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lti
2005-Nov-07, 08:12 AM
A friend just directed me to this article. In it a person states his opinions on metric.

http://www.bizjournals.com/sacramento/stories/2001/06/11/editorial4.html

basically, i think it speaks for itself. i just posted it here to get you guys responses. is this a common view in america? is he being tongue in cheek? do most people consider a fraction such as 1/8 to make sense while thinking 0.125 to be meaningless?

Hugh Jass
2005-Nov-07, 08:58 AM
I'd like to think I'm pretty good at spotting sarcasm, but that article has me stumped. There are lots of folks here that think that way, I get a feeling however this has a tone of someone who is fed up with anti-metric blather. So hope is out there becuase it is probably written by someone that understands metric, but false hope because he feels overwhelmingly outnumbered by anti-metric morons.:doh:

gwiz
2005-Nov-07, 10:07 AM
Hi Hugh, congrats on getting your user name past the thought police.

Jefferson_Airplane
2005-Nov-07, 10:10 AM
20 bucks says this guy isn't working in astronomy or microbiology.

If it's satire, trying to make imperialists look bad, it's very well done :razz:

Van Rijn
2005-Nov-07, 10:35 AM
Yes! Metrics are evil! Bah! (Just ignore those times my entries contained metric values. That was my evil alter-ego, Njir Nav, writing.) I'm sad to say the U.S. is moving towards metrics, though hopefully it can be stretched out at least one or two more decades ...

Incidentally, that "article" was a letter to the editor.

Matthew
2005-Nov-07, 10:37 AM
Its a letter to the editor.

Is it satirical? Probably. If it isn't that guy is extremely uninformed. But no one who knows that a watt is a derived unit of the joule and that the joule is a derived unit would have to know what they were talking about is babble.

mickal555
2005-Nov-07, 12:48 PM
It's sarcasism/satire...

Needs some smiles though...

Burn the imperial system!!!

farmerjumperdon
2005-Nov-07, 03:09 PM
My only beef is that both systems continue to co-exist. Pain in the rear having to have 2 sets of tools, and usually finding out by trial & error which ones to use for any particular job.

We need to either get with metric or eliminate it from our midst (make it illegal to manufacture, import, or own anything that is measured in a unit ending with -ter; except for quarter).

Damburger
2005-Nov-07, 03:11 PM
There is still the vestiges of the imperial system in the UK too, and its just confusing. We buy draught beer in pints, bottled beer, wine and spirits in litres. Milk is sold in pints but fruit juice is in litres. We buy food in kilos and weigh ourselves in stones. We measure our height in feet and inches and our roads in miles, but every other distance in metres and kilometres. At least nobody really uses Farenheit anymore though.

Imperials are still on the national curriculum though, bizzarely. I had to spend an entire lesson teaching a bunch of year 7 kids how to convert between metric and imperial units when I could've been teaching them about parallelograms. PARALLELOGRAMS DAMMIT!

[/rant]

Trebuchet
2005-Nov-07, 08:19 PM
... At least nobody really uses Farenheit anymore though.


Actually, Farenheit temps are the one non-metric unit I'd prefer to keep, at least for weather report purposes. 0-100 Farenheit fairly nicely corresponds to the range of ambient temperatures in temperate regions -- outside that range is really hot or really cold. Celsius is too coarse.

LurchGS
2005-Nov-07, 08:32 PM
what's *really* frustrating is when both systems are used for the nuts and bolts on a single project. Such as one of my cars. Any other time it's pretty easy to convert apples to oranges, but it's not trivial to tell if that's a 3/8 inch nut or 20mm.

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

May Ford Inc be fed to the dragons of Udragoth!

Damburger
2005-Nov-07, 10:25 PM
Actually, Farenheit temps are the one non-metric unit I'd prefer to keep, at least for weather report purposes. 0-100 Farenheit fairly nicely corresponds to the range of ambient temperatures in temperate regions -- outside that range is really hot or really cold. Celsius is too coarse.

We measure temperatures in celsius in the UK mostly, and it doesn't cause any problems. How many increments do you need to work out how many layers to wear, really?

0-10 wear a coat
10-20 wear a jumper
20-30 wear a t-shirt
30+ get the beergut out

LurchGS
2005-Nov-07, 10:56 PM
We measure temperatures in celsius in the UK mostly, and it doesn't cause any problems. How many increments do you need to work out how many layers to wear, really?

0-10 wear a coat
10-20 wear a jumper
20-30 wear a t-shirt
30+ get the beergut out

LOL

that bears putting on a poster or bumpersticker, with appropriate changes for local consumption. (in the US, I think Jumper means something different from over there in the UK)

Then, how does one handle freaks of nature like me - who shovels snow from his driveway/walk in bare feet and no shirt? (mostly to give the neighbors the twitchies, but it's not all that cold so long as one doesn't stop working)

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

shoes are just man's way of keeping stones out of our socks

EvilBob
2005-Nov-08, 06:38 AM
Love the rationalisation here...

English measurements are simple and natural. An inch is more or less the first thumb joint. Well, no. The first joint of my thumb is 1.5 inches. Out by 50%.

The foot is, more or less, well, a foot. No, again. My size 11s are 10.5 inches. Most people (especially of the female variety) will have feet smaller than that.

The yard is about a stride. I make a fairly natural stride at 1.5 feet. And I'm 183cm tall. So again, out by 50%. I can probably make a stride of a yard, but it's hardly consistently accurate. I'm sure anybody else will get results of similarly varying accuracy...

Eight furlongs (long furrow, get it?) make a mile.
When was the last time anybody anywhere measured anything in furlongs?

Reasonable and human-scaled, we can get our minds, and our bodies, around it. The simple truth is - it's what you're used to. I totally fail to get my head around imperial measurements; inches, miles, pounds, farenheit - it's all gibberish to me. I really hope he's joking!

Van Rijn
2005-Nov-08, 07:49 AM
We measure temperatures in celsius in the UK mostly, and it doesn't cause any problems. How many increments do you need to work out how many layers to wear, really?

0-10 wear a coat
10-20 wear a jumper
20-30 wear a t-shirt
30+ get the beergut out

Uhm ... don't think I'll invite you to Sacramento any time soon - unless you stay near the lake, river, or pool ...

It sometimes gets to 30+ C in October, and is very common in the summer.

I would really recommend you stay away from Phoenix. The average high temperature there exceeds 30C from May to October, and can get to 49C or so.

People get used to different temperatures - in Anchorage you would have women in bikinis when it reached 60F/16C. Here they would be wearing coats.

jt-3d
2005-Nov-08, 01:05 PM
I read in Ripley's or somewhere that a yard is measured as the girth of a Saxon. Makes sense to me...

kylenano
2005-Nov-08, 02:26 PM
A few weeks ago I bought 2 metres of 24 inch drop net curtains. I think shops in the UK have to sell fabric by the metre, but its still manufactured in standard imperial widths.

SolusLupus
2005-Nov-08, 02:34 PM
The reason that Americans do not conform to the Metric system is not anything quite that conscious (I'm going to be serious about this, 'cause it's fun to do that).

It's mainly that the school systems mainly teach the English system. People learn the English system, and learn about inches, feet, etc., and they refer to such things as inches, feet, etc. The fact that most people refer to inches and feet further along everyone else thinking in inches and feet.

It's really simple. It's mainly a sense of laziness -- who wants to learn an entirely new system when the majority of people they deal with don't even deal with that system?

I will say that one reason I praise firearms so much, is because they help teach the metric system. After all, we all know what a 5.56mm rifle round is, or a 9mm pistol round.

:)

(Actually, a lot of people don't actually know all that much about guns, professing a great amount of ignorance of what means what. But satire doesn't need to be logical.)

Captain Kidd
2005-Nov-08, 02:48 PM
One company I worked for tried to go metric and it was apparently a miserable failure. The nuts and bolts quite literally got them. While they were around, metric nuts, bolts, screws, etc weren't as readily available (i.e. cheap) as "standard" ones were. So you ended up with drawings calling for a 20 cm rail to be held in place by a 1/8" bolt. While they tried to be obvious which measurement was which, they had horrible mistakes where somebody would read that as a 20 inch rail.

Proper training could have help tremendously; however, downtime for training is lost money. Plus they apparently were a bit ahead of the curve on the conversion attempt and the availability of metric items in bulk just wasn’t there.

gwiz
2005-Nov-08, 03:28 PM
We measure temperatures in celsius in the UK mostly, and it doesn't cause any problems. How many increments do you need to work out how many layers to wear, really?

0-10 wear a coat
10-20 wear a jumper
20-30 wear a t-shirt
30+ get the beergut out

Or there's the B scale:
>30 boiling
20-30 beautiful
10-20 bearable
0-10 bl**dy
<0 bits going blue

suntrack2
2005-Nov-08, 03:36 PM
we had a American hospital in my native city long back, the results for the patients were awesome at that time, the doctors were also too familier with the patients, the fees they were charging to the patients was also so little one. afterward the hospital shifted elsewhere, but the memories of that hospital and the impact of the happy things on our mind still charming our hearts very much... thanks the Americans.for their straighforward/bold/soft/delicious/cool/joyful/helpful/pleasant/nice/co-operative approach.

sunil

farmerjumperdon
2005-Nov-08, 08:49 PM
NEW SCALE (in Fahrenheit, sorry) from an Upper Midwest perspective:

100+ Strip naked, find a pool, in the shade, drink ice cold lager.
90 - 100 Swimsuits, find a pool, eliminate activity, drink cold lager.
80 - 90 Shorts & T's, find shade, reduce activity level, have a pilsner.
70 - 80 Playful fun in the sun, enjoy an ale
60 - 70 Perhaps a light jacket, play hard, Bud Light
50 - 60 Hanging around a nice bonfire, Guiness in hand
40 - 50 Increase size of fire, 2nd layer of clothes, schnaaps
30 - 40 Even bigger fire, insulated underwear, warm spiced rum
20 - 30 Perfect for snow softball, more schnaaps
10 - 20 Perfect for snowmobiling, mosquitos finally dead, hot buttered rum
0 - 10 Perfect for skiing, plug in car if parked outside, Bud Light
0 to -10 Getting chilly, add hat & Sorrels, increase size of fire, hot toddy
-10 to -20 Almost cold, add scarf & mittens, electric socks, shots of whiskey
-20 to -30 Now its cold, wear all your clothing, allow pets in house.
-30 to -40 Light the garage on fire, stand close enough to melt outer layer of clothing, drink whiskey straight from bottle, and don't touch your tongue to anything made of metal.

Though we do get above 100 and below -40; no outdoor activities are recommended under those extremes. Just hibernate, wearing either nothing or everything you own, depending on whether it is summer or winter.

zebo-the-fat
2005-Nov-08, 10:32 PM
I remember many years ago, (back in the stone age), schools changed from imperial to metric. A teacher ordered a set of metric rules and was told that they were supplied by the dozen!

hewhocaves
2005-Nov-08, 10:55 PM
funny.. most american cave maps are still in feet and inches. I'm used to it, so i don't want it to change.

you can tell when a map was drafted in the late 1970s because it's in metric. One of the big caves near NJ is like that. It gets a little annoying when you have 99.9% of all maps in one format and .1% in another. You see the number 3 for the height of a room and your first thought is that you have to crawl. In reality, it's close to 9'.

On the other hand, most of the rest of the world's cave maps are metric. The world depth records are all kept in metric. The length records (cause of Mammoth, Lech and Jewel) are in feet (miles, to be precise).

so you live with it. I'm more comfortable with feet, but i'd convert over if everyonbe else did. Much easier to do the math.

Nicolas
2005-Nov-08, 11:10 PM
Much easier to do the math.

Nice summary of the metric system :)

Enzp
2005-Nov-09, 08:04 AM
"Girth of a Saxon"
Wasn't that the famous D.W.Griffith movie?

If a Saxon is a yard around, I must not be a Saxon.

They were teaching me the metric system fifty years ago in grade school. It was something we were supposed to know, even though it wasn't used for much of anything back then.

Metrics are creeping into our society. No one bats an eye at 2 liter soda bottles. Whiskey comes in 750ml bottles. Cocaine comes in grams. Even griminals use metrics, it seems. But we are resistant to change.

I don't really think it is lazy, I don't much like to change either. I recall a number of efforts to make the change, and I think they all were mismanaged. A long time ago they tried to metrify the highways. Kilos instead of miles. Their notion was to do it cold turkey. Give us a few months of transition, then boom, all metric. Well that went over like a lead balloon.

We can't metrify individuals, we can metrify the population. We start today, put up everything in both systems. Teach the kids metrics. AS they grow up, they displace us old farts, and eventually imperial measures will fade into history from disuse.

SolusLupus
2005-Nov-09, 01:22 PM
Yes, Enzp. When I say "lazy", I mainly mean it's the fact that very few of us really go out of our way to learn the Metric system. I'm the same way, personally. I haven't learned the Metric system, but mainly because I don't want to invest the time and effort into doing it. Hence, I call it laziness. So for me, personally, it's a matter of "meh, too much effort for too little return".

zebo-the-fat
2005-Nov-09, 01:44 PM
Yes, Enzp. When I say "lazy", I mainly mean it's the fact that very few of us really go out of our way to learn the Metric system. I'm the same way, personally. I haven't learned the Metric system, but mainly because I don't want to invest the time and effort into doing it. Hence, I call it laziness. So for me, personally, it's a matter of "meh, too much effort for too little return".

What's to learn? just count in 10s! :razz:

SolusLupus
2005-Nov-09, 03:44 PM
The main problem with it is thinking from feet to meters. I have to convert. *Shrugs*

Damburger
2005-Nov-09, 04:38 PM
The main problem with it is thinking from feet to meters. I have to convert. *Shrugs*

Thats not as bad as converting from meters to metres.

While we are getting you to use sensible weights and measures we could also get you to correct your spelling :lol:

SolusLupus
2005-Nov-09, 04:44 PM
Nonsense, I'm speaking American, not English. You know, the language of the cool people? (Not the people that speak the cool language, just the language of the cool people)

Jim
2005-Nov-09, 05:00 PM
NEW SCALE (in Fahrenheit, sorry) from an Upper Midwest perspective:

I must take serious exception to this list!


-20 to -30 Now its cold, wear all your clothing, allow pets in house.

What, no booze?!?

crosscountry
2005-Nov-09, 05:34 PM
somebody needs to call this guy a Waaaambulance

Enzp
2005-Nov-10, 04:12 AM
That is my point Lonewulf, we don't change ourselves, we change our culture. You don't need to convert to metric, just raise your kids in it.

I work with both metric and imperial every day. I still think in inches, but like my dimensions on things to be in metric measure. What I really despise is the ******* half way approach. I get a part with a dimension stated as .486 inch. What is that? I got no ruler with that.

I want to paint a surface, which is easier to calculate area of: 11.4 meter by 3.2 meter, or 35'7" by 10'1"?

Nicolas
2005-Nov-10, 10:19 AM
The former! The formeeeeeeeer!!!! :D

snarkophilus
2005-Nov-10, 10:48 AM
Actually, Farenheit temps are the one non-metric unit I'd prefer to keep, at least for weather report purposes. 0-100 Farenheit fairly nicely corresponds to the range of ambient temperatures in temperate regions -- outside that range is really hot or really cold. Celsius is too coarse.

Says you! I wilt and die in 100 F, but I have no real problem with heading out in shorts and a t-shirt in 0 F. Maybe a sweater or light jacket if it's windy.

What we really need to get rid of are units like hartrees, bohrs, and calories. Even scientists don't consistently use metric units! It drives me nuts! (The calorie is the worst, because there are differences between nutritional, thermochemical, etc.) Even parsecs are irritating. Light years serve some purpose, I suppose... at least, I don't get horribly frustrated with them. Yet.

rahuldandekar
2005-Nov-10, 10:59 AM
I vote for Plank Units!!! :D

jt-3d
2005-Nov-10, 01:32 PM
Furlongs per fortnight (http://itotd.com/articles/286/)...I laugh everytime I think of that unit.

Moose
2005-Nov-10, 01:49 PM
Furlongs per fortnight (http://itotd.com/articles/286/)...I laugh everytime I think of that unit.

Yeah, that unit has a special place in my heart.

Jim
2005-Nov-10, 02:49 PM
Engineers like to use the term “furlongs per fortnight” when they encounter an unknown unit of measurement or can’t figure out what the best unit is to express some value.

Actually, that system of units is used in entry level engineering classes to demonstrate that internal consistency is what we need, not any specific set of units; units can be converted. (I recall one test question to calculate the gravitational acceleration on Mars using furlongs and fortnights.)

Trebuchet
2005-Nov-11, 06:50 AM
Of course, all this metric stuff is built around base 10 numbers. Which only seem to make sense becuase we're still counting on our fingers. Powers of two are really much more logical -- ask any programmer.

TheBlackCat
2005-Nov-11, 07:27 AM
Well I know the ultimate measure of the length, the smoot!


The Harvard Bridge across the Charles RIver actually goes to M.I.T. It is exactly 364.4 smoots and an ear in length, the smoot being a unit of length derived from Oliver Smoot, an M.I.T. fraternity pledge used to measure the bridge in 1958. Today the bridge is marked every ten smoots.


I'm personally a bit partial to hexadecimal numbers, they can be expressed exactly in binary but contain information in a much denser form (each hexadecimal digit being the equivalent of 4 bits). Once when I was bored I developed a hexadecimal numbering notation based on a 4-bit base. The numbers are easy to write by hand or computer, but the structure of each digit describes what number it represents in a set pattern. Yes, that is the sort of thing I do with my free time. :sad: