- Nov 11, 2019
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Identity, politics and good, old fashioned resistance to change.
Why doesn't the US use the metric system? : Read more
Why doesn't the US use the metric system? : Read more
One thing Garthpool and the article alluded to should be emphasized. Much of the Imperial System and none of the Metric System is human centric.Identity, politics and good, old fashioned resistance to change.
Why doesn't the US use the metric system? : Read more
This article implies we are not metric. We are. We use both.
The question for decades isn't "why aren't we metric," but instead "why do we use both?"
One could even argue that unless you measure heat in kelvins, you are not metric (Celsius is not metric.)
I have a 100 year old house. It isn't metric. We didn't have to build infrastructure from scratch after WWII, so we have countless legacy systems in place. Interestingly, the US military is 100% metric and has been since at least the 80's. All cars have been metric for decades. I teach both to my students in elementary school. Engineers use metric for design, then convert to imperial units afterwards, if at all. There is no 'going metric' because we did, but our homes (plumbing, lumber, etc.) are not convertible. I really don't notice, though I like my newer tape measures with both units, just to mess with the hardware store or my dad.
The question for decades isn't "why aren't we metric," but instead "why do we use both?" It is a history lesson and a marketing lesson, not a political one.
Because a lot of the "Never Metric" types run into trouble when they go past the number three. We ARE a metric nation, and slowly but surely a sensible system of measurement is taking over.
Honestly, a Foot is the length of thirty-six barleycorns laid end to end? A mile is one thousand steps (Maybe if you're a Roman - and the Roman Mile is shorter than the Statute mile). And converting Acres into Square miles and then into Rods...? Make mine METRIC.
There really is no compelling reason for the United States to move completely to the Metric system. As said by another poster, we do use both. Second, in the modern realm of technology, there is no inherent advantage to a system with a base1O over the current English measurement system used. And as explained earlier, the English system has more measuring points than Metric. 98.6 degrees, 32 degrees freezing and 212 boiling, 6 feet tall, there are natural and innate to Americans. Again, no compelling reason in the age of technology, where calculation is performed by calculators instead of humans, to change.Identity, politics and good, old fashioned resistance to change.
Why doesn't the US use the metric system? : Read more
The use of the decimal for the system is vastly overrated. It makes sense for money, but in a physical measurement it is much easier and far more accurate to divide by two by the eye, as the US Customary System allows, than it is by ten. This matters in almost every measurement most of us make. Let the scientists keep their decimals. The carpenter and the cook have a better system.
The "English measurement system" uses a variety of bases even within the same units, e.g. length uses 12 inches in a foot, 3 feet in a yard, 22 yards in a chain, etc. so the base varies with every different unit used. That's just asking for problems.…in the modern realm of technology, there is no inherent advantage to a system with a base1O over the current English measurement system used.
That is somewhat spurious given units can be divided to any level of precision. The Celsius range of 0 to 100 can be divided into 0.001 degree increments if you like to give 100,000 gradations (and of course the same can be done with Fahrenheit).And as explained earlier, the English system has more measuring points than Metric. 98.6 degrees, 32 degrees freezing and 212 boiling,
How is the number "6" any more natural or innate than the number "180", which is roughly the number of centimetres in 6 feet?6 feet tall, there are natural and innate to Americans.
Except that it's humans that program the calculators and computers and can easily get it wrong, and not everyone wants to pull out a calculator to work out simple things like how many feet in 1/8 mile (660)? Whereas how many metres in 1/8 kilometre is 125 (1/8 litre is 125 ml, 1/8 kg is 125 g, etc.).Again, no compelling reason in the age of technology, where calculation is performed by calculators instead of humans, to change.
The claim that it's "far more accurate to divide by two by the eye" is not supported and really can't be using imperial measures. Firstly, it's equally as easy to divide by halves using the International System of Units (SI units) as imperial. Half a cup is half a cup whether it's measured in fluid ounces or millilitres.
Using length, 1/4 kilometre is 250 metres whereas 1/4 mile is 1,320 feet or 2.5 chains. I know which of those is easier to work with. How about adding 3/8" and 7/16"? With SI units the division is always of a unit of 10 so the values are consistent, e.g. 1/4 litre is 250 millilitres, 1/4 metre is 250 millimetres, etc. so you just need to learn the decimal equivalents of say 1/2, 1/4 and 1/8 (0.5, 0.25 and 0.125 respectively) and you're got the common halves of SI units of measure.
Secondly, the imperial system is not designed to be easily subdivided by halves anyway. For example, the progression of length units is: 12 inches to a foot, 3 feet to a yard, 22 yards to a chain (which is also 100 links, making a link 0.66 feet or 7.92 inches), 10 chains to a furlong and 8 furlongs to a mile. So 1/2 mile is 2,640 feet, half a chain is 33 feet and half a yard is 1.5 feet or 1' 6". So the "divide by 2" argument just doesn't stack up.
The US uses SI units for electrical measures: volts, watts, ohms, etc. The basic imperial units are all specified in SI units and the US military and scientific communities use SI units. So the precedent is there, it's just that the US is weirdly conservative about certain things to the extent that use of imperial measures is viewed with a kind of religious righteousness and woe betide anyone who tries to change it.