We can put an end to imperial units

“In metric, one milliliter of water occupies one cubic centimeter, weighs one gram, and requires one calorie1 of energy to heat up by one degree centigrade—which is 1 percent of the difference between its freezing point and its boiling point. An amount of hydrogen weighing the same amount has exactly one mole of atoms in it. Whereas in the American system, the answer to ‘How much energy does it take to boil a room-temperature gallon of water?’ is ‘Go fuck yourself,’ because you can’t directly relate any of those quantities.” Wild Thing by Josh Bazell.

I have not read Wild Thing, and I do not have any idea about who Josh Bazell is, but I love this quote. It brilliantly summarises how superior the International System of Units (i.e., the modern form of the metric system) is to the system of imperial units, as shown in the following illustration:

Visual comparison of metric and imperial units

Yet, nowadays…

The USA is the only industrialised country in the world that still uses a system of units developed from English units (i.e., the United States customary system), as well as the only industrialised country in the world that has not adopted the International System of Units2(see Metrication in the USA).

Canada and the UK have adopted the International System of Units, but their metrication process is far from being complete (see Metrication in the UK and Canada).

Despite the fact only a minority of countries have not adopted the International System of Units, the majority of countries are still contaminated by the system of imperial units. Think about it… Even in continental Europe, where the metric system comes from and where the imperial units are nowhere in the education curriculum, screens are measured in inches, aircrafts’ altitude is measured in feet, watercrafts’ speed in measured in knots, etc.

The problem is that, to anybody who grew up with the International System of Units, an advertisement of a 55” TV screen tells very little about the actual size; a captain announcing that the plane is cruising at 30,000 feet tells very little about the actual altitude; a speedometer showing that the boat is cruising at 20 knots tells very little about the actual speed.

This is ridiculous and has got to stop. Governments of all countries adopting the International System of Units have to enforce that this system is used in absolutely every application and that any trace of imperial units is consigned to history.

If you are a man or woman of science, or if you simply have common sense, please share this post on every social network, and tag your tweets and instagrams with the tag #banimperialunits.

Here are some examples of tweets that you can send to your politicians.

Inch is not an official unit in Norway. Why are screens measured in inches and not centimetres? #banimperialunits

Foot is not an official unit in Italy. Why does the aviation industry use feet and not metres? #banimperialunits

Knot is not an official unit in Spain. Why does the ship industry use feet and not metres? #banimperialunits

Together, we can put an end to imperial units.

Footnotes

  1. One may argue that calorie is not a unit of the metric system. In the International System of Units, which is an evolution of the metre-kilogram-second (MKS) system of units, which in turn is a variant of the metric system, both mechanical and thermal energies are measured in Joule. However, in the centimetre-gram-second (CGS) system of units, which is another variant of the metric system, the thermal energy is measured in Calories. Therefore, I would still consider Calorie as one of the units of the metric system, although not of the International System of Units. Besides, I do not think Josh Bazell aimed at being scientifically rigorous, so I would excuse him for not clarifying which variant of the metric system he refers to.
  2. The two other countries that do not adopt the International System of Units are Myanmar and Liberia, while the four other countries that adopt Fahrenheit for everyday applications are Bahamas, Belize, the Cayman Islands, and Palau.

68 Comments

  1. Threestargoku

    21 May 2021 at 07:35

    When insane people run the asylum this is what you get! Retards in charge destroy reality!

  2. Hi, Alessandro.

    While I do appreciate (and to a large extent agree) with your arguments, there are many times where imperial units have their uses.
    For instance:
    Estimating the heights: It’s a lot easier to estimate the height of someone when the divisions are larger, and you could probably estimate with more accuracy.
    For instance, let’s say the average human lies between the 5′ and 7′ range. when estimating someone’s height, we have 3 primary units (5′, 6′ and 7′) and between these primaries are 12 secondaries. (the inches)
    to use centimeters on a similar range (150-210cm) you would probably split these into primaries of 10cm, of which you now have 8, and 10 very small secondaries of 1cm. Estimating in cms is fine for under 1m, but the bigger you go, the harder it becomes to guage.
    Now, while I will agree that if you need an accurate measurement of a person/horse/car/building/shotput throw etc. then metric would be the system of choice. however, when eyeballing/estimating/describing to someone else, imperial is the winner.

    My second preferred use of the metric system is when driving.
    I believe, from experience, that miles make a safer road. The reason being is tolerance.
    Trying to keep your car moving at an exact constant speed is very difficult, but as there is a slightly bigger difference between 30 and 31mph than there is between 50 and 51kph, your speed will be able to vary more from human error without going over the threshold into speeding territory whilst using miles. As a direct result of this I, personally, find that when I drive on the continent I am looking at the speedo a LOT more than I’d like to be because I am concerned about speeding.

    Finally, metric units are also very good for Artisinal crafts because of their divisive capabilities. While I don’t use them, myself, I recognise that 1 foot can easily be divided by 2, 3, 4, 6, and 12. and every inch can be divided by 2,4,8,16,32, and 64, whereas 10 cms can be divided by 2,5, and 10. then each cm can be divided by 2,5, and 10.

    For scientific measurements, yes metric is the way to go, however, you have to understand that Imperial units have their place in everyday life. Britain has adopted both and, for the most part, uses the most appropriate use for the situations at hand.
    I was taught to measure length in cms, but guage everyday height in feet; to drive in miles, but run in meters; to cook in mls but pour beer in pints (seriously, Germany, a litre glass of beer is unweildy.)

    I hope this adds to the discussion constructively.

    • “Eyeballing/estimating/describing to someone else, imperial is the winner.” It’s just what you’re used to. yore not going to be any more accurate.

      if the margin is 10% and the limit is 30 that is 3mph (4.83, a 30mph road equivalates a 50kmh with 10% margin that is 5kmh. more margin for error. and again its really just what you’re used to.

      “Why do you use say 5/32″, and which is bigger 5/32″, 3/16 or 13/64″? Or in metric 3.97mm, 4.76mm and 5.16mm. Surely 4mm is effectively the same as 5/32″? It’s less than the thickness of a hair different but it’s much easier to visualise! Gaps and tolerances are just as easy to measure in mm, and can be done without reversion to maths when talking of 32nds or 64ths which have a far greater risk of errors being made.” -Ian Brooks

    • Sir Kevin Parr Bt

      16 February 2021 at 15:20

      Feet and inches I will always use and sod metric I can walk a mile and each step count as a foot in one line and i will be dead on right at end while Metric man is lost in 1000snth of figures after the mark. We left EU and imperial all know of so let us be English again please Pints miles Gills and pecks and feet and inches and only then say I am English

  3. Hello,
    I have something to protest, I can turn your mind about graphics.
    1)
    What you can measure centimeter with? Nothing.
    What you can measure inch with? Tip of your finger.
    What is a meter? Just a unit.
    What is foot? It’s your foot!
    Wikipedia said, that SI units cannot be measured without measuring tools. (Ruller, for example)
    All U.S. Units based on things, so you can easily measure it without tools.
    2)
    You said, “Temperature at which absolutely nothing happens”, but not:
    By information in Wikipedia,
    0*F – Standstill temperature of Brine. (Salt and Ice mix) That’s mean, that Brine is not melting and not crystalizing at this temperature.
    100*F – Normal body temperature.
    Nothing in this world made by “Will of mine”, everything is based on something.
    Also,
    0*F is average winter, 100*F is average summer.
    Have a nice day!

    • Is the tip of your finger really an Inch? really?
      Is your foot really a foot? like really? I doubt it.
      Your argument is stupid.

      Temperature?
      is 100F really average summer? not where I live
      0 degrees really average Winter? not where I live.
      it’s just what you’re used to.. 25C is a nice summer day,
      When the thermometer reads 0 it may snow
      It’s simple stuff but use whatever you like

  4. Dave Alexander

    5 July 2017 at 15:07

    Being an Antipodeans from Scottish/English stock, whose Father and his Father before him served with the Royal Navy, of
    whom built great Ships to the Imperial Measure as with many other Products, why should a non-European Country change our well proven Measurement, as Measurements at Sea and the in the Air are measured in Nautical Measurements and Knots. Why because the World may appear round to People that fly and use Boats or Ships it is Oblong, thus Longitude
    & Latitude. That is the Reason that Kilometres cannot be used. A Naval Instrument the Sextant uses Longitude & Latitude and the Stars and not Kilometres. So perhaps you have to change Mr.Italy. After all were the Italians not some of the infamous, Soldiers in both World Wars like the French whom ran away from the conflict, instead of engaging it? So please do not lecture us Imperialists, it is the young whom are happy about change as with learning the 12 x Tables, now the brains of the young have shrunk because they use Calculators instead of
    their Brains for Calculus? Neither do they want to know that their Grandfather gave his life so that they can have their’s, just a thankless, clueless bunch of unpatriotic thugs, who also “Suck up to the other “Pacifist come Communist” Corbyn’s Porky Pies” and voted twice, don’t worry I’m sure this Italian Professor will save their Hides from Fraud and the Metropolitan Police. That they have been involved with, as it is a Criminal offence to vote twice in an Election!

    • The International Civil Aviation Organization—the agency of the United Nations that codifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation—recommends a system of units based on the International System of Units (see http://cockpitdata.com/Software/ICAO%20Annex%205 ). If my arguments are not convincing you, perhaps the ones of an agency of the United Nations will. That said, citing the World Wars and offending the Italian people, the French people, and the millennials just because I suggest to abandon the imperial units was unnecessary. I would recommend you vent your frustration with life on other fora. Peace!

  5. Chris Jay Mountain

    7 January 2017 at 23:58

    Hey, Alessandro – you have my full support. Your blog is very insightful and informative – it’s refreshing to know that there are other people that appreciate the metric system. Right now in the UK, units of measurement are all over the place…roads and motorways measured in miles, yards and feet- vehicle speed measured in miles per hour and fuel consumption measured in miles per gallon! The most annoying and illogical part is that fuel is only ever sold in litres now – yet, we continue being forced to use MPG like we’re stupid and unable to be educated. A fairly recent addition to fuel consumption was “grams per kilometre” for measuring CO2 output – again, a completely wasted and useless unit of measurement until the imperial system is abolished…There must be an easier and more logical approach to metricating our roads and putting an end to the joke that is the imperial system once and for all.

  6. I like how “SI=SuckIt” called you a pampas asshole. You know, somebody who likes to roam around out on the pampas grass.

    At least you’re not a pompous asshole!

    Though if I were a knee-jerk reaction kind of guy that word would have come up.

    a) Defending the cgs version of metric is every bit as wrong as Imperial. SI was created in 1960. mks won. If you LOVE the universality of the metric system, then you have to let go of cgs units and go SI. Or else it isn’t universal, and the metric system doesn’t have anything going for it.

    b) I am a geneticist. So in biochemistry, all the biologists use kcal for reactions, and all the chemists use kJ, and I’m always trying to figure out units they used in a paper, and which way the x 4.2 goes. I hate it. DIE, cgs, DIE.

    c) NO ONE IN THE WORLD USES IMPERIAL UNITS ANY MORE.
    So, you make a false argument.
    Yes, the US uses an older, but ultimately similar system. Referred to in the US as “English units”, and formally called USCS (United States Customary System).
    Thomas Jefferson, in 1790, proposed the first decimal system of measure to a legislature anywhere in the world. But Congress was leary. It was too new, not at all universal, and “strange”. When the Northwest Territory demanded a decision in 1795 so it could be surveyed, Jefferson’s successor standardized on a particular subset of English units and the survey commenced.
    Three decades later, the British decided to standardize on their own. But, of course, the British weren’t about to copy unit decisions from their former colonies in the States, and the US wasn’t going to change units just because the British abandoned English units and made up new ones. At that point, they would rather have converted to the French metric units — except the darn French had abandoned them too! (1812-1837) So the US continued on. The British came up with the Imperial system, using a “decimal gallon”. (10 pounds of water), which actually works very well for calculating BTUs. However, since they kept 8 pints to the gallon, they never REALLY went decimal. The British, the UK, the British Empire, and the Commonwealth all switched to Imperial. But, compared to “English units” in the US, every fluid volume is different, every dry volume is different, and so are stone, hundredweight, and tons.
    When the UK went metric in 1965, that was the END of the Imperial system. (Except for British roads.) So, Imperial is no more. It is the proverbial Dead Parrot.

    So, let’s assume you repeat all your rant except substitute “USCS” for “Imperial”.

    d) I’m surprised that TVs sold outside the US use diagonal inches. Why not metres? For that matter, maybe diagonal measures are liked by the screen-manufacturing industry because it is a proxy for area, and thus cost, but the diagonal measure is used by NOBODY who wants to figure out what size TV to get. Why not horizontal inches? The screen ratio is almost always fixed (16:9 here in the US), so the horizontal is 87.157% of the diagonal. Why not use that, so you can actually see if your TV will fit on the wall? (Probably because the diagonal number is bigger, and we all know bigger is better.)
    Let’s just all convert to horizontal metres.

    e) What the metric system has going for it is near-universality. It makes those international conversations easier. (Then, we can start talking about a universal date format.) There is no question that any system of units that is universal is great, in our interconnected world.

    f) But wait a minute, on bashing USCS. ANY consistent system of measure will work, if it’s universal. EVERYTHING Josh Bazell or you said praising SI and bashing USCS is wrong. Just plain wrong. I don’t blame you for wanting the universal system. But don’t make it out like USCS is some kind of system made up by baboons or something. And don’t make it out like SI is some kind of system handed us by the gods. EVERY existing system of units has good points and bad points.

    1) In USCS, one pint of water weighs one pound, and requires one BTU of energy to heat up by one degree Fahrenheit —which is 1 percent of the difference between the coldest day of the year and the hottest day of the year. If you choose to boil a pint of water at room temperature, 72 F, you have to heat it 140 degrees F with 140 BTUs of energy. Whereas in the metric system, the answer to ‘How much energy does it take to boil a room-temperature litre of water?’ is ‘Go fuck yourself,’ because you can’t directly relate any of those quantities.
    (Room temp is about 22C, so you need to raise it 78C to boiling. But calories are deprecated, and Joules requires that stupid x 4.2 thing because it’s one kg-m/s^2, and how does THAT relate to heat???)

    (A mole of atoms is an experimental number DEFINED as the amount of carbon atoms weighing 12 grams. There is another Avogadro’s Constant for 12 ounces of carbon atoms. Think of it as a USCS mole. So what? All science is done in metric everywhere, and no one else knows what a mole is except for an annoying, burrowing rodent.)

    2) Knots are used by ships and airplanes, even Spanish ones, because they have to NAVIGATE. A nautical mile USED TO be defined in USCS, Imperial, and other units, but today is PURELY METRIC. 1 nautical mile is exactly equal to 1852 m. It is exactly one minute of latitude on the globe, which makes navigating on the ocean or through the air MUCH easier. (1 nmi * cos(latitude) = 1 minute of longitude, but I digress.)
    The metric system tried to go to decimal degrees (100 in a right angle), but utterly failed. Now, SI doesn’t even HAVE an angular unit of measure, since a radian is one metre per metre, the units cancel out, and a radian is “unitless”. Radians are used in math and science some times, but NEVER in navigation, or in ANY practical endeavor of actual humans.
    As to why a little speedboat has knots on its speedometer? No reason. It could certainly have km/hr. (Which is a HORRIBLE speed unit, by the way. SI would want m/s.) Personally, I think the little speedboat has Big Boat Envy, and copies the same units that ships have to use to navigate.
    And why is km/hr so ugly compared to m/s? Because the French TRIED to make decimal time, but everyone hated it. Even the French.

    3) Italian aircraft have to use feet of altitude BECAUSE ITALIANS DIDN’T INVENT THE AIRPLANE. Sorry. Or, ‘Scuzi.

    We could go on.
    I could mention how the metre is SUPPOSED to be 1/10 millionth of the quarter-circumference of the Earth, but one of the two surveyors made a mistake in the first year of the survey, and so it’s 0.2 mm short. They KNEW it, but people had already started using the prototype metre, so they hid the mistake so as to not discourage people from having confidence in the metre.
    I could mention how they thought the gram would be a good measure, but it’s really too small for almost any useful purpose, so the kilogram became the base unit. Except base units aren’t supposed to have prefixes. 1 N = 1 kg * 1 m/s^2. Why is there a kilo in that equation??
    An a Joule. What a joke. The energy it takes to lift one apple one metre. (We’re using apples as measurements now?) It is so stupidly small that everyone uses kJ, MJ, or GJ.
    And all of our electricity is measured in kW-hr. Because it’s a reasonable size. Why not MJ? Because, secretly, everyone HATES Joules. That’s why they use kW-hr and calories.
    And there are two sizes of calories. 1 big C Calorie = 1000 little C calorie. What the heck kind of metric is THAT?
    And yes, Celsius or Centigrade goes from freezing to boiling of water. (Though Celsius’s own scale actually had 0 at boiling and 100 at freezing.) But Fahrenheit set his scale to the ambient outdoor temperature, 0 for the coldest day of the year and 100 for the hottest. BOTH are arbitrary. Tell me again why Celsius is somehow better? Did you know that Kelvin, who invented absolute zero degrees, got tagged with Celsius size degrees only because Rankine had already set the absolute zero scale based on Fahrenheit size degrees? Kelvin used Fahrenheit degrees all his life!
    And those metric prefixes? Sure, it’s useful for scientists trying to relate the energy in the spin of an atom to the energy in a nuclear reactor, or some such thing. But other than that? It is more useful in the kitchen to know that two cups make a pint, 2 pints a quart, 2 1 quarts a pottle (half gallon), 2 pottles a gallon.

    The bottom line is, ANY consistent system of units is adequate. The one YOU are familiar with is always best. Either SI or USCS would work. Si is the nearly universal one, and will probably become the universal one some day. But it’s not because it is inherently superior. It’s just French.

    • Bill, please see my answers below:

      a) Agreed
      b) Agreed
      c) No, the metrication in the UK (as well as Canada) is far from being complete and imperial units are still used in everyday applications—You may want to read Chris’ comment https://alessandrorossini.org/we-can-put-an-end-to-imperial-units/#comment-198. And yes, I used “imperial units” as a synonym for “any system developed from English units, including USCS”—I should have clarified this in a footnote.
      d) I am as surprised as you are. Besides, Apple uses inches to measure the screen of the iPhone, the MacBook, etc., but mm to measure the screen of the Apple Watch, even in the USA.
      e) Agreed
      f) I consider the International System of Units superior because of its decimal nature. That said, the International System of Units is not perfect and your arguments are valid.

      A final remark: as I mentioned multiple times before, the USA has the right to stick to USCS. The only point I am trying to make is that there is absolutely no reason for countries adopting the International System of Units to see traces of imperial units in everyday applications. Cheers!

      • BTW – I want to say, thanks for prompting all this discussion. Bazell’s remarks were wrong and your requoting and praise felt annoying to me — but that’s all in the fun of having a discussion, and I think this one is useful.

        About Imperial vs USCS — they are all “English units”. In fact, the US used to call its system English units, until the English went (mostly) metric, and then the clumsy acronym USCS was developed. Sorry about my upset at your calling American units Imperal; I’ve been fighting a war on Quora, on which the majority of posters come from India and the US, and all the Indians (with their British training) assume out of ignorance that the US was part of the Empire*, and uses Imperial. So I carried that frustration into our conversation.

        (* Some date the British Empire to the 16th/17th C.; I think it really started with the defeat of Napoleon, when America was already off and running on its own.)

        About Chris and the UK’s continued Imperial units:
        – All the Brits I talk to say the UK is entirely metric. Well, except for the roads. So, let’s call it 95% metric.
        – Yes indeed, the UK uses Imperial for its motorways and its railroads. The railroads are a world unto themselves, and I guess they do it for historic reasons. It probably doesn’t matter whether they change or not, but changing to km wouldn’t be like tearing down St. Paul’s or anything. As for the roadways, I have NO IDEA why the Brits felt they could change everything else, but not miles and mpg. Some bizarre political compromise.
        – I think the most important thing to change is bridge heights — in feet rather than metres. If a French lorry driver goes under a British bridge, will he know whether he can fit?
        – The other Imperial units the UK continues to use are human body measures — the feet & inches of height and the stone and pounds of weight.
        (The stone is my most fun, bizarre Imperial unit, and yet another difference from USCS, which skips stones. Because of that, USCS has a decimal “hundredweight” — 1 cwt = 100 lbs, while Imperial makes up hundredweights out of stone – 1 stone = 14 lbs, 1 cwt = 8 stone, therefore 1 cwt = 112 lbs. (It bothers me that a “hundredweight” is not a hundred pounds. But that’s my USCS-centric view.) As a consequence, 1 ton = 20 cwt in both systems, but the different cwt means the US has the short ton of 2000 lbs, and the Brits have (had?) the long ton of 2240 lbs.)
        – There are still various reactionary uses of Imperial measures in the UK that crop up from time to time. Most shops are permitted to double label (£/lb, £/kg), and sometimes they “forget” to display the metric prices. Etc. But it seems like the UK is 95% metric.
        – I’m told by several Brits that, 40-50 years since metrication, there are now 2 generations who didn’t learn Imperial as the primary system, and in another 30 years the rest of the old ones will be dead, and metrication will be complete. It seems that is the standard for conversion – the old ones have to actually die out. Not even Brexit will prompt the Brits to go back to Imperial. (except on their roads and bodies)

        In an odd echo of the British use of miles on roadways, my American state of California used to be unique in not numbering its exits like the rest of the states. In the Midwest, exit numbers are important, as it can be many miles between Interstate highway exits. The roads are measured in miles from the southern or western border of the state (or the start of the road), a standard started in 1961 and mandatory since 1971. Exits, which in the 1940s and ’50s were numbered consecutively, are all numbered to match the closest mile marker, So, if you are going 60 mph, and heading to exit 100 from milemarker 40, you know it’s an hour away. Except in California, in which most of the freeways were already built and signed by 1971. It had directions (North, South) and exit names (street name or city), but not exit numbers.

        But California finally started adding exit numbers to signs in 2002, whenever each particular sign is replaced or modified. After an initial burst of changes, it has slowed down, and there is no end date planned for all exits being numbered — because signs cost money, and exit numbers aren’t in the Top 10 list of priorities.

        The great sadness for me was, here was a whole state — and a big one — which was unnumbered, and they funded (at least in the early 2000s) modifying or replacing EVERY exit sign in the state. And they didn’t go metric. They COULD HAVE been the first state in the nation to number roads in km. But that violated the 1971 federal mandate for Interstate (and therefore Federally funded) highways, which required miles.

        Sigh.

        Now, the state has spent so many millions putting mile numbers on exits that the chance it will repeat the expense to renumber them in km is zero. Not even “nearly zero”, but just plain zero.

        (Unless Trump’s big Infrastructure initiatives provide Federal money to re-sign all the freeways… Money would make it happen. In fact — that was my suggestion in 2008 to fix the Great Recession — just change all the road distances and speeds in America to km and km/hr. That ALONE would have stimulated the economy enough to create jobs and recover. But that never caught on as a recovery mechanism, and so we limped out of the recession over the next 9 years.)

        The issue of metrication in the US is a little bit about people’s resistance to change, but is a LOT about the cost. I don’t know of a study that has totalled it up, but I’m sure it would be 1 to 2 trillion dollars, total, to convert the US to metric. It’s not just retraining everyone, and replacing all the yardsticks and scales. It’s adopting new standards. Changing from 1/4″-20 bolts to 6 mm bolts. Changing from 2×4″ lumber to 5×10 cm lumber. Changing from 2×4′ office lighting panels to 60×120 cm lighting panels. Replacing every single 12 oz soft drink and beer dispensing machine. (Even in its current metric uses – the US has odd standards. 75 cl bottles are called “fifths” because they were about the size of 1/5 gallon. And from that, smaller wine and liquor bottles are 375 or 187 ml. No one in their right mind would pick those as standards — instead of 200 ml, 500 ml, 1 L, etc.)

        The cost of replacing all of those standards is enormous.

        But if it ever does happen, it will be little by little.

        Pepsi invented the 2L bottle in 1970, advertising it was oriented to the future. Most bottled water, popularized in the 1990s, is metric. (e.g., “16.9 oz, 500 ml”) Automobiles are becoming more and more metric. (Because even American cars are made of mostly foreign components. And foreign makes are made in America. It’s confusing.)

        I could absolutely see the US slowly, gradually, shifting one standard at a time, one industry at a time. But that will take a century or two, before someone says, OK, we’re mostly metric, let’s just finish it.

        Finally, I have had these chat style conversations with hundreds of people in the US and around the world about USCS vs SI, decimalization, and convenience. While SI fans tout the inherent superiority of decimal unit conversions, and USCS people are generally confused about why they are perfectly happy about their units, what I find is that:
        – Both systems are mostly coherent, logical, usable systems
        – Either system is usable for all matters
        – Each system has pros and cons
        – Most people only convert units to the next size up or down. Only scientists convert with large powers of 10.
        – Because of this, it’s about as easy to know there are 100 cm = 1 m as 36 in = 1 yd. Once you learn it, it’s natural to you.
        – To people who learned the metric system, powers of 10 seem like the only correct unit conversion, and 2, 12, or 60 seem medieval, like before they discovered you should wash your hands before surgery on someone.
        – To people who learned USCS, they don’t always remember the odd conversions (5280 ft/mile, 8 pints/gal). But they remember them enough, or they don’t need conversions because measuring cups have lines with cups and ounces, tape measures show feet & inches, etc. No conversions necessary.
        – The greatest problems for people inside the USCS system are conversions in school. It’s a part of what many people hate about school — learning the conversions within USCS, and then learning the USCS-metric conversions. They learn them enough to pass the test, and then run away screaming and never think of conversions again. If we would either convert to metric, or we would give up on metric and just stay USCS, then no one would have to deal with conversions. But we torture our children by telling them metric is coming and they have to learn how to convert. But we never pull the trigger and actually convert.
        – Oh, and fractional drill sizes. Machinists end up knowing them well, but figuring out which drill size is between 9/16″ and 5/8″ is hard for those who don’t do it every day. (19/32″) For THAT, metric is WAY EASIER.
        – Conversion to SI (outside France) came circa 1970, coincident with the rise of the digital calculator. I believe that having a decimal calculator DOES make the metric system easier to use. USCS (English units and Imperial) were designed for when all conversions were done in your head.

        MOST IMPORTANTLY:
        – Whatever system you first learn becomes the only system that will ever seem right, natural, and inherently superior to YOU.
        – SI is unquestionably the system to use throughout the world. But it’s because of the commonality that it is unquestionable, not its decimalization. (Decimalization is often useful, but it has pros and cons too.)
        – USCS (and Imperial road distances in the UK) will survive in their little pockets of the world for the foreseeable future.

        Again, thanks for the 2-year-long discussion!

        • OMG – I forgot the Imperial Pint! The most important unit in the British Isles.

          Though an Imperial ounce was smaller than a US ounce, they increased the number in a pint from 16 to 20 to compensate — making a British pint larger than a US pint.

          So, in the pub, always order an Imperial pint!

        • You are welcome. Thanks for sharing so much detailed information!

    • (Capt) Brian Ditter

      3 August 2021 at 08:13

      Excellent points ! I have worked as an engineer at the Directorate of Combat Developments & have taught mathematics at the college level; including, sadly, remedial elementary school math to alleged high school graduates now college freshmen
      ATTACHED ARE SOME POINTS TO POUNDER , REFLECT, & PASS ON :

      The metric system is pseudo-scientific, with ill-chosen, non human-centric units, highly pretentious, vastly over-hyped, & NEVER accepted willingly anywhere, except by force – including in its own country of origin, after Napoleon was gone. …fostered on ill-informed politicians by UNELECTED metric gestapo activists & bureaucrats, by the use of specious arguments – using a base that is mathematically & commercially inferior.
      Does our system need some slight tweaks & simplifications? yes, of course!

      By merging it with the base12 TEXAL metrology system (which is 100% modular to US/UK tweaked units), it gains all the alleged advantages attributed to the French metric system while retaining human-centric units. starting with the Quart. It also achieves Thomas Jefferson’s goal of abolishing the differences between the wet & dry measures in the US. I wont detail the arguments here as I primarily do voice to text only…I have addressed many of these points elsewhere.

      Metric – more fully systematic? sure. “Scientific’? NO. 1/10 millionth of a quadrant? SO WHAT ? an interesting but ARBITRARY choice, not even accurate to that. & utterly difficult to measure. Base 10? lazy & ill-advised… both mathematically & commercially IN-ferior..

      However, those on the French measures committee in favor of using 12 as a base were overruled & subject to intimidation and therefore maintained a low profile, being fearful of losing their heads – literally.
      That’s NOT ‘’scientific’’ its politics. & domineering personalities.

      ‘’Holy water’’ as a basis for mass units ? again a lazy & merely expedient but inferior choice; Water has 18 separate isotopes & its density varies widely with temperature. [ even ICE would have been a tad better] Convenience & expediency are NOT a matter of ‘’scientific’’ , the observation that the measurements were done by leading scientists of the day ignores the fact that: with instruction ( ie: following a recipe as it were) ANY person could manage the same operations.

      Science is a methodology & process – not a group of personalities that adopt the label ‘’scientists’’. We especially see the Rhetorical misuse of that concept by smug, pretentious metric-decimalist activists, in their highly Specious misleading, faulty arguments, propaganda (& dogma) designed to bamboozle, dupe & CON-vince ill informed politicians, naive students & other secular religionists with their completely faulty belief that their ‘system’ is (somehow) more “scientific” or “superior” etc.

      Sadly , these ‘’True (indoctrinated) Believers have already duped & CON-vinced themselves [not at all surprising, as they don’t & often cannot really think or reason critically-(they just want to create the impression that they are capable of that) so they merely regurgitate their metric gospel. & are ‘’metric-mormons’’ [ no offense to actual Mormans intended] out to convert the world . One of their red herring tactics is to ruminate over ancient measures that are essentially never used today in either the US or the UK they are ancient history, period.

      I have addressed elsewhere how use of the metric system lead to a 100% FAILURE rate in Patriot missiles attempting to take out Scud missiles shot at Israel in the Gulf war.

      .Returning: just as arbitrary but possibly leading to a more human-centric length would be to use the entire great circle circumference thru the poles: dividing that by 10^8 would give us a new “metere” of precisely an extremely tiny fraction over 15.75 inches. In fact, using that value is much more accurate relative to the true circumference of the earth than the actual final value of the french meter to the quadrant used for its definition ! An error of 1 part in 13,515 to the meter’s error of 1 part in 5000.
      We could make an EQUIVALENCE statement that 21 feet = 12 new meteres, & let them float together as exactly that relationship. That choice would at least be a more human centric unit of measure than the Metric systems meter of ~39 & 3/8ths inches.

      IN the alternative’s use of the Equatorial Circumference (& WHY NOT !???) dividing by 10^8, we obtain a new ‘’metere’’ of a tiny fraction over 15 & 7/9ths inches accurate to 1 part in over 72,000. So we might as well make the Equivalence statement that 71 feet = 54 new meteres . These two choices differ by just 1/36th of an inch.
      .Returning: just as arbitrary but leading to a more human-centric length would be to just use a 60 degree sector (1/6th)… [WHY NOT ??! -there are good arguments in favor of that choice as well.]… & divide it by 7! squared , to obtain a different arbitrary ‘’nonscientific’’ unit of measure as the new “metre”… BTW, around 23.3 inches using the sector; certainly more human centric & will fit in a normal briefcase.
      Since we are merely looking to create a standard length. it is NOT important that any astronomical body’s measurement be a power of any standardized unit. That is merely and ONLY a bit of numerical TRIVIA & would only apply to 1 such body anyway .. no avg citizen needs to be concerned about a factoid like that PERIOD.

      Since the length of the meter is 100% arbitrary – as the previous discussion clearly demonstrates – ultimately so are ALL of the other metric units. Hence, the METRIC system is entirely Pseudo scientific from the get go.
      ARBITRARY, however well- systemized, does NOT equal ”scientific”

      A 60 degree sector can be divided by 60 to the 4th power – giving us a human-centric 20.25 inch unit – the ‘’Link’’; it has actual practical usage ,since 1 knot (ie velocity) is identical to 1 link per second.. you absolutely do NOT find anything like that using the metric system…so,. so much for its alleged superiority,

      ALL the differing metric systems use the Second as the basic unit of time and it is 100% incoherent / non commensurate to the mean solar day. and you simply can NOT get down to the second from a day by shifting any decimal point. How many meters per sec is 100 km/hr ? I certainly don’t see any simple decimal point shifting to get directly to the answer do you ? 27.777777777+ or exactly 27& 7/9ths using the common fractions these devil worshippers…[I mean decimalgogues] despise & disdain.

      Lets see a metricolyte determine the reciprocal of 0.3937003937+… go out and test one in real time [no calculators: pen & paper only]…

      The answer, BTW, w/o a calculator is 2.54000254+.
      Lets try with those disdained fractions with this problem: What is the reciprocal of 999,999/2,540,000? …
      Why its simply 2,540,000/999,999.
      BTW these 2 examples are precisely equivalent.

      Reciprocals are used all the time in engineering, and so-called ‘’scientific” notation & decimal point shifting is irrelevant to real would problem solving. Besides: ANY measured quantity in ANY system can always be notated/written in this notation, SO WHAT ?! Its completely irrelevant in debating the issues of these alternative metrologies.

      Note too how these invariably smug & sneering pretentious, elitist metric-mormons always create a ‘’good sounding’’ story / narrative to paint themselves as (smugly) ‘’superior’’ to all these inferior & stupid commoners, who just can’t seem to ‘’see’’ the ‘’advantages’’ of their vastly overhyped, completely arbitrary, pseudo- scientific system, of ill- conceived & non human-centric base units… and its (alleged) superiority.

      Dr Eric Berne demonstrates how this a self serving psychological game on their behalf

      Well that’s barely scratching the surface
      . Dont be intimidated or allow yourself to be duped; rather; support efforts to improve our system & reject this pretentious metrology.
      I have discussed many related issues elsewhere like:
      the sly substitution of the misleading word “Defined’’ – in place of the neutral & more accurate concept ‘’EQUATED TO’’ It is a very subtle sneaky way to semantically insinuate that the arbitrary psuedo-scientific, but admittedly well-systematized metric system is therefore “somehow” ‘’more scientific’’ or ‘’superior’’ to the streamlined US/UK metrology… since quote ‘’ all their units are NOW ‘’defined’’ in terms of metric units’’ Do you see how clever that was?! The proper word here is ‘’EQUIVALENT’’ to each other, period. Note that by streamlined, I mean that, for the most part, we only name & use a few of our historical collection of former English units out of the original dozens …
      [ as faras capacity units go -with mostly base 2
      (OR MORE BETTER CONCEPTUALIZED AS two perfectly intertwined parallel Base4 capacity sequences – which if expressed in Base 4- are perfectly ‘metric -like’ … which, as a guest speaker -I teach 3rd graders : the primary sequence is : Gallon, Quart(er gal), Cup, Quarter cup ,Tablespoon & finally 1 Dram. the auxiliary sequence is (going up) Dbl dram, fluid ounce, the Half cup [archaic- gill], the Pint, & the half gal [archaic – pottle].
      I teach them to create a visual guide to master ,,,zigzagging of course are doublings or halvings & there is no need to memorize all the hundreds of potential relationships as they can be generated on the spot like vector addition]

      … & relationships for good historical & commercial reasons] yes we have a few non commensurate units, but so what ?! One can still utilize them with the self serving so-called ‘’scientific’’ notation utilizing ANY base – not just decimal; or with any convenient prefix, as with megabytes or kilotons or megatons, or tay/chay/kay/jay Links in Texal Base12 notation. We can speak of kilo-gals or mega-gals or Tera-gals right now if we wanted or chose to.
      The abitrary non human-centric metric units violate three important parts of architectural composition & design: 1) Proportionality – with base 10 having few factors metric is vastly inferior to English: UK/US/Texal units. 2)Ergonomics – traditional systems are specifically oriented towards the mind’s intuitive grasp of scale /& NOT to an arbitrary convention defined by the distance light travels in a specific but tiny bit of time that we happen to be able to precisely time ie: the meter [actually ANY length measure can so be ‘’defined’’] English units are human-centric Metric isnt 3)Cognitive Reducibility – violated by the metric system which does harm to good design ..J Gregory Wharton – architect & philosopher, who gave a ‘’2 thumbs up ‘’ approval of the human-centered Base12 Texal system & the idea of integrating it [by some minor tweaks& simplifications of the US/UK metrology]. Most good architects reject the metric system including the world renowned Swiss/French architect LeCorbusier who tried to use it but ended up totally rejecting it.

      Precision (& calibration) has absolutely NOTHING to do with the base units you are using. The US put a dozen men on the moon over 50 years ago easily [without the burden of the metric system] using US customary units, … lots of precision engineering there [& calibration – as parts made all over the country by thousands of different companies, engineers & machinists flowed together to NASA – where accurate calibration was essential].

      Can the US system be tweaked & simplified and modified to be easier to use & improved? Certainly, I have addressed this very issue many times at Quora you can certainly find them if you have an open mind,

      By merging our system with the base 12 Texal metrology system & some minor tweaks to a few units we can obtain all of the ALLEGED advantages of the French decimalized metric system, while retaining most of the US/Uks metrology its preexisting advantages .

      Resist becoming a naive, unwitting low information mouthpiece regurgitating metric propaganda & utterly false nonsense, formatted into slick but totally specious arguments.

      Almost all of the archaic units really are NOT used at all, they’re merely historical artifacts, but let me give you a few factoids you never learned til now :1) back in those days a cubic foot of fresh spring drinking water weighed 10x10x10 or 1000 ounces. Distilled water – used in defining the litre, was not even conceptualized. [an apples & oranges comparison].
      2).Serendipitiously, that same cubic foot of average sea/ocean water weighed 4x4x4 or 64 pounds.. Doublings & halvings were more important back then as balance scales would demonstrate halvings or doublings quite readily & halves are easy to do visually,& we don’t utilize decimal in computer, but binary …[full circle ].

      Note that ANY measure in ANY system of units can be given the false illusion of ‘’appearing’’ to be more scientific by giving it an equivalency in terms like the number of cycles of a particular wave length of light.. that is merely a reflection of precision, period.
      ALL measures of both systems are standardized and thus equally accurate; the very notion of ‘’Equivalency’’ makes that obvious. Lets look at an example and assume that the following equivalency is 100% accurate: 35 liters equals 37 quarts,
      we can then write 1 liter = 37/35 quarts AND 1 quart = 35/37 liters. The Metricators will then allegedly ‘’define’’ the English quart as 0.945945946 liters, and assert ‘’metric is primary and your quart is based on our liter’’- METRICKERY at its finest. They make no similiar statement that 1 liter =1.057142857 quarts, conveniently.
      Conversion between units of the same dimensions [like cm to km] is seldom necessary or even useful. So being able to do inter-unit conversions easily in decimal metric does NOT make the calculation of 163 km + 49 km = 212 km any easier than if it had been 163 miles + 49 miles = 212 miles. [ the Base 10 myth].
      The blending of the Texal Base12 metrology with the Imperial UK/US metrology gives us that same ability with its human-centric units; at the cost of a few minor tweaks and useful simplifications. making the Metricator’s point moot.
      With modern day calculators & technology the conversions of ANY existing unit to another similiarly dimensioned unit of measure…even to those of another system, is virtually seamless Anyway, how could our ancestors have survived w/o calculators if the conversions of existing American units were so difficult or complicated?… 4th grade math.
      The entire world manages to tell time just fine and the units are NOT decimally related.
      The fact that our existing units have different names for different scales of experience reflects on the realities of how the human brain actually works- which metric conventions ignore & are oblivious to. -hence suupporting the observation that they are inherently less practical,
      The naming system with metric is systematic but repetitive and VIOLATES other realities of brain functioning [semantic differentials], names of concepts that are distinctive are easier to store and process . namesTOO similar & unremarkable are quite often found confusing at best and are often so abstract as to become opaque from a semantic perspective pound per square inch is absolutely clear; but Pascals ???is that a pressure unit ?and what force units and unit areas are in its definition ?!

      Hmmm – still really haven’t found an advantage for metric – except perhaps those folks who are either intellectually lazy or mentally challenged – WHO can at least master the simpler metric inter- unit conversions… like converting their weight to grams or their height to kilometers… to keep them busy & entertained & to keep them from avoiding some MARGINALLY more difficult challenges – such as the NOT really difficult task of computing their weight into ounces or tons, & their body displacement into cubic yards, bushels or cubic inches or litres; thus allowing them a false sense of self esteem that they’d rather not earn by mastering our English metrology.
      Check out issues of ‘’The Yardstick’’- journal? of the British Weights & Measures Association from circa 1995 thru at least 2000 – about British opposition to FORCED
      (as is ALWAYS the case with the metric system including /France, circa 1840)
      COMPULSORY metrication & other relevant topics…as well as ‘’Freedom2Measure

      There was an attempt by the European Economic Community in the 1980s to force metrication on the United States by issuing an edict (Council Directive 80/181/EEC, 20 December 1979) that no products could be imported into the EEC after 1989 unless they were SI-only; i.e. it was an attempt to ban American products that are labeled with both U.S. customary Such an edict would not have affected any other country that traded in any volume with the EEC. You can imagine how well that went over, and an “exception” was enacted, eventually made indefinite in 2009. (A side note: the EC/EU has been waging economic warfare against the USA for decades. )
      food for thought…’’the Metric System ? – JUST SAY NO !

      • (Capt) Brian Ditter

        3 August 2021 at 22:21

        Apparently any arguments that A R finds difficult/impossible to deflect his solution is to engage in censorship – the typical response to facts by Metricolyte Quixotes . Critiquing the metricator’s crusade / party line with unanswerable arguments, results in the use of typical psychological defense mechanisms… to prevent readers from appraising the arguments on their own merits. They resort to the metrickery of labeling cognant arguments as ‘malicious content’ . They don’t want to hear them & definitely don’t want YOU to hear or see them & allow YOU to judge them for yourselves.
        How typical. Will try reposting to see if they pull the same stunt a 2nd time.

        • Brian, don’t you have anything better to do in life than commenting on my blog and then accusing me of censorship because I could not approve your comment within a few hours? It’s the 3d of August. Like most Europeans, I’m on holiday. I certainly do not prioritize comments on my blogs, especially this nonsense.

          • [Capt] Brian Ditter

            5 August 2021 at 21:32

            I apologize for that ;
            a different group had done so indirectly , as the # of views I was getting had grown exponentially over mere days – so the Metric missionary moderators shut down the discussion by eliminating/closing ( & archiving?) the discussion – thus stopping any NEW readers from examining the points I made, for themselves – classic 1984 / Brave New World stuff ; … so yes I reacted a tad too quickly…
            I rarely ever do discussions on line on any subject, for multiple reasons, and ONLY by voice to text. As an Engineer & former college math teacher, I have used & taught both systems.

          • [Capt] Brian Ditter

            5 August 2021 at 23:33

            Oh I have plenty of other things I do, [thank Jove I have voice to text], like giving guest lectures on a multitude of topics in mathematics. and guest classes for intellectually naive, hence vulnerable, school students. I especially favor exposing SPECIOUS arguments & propaganda… & that includes on this topic. [and – as is so typical with well-indoctrinated ”true believers”] when they cannot, by the use of reason, counter valid points inconsistent with their own beliefs – they resort to labeling & name-calling & insinuations & other rhetorical measures out of desperation. [a reflexive move to fight cognitive dissonance, I suppose]
            I have probably only responded to any blog only three times in 20+ years ( Mark Twain -also from Connecticut has some appropriate comments that apply her here – which is why, with rare exceptions, I don’t bother with any blogs.)
            It was your advocating the use of force [which has always been the case with the metric system – even in its own country of origin] that motivated me to respond in this instance. Pierre-Simone marquis D’Laplace renowned mathematician , esteemed scholar & brilliant French polymath was a member of the French committee ; advocated base 12 as a much better choice of base – & was summarily overruled & intimidated, knowing that making waves could get one Guillotined in those days . Napoleon grudgingly condoned the system as the lessor of two evils & had much to say about its idiocy in his memoirs written at St Helena. He explicitly allowed the bastardization of the metric units [that you disdain]- which has invariably occurred in every country that had metric imposed on them.
            & it has ALWAYS been the use of force that you advocate & support that has allowed the metric system to be maintained. You are in the same position as a theologian who has NO CHOICE but to argue for the existence of the christian god. Your response /defense mechanism is to label any material inconsistent with your belief system [vis a vis the self inflated S.I. metric system.] & as a metric missionary/ puritan – you have NO choice but to be reflexively dismissive [ no matter how smoothly or polished your verbal response] … labeling contradictory material as ”nonsense”.
            Asserting, for example, that the decimal system is a better choice of base-power notation, is 100% Metric Dogma, & refuted by any mathematician. When any human uncritically accepts a belief on ANY issue & becomes emotionally intertwined & invested with it, they will take ANY arguments inconsistent with theirs as personal attacks [ my arguments beliefs ”define” me, so any attack on my argument is an attack on me !].
            As with others similar to you, what comes next ? the metric inqusition ?! it essentially occurred in the UK in the mid 90s. –>as what occurred in France Circa 1840. I became active on this topic after the DICTATORIAL attempt of the EEC [ unelected activist metric bureaucrats] to impose metric on the US some 40 years ago.
            I can assure you that I am involved in much more critical issues in my day to day life than responding to any blog, including yours. I barely scratched the surface on this one. Educationally, I am involved in teaching others how to expose subtle Rhetorical arguments [especially those based on semantic distortions] for the purpose of inoculating themselves from being hoodwinked & bamboozled by SPECIOUS arguments.. I was formerly deeply involved with J.R.E.F. & other skeptical organizations for over 40 years. Your choosing to reflexively label my points as ”nonsense” is more of a reflection of your intellectual integrity than of my material,
            Again I am quite busy with many other more important topics. & I don’t do blogs. I do discussions usually in person, the other I referred to was a resource for helping students (whose questions demonstrated a deep indoctrination; so I was addressing those bits of propaganda they had been fed by the so-called ”educational” establishment.
            YES, I completely agree there ARE problems with the English metrology; but several of us on both sides of the pond are addressing those & making a set of suggestions / recommendations / improvements / tweaks / revisions & changes to improve it -including educational improvements. Respectfully,
            (Capt) Brian Ditter

  7. Fuck your one world order mentality, fuck the EU, fuck the euro, fuck the kilogram, fuck Norway and fuck you Alessandro, you arrogant, pampas asshole.

  8. I agree that the imperial system of measurements is flawed, but to say ban it because it inconveniences you is ridiculous entitlement. You see, those of us who grew up on the imperial system get inconvenienced any time we have to use the metric system for anything but we don’t call for a banning of it. Do you not have a smart phone that you can put a conversion app on? “Hmm, that TV is 55″ what is that in cm? *clickity-click* Oh, roughly 140? I know how big that is now! I CAN HAS SMART!” Try it sometime.

    • People who grew up with the system of imperial units represent a small minority of the world’s population. Just because most of these people and their governments are in denial and do not want to adopt the International System of Units, I do not see why the vast majority of the world’s population should be inconvenienced. The point is not how easy it is to convert units. The point is to avoid converting units in the first place.

  9. Annoying though it is, I’ve been raised with both. Inches are a better scale for many things, but if I’d been raised in metric I’d not have that issue.

    Another annoyance is that in the UK we use Stone & pounds for weight of a person, which literally makes life impossible – the US uses pounds, the EU uses Kg! And feet & inches, rather than just inches… And various things have different tonnes, too. And gallons are different in the USA to the UK – how did that happen? And fractions? Even Google struggles to convert those. At least a decimal inch tells you something useful!

    Lives are lost every year, and millions of [currency] through messed up measurement conversions. I know I lost about half an hour yesterday converting 64ths of an inch, 32nds, etc to get the mm equivalent, and it was quite quick, because the American engineer lady had already done the conversions to decimal inch, because otherwise she could not draw them up in CAD anyway!

    Millimetres are so much easier for anything technical. Even just a trivial cross sectional calculation becomes a big job in fractional inches!

  10. Deuce Sevenoff

    18 August 2016 at 03:57

    You seriously want your government to ban the use of “55 inch TV!” splayed across a box at the electronics store? Good god, could you possibly be any more of a totalitarian? Why not demand everything be printed in Esperanto? It’s clearly “superior.”

    BTW, a 2×4 stud is always going to be a 2×4. If you want to force the name to be 5.08×10.06, well, good luck with that catching on. That’s how language works, you see, and units of measure are an extension of language. People choose what they want to use, regardless of what the “experts” tell them they should use. Ask the French if they’ve stopped calling it “email” just because L’Académie Française says all self-respecting francophones should call it “courrier électronique.”

    • Yes, I do seriously want my government to enforce the use of “140 cm TV!” and ban the use of “55 inch TV!”. The former would be much more effective than the latter for anyone who has never studied nor used the system of imperial units. With the notable exception of the USA, Burma, and Liberia, all countries in the world have gone (or are going) through the metrication process, which means that all governments in the world have enforced the use of meters, grams, etc. and banned the use of the deprecated units at a certain point in history. I do not see why the electronics or aviation industry should be exempted from that. The point I am trying to make is that the International System of Units is indisputably superior to the system of imperial units, and that there is absolutely no reason for the countries adopting the International System of Units to see traces of imperial units here and there.

      • Deuce Sevenoff

        27 August 2016 at 05:39

        Again, please let me know what they call a 2×4 in your country. I really am curious. Also ask some precious metal traders what they trade gold in. Unless you live in China I’m going to guess it’s troy ounces. As I stated, the reasons why countries adopting metric still “see traces of imperial units here and there” is because it’s baked in, already.

        It’s also a big world. Should we ban the use of your native language at home because English is this world’s current lingua franca? Why should I have to look at that same TV box and have instructions printed in Spanish, French, German, Italian, and maybe a half-dozen other languages?

        Coincidentally the US quite comfortably use both metric and imperial. No one has ever called for the government to ban metric just because imperial is the generally preferred system here in every day life. People buy liters of soda and gallons of milk at the same supermarket, and drive 10 miles to run in a 10K, all without confusion. Context seems to work fine for most people.

        Maybe just accept that 55″ means something in particular in a TV. The world already knows that you’re not really getting all 55″ of viewable space anyway; and that the bezel can make things even bigger, so there’s no use going by that number if you want to figure out if it will fit on your shelf. In essence the measurement is a relative one, to other TVs. They could dispense with meaningful numbers altogether and start lettering them: a 13″ TV is an A, a 22″ is a B, etc. Maybe your 55″ would be an E+. Plenty of other industries have done things like this. Should that be banned, also?

        It just hardly seems necessary for the governments of the world to get involved in. What exists seems to work fine for most people. I don’t see the great imperative—and in fact see plenty of downside.

        • I had never heard about “2×4” before. I assume you refer to a common size of timber in the USA. I have no idea if there is an equivalent in Europe. If there is, it is definitely measured in centimetres.

          I do not question that the status quo works fine for most people. My claim is that avoiding contaminations of imperial units in countries adopting the International System of Units would work even better for everyone.

        • There is no 2×4 in Europe. We use other dimensions in meters and centimeters 🙂
          And if you want to buy and sell gold you use gramms and kilogramms.

          • Deuce Sevenoff

            29 November 2016 at 17:54

            Really? Most of the prices I see are for troy ounces. But whatever. My point seems completely lost on the giant brains of Europe: it matters not what measurement is used on your TV box, because it’s relative. The TV industry could just decide to get rid of screen measurements in inches and invent their own, called “Small, Medium, Large, Mega,” etc. Just like they did with things HD, Ultra HD, and so forth. If you really think the box telling you that this is a 55″ television means your TV will fit in a 139.7cm space, you’re already an idiot. The 55″ is a relative measure of screen size and tells you nothing about how large the set is (the bezel for example could add a lot more size). so 55″ is about as meaningful as saying “Mega Super Huge TV.”

            That was my point. The point that is eternally lost while people feel the need to argue about 2x4s and troy ounces. But good luck, I hope someday your politicians all rise to the occasion of keeping you safe from having you and your children see those obscene imperial units while you stroll through your local FNAC.

        • Sorry to drop in years later, but a 2×4 isn’t even 2×4 in any country! Check for yourself!

      • Guess what Alessandro, it is easy to beat inches for tv’s. So in the international system of units there is a prefix we never use and its a shame – deci (0.1). 1 litre is actually 1 decimetre(dm) cubed. So when it comes to tvs express their sizes in decimetres. An 80cm tv would be an 8dm or for short an 8, a 120cm tv would be a 12. If we rounded to exact decimetres then inches would rapidly be destroyed by the simplicity of using the metric system the way it was intended, to make life easier.

      • I know it’s a zombie thread but I’ll pipe in – I agree with you 100 & 24/64%. Fuck imperial units.

    • Unfortunately, a 2″ by 4″ stud isn’t actually 2″ by 4″. Its 1.5″ by 3.5″ (38 mm × 89 mm). The 2×4 is “nominal” (in name only). Not sure if that helps or hurts your point, but either way its probably a bad example.

      • Deuce Sevenoff

        29 November 2016 at 17:56

        It makes my point perfect. If you’re correct (and I’ll assume you are), the name 2×4, though nominally in inches, doesn’t even represent the true size. It’s just a designation. Just like “55 Inch TV!” tells you little about how large your TV really will be; it’s just a relative designation to help you decide on a general size.

        • Worse yet, if you convert to a metric stud, 5×10 cm, it isn’t 5×10 cm either, just like a 2×4 isn’t 2″ x 4″. A 50×100 mm stud is actually 45 x 95 mm.

  11. Three comments (more or less):
    a: Why is it the metric countries of the world have gotten weaker than America with regards to fractions?
    This is because the metric world uses decimals and doesn’t need to learn fractional math. The downside to this is that some math is singularly required to be done in fractions alone.
    My point being, metric makes some things so easy, that the metric world is becoming lax in fractional math.

    b: If metric is all so fired good, why haven’t the metric people of the world gone over to a metric clock??
    This is probably because time is based on imperial units. The earth is approx 24,000 MILES in circumference and spins at approx 1,000 MILES per hour, thus giving us 24 hours in a day. This shouldn’t be an issue, but time is based on distance, distance is the basis of maps, and there are longitude and latitude are all based on MILES and imperial “seconds” (fractions of map co-ordinates). In fact, the earth isn’t 24,000 in circumference, but closer to 25,000 miles, while it’s almost exactly 40,000 kilometers in circumference.

    If you used the standard two pass method (night and day), then you could break a clock down to a ten metric hour day and ten metric hour night. You could then break a metric hour down to 100 metric minutes and 100 metric seconds. Of course, you would only be able to work for a 7 metric hour day because what company would pay you for .31 metric minutes (the equivalent of 8 imperial hours (I did the metric hour imperial hour conversion once, but misplaced the work so the conversion isn’t accurate))? Of course, companies that employ people are compassionate and such generous, free giving entities that they would never think to ask people to work 8 metric (8+ imperial) hours long while paying you based on imperial hours (meaning you would work longer for less).

    I would really feel bad for a child who goes to school that used metric clocks; if you think an imperial hour takes forever to pass, then try a metric hour (82 imperial minutes long), or just imagine the added stress of watching a metric second hand pass! Actually, it would spin at about the same speed, BUT the increments of “seconds” would be 100 instead of 60, so the perception that “time flies” would be compounded.

    My point being and all this amounting to: Maps would have to be redrawn. Borders will be in dispute. Wars will likely ensue. Work unions will likely strike companies for more wages.

    GREAT concept this converting over to metric! Have you metric folks REALLY thought out how far reaching converting over will be or are you just going through the motions of saying “we are 100% metric!” while really being only about 3/4 (oops! forgot you metric folks don’t know your fractions… that is .75 percent) metric while turning a blind eye to the imperial units still used in your lives?

    On a side note, it really sounds like a mixed metaphor when you metric folks say “100 kilometers per (imperial) hour.”

    c: If something isn’t broken, why fix it? Metric isn’t more accurate than imperial. Machines are geared to work on metric and can be exceedingly accurate, but they could be equally exceedingly accurate if they were built to imperial standards. It is simple propaganda spread by companies with metric machines that metric is far more accurate than imperial machines. Machines are the only ones who use or can recognize exceedingly accurate measurements anyway, and that is what all this hubbub is all about, isn’t it?

    Ask the average (metric or imperial biased) person to show with their fingers how big a centimeter or meter (or; inch or foot ) is and they will likely be close, but if a person was asked the same question about 1 millimeter (or 1/64″) and they will likely be wrong. Why? Because if left to their self for representation (no rulers or tape measures for assistance) people aren’t that accurate.

    In the end, my feet are 12″ long (or one foot, which is the basis that imperial measurements was based off of) while your feet are probably .3 meters long. If you (metric) and I (imperial) were left to count out a measurement with your feet, I would have the simpler task of knowing how many feet long something is.
    My math: 365 foot steps = 365 feet
    Your math: 365 foot steps = 365 x .3 meters =109.5 meters
    So, my math is simpler and isn’t that why you are claiming metric is better because it’s “simpler”?

    Final point: Making changes to how people live (converting over to metric) is simply trying to get everyone to comply to a standard fashion sense. You don’t see us trying to ramrod “convert over to imperial” down your throats. If it was a matter that people were dying because they used imperial, you might have a case, but instead all it comes across as is petulant oppression of one methodology.

    (Part of this comment is intended only for hilarity, with an underlying seriousness, while I tried to keep the snarkiness down to a minimum.)

    If it’s any consolation, most mechanical items are made outside the US nowadays anyway. They close down more material and production plants each year. Eventually, we will make nothing here and you metric folks will have the upper hand. On that day; rue. Because there is nothing worse than a bunch of pissed off, unemployed Americans who have “the metric world” to blame.

    #stopthemetricidiocy

    • First, I am not trying to convince Americans to use the International System of Units, but I am trying to convince anyone else in the world not to use the imperial units. I would suggest you to learn what a Straw man is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man

      Second, your arguments are so flawed that I will not spend time to disprove them. I would suggest you to learn that the Second is the base unit of time of the International System of Units and that its origin has absolutely nothing to do with the imperial units: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second

    • Let’s address your points in order, as the OP seems not to want to waste his time, understandably so, trying to educate you.

      “Three comments (more or less):
      a: Why is it the metric countries of the world have gotten weaker than America with regards to fractions?”

      Unless you can show some very good data for this, this is not only a strawman, it is patently untrue. As seen here ( http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Education/Mathematical-literacy ) Americans lack behind the next 17 countries that use metric as opposed to imperial. So your argument is based on thin air?

      “This is because the metric world uses decimals and doesn’t need to learn fractional math. The downside to this is that some math is singularly required to be done in fractions alone. My point being, metric makes some things so easy, that the metric world is becoming lax in fractional math.”

      Again, could you provide a proof for the supposition you are making? Burden of proof is on you, as you made this claim. Are you also arguing against the decimal system?

      “b: If metric is all so fired good, why haven’t the metric people of the world gone over to a metric clock?? This is probably because time is based on imperial units. The earth is approx 24,000 MILES in circumference and spins at approx 1,000 MILES per hour, thus giving us 24 hours in a day. This shouldn’t be an issue, but time is based on distance, distance is the basis of maps, and there are longitude and latitude are all based on MILES and imperial “seconds” (fractions of map co-ordinates). In fact, the earth isn’t 24,000 in circumference, but closer to 25,000 miles, while it’s almost exactly 40,000 kilometers in circumference.”

      As the previous reply stated, SI time is based on seconds only.

      “If you used the standard two pass method (night and day), then you could break a clock down to a ten metric hour day and ten metric hour night. You could then break a metric hour down to 100 metric minutes and 100 metric seconds. Of course, you would only be able to work for a 7 metric hour day because what company would pay you for .31 metric minutes (the equivalent of 8 imperial hours (I did the metric hour imperial hour conversion once, but misplaced the work so the conversion isn’t accurate))? Of course, companies that employ people are compassionate and such generous, free giving entities that they would never think to ask people to work 8 metric (8+ imperial) hours long while paying you based on imperial hours (meaning you would work longer for less).”

      So because those doing the conversion are terribly bad at math (most likely below the top 10% of countries in mathematical literacy, we should not use a logical system? (Please note, devil’s advocate due to the nature of the strawman argument proposed.)

      “I would really feel bad for a child who goes to school that used metric clocks; if you think an imperial hour takes forever to pass, then try a metric hour (82 imperial minutes long), or just imagine the added stress of watching a metric second hand pass! Actually, it would spin at about the same speed, BUT the increments of “seconds” would be 100 instead of 60, so the perception that “time flies” would be compounded.
      My point being and all this amounting to: Maps would have to be redrawn. Borders will be in dispute. Wars will likely ensue. Work unions will likely strike companies for more wages.
      GREAT concept this converting over to metric! Have you metric folks REALLY thought out how far reaching converting over will be or are you just going through the motions of saying “we are 100% metric!” while really being only about 3/4 (oops! forgot you metric folks don’t know your fractions… that is .75 percent) metric while turning a blind eye to the imperial units still used in your lives?”

      So your argument against removing imperial remnants from our day to day lives is that there are remnants of imperial measurement in our day to day lives? Do I have to explicitly state that that is circular reasoning at it’s finest? As well as using an ad hominem regarding math capability based on a straw man argument? So, logical fallacy compounded by logical fallacy wrapped in a logical fallacy. Do you understand how rationality works?

      “On a side note, it really sounds like a mixed metaphor when you metric folks say “100 kilometers per (imperial) hour.””

      Have you heard how insane you sound when you say that an ounce weighs less than an ounce? Please, what is the mass in ounces of a fluid ounce of water?

      “c: If something isn’t broken, why fix it? Metric isn’t more accurate than imperial. Machines are geared to work on metric and can be exceedingly accurate, but they could be equally exceedingly accurate if they were built to imperial standards. It is simple propaganda spread by companies with metric machines that metric is far more accurate than imperial machines. Machines are the only ones who use or can recognize exceedingly accurate measurements anyway, and that is what all this hubbub is all about, isn’t it?”

      Again, a strawman argument. No one has claimed this. However, please explain how a 1/32″ is simpler than 7 mm?

      “Ask the average (metric or imperial biased) person to show with their fingers how big a centimeter or meter (or; inch or foot ) is and they will likely be close, but if a person was asked the same question about 1 millimeter (or 1/64″) and they will likely be wrong. Why? Because if left to their self for representation (no rulers or tape measures for assistance) people aren’t that accurate.”

      So now we resort to reverse appeal to higher authority. Or rather, accepting mob mentality as a guidance in rationality. Please, could you make at least one single rational argument, NOT based on logical fallacies?

      “In the end, my feet are 12″ long (or one foot, which is the basis that imperial measurements was based off of) while your feet are probably .3 meters long.”

      So some more made up statistics? Fantastic. As you are a proponent of the Imperial system, let’s look at some actual scientific data. The mean average ,length of a foot in North America is 26.3 cm. That’s 10 1/3″ long. So not even close to 1 foot. So your basic comparison, that a foot is a foot long, is incorrect. But let’s look at the rest of your rather poor argument.

      “If you (metric) and I (imperial) were left to count out a measurement with your feet, I would have the simpler task of knowing how many feet long something is.”

      Let’s use a football field, shall we? Or soccer, as handeggtackle is a bit confusing to anyone in the majority of the world. A football field is 100 metres long. That’s 328 feet, just FYI.

      To measure said field in feet, you would have to take painstakingly small steps, making sure to touch each foot’s big toe to the heel of the other, and repeat this 328 times.
      The average adult human male in North America has a stride length of approximately 75 centimetres. So every fourth step is 3 m. thus to measure the same football field, I would only have to take 128 steps. I also use my natural, normal gait, and don’t have nearly as large a problem of inaccurate measurement, due to having to take less steps, thus less margin for error through repetitive error.

      “My math: 365 foot steps = 365 feet
      Your math: 365 foot steps = 365 x .3 meters =109.5 meters
      So, my math is simpler and isn’t that why you are claiming metric is better because it’s “simpler”?”

      See above, your math is harder, not simpler.

      “Final point: Making changes to how people live (converting over to metric) is simply trying to get everyone to comply to a standard fashion sense. You don’t see us trying to ramrod “convert over to imperial” down your throats. If it was a matter that people were dying because they used imperial, you might have a case, but instead all it comes across as is petulant oppression of one methodology.”

      Actually, that is exactly what happens. Why should I have to first convert a measurement unit for a large array of items, services and goods from a outdated, illogical system to a simpler system, simply due to one nation’s incapability to use a more sensible system? The imperial system IS forced down everyone else’s throat, every single day. This is the core part of the argument you not only avoided, but completely failed to repudiate.

      “(Part of this comment is intended only for hilarity, with an underlying seriousness, while I tried to keep the snarkiness down to a minimum.)”

      I shall attempt to keep my answer in the same vein.

      “If it’s any consolation, most mechanical items are made outside the US nowadays anyway. They close down more material and production plants each year. Eventually, we will make nothing here and you metric folks will have the upper hand. On that day; rue. Because there is nothing worse than a bunch of pissed off, unemployed Americans who have “the metric world” to blame.”

      Well, that is not entirely true. There is something far worse. A bunch of loud, mostly badly educated oafs who run around everywhere else shouting at the top of their voices that the system in the rest of the world makes no sense, without being able to identify the majority of other countries on a map. In other words, just about every American tourist anywhere, ever. Also, good luck doing anything about it. Your scientific establishment had to switch to SI after that disastrous Apollo mission, entirely caused by the imperial system and it’s massive issues with converting forces. Your military uses metric, because good luck getting computerised weapons systems to use imperial.

      #stoptheidioticimperialism

  12. Aviation guy here. If you want to drastically change the whole industry to metric, it will cost lives. We have literally millions of pilots with atleast flying lessons to ATP licence. During teaching, they only teach you in feet and knots (and if ATPL) mach. Look at the Glimi Glider incident. Many planes will run out of fuel, fly a slower speed (which causes the plane to stall) or to fly too low and do a controlled flight into terrain. By the total number of pilots which will be quickly trained from imperial to metric, flights will be canceled, causing global economic sh*tfest, and lives will be surely lost.

    • Alessandro Rossini

      1 June 2016 at 11:01

      The aviation industry already mixes up units of measurement (see http://aerosavvy.com/metric-imperial/). China, North Korea, and Russia use meters for altitude measurement, without this leading to the doomsday you describe. Besides, I am afraid you are unnecessarily pessimistic. Australia and South Africa managed to successfully metricate entire countries, again without this leading to the doomsday you describe. Hence, although it would not be easy nor cheap, it should definitely be feasible to metricate the entire aviation industry over a transition period without adverse consequences.

    • Ragnhild "Goldilocks"

      11 March 2017 at 11:12

      The easiest way to avoid lots of traffic accident when switching the speed limits to km/h is to do what Australia did, and switch from rectangular signs to circular signs with red border.

  13. 37.7C aprox. is actually about the temperature of the human body, so umm, yeah maybe not “where nothing happens”

    • Alessandro Rossini

      14 January 2016 at 14:33

      Nice try, but no. Fahrenheit’s best estimate of the average human body temperature was 35.6 °C (i.e., 96 °F, see https://www.britannica.com/science/Fahrenheit-temperature-scale ). This is at least 1 °C less than modern measurements of the average human body temperature, which is between 36.5 °C (i.e., 97.7 °F) and 37.2 °C (i.e., 98.9 °F) for a healthy adult human. Therefore, at best one could write that 37.7 °C is the “temperature at which an adult human has fever” 🙂 Cheers!

  14. “The USA is the only industrialised country in the world that uses the system of imperial units as its official system of measurement, …”
    The USA does not have an official system of measurement.

  15. David Arneson

    6 June 2015 at 20:27

    What’s so scientific about negative temperatures? The metric system is a joke and Lincoln Chaffè is a cheese eating surrender monkey!

    • This may be late by now, but I’m still going to add it: negative temperatures indicate that water is likely to freeze. As a result, anyone from car drivers to farmers know they have to take precautions.
      Everyone who uses °C knows that water freezes at 0°C, whereas I’m not sure whether the average American knows that it freezes at 32°F, because the number might as well be 36, or 30, or 40 – it’s absolutely random. Maybe that’s why American roads are so unsafe.
      It’s hilarious to see when Americans argue that using water as a reference point is just as arbitrary as using brine – even though 70% of our planet is made of water, while brine is not even used anymore in modern-day freezing applications.
      “Avoiding negative numbers” is the same kind of dumbing down as all about imperial – “oh, let’s just use your foot as a measurement, and your favourite coffee mug for cooking” – God forbid there might appear NEGATIVE numbers anywhere. That’s, like, totally not middle school level maths. Just use Kelvin instead, if you don’t like minuses.

      Oh and there’s also evidence that people might take climate change less seriously when talked about in Fahrenheit: https://psmag.com/environment/climate-change-looms-larger-in-celsius-than-fahrenheit-latest-research

  16. I completely agree with you, of course, except for one thing: The usage of knots (and nautical miles) is completely logical. One nautical mile is exactly one minute along a meridian. That is, if you go one minute north or south, you’ve travelled exactly 1 nautical mile, and if you go one degree north or south, you’ve travelled exactly 60 nautical miles.

  17. Here is a good resource for all you would be Don Quixote’s: http://www.amazon.com/Whatever-Happened-Metric-System-America/dp/1608194752

  18. i hear you.
    about aeronautics though, use of feet instead of meters (which are, actually, used in all russians environment…) is somehow useful ’cause they’re three times smaller and this permits a more precise indication…
    it may not seem the case, but there are situations where dividing 3 meters in 10 parts it’s soothing…

  19. David Arneson

    16 January 2015 at 18:06

    If you’re using Christian units in Norway and you don’t like it that’s your problem. We like our miles, inches, f’s & pints just fine here in America and we aren’t about to change over because some breakaway province of Sweden finds it confusing. But here’s a hint: Google will do the conversions for you with a couple clicks. And when are you going to quit eating whale meat, do you realize that it’s only you and Japan that still kills whales for food?

    • Mechanicalpaper9

      28 July 2016 at 23:27

      Nice strawman there, friendo.

    • I see the situation is heating up, so I decided to jump in. So, miles, inches, f’s & pints are not your measurement system, and America is not your country because natives dont’t use system of British imperialists who tried to assimilate almost half of planet, and that’s why we have problem with this retard unuseful system.
      And you mentioned killing for food. Seriously?! You?! American terrorists who kill people for fun? Thank god your imperialism, terrorism, genocide and racist states US/UK come to an end, as your retard measurement system and probably your shitty language too.

  20. David Arneson

    6 January 2015 at 23:23

    Is Centigrade really SI? What about Kelvins? They are the same size, but have a totally different starting point, very UN-SI!
    What is scientific about 0 being the freezing point of water? At what atmospheric presure?

    • Alessandro Rossini

      16 January 2015 at 15:59

      In its current form, Celsius is a unit of measurement derived from Kelvin, whereby 0 °C is defined as 273.15 K (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SI_derived_unit ). In its original form, 0 °C was defined as the freezing point of water and 100 °C was defined as the boiling point of water, both at a pressure of one standard atmosphere (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celsius ). Therefore, I am not sure I understand the tone of your comment. What is the point you are trying to make?

      • David Arneson

        16 January 2015 at 16:25

        And 0 degrees F is 255.37K.

        I’m not advocating for getting rid of any units of measurements, you are.

        But if we really want to rid the world of pointless languages, (and a system of measurement is really just another language), I’d nominate Norweigen as being the most useless and most confusing of all. But having said that, I’m perfectly comfortable being bilingual in measuring, and think it’s quaint that Norweigens stick to their silly language, especially since they all know English anyway.

        • Alessandro Rossini

          16 January 2015 at 17:53

          Norway has the right to stick to a natural language that is insignificant on a global scale, as much as the USA has the right to stick to a system of units that is indisputably inferior. However, the Norwegian language is not sneaked into countries that have nothing to do with Norway, while the imperial units are sneaked into countries that have nothing to do with the British Empire. For the Norwegian language to be like the imperial units, you would have to hear or read Norwegian randomly on a daily basis anywhere in the world. This is a fundamental difference that makes your argument flown. The point I am trying to make is that the International System of Units is indisputably superior to the system of imperial units, and that the countries adopting the International System of Units should ban the usage of imperial units.

          • Deuce Sevenoff

            29 November 2016 at 17:49

            You know, now that I think about it, you’re really on to something here. This analogy about Norwegian is a good one. I intend to start a social media campaign to get our politicians to force Ikea to not “sneak” Swedish into other countries with their weird furniture names.

        • You are comparing your rotten imperialism to the best country on the planet. Norway at least owns its own country and its own language. If by any chance you spoke any foreign language you would realize how ‘your’ (borrowed) language is retard.

    • 0 Celcius is the freezing point of water at exactly 1 atmosphere, which is the average atmospheric presure at sea level at latitude 45N.

  21. Dear Alessandro, I fully support you on this crusade, as in many others! Best regards, Pierre

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