Skip to comments.Why we won’t kill the Imperial System
Posted on 11/05/2012 2:14:59 PM PST by null and void
Back in grade school, we were told that the Imperial System was a thing of the past, that eventually wed be living the Metric System life, with all its base-10 logic built right in. Wed be just like the rest of the world. But those predictions have proven about as accurate as the flying cars and moon colonies that we all imagined wed be enjoying in the year 2012.
Occasionally, the issue bubbles up and people argue back and forth about why we havent gone Metric, but I think its all about inertia. There would be a huge intellectual cost in moving to a new systemtraining ourselves to think of temperatures in Celsius when were leaving home and trying to decide on whether to grab a jacket. Straining to remember what kilometers per liter really comes down to, when were used to a lifetime of miles per gallon. Attempting to determine whether youre losing enough weight, as you stare at the scale showing a strange number of kilograms.
While there are economic costsheck, just think of the signage issues on our roadsthey should be lower today than they would have been a generation ago. Many consumer products in this digital age already allow us to toggle between Imperial and Metric units. And the prevalence of smartphones means that no one has an excuse not to have a conversion app (or at least a calculator) on them at virtually all times.
What this issue comes down to is, as I said, inertia. Its laziness. No one wants to be the generation that has to juggle two systems in their heads all the time. If we switched today, my kids would grow up pretty much thinking in Metric and would have no problem. But I feel like Id forever be doing that calculation in my head. Even if I knew 28° C was a nice warm summer day, I think Id always be converting it back to 82° F just to make sure I knew exactly how warm it was, based on my past experiences. We dont want to be the ones straddling the two worlds, dealing with parts in both sizes or wondering how to deal with machinery that still had Imperial components that were no longer allowed to be manufactured.
Besides, who has the guts to push an idea like this forward in the country today? If Republicans championed the cause, Democrats would rail against it. And vice versa. And unfortunately, engineers, scientists and the like dont have the kind of lobby that would be needed to get politicians interested. Even a public relations disaster like losing the Mars Climate Orbiter (due to a conversion mishap) didnt move the needle on fully switching to Metric. So I guess Ill just wait with you for that long-off day when we get the first flying carand wonder what kind of miles per gallon that thing will get.
I find your lack of faith...disturbing...
I think the Canadians have been on the metric system for decades. A couple months ago we visited up there, everyone we talked to talked in miles, feet, pounds.
I don’t think the metric system took very well up there.
Volume? Area? Distance? Density? Temperature? Speed? ; I'm good with the current system.
Americans do not use the Imperial System, they use the US Customary Unit System. The Imperial System did not come into being until 1824 and the Americans, for obvious reasons, did not adopt it...
The wife recently converted to the metric system .. her concealed went from a .380 to a 9mm.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And kilometers to go before I sleep, And kilometers to go before I sleep.
I kind of like our system -— it sets us apart, makes us unique. Of course, it also means that american vehicles, machinery, etc is a less competitive export because foreign buyers also need to purchase american tools to service them.
No, it went to a 9mm “Kurz” as opposed to a 9mm Luger or Parabellum. Big difference.
All the cool countries use metric so we should too. I grew up in the metric push in the 1970s, but most of that for every day measurements has disappeared except through conversion. But because of work some very small measurements are natural for me in metric and the equivalent imperial measurements are the ones I have to convert to use. I think in miles, feet, inches, millimeters, microns and nanometers.
Interestingly, one of the few enumerated powers the federal government that have been explicitly enumerated in Article I, Section 8 is "To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;" The government could state that all legal measurements are in metric and outlaw gallons, pounds, feet and acres as legal measurements in commerce.
A lot of the “less painful” conversions to metric have already taken (and/or are taking) place—specifically things such as parts, metric sized bolts, screws, liter bottles of soft drinks, etc. Those types of transitions will continue almost “under the radar”. The more “painful” transitions such as driving distance might not take place in our lifetimes.
If I were paying $3.50 per Imp. Gal. for gasoline, I wouldn’t feel as bad as I do...
I think the Ford Pinto was designed using the metric system, at least the engine was.
The United States has been officially under the metric system since 1893. All our fundamental units are defined by metric system units.
It hasn’t ‘taken’ very well here either...
Most American Companies worth a damn are metric capable. The have systems that convert back and forth at will.
Americans plagued with unions are the ones at risk of being noncompetative because the unions won’t change.
I personally use only the metric system in my daily work. It is better, it is easier.
The metric system is already used extensively in the American engineering profession — in fact, more so than the Imperial system.
It took off fine up here. Canadians are equally comfortable using both systems. We’ve had it for abou thirty years.
It’s not laziness so much as understanding there’s no gain for all that work. Metric might be better for scientists, but for normal people both systems are equal, whatever you know is good enough. If you grew up in imperial you know 100 degrees is hot, if you grew up in metric you know 37 is hot, there’s nothing to be gained in retraining.
Add Mocrons and Ångstroms and I'm right there with you...
Lets us talk about calendars.
Gregorian? Julian? Jewish? Mayan? Chineese?
The Babylonians used 24 hours a day, 60 minutes per hour. WTF? That's divisible by... what? It's great if you are an idiot savant.
Humans are absolutely insane when it comes to systems of measurement.
The only good news is that there are so many standards to choose from.... /cook rant
Cook that on gas range 4.
Volume area and distance are much simpler in metric...all are based on multiples of ten. You don't have trouble with our pennies, dimes, dollars, tens, twenties, fifties and hundreds do you? Metric money...imagine that.
Temperature...in Centigrade, water freezes at zero...boils at 100 degrees...is that complicated?
I'm good with the current system.
The whole rest of the world is metric...except maybe Bahrain.
However, I might be with you on MPH speed.
I think women would go for the switch to metric.
A 220-lb woman weighs less than 100 kg.
Because we really are Imperialists?.........
I used to watch Corner Gas. Its a Canadian sit com and the metric system always came up as a running joke on the show.
Pretty much all the engines offered in the Pinto came from Ford of Europe, and the one exception I can think of (the 2.3L four) was an adaptation of one of those.
My first car was a ‘74 Pinto with a 2.0L OHC four, which is commonly known as the “Pinto engine” although it was offered in several other Ford cars as well.
If gas station owners were smart, they would start pricing their fuels in liters. It looks cheaper.........
One practical problem for metric-system-only people is that they end up being unable to do fractions.
That’s one reason we lost manufacturing.
In space, though, she would weigh nothing but still be 100 kilograms (aka 6.85 slugs).
Around 30 years ago, I began to add metric tools to my collection. I very seldom use any of them.
There is one part of American cars which have always been metric.
Does anyone know what it is?
The British version of Top Gear talks in MPH but speaks of “petrol” in litres.
Sorry, it isn’t “Metric” money, just decimal currency.
If you’re going to work in the sciences, you have to understand metric units. I think in both systems—I relate to kilometers AND FURLONGS.
Inches, feet, yards, rods, etc. were based on lengths and measurements that were meaningful in our daily lives. Just because a length is applicable to daily life, doesn't mean that a length 10x as long has any utility.
Standard system volumes are extremely useful in everyday life, while metric volumes other than the liter are almost useless.
If you think there is a difference between 73 and 75 degrees F, then you are less than happy with temps in C.
This is why people outside of science are reluctant to move to the metric system.
The Brits still use “Stone” for weight.
How did we ever get to the Moon without the Metric system????/s
NAH, it should be written like this:
The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And clicks to go before I sleep, And clicks to go before I sleep.
I prefer to use the American Standard:
I would not pin it on that at all. Domestic taxation/regulation, as well as leftist/globalist-influenced trade “agreements”, is what is to blame. Metric has been around since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution; the USA’s big rise as a manufacturing power came about independent of the metric system.
Ah yes, I recall the classes in metric measures in elementary school in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
I'd agree and that goes for kilograms as well. The units are larger so the distinctions are lost. Kilometers are smaller units than miles, though, and we're probably not going to adopt them any time soon.
Metric was only promoted in this country so that tool companies would sell everyone a second set of sockets, deep sockets, box end, open end, and allen wrenches and bigger tool chests to have to hold them all in.
The Red Green show also made light of Metric as does Top Gear (James May often couples metric measurements with some sort of joke about the French).
I started elementary school the same year as you (1973.). While I don’t remember the NBC program, I do remember an A/V cart wheeled into our classroom on a weekly basis. The reception wasn’t the best, but we’d watch PBS for what was kind of like The Electric Company devoted solely to the metric system. It had a catchy theme song- I think it just repeated “It’s the metric system!” We were told how, Under President Carter, the entire USA would make the switch. And then, we never spoke of it again...
Not to mention that for cooking our way is much more logical.
A cup is 8 oz which converts down into a half (4oz) quarter (2oz) eighth (1 oz) which is two tablespoons and the tablespoon which is three teaspoons.
And then you go up to a pint which is two cups, a quart which is two pints or a gallon which is four quarts
Up or down things move in mostly even numbers which makes it easy to expand or shrink the recipe mentally.
And if you are doing emergency cooking without measuring cups and spoons then the standard teacup and spoon works very well.
Now with the liter you have have a half of a liter (500 gm) the quarter of a liter (250gm) and the eighth of a liter (125gm) but at that point any smaller you began to get into fractions.
Nothing divides evenly anymore.
And what do you do without a scale or a measuring cup? Can you "eyeball" 512 grams of flour? Yes, but it is much harder then when it is 4 cups.