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(Slate)   The unsung heroes who were responsible for keeping the Metric System out of America. Who knew there were so many Stonecutters?   (slate.com) divider line 208
    More: Hero, metric systems, President Ford, Tom Wolfe, Stewart Brand, Whole Earth Catalog, American health care  
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11809 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Aug 2014 at 3:41 AM (6 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-08-09 10:03:57 PM
We knew! We knew!
 
2014-08-09 10:25:02 PM
They are the same ones keeping us from spelling reform.
 
2014-08-10 12:26:29 AM
Metric only makes sense for doing math and math is for nerds and Communists.
 
2014-08-10 01:09:15 AM

Snarfangel: They are the same ones keeping us from spelling reform.


You just did spell reform. So did I. Nobody can keep us from spelling reform.
 
2014-08-10 01:18:08 AM

DrPainMD: Snarfangel: They are the same ones keeping us from spelling reform.

You just did spell reform. So did I. Nobody can keep us from spelling reform.


You're a rebel and you'll never be any good.
 
2014-08-10 02:21:28 AM
The metric system made my penis sound enormous.

As long as I met women unfamiliar with math, or conversion tables.

i90.photobucket.com
 
2014-08-10 03:45:30 AM
 
2014-08-10 03:52:57 AM
I'm all for converting to metric, but it's something that would need to take years of easing in to. It won't, and cannot be an overnight thing.

Also, I've been to a double handful of countries that, while metric, still use feet/inches and pounds for height and weight. Also our cooking/baking measurement insofar as amounts of ingredients..
 
2014-08-10 03:55:19 AM
Please tell me that the tag is being used sarcastically.

Please...
 
2014-08-10 04:00:42 AM
Unless inches can be divided into 1/10's, it's a retarded system to keep alive.
 
2014-08-10 04:01:37 AM
That post was #10, which, I feel, just proves my point.
 
2014-08-10 04:06:45 AM
The author seems to have left out the cost of making the switch. It's gotta be massive. Signage, laws, manuals, product packaging,etc.
 
2014-08-10 04:10:37 AM

ameeriklane: The author seems to have left out the cost of making the switch. It's gotta be massive. Signage, laws, manuals, product packaging,etc.


Right, but they had already done that.  I'm 35, and I can still remember speed limit signs in both British and metric, electronic signs that displayed the temperature in Fahrenheit and Celsius.  What a waste of a good start.
 
2014-08-10 04:25:03 AM

Cormee: Unless inches can be divided into 1/10's, it's a retarded system to keep alive.


They can!  It's just... no one does that.

But here's the good news: 5/10ths is the same as 8/16ths.

/yes, I support the metric conversion.
 
2014-08-10 04:29:09 AM

ameeriklane: The author seems to have left out the cost of making the switch. It's gotta be massive. Signage, laws, manuals, product packaging,etc.


Packages already have metric measurements on them.  Just set a date beyond which it's illegal to sell any new product with a legacy measurement listed on it, and make that date a few years out.

And the cost of switching everything is minimal compared to the cost savings from having a single worldwide measurement standard that makes sense.

The biggest expense will be road signs.  And yes, that should happen all at once, leaving the legacy measurements on the signs was part of the mistake last time.
 
2014-08-10 04:31:13 AM
Why use the same measurements as the international scientific community when you have god?
 
2014-08-10 04:31:37 AM

hammettman: The metric system made my penis sound enormous.

As long as I met women unfamiliar with math, or conversion tables.

[i90.photobucket.com image 550x819]


92-61-92? Heh, only if she's 1m60
 
2014-08-10 04:33:37 AM

xane: Why use the same measurements as the international scientific community when you have god?


You're so edgy. Can I subscribe to your Tumblr?
 
2014-08-10 04:33:49 AM
I'll be buying my Chinese crap by the hogshead, pennyweight and stone, you whippersnappers.
 
2014-08-10 04:37:59 AM

DarkVader: ameeriklane: The author seems to have left out the cost of making the switch. It's gotta be massive. Signage, laws, manuals, product packaging,etc.

Packages already have metric measurements on them.  Just set a date beyond which it's illegal to sell any new product with a legacy measurement listed on it, and make that date a few years out.

And the cost of switching everything is minimal compared to the cost savings from having a single worldwide measurement standard that makes sense.

The biggest expense will be road signs.  And yes, that should happen all at once, leaving the legacy measurements on the signs was part of the mistake last time.


I thought US road signs were mostly made by prison inmates.
 
2014-08-10 04:38:00 AM

hammettman: The metric system made my penis sound enormous.

As long as I met women unfamiliar with math, or conversion tables.


Yeah but when you convert it to cm it's only 1/10 the size
 
2014-08-10 04:56:20 AM
America hasn't switched because it's a deeply conservative place that is resistant to change and has politicians who are happy and willing to pander to this fear.
 
2014-08-10 04:57:05 AM
Seems John Marciano is angling to be the next Dan Brown.

/metric system makes more sense when you're making plans
//when you're actually going out and building things, the Imperial system makes more sense
///and the Gods of the Copybook Headings said, "If you don't work, you die."
 
2014-08-10 05:00:25 AM
Who cares? Educated people use the metric system, the rest can choke on a medieval system that has been abandoned by the rest of the world including those that invented it.
 
2014-08-10 05:01:02 AM
Too bad Steve Guttenberg fell out of favor with them, or he might still be a star.

/My car gets 40 rods to the hog's head and that's the way I likes it
 
2014-08-10 05:02:54 AM

Victoly: hammettman: The metric system made my penis sound enormous.

As long as I met women unfamiliar with math, or conversion tables.

[i90.photobucket.com image 550x819]

92-61-92? Heh, only if she's 1m60


I was going to write a snarky comment about the headline, then I read yours. LOL

/still gonna jab the "hurr durr, maths is hard" in there
 
2014-08-10 05:04:54 AM

Cormee: Unless inches can be divided into 1/10's, it's a retarded system to keep alive.


I am a machinist. A machinist's rule is broken down in to 100th of an inch on one side 1000th of an inch on the other. Blue print measurements are in decimals of an inch. Example 1 1/4 inch is expressed as 1.25 inches. I will normally machine parts to 1/10000 of an inch and my measuring tools are designed to measure in decimals to that level. Sometimes measurements must be made to mills (1/100000 of an inch) but I don't work on parts that need that precision.
 
2014-08-10 05:05:52 AM

pippi longstocking: Who cares? Educated people use the metric system, the rest can choke on a medieval system that has been abandoned by the rest of the world including those that invented it.


You're such a badass. Everyone is jealous of how badass you are. What a shame it must be to live in a country where you find everything so terribly medieval. How do you manage? You must be so brave. Keep fighting the fight of being of so superior.
 
2014-08-10 05:11:25 AM

robohobo: pippi longstocking: Who cares? Educated people use the metric system, the rest can choke on a medieval system that has been abandoned by the rest of the world including those that invented it.

You're such a badass. Everyone is jealous of how badass you are. What a shame it must be to live in a country where you find everything so terribly medieval.


Your measurement system is everything to you? Man, I wish I could feel that strongly about junk and stuff.
 
2014-08-10 05:15:56 AM

Dansker: robohobo: pippi longstocking: Who cares? Educated people use the metric system, the rest can choke on a medieval system that has been abandoned by the rest of the world including those that invented it.

You're such a badass. Everyone is jealous of how badass you are. What a shame it must be to live in a country where you find everything so terribly medieval.

Your measurement system is everything to you? Man, I wish I could feel that strongly about junk and stuff.


No, I don't particularly give a shiat. People seem overly concerned about being different from the rest of the world, though. I suspect people over a certain age wouldn't ever fully take the change, having used the current system for so long. You'd have to grab the children who aren't tied to a particular system.

/also yeah, futurama
//poetry, philosophy...hats
 
2014-08-10 05:16:02 AM
No matter what system you use, I think that we can all agree that saying someone weighs '12 stone 8 pound' is stupid.

/and you can't, like, measure weed, dude
 
2014-08-10 05:19:35 AM
When New Zealand converted to metrics in 1971, we just stuck stickers with the new km distances on them over the old mile ones. Cheap as chips, and done quickly. As the signs needed replacing, the new ones were, of course, painted with metric distances.
 
2014-08-10 05:20:28 AM

werty789: Cormee: Unless inches can be divided into 1/10's, it's a retarded system to keep alive.

I am a machinist. A machinist's rule is broken down in to 100th of an inch on one side 1000th of an inch on the other. Blue print measurements are in decimals of an inch. Example 1 1/4 inch is expressed as 1.25 inches. I will normally machine parts to 1/10000 of an inch and my measuring tools are designed to measure in decimals to that level. Sometimes measurements must be made to mills (1/100000 of an inch) but I don't work on parts that need that precision.


So it sounds like there are two systems for creating fractions of inches?
 
2014-08-10 05:22:09 AM
My car gets 40 rods to the hogshead and that's the way I likes it!
 
2014-08-10 05:31:53 AM
So how many of you metricphiliacs use metric for time? Who needs the medieval minutes/hours/days etc you can measure it in kiloseconds
 
2014-08-10 05:34:33 AM
F*ck metrics.

/USA! USA! USA!
./bank on it
 
2014-08-10 05:38:37 AM
Someone told me they have so many inbred cousins in the southern US, that they use a base 12 number system. Something to do with the number of toes.
 
2014-08-10 05:38:53 AM

robohobo: Dansker: robohobo: pippi longstocking: Who cares? Educated people use the metric system, the rest can choke on a medieval system that has been abandoned by the rest of the world including those that invented it.

You're such a badass. Everyone is jealous of how badass you are. What a shame it must be to live in a country where you find everything so terribly medieval.

Your measurement system is everything to you? Man, I wish I could feel that strongly about junk and stuff.

No, I don't particularly give a shiat. People seem overly concerned about being different from the rest of the world, though. I suspect people over a certain age wouldn't ever fully take the change, having used the current system for so long. You'd have to grab the children who aren't tied to a particular system.

/also yeah, futurama
//poetry, philosophy...hats


All good points. *fistbump*.
On the other hand, there's gotta be a lot of people in exports/imports who could save some time and money by not having to deal with two systems. What about the Art Vandalays of the world?

/yay, references!
 
2014-08-10 05:40:00 AM

DarkVader: Packages already have metric measurements on them.  Just set a date beyond which it's illegal to sell any new product with a legacy measurement listed on it, and make that date a few years out.

And the cost of switching everything is minimal compared to the cost savings from having a single worldwide measurement standard that makes sense.

The biggest expense will be road signs.  And yes, that should happen all at once, leaving the legacy measurements on the signs was part of the mistake last time.


I dunno, there's still a cost and I think it will be massive. Just with computer systems alone, it will be like the Y2K problem where they'd need to go through all the code to look for any measurements. For regulations (like you can only park 10 feet from the curb, or you must use 4" pipe in a water system), I suppose they can pass a blanket regulation dictating the conversions and rounding rules. Then updating all written materials, everywhere, with the new system.

I wouldn't be surprised if it cost a few % of the US GDP to make the conversion, and I don't think anyone is willing to sacrifice that at this point.

In reality, certain groups (scientists) in the US already use metric system so they can collaborate easily with fellow scientist around the world. The US domestic (consumer) market is enormous as is domestic industry. I don't see how much the US is being dragged down by using an archaic system in everyday life.
 
2014-08-10 05:44:30 AM

ameeriklane:
I wouldn't be surprised if it cost a few % of the US GDP to make the conversion, and I don't think anyone is willing to sacrifice that at this point.


Theoretically, you could set a conversion date ten or twelve years in the future and begin manufacturing whatever is needed. Giving everybody time to adjust and spreading the expense over a decade or more could make it more palatable.
 
2014-08-10 05:54:02 AM

phillydrifter: F*ck metrics.

/USA! USA! USA!
./bank on it


I thought imperial measurements were British?
 
2014-08-10 06:07:07 AM
Meh. In Engineering school, half an exam would be in USCS and the other would be in Metric. Gravity constant was the main difference. 9.81 m per second squared or 32 feet per second squared.

Calories, joules, psi, torr, whatever. You just had to understand there were different systems of measure.

That said, there is no logical reason for us to not be on the metric system, besides baby jeebus and exceptionalism I suppose.
 
2014-08-10 06:11:40 AM
I learned the metric system in school in the 70's, and have used it all my life for work in electronics. I still like my road signs in miles, my body temperature at 98.6, and my milk in gallons.
 
2014-08-10 06:36:35 AM
ameeriklane: ...  Just with computer systems alone, it will be like the Y2K problem where they'd need to go through all the code to look for any measurements. For regulations (like you can only park 10 feet from the curb, or you must use 4" pipe in a water system), I suppose they can pass a blanket regulation dictating the conversions and rounding rules. ...

We already have that.  All our customary units are defined by a SI equivalent; It's not like we're calibrating rulers with barley corn.  But where metric absolutely sucks is in divisibility.  Customary units allow for all kinds of weird, and accurate divisions; and easy conversion to metric.  1/3 of a foot, easy... 1/3 of a meter; well that's umm... yeah not quite exact (on less than infinite scales).  Common denominators make actual technical maths easy; that's why artsy people defined points in measures of 72.
 
2014-08-10 06:41:49 AM
My beef with the archaic imperial system is threading. Sometimes you have to figure out the threading of a broken bolt and you have only two or three threads to measure the thread pitch on. And if you don't have a thread gauge or thread chart it becomes a major pain to figure what thread they've used. Because you Brits/Yanks decided that you measure the thread pitch in how many revolutions you fit in a inch.

And then when the thread gets small enough you don't name it by the diameter any longer, but use a number, like thread #6. To make a UNC #6 thread you need use a #34 drill bit. What is a #34 drill bit? #34 translates to about 2.9mm according to the drill translation chart.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7x-RGfd0Yk
 
2014-08-10 06:48:11 AM
Makes things like scuba diving easier.

10 meters of water is about one atmosphere.

At 10 meters deep I'll use twice as much air as at the surface. (1 + 1).

At 26 meters I'll use 3.6 times as much. (2.6  + 1).

Now at   57 feet I'll use.... Let's see..... Divide by 33.... shiat

/ try it with nitrogen narcosis
 
2014-08-10 06:49:26 AM
i.imgur.com
 
2014-08-10 06:49:45 AM

robohobo: I'm all for converting to metric, but it's something that would need to take years of easing in to. It won't, and cannot be an overnight thing.

Also, I've been to a double handful of countries that, while metric, still use feet/inches and pounds for height and weight. Also our cooking/baking measurement insofar as amounts of ingredients..


Cooking should be the first one to switch to metric. I can't tell you jow often I had to pull out my iPhone to use the units converter app to change from tsps to cups to fl oz and so on. Ultimately, I convert all to ml and I'm good.

Gack, cooking sucks with the English system.
 
2014-08-10 07:10:34 AM
With a printing and graphics background, I still work in points and picas.

/lawn. . . off it
 
2014-08-10 07:11:05 AM
The place where this gets really crazy is measuring radioactivity. The old standard was the Curie, the number of disintegrations per second in one gram of radium. It's a huge number. 3.7 x 10^10 (37 billion) disintegrations per second. The SI unit is the Becquerel, which is 1 disintegration per second, so a Becquerel is 1/37,000,000,000.

It's a pain in the ass. We wind up with gigabecquerels where before we had millicuries.  Neither one of these is intuitive and trying to quantify a danger for an unsheilded source, or knowing which package to select (not my job, thankfully), requires mental gymnastics.for even experienced people. Thanks god there are lots of good unit converters available for free.

Also, it's "radiation" OMG, EVERYBODY PANIC

As for the rest of the Metric system, go for it. Or not. Having grown up around feet, inches, yards, etc, I am more comfortable with that. I think speed conversions would be the most difficult because that is something we embed into our brains every day. But I've only had one "cup" of coffee (actually it was about two cups, a little under 460 milliliters probably. I don't have my beakers handy).
 
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