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

To Jerry: At us milk and water is measured in deciliter and liter and it is not more difficult than your system. It works, believe me.

14. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Ludovic Hirlimann said on January 13, 2007:

Jesper said on January 13, 2007:

Jerry: Somehow the rest of the world has successfully baked cake by measuring milk in deciliters the last forty years.

make that 150 years with out the brits (they've switched very recently).

I know. I was referring to the SI standard in the 1960s.

By the way, using SI doesn't exclude the possibility of using other units. In Sweden there's a unit called 'mil' (same word as 'mile') which corresponds to the decakilometer: 10 kms.

15. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

what about switching to Celsius too? and while we're at it, switch to Socialism - you freakin' liberals.

haha just kidding. i *DO* think it's annoying that the US is STILL using the so-called "Standard" system, and other than initial headaches and expenses i cant think of any valid reasons to hold us up... but then again, maybe the headaches and costs are enough of a bump to prevent this from happening, think about it:
Mile markers on the Interstate all over the country, every single speed limit sign, every single "Street 201 exit, 3/4 miles" our roads, highways, and interstate systems would need a lot of changes... and to what benefit? it's not as if the metric system will SAVE us any money (somewhat arguable) so then the mentality is "why bother?"

To me, these are lame reasons, but probably enough to keep our government apathetic.

16. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Why bother? Have you never seen the reports about American kids falling behind in math and science? They are falling behind because they are starting out behind by not being on the metric system.

17. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

"Every single speed limit sign" will eventually need replacing. This isn't something that'll happen overnight, so rolling it out as part of maintenance over a period of years is a possibility. Combine this with emerging technology of sign-aware cars and you have a somewhat more palpable plan.

The simple truth is that the metric system will save any industry that needs to deal in both worlds of units money by increasing productivity.

18. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

What do you do if you study physics or chemistry? I can't imagine that there would be a university that doesn't use the SI-System with metric units and Celsius- or Kelvin-temperatures. All literature uses these units. Therefore I think it would be better to deal with this international standards as early as possible and learn them in the childhood and in daiily life.
It would only be a short time until everybody would get used to these new units.
I like the idea of setting standards in units and abbreviations for physical values (sorry, Im a physicist). You can read every scientific article in the world without knowing the language, but you can understand the formulas. Even in Russia they use these international abbreviations for physical values, although their writing is Cyrillic. So please, America, join the rest of the world and use metric units, too.
And, by the way, it would make sending recipes to my Erieite family much more easy. ;o)

19. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Erik J. Barzeski said on January 13, 2007:

As far as I see it, the only argument in sticking with the English system is the cost (and annoyance) of the transition period. And since it need not be done immediately - and things like cars and rulers have both measurement systems - it wouldn't really be that difficult.

The costs are no real reason for maintaining the old system. In Germany we have had first new guidelines for all lessons in our school system, so all school-books had to be changed. Then we have had the reunion and most school-books had to be chankged again. After this we have had the big reform of orthography, after this again new guidelines and after this the reform of the ortographic reform last year and so on. Well, I think this is pretty overdone in Germany, but it shows that costs don't matter in this case. And I'm with Eric: there is no need to change all at once.

And by the way: we also had new money in 2002… and we haven't become mad however. (Well, I hope so…)

20. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

I dunno. There's no real benefit to converting a nation of 300,000,000 people to a new measuring system just because everyone else is doing it. I mean, come on, if France were to go jump off a bridge, would you do it too? No, you'd just sit there laughing at them like the Brits would.

The cost is the biggest part, but I think if we cared enough to even do it at all, we should double-label everything for at least 10 years and then start moving the documented measures over to SI.

That's if it were even done. I'm not convinced it's any better or worse. It all divides by ten! Woo! Everything in Standard/Imperial/Randomly-Generated divides by two at some point, what's the big deal?

Okay, maybe it would help NASA out with their little game of darts with Mars. But in my personal life, if anything, I'd feel better for doing 30 in a parking lot and that's about it.

21. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Our conversion to SI is inevitable; the US Gov't requires all contracts to be written in SI and all contractors to use SI and not US Customary. So it's only a matter of time until the change.

22. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Personally I think the metric system is a whole lot easier to use. Fractions suck.
As for the road signs if your going to need to replace them, then why not for a start to make it as easy as possible put both kilometers and miles on the sign.
The other measurements we can deal with if you have a measuring cup that shows deciliters it shouldn't be too hard.

23. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Being an Englishman, I think that a combination of both is perfectly acceptable, at least for the time being. All our road signs and speedometers use miles, but weights and volumes generally use kilos and litres. Except when measuring people for some reason, then it's feet & stones.

The one use of Imperial units that really gets me is Fahrenheit. Honestly all usage of that needs to go to Celsius as soon as possible.

24. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

I'm all for it too. Metric just makes more sense.

I remember, back when I was in elementary school, there was a big push for Metric. That was like 20-30 years ago... obviously it didn't go anywhere.

Also, you can get a new gauge cluster for your Toureg, for about \$500. Check the vortex or eBay. For a while, I was considering that mod for my 1.8T.

25. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Here, in Canada, everything is just about f**ked up with the measurement systems.

Officially, everything's in metric. Long and short distances, weights and volumes, temperature.

There are a LOT of things that get measured otherwise though.

Ask me my weight (lbs not Kg)
Weight of food (lbs OR g and Kg)
Outside temperature (always Celsius except for my grandparents)
Food or water (boiling or from pool) temperature (Mostly in Farenheit)
TV Screens (inches)
Liquids (mL or L) with exceptions :
- in recipes : we use the cup and the spoons (tea and table)
- when buying canned foods, most of them are measured in liquid ounces

I'm stopping there cuz I gotta go eat my 454g of lunch and I guess those are enough examples...

Have fun (and think about it while listening to (Lord, it's Hard to Be Happy When You're Not) Using the Metric System by Atom and His Package)

26. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Erik J. Barzeski said on January 13, 2007:

A yard is an arbitrary unit of measurement. A meter is a logical one. That is the difference.

Actually, you've got the wrong end of the meter stick for your example. A yard is a precise measure (3 feet). The meter is actually the arbitrary length, equal to the length of some particular bar of metal that's kept in Paris (more recently redefined to be some particular wavelength of light).

All systems of measures require one quantity of some arbitrary size (one foot, one gallon, one meter, etc), and then a bunch of subdivisions and multiples based on it.

I suspect that your problem is not with arbitrariness of the base measures, but with the inconsistency with which the subdivisions and multiples are generated in the American Standard system, versus the metric one. You'll have a hard time convincing anyone that one meter is any better or worse than one foot as a base measure of distance.

27. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Ben said on January 16, 2007:

Actually, you've got the wrong end of the meter stick for your example. A yard is a precise measure (3 feet). The meter is actually the arbitrary length, equal to the length of some particular bar of metal that's kept in Paris (more recently redefined to be some particular wavelength of light).

I must say it makes me happy to point out how wrong someone is when they begin their comment with "Actually...".

The metal bar hasn't been used since 1960. The current definition of a meter uses another set of standards (far from arbitrary):

The metre is the length of the path travelled by light in vacuum during a time interval of 1/299,792,458 of a second.

No such definition exists for the yard, and claiming it as three feet simply shifts the blame to the "foot" as the arbitrary measurement.

That gets at another problem with the English system: there's no base measurement. The metric system has base measurements and then shifts from those by multiples of ten in both directions (smaller and larger).

Ben said on January 16, 2007:

then a bunch of subdivisions and multiples based on it.

Yes, but again, in the metric system those multiples and subdivisions are standard, across the board.

Ben said on January 16, 2007:

You'll have a hard time convincing anyone that one meter is any better or worse than one foot as a base measure of distance.

I doubt that. Most people seem to be in agreement here.

28. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Erik J. Barzeski said on January 16, 2007:

The metal bar hasn't been used since 1960. The current definition of a meter uses another set of standards (far from arbitrary):

The metre is the length of the path travelled by light in vacuum during a time interval of 1/299,792,458 of a second.

Whoa there. What's not arbitrary about that definition of a meter? It was defined this way to have the same length as that metal bar did, so that expansion/contraction of the metal over time wouldn't throw the canonical "meter" measure out of whack. Now it's reasonably fixed forever. It's a precise definition, but it is certainly arbitrary, in the sense that there's no particular benefit for the base unit of length to be that particular length.

You're sort of missing my point, despite your classy opening salvo, which I think is perhaps because we're using the word arbitrary for different things. I thought that I was clear in noting that the base units of measure for any system are arbitrary, but the multiples and divisors in metric are indeed consistent, well more so than yards and inches, which is why metric is simpler to calculate with.

We could say that a "meter" is 10% longer than it is, or 70% shorter than it is today, and still have a totally consistent metric system of measures based on powers of 10 around that base length. And again, you would have a hard time making an argument that one meter as we know it is any better or worse that any other particular length (for instance, what is now one foot) for basing a system around. (There's a reason the length of the original metal bar was what it was, just as there's a reason a foot is a foot, but neither of those reasons are helpful or particularly interesting in anyone's measurement of anything these days.)

29. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

The meter was originally 1/10,000,000 the distance from the north pole to the equator, along a line of longitude passing through Paris. That's something which you could actually measure. (Now it's based on light, which is something else you can measure.)

Now what was a yard based on again? 3 feet? Whose feet? Not mine, certainly. And probably not yours. So what foot are you supposed to measure? It's probably long since decomposed, so what do you do now?

Actually, a yard is defined as 0.9144 meters. Exactly. Infinite digits of precision. It has been since 1958. (Before that, the definition of a yard varied slightly in the different English-speaking countries. It was generally the length of a metal rod kept by each country's government. So in some countries an inch was more than 2.54 cm and in others it was less. Now it's exactly 2.54 cm in all of them.)

30. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Fantastic discussion going on here...trying to read it between bouts of actual work.

It seriously makes the US look like a parochial backwater to be hanging on to such an archaic and arcane system with very little standard, that almost noone else still uses, just because it's too hard to change. I honestly don't mean to be too insulting here, but it's time!

I'm reminded of reading Mad magazine in my very younger years (probably about Carter's time) where they had a bit of the possibility of going Metric, where they said "Say no to Metric...we don't want no foreign rulers" classic.

...I want to know when they are going to make time metric!

31. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

I found this site as I was looking for information about the way metric system is actually seen in anglo-saxon countries. I've read some other sites and I found points making me react. By the way, I'm French.

1 Because the metric system is decimal and the Anglo-Saxon system develops a fraction mind, some anglo-saxon system defenders try to convince that fractions are better than decimals, using as an argument the decimal third (0.333333333333333333). In France, after more than 200 years of metrication, people still use fractions. When I red this, I realised that the fractions I use the most are the four biggest ones (half, third, quarter, fifth) and, when I need smaller fractions, I hardly use the sixth or the twelth (fractions on the third) but I use the tenth, the twentieth (half tenth), the percent and the thousandth : all decimal fractions. As a fan of American football, let me conclude this way : "Don't worry, Colts fans : If the US go metric, it doesn't mean your team will fire Peyton Manning and hire a 0.25-back "

2 One said for furniture, centimeters are too small and meters are too large, so there're no such things as feet and inches for such measurements. Yes, there are. There're decimeters. Although decimeters are legal in France, they're rarelly used. We'd rather say "40 cm" than "4 dm". But if you guys prefer decimeters, don't hesitate.

3 Time is the only every day life concept where all units (seconds, minutes, hours, days, etc.) are use worldwide. Revolutionaries tried to make time decimal. In 1793, the hour was no longer the 24th of the day but it's 10th. Revolutionary hours had 100 minutes and revolutionary minutes has 100 seconds. At 6 AM, it was half past two. At noon, it was 5 o'clock. But it was given up after two years. That was the only metrication failure. What a pity !

32. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

No, I'm not in favor of changing to the metric system.

I work as an engineer and use the metric system all the time but still prefer the US system of measurement. The metric system may be easier for calculations in science and engineering but there is no "big" reason to change the current system and it would be very hard and costly to do so anyway. People here think in gallons, inches, feet, etc...

And in case some of you didn't know, non-SI are still used all over the world. Many countries still have a traditional unit or units that they still use.

33. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Another anti-metric argument is : "Anglo-Saxon units are based on human scale (feet, inches)"
So are metric units : As Tim Buchhiem said, the meter was set so there are exactly 10,000,000 meters from the north pole to the equator. Why 10,000,000 ? Why not 1,000,000 or 1,000,000,000 ? Because with 10,000,000 the meter has aproximatively the lenght of the step. Then the gram was set as the weight of 1 cubic centimeter of water and the liter as the volume of 1 kilogram of water.
Some people may laught reading "aproximatively" in a scientific topic. But how about the foot ? As a unit, the foot is 30.5 cm. But I checked Wikipedia about shoe sizes and the guy who had such a foot had a shoe size of 12.5 US (or 14 if it was a woman).

34. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

I'm in favor of metrification. Quite honestly, as others have said, it is only a matter of time. The classic defense of "because we've always done it this way" is hilarious. If we listened to that comlaint no companies would upgrade phone systems, business processes, software, or anything else!

Anyway, to speed the process, I think the following would work well.

1. Purchased goods would prominently feature a metric measurement with a parenthetical U.S. Customary measurement in 50% smaller font. Soft conversions for quarts, kilograms, and other common sizes would appropriately ocurr at those times. And it wouldn't really require new bottle forms... just new fill heights!!
2. Gasoline should be sold in liters. People will still be able to price shop. The cost will even sound less.
3. Distances should be indicated on road signs in the same way measurements would be displayed on packages. A prominent metric measurement with the U.S. customary in parenthesis) Speed limits would get round-up conversions like they did in Ireland: 100km/h for highways; 120km/h for limited access motorways...
4. Other items: consturction materials. The conversion would be slower due to the lag time in plan preperation, but again dual labels would work (a lot of const materials are already labeled this way) Engineering and design firms would begin using metric units in all new projects and within several years 100% of projects would be metric
5. Temperature. Just convert and people will get it. For a few months maybe indicate the F equivalent, but honestly does it matter? All measurments are relative and once they are in use, people will quickly forget the old system.

35. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

What do you guys think about this idea : starting metrication by medias. Obliging media to anounce measurements in both systems. Or metric only. But if journalist writes or says a measurement in the anglo-saxon system, he would have to specify its metric equivalent

By example : One day I watched a football game played in Chicago. On the beggining of the game, it was written on the screen "Temperature : 25Ã‚Â°". Why not "-4Ã‚Â°C / 25Ã‚Â°F" ?

36. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Question for all those inch/pound/gallon people.
What happened to the once mighty manufacturing industry in the US. Going......going .......just about gone. Can not compete and not just because of wages. It is a lot cheaper to manufacture in metric. Can not sell, nobody wants product build to inch standard. What happende to the Machine Tool Industry? Where have all the big companies gone? Bridgebort? Kerney Trecker? Bausch and Lomb? Warner Swasey? Cincinnati-Millacron and all the others? Try to buy a US made machine - good luck.
And real quick: how many 12 oz beers from a 1/2 barrel?
There are 100 (1/2 liter) glasses in a 50 liter barrel.

37. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

I am a current student in highschool, and have just finished chemistry.
I have already wasted one whole trimester of my life in school using conversions for all sorts of equations. It is definitely hard enough to pass a honors class without using superfluous and confusing measurements. We already mainly use the metric system in school, why waste tax dollars so we can keep a more confusing way of measuring. Everyone more or less knows how to use the metric system.

38. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

I agree with the idea of dual units for somethings. Report everything primarily in metric with parenthentic US Customary measurements in a smaller font. Over time, the metric values will sink in. Give the weather in metric, write news stories in metric, do everyrhing in metric and the relativism of measurement will win out. Once people have a frame of reference, they won't care.

"The accident ocurred 50 metres past the Rt. 101 Texaco" (show a picture)
"Tomorrow, temperatures will be between 15-17C" (provide context, like, "today was 15deg C")
"It's reported that 3000 Kiloliters of contaminated milk have shipped to stores accross the midwest. Thats 3000 1000s, or 3 million liter bottles of milk"
"A man was seen fleeing on foot. His weight is estimated to be around 75kg, height 155 centimeters" (again, context, like average height for a man is 175 cm; 80 kg..etc)

39. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

I'm all for metric - including metric time - and I'm American. Anyone wonder why TV's are measured in inches? It's because America is still the power house buyer of all time. If America switched to metric, then all too soon TVs would be advertised in metric.

The American government can't be worried about the cost of it, it loves to spend money. Pick one - say volume - and covert, then pick another - weight - and covert, then finally convert distance.

And I've thought about metric time for a long time. The only thing is the definition of a second would have to change, so we'd have to change all the record books. My idea: 10 hours in a day, 100 minutes in an hour, 100 seconds in a minute.

Think of how much it'll help the US economy... all those jobs converting signs, mile markers, rulers, labels on products, record books - the list is endless, well, until you're done. (The only greater effect to the US economy would be tax reform, but that's another discussion I'd be happy to talk to anyone about.)

40. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Think about that it only takes a generation to make a complete change. If we change now all born from this point on would be accustomed to the metric system. For everyone else If the news gives a report of someone weighing for example 75kg maybe show a silhouette of what that size would look like. I believe that along with visuals people will be able to relate better. Do you think the US drives alot of the other countries to use the standard system?

41. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

jason said on May 10, 2007:

My idea: 10 hours in a day, 100 minutes in an hour, 100 seconds in a minute.

Read one of my previous posts and you'll know it's not a new idea. I sometimes thik this idea would be even better if the new time unit was not called [i]second[/i], if it was given a new name like [i]chron[/i] (from Greek [i]kronos[/i] meaning time) by example. It's hard to convert m/s into km/h but if you were on a motorway where speed limit was 30 meters per chron and your destination city was indicated 120 km away, you would say immediatly "4 kilochrons remaining". But a French proverb says "With if's and because's you could put Paris inside a bottle"

But the reason of this post is the following one : I got bad news for metric fans. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6637587.stm
The European Union plans to ban imports that are not metric only labbelled from december 31st 2009. It was first sheduled for 1978, then for 1989, then for 2000 and I think it will be postponed again. Why would the European Union, in spite of a strong Euro, try to impose outside what it can't impose on its own territory ?

42. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Reply to: Why does the EU keep extending the deadline for "metric only" on all imports.
Could be a great way to cut out your competition. Who in the world would buy a product listed in pounds and inches? And think about this: Why would the EU not pay somebody to lobby in Washington on behalf of our imperial system! What a great way to kill your competition. Keep wasting time teaching inches, pounds an gallons. Keep adding costs to manufactured products and most of all keep converting. You will love all those wonderfull errors made by working in both systems.
I have worked in the tool and die industry my whole life and should know what I am talking about.
But then again - pushing for a fast change to metric ( not over ten or twenty years) could cost a senator the vote of the people worried about the inchworm.

43. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

👿 WTF!!! why use standard when u can just use metric?????? it is easier yes it would be costly but oh F**king well!!! it seems a lot more useful anyways.... ❗ ❗ ❗

44. Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

Warning: Undefined variable \$results in /var/www/vhosts/nslog.com/httpsdocs/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 1184

well my class has a debate on metric vs imperiel. i have metric side does anybody have any facts about how metric is easier to convert, how the U.S should switch to it , and how it is easier to learn ❓ ❓ ❓ ❓ ❓ ❓ ❓ ❓ ❓ ❓ ❓ ❓ ❓ ❓ ❓ ❓ ❓ ❓ ❓ ❓