Metric System and the USA

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by earllogjam, Sep 13, 2007.

  1. earllogjam

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    Is the US the only country in the world that hasn't gone metric?

    I see these dick sizes in centimeters on this site and just can't picture it mentally until I convert. I'm still not familiar with celcius temps as well. I remember the myth in school that the US will most certainly become metric withing a few years. It is now 20 years later. What ever happened to the big metric push?
     
  2. invisibleman

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    I think that Americans feel The Metric System may be too cerebral in picturing it. A mile is a mile. An inch is an inch.

    But, A kilometer...A centimeter. How do you picture these? Concepts? I have some recipes in metric and I have to convert them to American Standard because I don't truly picture or conceptualize the measurements in Metric.
     
  3. EagleCowboy

    EagleCowboy Well-Known Member

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    I'm starting to get that concept now and it's really not all that hard to grasp once you realize metric is more precise than American Standard.

    For me it got started one day when I was at the Ford dealer getting parts to restore my Mustang. They had ordered a speedo for someone and received the metric one. The only difference in the part numbers between the MPH speedo and the KM/H speedo was ONE number. So they sold it to me for $25US and since it would fit my car, I thought why not?

    It throws off anybody that drives my car now. They're poking along thinking they're doing the posted mph speed limit when they're actually doing km/h.
     
  4. mattflanders

    mattflanders Member

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    I really don't see the difference! It's not harder once you're used to it (and that counts for both systems).

    But the metric system is just a little bit more practical if you have to convert measurements. Everything relates to eachother. For example, a box that is 1m by 1m by 1m contains 1000L of water and weighs 1000KG. Simple! :D

    But I like Fahrenheit better than Celsius, personally, and the degrees are smaller in °F thus for instance weather forecasts in °F are more precise.
     
  5. HazelGod

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    SI units are great for the science geek crowd, as the base-10 hierarchy provides virtually limitless precision. It's great for calculations on paper, but a royal PITA for application to everyday real-world usage where people already know how far a mile looks, how big an acre plot looks, how heavy a 5 pound bag of sugar is, and how much room a gallon jug takes up in the fridge.

    Our roads are still marked in miles, gas is priced by the gallon, and auto makers still publish fuel economy statistics in miles per gallon.

    The effort involved in changing the procedures, processes, and mindsets of a nation of 300M+ individuals simply isn't worth the supposed payout (which is what, exactly?). The academic world has its own set of rules and standards applied internationally, hence the "I" in SI, and they're happy with it. There's nothing but trouble to be gained by attempting to force the same standards onto everyone.
     
  6. Big Del

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    The UK is brvely holding on to the "old" Imperial system as well!
     
  7. D_Neeson Niceone

    D_Neeson Niceone New Member

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    I'm an American and have no trouble working in both systems (and do daily). I'm all for going 100% to metric!
     
  8. SteveHd

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    Britain allows "Imperial" measurements in business. Last Tuesday, BBC news ran an article about a long running pissing battle ["row" as they call it over there] about Britain continuing to use Imperial despite EU's wishes.

    Synopsis: "European Union commissioners have ruled that Britain can carry on using imperial measurements such as pints, pounds and miles." Story: BBC NEWS | UK | EU gives up on 'metric Britain'

    It appears they formally started conversion in 1965 which would be a full decade prior USA's ten-year [as planned] attempt in ~1975. During that dubious effort I bought a tank of gas at some new pumps that used metric. There were two mysteries: price per gallon and many gallons I put in. I never went there again!

    "What ever happened to the big metric push?" It didn't completely die: we have 2-liter soda bottles in the stores.:biggrin: Personally, I'd rather we stay with the "macho" [my word] measurements. But conversions are a hassle. I sometimes use: http://joshmadison.com/software/convert/ -- which I recommend.

    As mattflanders mentioned, Fahrenheit is better for civilian uses. I see no benefit at all in changing to Celsius.
     
  9. Principessa

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    Actually it's been a little over 30 years that the metric system was first introduced to the USA. I remember because I was a little kid and had just learned inches, feet, yard, etc. I remember being a bit miffed that I now had to learn a new way to measure. :tongue: One noteable change is that "back in the day" they used to sell 64 ounce bottles of soda. Those became 2 liter bottles, which hold 67.6 ounces of soda; and of course the price went up a few cents. Odd that we still have gallons of milk though. :confused: They didn't convert all liquid measures to metric. :rolleyes:
     
  10. kamikazee_club

    kamikazee_club New Member

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    A true US centric viewpoint if ever I heard one. :rolleyes:

    People raised using metric standards know how far a kilometre is, how big a hectare plot looks, how heavy a kilo bag of sugar feels, and how much room a litre carton of milk takes up in the fridge. From their perspective I'd suspect the imperial system is the PITA.



    Let's see, how about having different standards for time, for electrical supply, for aviation to name but three (mixed at that but standards nonetheless) the world could not function effectively without standards, trouble is caused not by acceptance but resistance.

    You want a real life example...ask NASA.
     
  11. earllogjam

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    Your story reminds me of the time I rented a Renault Twingo in France to do some touring. Nice car other than the fact that it was no bigger than a dining room table and that if you opened up the hood you would swear that there were 2 hampsters running on wheels powering the car. Anyways the speed dial was only in kilometers. I was zipping around doing 145 thinking that was an OK cruising speed. It seemed a bit on the fast side but I just thought it was the effect of being in such a small car. I came home, looked at the speedometer on my truck and realized I was cruising at 90 MPH in that shoebox sized car - no wonder I was getting such bad gas mileage in France. :rolleyes:
     
  12. HazelGod

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    Perhaps you didn't notice the title of this topic, genius. :rolleyes:


    I'm fairly certain I mentioned that the academic and scientific communities adhere to the international standard of SI units, and NASA certainly falls under that purview.

    Honestly, I think you're just being a pedantic jerkass. Anyone with any sense could tell that I wasn't advocating a lack of standards entirely, but was pointing out the lack of benefit in the forced switching of a nation of 300M+ citizens to an entirely different standard than they currently use.
     
  13. D_Al_K_Celtzah

    D_Al_K_Celtzah Account Disabled

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    I use the metric system which, obviously, makes much more sense to me, especially because all the measurements are multiples of 10 from one another.
    However, since I don't use inches, etc, I'm not familiar with the relations between each measure, so I guess it's just a matter of getting used to it.
    In fact, I think I know more about inches than centimeters. I know that the inch was established based on some British king's thumb, but I don't know where the hell the centimeter came from. :tongue:

    Anyway, although we use the metric system here, the Navy still uses nautical miles and the airplanes use aerial miles.

    Anyway, when in doubt go to Online Conversion - Convert just about anything to anything else and you can make all the conversions you need (or most of them, at least) :smile:
     
  14. earllogjam

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    I believe all metric measurements are derived from water and the distance from the North Pole through Paris to the equator. (Really scientific huh?) That length measurement divided by 10,000,000 is a meter. A centimeter is 1/100 of a meter.

    The capacity of one cubic decimeter is a liter.

    The mass of one liter of water is a kilogram.

    0 degrees celsius is the temp where water freezes, 100 degrees celsius is when water boils.

    That is the derivation of the metric system in a nutshell -so logical, so elegant compared to the imperial system.
     
  15. agnslz

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    It's always great when people use any topic to shit on the U.S.:rolleyes: Why should we have to change to the metric system if we don't want to? And why are people around the world so indignant over our refusal to do so? Isn't that a little imperialistic of them?

    There was a story just two days ago in my newspaper about an EU ruling to allow Britain to maintain some usage of their old system or something. I forget exactly what it was about, but it also mentioned that a local grocer in Britain was actually jailed a few years ago over not selling something in metric units. Imagine that!:eek:

    BTW, in that story they also listed the other countries besides the U.S. that don't use the metric system. I believe they are Myanmar and Liberia.
     
  16. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    I remember all those initiatives. God they sucked! The only thing I have a firm grasp of is a 2-liter bottle and that a meter is about a yard. That's it. Kilometers I don't care about, Celsius is ridiculously imprecise compared to Fahrenheit.

    The one thing I do like are centimeters as they make my dick sound huge.
     
  17. SpoiledPrincess

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    We're supposed to be metric but a lot of us Brits cling to inches, pounds and stones, it was announced a while ago that legally all food products had to be sold in kilos, the government rethought that and now things at the deli counter like cheese and meats are labelled in kilos and pounds. I have no conception of what it means if someone tells me a measurement in those centimetre thingies :)
     
  18. invisibleman

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    Here is a link to the US Metric Association's Introduction to the Metric System.

    http://lamar.colostate.edu/~hillger/common.html#conversions

    I have heard that the metric system is simple but I have problems conceptualizing kilometers. Grams. Kilograms. I have also found it a lot wordy than the American Standard Inch/Pound.

    For example: one inch = 2.54 centimeters

    eight inches= 2.54 centimeters X 8
    eight inches= 20.32 centimeters

    You can just say it is eight inches. Instead of twenty point thirty two hundredths centimeters.
     
  19. rob_just_rob

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    I believe Myanmar and Liberia are holding out, too.
     
  20. Gillette

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    Darling, that's when you round up and say you have 21cm.:smile:
    I don't recall seeing anyone say they were 8 and 3/16" either.

    Being Canadian I was raised with metric. I like the simplicity of the base 10 system and that converting cubic volume to weight works so fluidly. I also prefer Celcius because the freezing point and boiling point being 0 and 100 respectively gives a quick reference point to the temperatures in between.

    I will confess to finding inches easier to understand for the purposes of this site, 22cm throws me off and I have to hunt up a ruler to see what that is.

    I have an American friend who likes to rib me about Metric time.:cool:
    Grrr.
     
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