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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Axis of Inches

why don't americans use the metric system

16 comments:

  1. I wonder what units we used to design the space shuttle?

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    1. Funny you should mention that:

      http://articles.latimes.com/1999/oct/01/news/mn-17288

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    2. "the English system"

      "English units"

      I think both the English people and the English speaking world would have a word or two to say about that.

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  2. You know we wanted to join the metric system, but the French wouldn't let us because they were pissed at us for some reason.

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    1. I want that to be true, but ... it's not.

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  3. Don't forget the Brits!

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    1. Didn't they already abandon it? They created the mess, and left us to clean up...

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    2. I feel really guilty for answering such an old message, but the anonymous guy is right. We Brits use a weird mishmash of the metric and the imperial system, though. Most of the general public still use the imperial system, but we are officially measured and weighted using the metric system. Road signs are also still in miles, and milk and beer are still sold in pints, but soft drinks and petrol are sold in litres. xD Confusing, no?

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    3. ........That would explain Top Gear using imperial and metric interchangeably. I always figured it was for the convenience of viewers watching the show on BBC America or something...

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  4. and Myanmar doesn't use the imperial system either, they use their own traditional measurement system AFAIK. so actually, it's only you and liberia now...

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  5. 0F = about as cold as it ever gets in NYC, 100F = about as hot as it ever gets in NYC. The perfect temperature scale!

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  6. Just to nitpick... the US doesn't use the imperial system but the US Customary Units. There are significant differences as anyone ordering or serving a pint (US: 473 ml, UK: 568 ml) or a gallon (US: 3.7 litres, UK: 4.5 litres) knows. So actually the former club members where part of an organisation of not-using-the-metric-system instead of we-use-the-same.

    Oh, and to add a sting: The defining base for the US Customary Units is the metric system since 1893. A foot is actually defined as 0.3048 m and as unit can't exists independent of the metric system...

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    1. That's actually really interesting, thanks for bringing it up. I had no idea. But what do you mean that a unit can't exist independent of the metric system? You mean there's no laminated human foot somewhere in a pressure- and temperature-controlled laboratory that they use as "the" foot?

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  7. :-P

    Not "a" unit in general - this unit specifically. Every time the definition of one meter changes the size of your feet changes too. It is not defined by some natural constant like x million carbon in a row.

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