Why Hasn't the US Gone Metric?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by goofyfish, Jan 28, 2002.

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  1. Red Devil Born Again Athiest Registered Senior Member

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    Ana

    Why should we change the past to suit the present, surely both can live side by side? Idioms such as "give them an inch and they will take a mile" are common place sayings. I, for one, detest this switch to a more "pc" language - horizontally challenged - indeed!!! Fat is FAT!!

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  3. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    re: idioms etc.

    Australia is a completely metric country. Nevertheless, if you ask many people their height, they will say things like "I'm six foot two." That is one example where "old" measurements are still used in a specific circumstance, though I suspect that over time that will disappear. There will always be sayings which will remain long after their relevance has been lost. But it is probably enough to know that different systems of measurement exist without having to use them merely to maintain some turns of phrase.
     
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  5. Red Devil Born Again Athiest Registered Senior Member

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    G'day James

    Nicely put............

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  7. Riomacleod Registered Senior Member

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    Well, I think we've given a few reasons why we haven't changed, but why SHOULD we change? Granted, our science is done in metric, but for the most part it's simply not that important. This debate is sort of like debating wheter a green car or a blue car is better. As long as we all know what we're talking about, it seems like the actual units are pointless. A city is just as far away in kilometers as it is in miles as it is in inches as it is in cords. As long as the local populace is capable of visualising it, we could use Tom Cruise as our unit of measurement. For instance, I am 1.1 Cruises in height. A mile would be about 600ish Cruises long, give or take, or what we could call 6 hexaCruises, for those who need the metric prefixes.

    The fact of the matter is that we're very unlikely to change just because the rest of the world is doing it. A lot of the world drives on the left-hand side of the road, too, but I doubt America is planning any sort of change to that, either.
     
  8. goofyfish Analog By Birth, Digital By Design Valued Senior Member

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    "My car gets 40 rods to the hogshead, and that's the way I likes it!" - Abe Simpson

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    Peace.
     
  9. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    But why have an illogical system when you can have a logical one?

    12 inches to a foot. 3 feet to a yard. 6 feet in a fathom. How many yards in a mile? Who cares?

    Compare:

    1000 millimetres in a metre ("milli-" means "thousandth").
    100 centimetres in a metre ("centi-" means "hundredth").
    1000 metres in a kilometre ("kilo-" means "thousand").

    Everything is a clearly-denoted power of 10. What could be simpler?

    And consider problems like "How many square inches are there in a square yard? Answer: (12*3)^2 = 1296"
    Compare: "How many square millimetres are there in a square metre? Answer: 1000*1000 = 10<sup>6</sup>. Easy to do in your head."
     
  10. Red Devil Born Again Athiest Registered Senior Member

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    James R

    1760 yards in the mile!! 5280 feet! 63360 inches! As you say - who cares! You have what you want in the USA - we were not given any choice in the matter here in the UK!

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  11. ImaHamster2 Registered Senior Member

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    What’s half of twelve? A third? A fourth? The system met the needs of the time.

    As humans learned to count using hands the decimal system took over computation. A system based on twelve might have worked better.

    What’s the easiest system with which to do computations?

    Mixing binary with the archaic decimal system is leading to confusion. How big IS your hard drive? Does “kilo” mean a 1000 or 1024? Who knows these days?

    Once AI’s take over teaching, children will learn the modern rational binary system. /777 will insist. Hehe.
     
  12. Red Devil Born Again Athiest Registered Senior Member

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    Not sure here, why the arguement?

    As I grew up with feet and inches, imperial measures etc I CAN see the logic in having things divisible by 10 - not a problem but the old sayings will stay for years. I STILL buy a pint of milk! I still buy a pint in the pub (actually they are still pints too - no metric there); I still use saying like "As queer as a nine bob note" a reference to a ten shilling note being "normal"!! Thy went out in early 70s. I remember when LSD was NOT a drug but currency! just! If the US wish to remain "imperial" so what!

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  13. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    <i>What’s the easiest system with which to do computations?</i>

    For us, or for computers? The distinction is relevant.
     
  14. Riomacleod Registered Senior Member

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    James R, you still haven't satisfied me on what makes the metric system so much more important to a person in their daily lives. I have to be honest, I've never had to sit down and get square inches of something from the square yardage.I know that it's 90 miles (1021.93 Cruises) to Indianapolis from here, is it really that important that I convert it to feet? I can. Given time, I can convert it into rods, or cords, or hands, too. Outside of science, the only reason that we really need measurement is to communicate sizes to one another. And really, even within science, as long as its accurate we can really measure in any system that we want. It's just that metric is easier to use in that case because american sceintists have to communicate their results worldwide.

    So, the question's to you: WHY should we change?
     
  15. Red Devil Born Again Athiest Registered Senior Member

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    JamesR

    If that is directed at me, I suppose the answer would be - humans! As all pc's use binary and work in "10s" if you see what I mean?

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  16. Riomacleod Registered Senior Member

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    I apologise, I misspoke, it is actually 91,974.19 Cruises to Indianapolis. It is 1021.93 Cruises to a mile.
     
  17. goofyfish Analog By Birth, Digital By Design Valued Senior Member

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    I think your quest to use Cruises as a standard of measure is inherently flawed.

    I just wanted to do a quick math check on you (cuz I’m anal that way) and I had to do a double-take on the results. One mile = 5,280 feet = 63,360 inches; no problem. “There are 1021.93 Cruises to a mile.” (63,360/1021.93)/12 = 62. Tom Cruise is only 5’2” tall?? No Way!! So I go searching the web for answers. Some folks say that Tom Cruise is 5’5”, 5’8”, 5’9”. Well, goddammit, how tall is the guy? And where are the sources to prove it? I mean, if Mr. Cruise is to be used as the base unit of measure, shouldn’t we all agree on it?

    Peace.
     
  18. Red Devil Born Again Athiest Registered Senior Member

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    Cruise Measurements

    As Tom Cruise has to stand on a box to kiss his leading ladies - then I assume 5' 2" is nearer the truth........

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    He isnt called Tiny Tom for nothing!
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2002
  19. Riomacleod Registered Senior Member

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    He's REALLY short. There're alot of the "big" actors who are small like that. I'm pretty sure I heard that he's really 5'2".
     
  20. Teg Unknown Citizen Registered Senior Member

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    That was my point. Tell them that the metric system alone matters and then send them into the world in which the opposite is ussually the truth. Is it not forseeable that they will be confused?
     
  21. [f] Registered Senior Member

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    wayne_j

    are u insane? LOL

    thats backwards

    this is an inch (roughly)

    ------------

    this is a millimeter

    -

    now how is .05 mm BIGGER than .05 inchs?

    thank god you Americans don't go metric....look how much u already know lol

    now maybe i am lost, but i dont think so.
     
  22. esp Registered Senior Member

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    Old english money:

    240 p = 1 pound = 20 shillings

    1 shilling = 12 p

    4 shillins and 6p = 1 crown

    etc etc.

    For the longest time, the English avoided decimalisation because it was too complicated.

    And BTW, there are approx 40 1/000ths of an inch in a mil.
     
  23. Skulking Lurker Registered Member

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    The US is such a big ship that it takes a while to steer it in a different direction. Under its own steam it realistically doesn't need to. But conformity in the global community would benefit all.

    A question (from Australia) do US made vehicles have a combination miles/kmh odometer ?
     
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