Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Here's How to Force Americans to use Metrics

Just embarass us. That's our weakness: we're vain!
  (+10, -3)
(+10, -3)
  [vote for,
against]

The problem is all you outsiders have been too nice to us all these years.

All you have to do is add "silly" before every US standard of measure. You can do this even when you're talking in your native countries and in your own languages. Why not try it now?

As in, "Hey, Guido, how many milligrams did you say there are in a silly ounce?" That felt pretty good, huh?

And, "So, let me get this straight. You got 12 silly inches in a silly foot and 16 silly ounces in a silly pound? 1,760 silly yards in a silly mile? What kind of way is that to dominate a world?"

Rods, leagues, pints, cups, quarts and even tablespoons can be sillified at will. So can hundredweights and even those obscure but zany methuselahs. Even stones (sure, who can resist a slap at the Brits?).

But I gotta warn you you might get into fights over the firken (half a keg). After a hard day of thirsty work, a loose phrase such as "Where's my silly firken, wife?" could cause raised eyebrows. And if she's got a good right hook, it could cause a black eye as well.

ertdfgcvb, Aug 12 2003

A Brief History of the US Metric Association http://lamar.colost...hillger/history.htm
[Cedar Park, Oct 04 2004]

Anglo-Saxon weights & measures http://members.aol....ot/met/spvolas.html
More detail than you really need. [angel, Oct 04 2004]

Webers/m^2 or something. http://physics.keny...t_Galvanometer.html
[gnomethang, Oct 04 2004]

Coronation Tap pub http://www.thecoronationtap.com/
good cider, bad cider and pissed students [hazel, Oct 04 2004]

sorry, but this just amused me.. http://www.canoe.co...2/02/274786-ap.html
[po, Oct 04 2004]

This site made a convert out of me. http://www.onlineco...m/length_common.htm
[Klaatu, Oct 04 2004]

[link]






       What’s wrong with leagues?
Shz, Aug 13 2003
  

       Nothing. I'm all for American baseball.   

       My idea on getting the US to use the metric system:   

       1) Canada is metric (officially)
2) The US is just south of Canada
3) Canada has an army
4) The border is undefended.
  

       Need I say any more?
Cedar Park, Aug 13 2003
  

       You probably should because I don't get the significance of your list.
bristolz, Aug 13 2003
  

       As if that satellite debacle wasn't embarassing enough...
Detly, Aug 13 2003
  

       // Canada has an army //   

       Were you planning on making us laugh to death?
DeathNinja, Aug 13 2003
  

       sp: Firkin.
Why would you, I or anyone wish to "Force Americans to use Metrics"?
Incidentally, the Methuselah, a bottle equivalent to 8 standard [750 ml] bottles) is used in Europe.
angel, Aug 13 2003
  

       Why not just call it what it is, the British Imperial Measurement System, which was used by all the colonies; the US being the only 'colony' left that still uses it. Isn't that embarrassing enough ?
nichpo, Aug 13 2003
  

       It pains me to do it - but [marked–for–deletion] - let's all (use metric measures).
PeterSilly, Aug 13 2003
  

       [PeterSilly], let's leave it up. We've insulted the Americans, Canadians, British and French, all in rapid succession.
FloridaManatee, Aug 13 2003
  

       So what countries, other than the United States still officially use the imperial system?   

       I know it's the only developed country that doesn't use the metric system.   

       It's ironic that the US went all out to be different to Britain. Screws turn the opposite thread, doorknobs turn the other way cars drive on the wrong side of the road. They could have gone for the metric system too.....
venomx, Aug 13 2003
  

       Including the developing countries, there are a total of just three imperial countries left in the world. (that's about 2.937 metric countries...)
ljw1004, Aug 13 2003
  

       For all the US knows, people in other countries already do this.
waugsqueke, Aug 13 2003
  

       <troll> If the US isn't embarrassed about it's foreign policy, it's disproportionate consumption of the world's resources, it's terrible pollution, it's overweight citizens and it's loud women, what makes you think that calling it's system of weights and measures names is going to make any difference? </troll>
DrBob, Aug 13 2003
  

       //loud women// what are you thinking DrBob? don't they have volume control knobs like ours?
po, Aug 13 2003
  

       hmmn, the UK still uses miles and (for height of people) feet and inches and (sometimes) stones for weight. It's completely ridiculous we haven't converted yet despite 32 years of decimalisation. Rgghg, the idoisyncracy of it all.
neilp, Aug 13 2003
  

       //Force Americans to use Metrics// //Because its French//
You can force people to do things by suggesting that's how they do it in France: "He drove 5 French Kilometers, while drinking 1 French liter", etc.
Amos Kito, Aug 13 2003
  

       Who says Metric is french? Count your fingers? Count your toes?   

       Weve been metric for millions of years!
Lunartick, Aug 13 2003
  

       What [waugs] saud: Even if this system were implemented, we wouldn't know it, so it wouldn't make any difference.
snarfyguy, Aug 13 2003
  

       <trolling himself> Embarrass the U.S.? Haven't you seen what we do to people who embarass us? </trolling>
beauxeault, Aug 13 2003
  

       <Grandpa Simpson> "My car gets forty rods to the hogshead, and that's the way I likes it!"   

       The US stayed English because we had so much industrial investment on a larger scale earlier than most of the developed world. The difficulty is in the world of machining and manufacturing. These experts all think in the English system, and can spot 5 thousands of an inch a lot better than 127 hundredths of a millimeter, and they won't change. And most standard shop tolerances are capable to around that. Most industries don't have to worry too much about conversions that often, (except for, perhaps, NASA), and they use a few convenient lengths the whole time. The auto industry uses metric prints, but to dimensionally English standards, (12.7 mm, for ex), because it's senseless to retool in many cases, so you see all of these oddball tolerances. It drives me nuts. Metric lengths would be much more convenient if they was based on something practical instead of theoretical so that a useable length would work out to a real number; having drawings filled with tolerances called out as 25.4 +- 1.5 mm or 12.7 +-.3 mm or whatever just isn't worth the hassle, so there is no gain. I would rather have nice numbers and a few strange conversions than bullshit numbers for nifty conversions sake. I never have to convert a print's dimensions to nanometers, deciliters, or kilowatts.
RayfordSteele, Aug 13 2003
  

       Anyone know where the US system came up with the 5,280 (silly) feet in a (silly) mile? It seems like such an arbitrary number to me.
jivetalkinrobot, Aug 13 2003
  

       Almost as arbitrary as the 1609.344 meters in a mile.
bristolz, Aug 13 2003
  

       Its something to do with the Romans. A Roman mile was 1000 "Pace", which is the distance a Centurian walked with two steps - just over 5 feet. The length of the mile has not really changed since then, but it is now described in yards.
custardlove, Aug 13 2003
  

       //The number 10 shows up on the human body more times then 20.// Well by that logic, we should be base 5.
Worldgineer, Aug 13 2003
  

       It seems to me that the number one shows up the most, though.   

       Of course, maybe it should be base 23.
bristolz, Aug 13 2003
  

       I much prefer base 8 to base 10. Better division, and much more musical.
RayfordSteele, Aug 13 2003
  

       //These experts all think in the English system, and can spot 5 thousands of an inch a lot better than 127 hundredths of a millimeter, and they won't change.//   

       The electronic guys work in thousandths of an inch, but a lot of mechanical guys work in power-of-two fractions (eights, sixteenths, etc.)
supercat, Aug 13 2003
  

       Just forget this "decimalization is easier math" stuff. Us Americans usually can't be bothered to, or just can't, do the math even that way. The only useful information you can get out of "metric" is that if you purchase an item, and it has metric bolts in it, it means the owners manual will be written in some language that resembles, but is not quite entirely different from, English.
lurch, Aug 13 2003
  

       OK, if we’re talkin’ measurements, here’s why I think the word ‘leagues’ doesn’t belong... 60 nautical miles is one degree of Earth (latitude). 1.151 statute miles (one minute’s worth of longitude at the equator) is one nautical mile. One league is three nautical miles. The word ‘leagues’ is either nautical or astronomical, and doesn’t belong to any other measurement systems.
Shz, Aug 13 2003
  

       I saw the comment about the right side of the road being the wrong side. That's not right. The right side is not the wrong side. The right side is the right side. Right?
petkan, Aug 13 2003
  

       Correct.   

       Well, it could be 46.
bristolz, Aug 13 2003
  

       23 pairs.
angel, Aug 13 2003
  

       Can we be sure it’s not 10, 11, or 12?
Shz, Aug 13 2003
  

       Don't even get me started on the idiocy of (silly) metric temperature measurement: the (silly) Celsius degree.   

       The temperature range between 0 degrees Fahrenheit and 100 degrees Fahrenheit wasn't just arbitrarily pulled out of a hat -- it pretty much defines the normal range of temperatures under which a person in normal good health, wearing appropriate clothing, and taking reasonable care, can work outdoors for extended periods of time.   

       Let's see here (taking wind chill into account):   

       0F/-17C -- really, really f***ing cold. In fact, if it gets any colder, it's going to be dangerous for anyone to spend time outside.   

       15F/-9C -- definitely cold.   

       32F/0C -- yawn. If you're only going to be outdoors long enough to run from your car to the mall entrance, you might as well leave your coat at home.   

       90F/32C -- yuck. It's hot outside.   

       100F/38C -- if the air conditioner breaks, you'll sell your family to Saddam Hussein for medical experiments if it means getting the A/C fixed 15 minutes sooner.   

       110F/43C -- "they're dropping like flies"   

       212F/100C -- everyone died long before the ocean started to boil.   

       The point? A hundred is a nice point spread to represent the temperature extremes somebody is likely to encounter over the course of a year. The fact that it quickly becomes dangerous once the magnitude becomes negative or becomes triple-digit, but usually not before, is a nice benefit.   

       Personally, I think (silly) metric temperature is what really killed whatever public support there might have once been. The freezing and boiling points of water might be more precisely quantifiable than the point at which it becomes dangerously hot or cold, but as milestones go, the freezing and boiling points of water are about as arbitrary and abstract as you can get.   

       It's interesting to note that metric HAS increasingly become the norm for applications where small, but precise, measurements are required (and the fractions would otherwise get really ugly)... like liquid measurements requiring greater precision than 1oz or 1/8 cup, or measurements requiring greater precision than 1/8 inch (*maybe* 1/16"), or weights requiring greater precision than a half ounce.
miamicanes, Aug 13 2003
  

       Had stupid ol' metric not been around to confuse things that wouldn't have happened.
bristolz, Aug 13 2003
  

       [miamicanes] - But the fatal flaw with imperial (colonial) temperature measurements is that the base number of 100F was meant to be the *normal* temperature for a person. But they screwed it up and missed by 1.6 (if I remember correctly, the normal temperature for a person is 98.4F)   

       <after google> make that 98.6F </after google>
reap, Aug 13 2003
  

       No blind spot but I see no urgent need to adopt, either. There certainly is no convincing argument set forth on this page.   

       I work with numbers and calculation a lot and not once have I ever wished for metric in a problem where it wasn't available. I'll use it from time to time but, it's a real "so what?" in my mind. I pine for it no more than I pine for the Whitworth standard.   

       Had I grown up somewhere where metric was predominant I'm sure I'd use it as my base system but probably with a similar apathy.
bristolz, Aug 13 2003
  

       For those who want some proof that physicists are human, the proof is in the idiocy of all the different units which they use for measuring energy.   

       -- Richard P. Feynman, "The Character of Physical Law"
Detly, Aug 14 2003
  

       When Captain Nemo spoke in this way, he was transfigured, and he filled me with extraordinary excitement.   

       -- Jules Verne, "111,192 Kilometres Under The Sea"
thumbwax, Aug 14 2003
  

       Sp: “111,120 Kilometers Under the Sea”
Shz, Aug 14 2003
  

       //beardy ideals//

You say that like it's a bad thing.
DrBob, Aug 14 2003
  

       [Shz] - unless you're in the UK.
PeterSilly, Aug 14 2003
  

       btw Kreuner, fluid ounces aren't bigger, as I understand it, but american pints have 16 floz (like pounds have 16 ounces) and british ones have 20. Which I guess means (if the floz is what it says it is - i.e. the amount of water which weighs an ounce) then american pints weigh a pound, while british ones don't, like the wya a litre weighs a kilogram.
p.s. I really like drinking beer in american pints, they just seem the right size - I can always warrant having two rather than just the one (especially all that nice beer you get in new england).
goff, Aug 14 2003
  

       //unless you're in the UK//   

       Ooh! – That feeds nicely into my theory that there’s more gravity in the US. There should be almost no water in Afghanistan, and the water wouldn’t be as deep in the UK.
Shz, Aug 14 2003
  

       // wider remit //   

       Two people speaking different languages, and carping about unit of measure translations, is just foolish - regardless of the direction.
lurch, Aug 14 2003
  

       1 imperial gallon of water weighs 10 pounds. One U.S. gallon weighs 8.35 pounds (at least according to Google's metric convertor thingie; 1 fl. oz of water weighs 1.043 ounces).
supercat, Aug 14 2003
  

       Simply call the metric system "Metrics America" and it'll be an instant fad.
phundug, Aug 17 2003
  

       metrix-r-us
po, Aug 17 2003
  

       So what is my tangent galvanomoter measured in?
gnomethang, Aug 17 2003
  

       pints - stoopid.
po, Aug 17 2003
  

       pints per sunday evening , anyway.
gnomethang, Aug 17 2003
  

       should have tasted Rods... mmm. - where were you all?
po, Aug 17 2003
  

       my local - didn't get an invite. <sniff>.
gnomethang, Aug 17 2003
  

       Ta missy!
gnomethang, Aug 17 2003
  

       //Simply call the metric system "Metrics America" and it'll be an instant fad. - phundug//
Ametrica
thumbwax, Aug 17 2003
  

       I'm finally back from the near-fatal tussle with the Blaster Worm (measured in metrics for those sniffing out anti-US conspiracy), and find that my modest proposal has garnered fishbones (chagrin!) and an unusually voluminous (cubic liters) traffic of comments.   

       I feel like the guy who arrives five hours late to my own wedding and, in an empty chapel, wonders what everybody said (but am privileged to read it in all these comments, much as a fly on the wall might witness some historic meeting).   

       Not one comment on "Where's my silly firkin, wife?" What? You guys don't even get it? I spent five minutes crafting that one. Sheez!!   

       Reams and reams on how many kilometers in 20,000 leagues, but not one silly syllable on my play-on-words!
ertdfgcvb, Aug 17 2003
  

       Yeah, yeah, yeah. What's more important is that you were saved from the virtual wedding.
thumbwax, Aug 17 2003
  

       Haha. There. Two syllables.
bristolz, Aug 17 2003
  

       //Just embarass us. That's our weakness: we're vain!//   

       Embarassment's not my weakness. It just doesn't really work on me. But you could try convincing me that the only way to communicate meaningfully would be through metric systems. If you cried a little that would help, too.
k_sra, Aug 17 2003
  

       Metrics are just another utterly arbitrary system of measurement. The elitism that has grown around it is based on precisely nothing. As long as you can do basic arithmetic it doesn't make a heck of a lot of difference what units you break a problem into.
bristolz, Aug 17 2003
  

       Learn both. I had to.
sufc, Aug 17 2003
  

       Learn what you need to learn and learn to know what it is you need to learn.
bristolz, Aug 17 2003
  

       //What? You guys don't even get it?//   

       It was a good joke. I guess you missed my ‘leagues’ joke though.
Shz, Aug 17 2003
  

       Yeah, but a key signature of elitism is missing: the proclamatory voice of superiority. More like quiet, rugged individualism than elitism, it is. ;-)
bristolz, Aug 17 2003
  

       A cube ten centimetres by ten centimetres by ten centimetres defines a volume of one litre; if you fill it with water it has a mass of one kilogram. If you raise the temperature to 100 degrees the water boils. Cool it to zero degrees and it freezes. That is simple, elegant and beautiful, sayeth the elitist, yet easily confused, proclamatory voice of superiority.

A cube 3.937 inches by 3.937 inches defines a volume of .22 US gallon; if you fill it with water it has a mass of 2.2046 pounds. If you raise the temperature to 212 degrees the water boils. Cool it to 32 degrees and it freezes. That is simple, elegant and beautiful, sayeth the confident, yet quiet, rugged voice of individuality.

While at sea level the boiling point of water is 212° Fahrenheit; for every 500-foot increase in elevation, the boiling point drops one degree. Thus, at a city 5000 feet above sea level, water boils at 202°F. Simple, easy-to-understand.

While at sea level the boiling point of water is 100° C; for every 152.4 Metre increase in elevation, the boiling point drops .5556 degree. Thus, at a city 1.524 Kilometres above sea level, water boils at 94.4444°C. Utterly baffling.
thumbwax, Aug 18 2003
  

       I think it's about time we all started using acres per square fortnight as a measure of force.
PeterSilly, Aug 18 2003
  

       <eddie izzard> And *Thats* the number of cats per square ironing board<eddie izzard>
squeak, Aug 18 2003
  

       It's not that big a deal to switch between the systems though is it?   

       As a Brit in my late twenties, I grew up in a nominally metric era, but was surrounded by adults who had learnt in Imperial. Hence I use a mixture of units, depending what I'm estimating/describing and who I'm talking to. If I'm estimating short distances I use inches, for medium distances it's metres and for long distances it's miles. Similarly I tend to use C for cold weather conditions and F for hot. Either way, I can pretty much converse in the two. Metric is often so much easier for science as it all fits together nicely.   

       That said, I'd like to make sure some of the old, silly, units don't get lost in the madness of metricicity. I do rather like buying my beer in pints (after all, half a litre is less) although through the madness of Brussels, the glass has to be marked as 568 ml. I also love the fact that a quarter of a pint is called a noggin. Useful knowledge. Personally I don't have a problem with market traders selling fruit and veg in pounds and it's really rather silly and a waste of all our cash to prosecute them for it. No major problem.   

       My unit of choice for slow speeds is furlongs per fortnight.
hazel, Aug 18 2003
  

       ummm... don't think so. It's a plural not a possessive. Or have I missed something?
hazel, Aug 18 2003
  

       LOL   

       Good point. It's actually one of my pet hates, to the extent that my room 101 would be filled with blackboards covered in examples of the incorrect use of apostrophes and speech marks. <minor rant> We even have a pub in Bristol called Yates's wine lodge </minor rant>   

       "Thanks for pointing it out"
hazel, Aug 18 2003
  

       [hazel] That is Bristol though - where nothing makes sense and 11 half pints of apple juice make you tipsy(in The Coronation Tap anyway).   

       ([hazel].. I didn't choose 11 by fluke. In the halcyon days of Summer '97 I went through 11 glasses of 'exhibition' - or at least we think it was 11. In anycase, never again.)
Jinbish, Aug 18 2003
  

       Everything makes sense in Bristol after some cider. For the uninitiated, the south west of England is famous for scrumpy cider. The Coronation Tap (see link) sells Exhibition cider, which rolls in at 8.4 % abv. I've never seen anyone drink more than 10 halves, but if anyone would like to try it, then come to Bristol and I'll treat you.   

       [Jinbish] am impressed! That must have hurt.
hazel, Aug 18 2003
  

       One of the two cares.
bristolz, Aug 18 2003
  

       I think you have driven somewhat off the path.
bristolz, Aug 18 2003
  

       Or the outback.
bristolz, Aug 18 2003
  

       Cubits and spans.
So good, they were recomended by God.
  

       BTW, Google has a built-in calculator which can do unit conversions if required. Type in "speed of light in furlongs per fortnight" and that's what you'll get. Or, if you're wondering just how much love is being discussed in the famous Guys and Dolls song, type in "(1 bushel and 1 peck) in liters".
supercat, Aug 18 2003
  

       2 fries: And on the tenth day he rested? I think not. God is clearly against the metric system but his/her/its choice of a seven day week does make you wonder a bit about his/her/its biology.
DrBob, Aug 18 2003
  

       BTW, while many people are reluctant to switch over to metric for things like distances, fluid volumes, etc. metric is the only style of unit which is commonly used for things like the measurement of electrical phenomenon, and the units for those interrelate with the metric units for everything else.   

       For example, 1 volt at 1 amp will provide enough power to accelerate a 1kg mass which is moving at 1m/s by an additional 1m/s per second.   

       Compare the ease of that calculation with trying to figure out how much acceleration that power would produce on a 1 lb object traveling at 1ft/second [1 watt, translated to English units, is 23.73 pound feet^2/second^3].
supercat, Aug 18 2003
  

       <peck> I'm hiding my light under a Bushel</peck>
gnomethang, Aug 18 2003
  

       You got your peck in my bushel!
You got your bushel in my peck!
DeathNinja, Aug 18 2003
  

       Hey, you three, cut it out!   

       We're having a serious discussion here and you should just keep your silly pecks and your silly bushels in your silly pantses.
ertdfgcvb, Aug 19 2003
  

       Sp: qbits.
Shz, Aug 19 2003
  

       Mmmm, hogshead...
DeathNinja, Aug 19 2003
  

       Under no circumstances should honey be fed to infants, and/or no honey was fed to infants during the creation of this anno.
That is all.
  

       I think the memorization of the Funky Outdated Concept causes delay in mathematical advancement for countries that still follow the Foolish System.
The only drawback for me is that, if the weather channel says it is 28 degrees outside I have no concept of what this means. Will I need to stay home (too hot/too cold), I don't know.
I dispute ALL the stinkin' morked for deletions here as I had mathematical enlightenment on account of the metric system.
Zimmy, Aug 20 2003
  

       // if the weather channel says it is 28 degrees outside I have no concept of what this means. //   

       "I-its tw-tw-[chatter]enty -ei-eight d-d-egrees [shiver] out here" --> VERY COLD. STAY HOME.   

       "{huff} {puff} it's twenty eight [drip] degrees [gasp] out here" --> TOO HOT. STAY HOME.
phundug, Aug 20 2003
  

       Mmmmm... Hogshead! [Deathninja]
gnomethang, Aug 20 2003
  

       //We even have a pub in Bristol called Yates's wine lodge //   

       Hazel, what's wrong with that?   

       Mr Yates owns a wine lodge   

       Therefore Yates's wine lodge.   

       What am I missing?
waynetta, Aug 21 2003
  

       Um [waynetta] english classes obviously; should be Yates' not Yates's
nichpo, Aug 21 2003
  

       //Mr Yates owns a wine lodge//
Actually, he owns about 200; there's one here as well.
angel, Aug 21 2003
  

       //Mr Yates owns a wine lodge//   

       It's not much of a wine lodge - they don't even sell Madeira. Tsk.
hazel, Aug 21 2003
  

       um [nichpo] I think not.....   

       You only drop the s when the possessive is a plural.   

       You do not drop the s when the name of the possessor simply ends in s   

       e.g. Bridget Jones's Diary (or Yates's Wine Bar)   

       I am assuming Yates refers to a single person
waynetta, Aug 21 2003
  

       It's a matter of style as to whether or not a writer chooses to add a 's to a noun ending in s.  While Strunk advocates adding the 's, other grammarians disagree and especially when the final s is silent.  Still others aver that possessives added to inanimate objects always use 's while yet others insist that that is bad form.   

       So, there is no one absolute right way except to be consistent whichever way you choose.
bristolz, Aug 21 2003
  

       bristolz   

       fair enough. Either way what Yates has written on the sign of his wine lodge is valid and not incorrect.
waynetta, Aug 21 2003
  

       Yup.
bristolz, Aug 21 2003
  

       [waynetta] I was always taught that where the name ended in 's' then no extra s was added after the apostrophe, but following this debate I've had a look at various style guides and you're right - it is valid. I'd better stop whinging about it (annoying as it's a favourite whinge!).
hazel, Aug 21 2003
  

       What's at least as annoying is that, as you said, it's not really a wine lodge, it's just another over-priced, over-loud chain pub with lousy beer and a "dress code".
angel, Aug 21 2003
  

       That's the point. I don't think anyone really knows what a wine lodge is. Yates probably invented them.
angel, Aug 21 2003
  

       You know a thread has hit the wall when the apostrophe police come out to play.
RayfordSteele, Aug 21 2003
  

       (1) Asimov asked, "How many inches in a mile?" (2) Americans should no more be forced to use metrics than the world speak English, whatever the economic benefits. (3) Why incite the Yanks to learn such a great system as metrics? Keep them stupid. Stroke their egos--big humungous American ego. Tell them how manly their men are, how great their country is, and your admiration for their steadfast refusal to learn new things when good 'ol American traditions have served them well. (4) Teach your children the English system and metrics. This way, they can converse with the bumpkins while knowing that they know a superior system.   

       Speak to Americans as an alien from an advanced civilization might speak to them. "We travelled 20 km--that's approx 12 of your American miles."
Great Satan, Aug 21 2003
  

       Temper, temper, Great Satan.   

       We Americans are clevererer than you might think. For instance, we act ingorant of metrics and haven't the foggiest of whether Vienna is the capital of Brussels, but all the while we are slowly converting the people of the world into fellow Americans. Turn on your Brit telly, your Japanese terebi, or your Korean terubi, and observe the Saturday morning fare. We addict all the world's impressionable children to the Little Mermaid, and the Lion King. Then we sneak into their homes and quickly slip a wad of chewing gum into their innocent mouths. Soon they and their native cultures are well on their way to Homogenization Hell.   

       By the way, there are no silly inches in a silly mile. There is exactly one meter in five kilometers, and of course there's only one kilo as well. Don't assume we are all so stupid that we'd fall for that one! (You truly are the Great Satan!)
ertdfgcvb, Aug 25 2003
  

       [venomx] //It's ironic that the US went all out to be different to Britain. Screws turn the opposite thread, doorknobs turn the other way cars drive on the wrong side of the road. //   

       US doorknobs work in both directions, and the screws turn the same way in the US and England. And everyone on the Continent drives on the same side of the road as the US.
GenYus, Dec 02 2003
  

       Um, I am not sure if any one realises this. But in America, silly is not really an insult, not sure about over in Britan though. It is like calling some one a mildly anoying clown or something. You would have better luck saying "a F****** foot" or "a dumb A** yard" And why the heck does anyone care what system uses what anyway? Bothers you that much then brind a frick'n pocket unit converter, 5 u.s. dollars at radio shack, stores phone numbers and memos too. Delete whole idea.
thelambs, Dec 02 2003
  

       Go with the metric system. Measuring length in centimetres is more impressive and sounds bigger than the same length in inches. No more exaggeration needed. You could call them "penis inches" as an interim phase-in name to get them used to the measuring unit. Do NOT meassure your penis in metres, you will be disappointed. Builders measure rooms in millimetres but I guess there are no decimal places to deal with. They must brag a lot...
Captain_Ignorant, Dec 02 2003
  

       I recently installed some US-built equipment in Australia, and found out that a 3/8" wrench is known locally as a "three-eights pommy bastard". I later found out that you can't say the word "bastard" in polite Australian society.
toiyabe, Dec 02 2003
  

       Where did you find "polite Australian society"? Can't say I've seen any. Maybe the complaint was that it wasn't a strong enough expletive... "Fucking bastard" is probably more in fitting with mandatory rules of etiquette.
Captain_Ignorant, Dec 02 2003
  

       //you can't say the word "bastard" in polite Australian society.//   

       What fucking country were you in? Are you sure?
Detly, Dec 02 2003
  

       Well, late at night in my bit of the world; I'll be blunt: I (as a lifelong engineer-toolmaker-tinkerer) own about us$10000 of tools in the "antiquated, useless ... " english system ... (inches,feet u.s.w. ...) and can basically think usefully in that framework ... anyone who wants to convert me to metric can do so by sending a check for us$20000 to cover costs of conversion ... .   

       gosh, everybody, why don't we just argue about the chicken / egg controversy; or something equally soluble ... ... ...   

       i appeal to the Higher Powers of this site to end this logomachy here&now
stig, Dec 02 2003
  

       A unit of measure I have grown to like is "fun size". How about selling your entire system of weights and measures over to the hordes of capitalistic marketing. It could change every season. I gave a pepsi of blood the other day...   

       Or we should all standardise on the one system and be done with it. And we should all be speaking Esperanto too.
Captain_Ignorant, Dec 03 2003
  

       This site will convert anything <link>
Klaatu, Dec 03 2003
  

       Captain Ignorant got me thinking in a somewhat elliptic manner and I suddenly realised that the way to carry out ertdfgcvb's idea would be for someone to copyright/patent/trademark imperial units of measure and charge a royalty everytime anybody uses them. The USA would convert overnight. If you can patent a gene then why not a unit of measure?

I'm not actually in favour of this idea, by the way. Just making a suggestion. It's miles from the pub and I'm gagging for a pint.
DrBob, Dec 03 2003
  

       //This site will convert anything <link>//   

       Can it convert centimeters times light-seconds into acres? Google.com can (just type "1 centimeter times 1 light-second in acres").   

       Actually, Google's calculator is pretty nifty. Suppose you have four 8'x10' walls that you want to paint, and your paint will cover 100 square feet/gallon. Just type "10 feet times 8 feet times four divided by (100 square feet per gallon) in gallons" and you'll be all set.   

       Incidentally, Google can work with written-out integers up to and including "two to the forty-second power". Odd that the cutoff is there. Douglas Adams reference maybe?
supercat, Dec 03 2003
  

       [ravenswood] I agree, in a backwards sort of way. There's no reason to get rid of some Imperial quantities; just measure them in metric increments. But it's even useful to have certain measures which are just names, not necessarily defined at all. Like a factory's arbitrary "pallets" and "cases," a pint could be just "a large mug full" in the same way a pitcher is just a "a large serving container full." (Americans don't demand an exact measurement of beer anyway; our beer just isn't worth fighting about.)
ConsultingDetective, Feb 04 2004
  

       //(Americans don't demand an exact measurement of beer anyway; our beer just isn't worth fighting about.)//   

       Well, some beers anyway.
supercat, Feb 05 2004
  

       //my theory that there’s more gravity in the US//   

       Poppycock! Look, do this. Get an old copy of National Geographic. Now get a copy of Playboy. Anyone can see that gravity is stronger in other countries.
dumbassengineer, Feb 06 2004
  

       Supercat You silly bastard: Apparently I can say that 'cause I'm aussie   

       <goes off to tell boss he's a silly bastard.... comes back rather surprised that it worked>   

       "For example, 1 volt at 1 amp will provide enough power to accelerate a 1kg mass which is moving at 1m/s by an additional 1m/s per second."   

       Wrong Wrong Wrong. 1 volt at 1 amp will produce 1 watt. It will not produce a constant acceleration. Constant acceleration requires increasing power input. 1kg from 0m/s to 1m/s takes 0.5 Joules. 1kg from 1m/s to 2m/s takes 1.5 joules. 1kg from 2m/s to 3 m/s takes 2.5 Joules. 3m/s -> 4m/s = 3.5 Joules. Try   

       1 volt at 1 amp for 1 second will accelerate a 1kg mass from stationary to 1m/s. 1 Newton of force on a 1kg mass will accelerate it at a constant rate of 1m/s^2.   

       As a metricist engineer, I have a perticular aversion to anything imperial. However, when you get right down to it, nothing fits metrics exactly right anyhow. Gravity is 9.801m/s^2. Density of water is never spot on, and calculus jumps right in and buggers up any left over neat numbers.   

       Can't we be base- Pi???
Custardguts, Aug 15 2006
  

       That's an idea.   

       No, really. It's an idea. Here. Search for it.
Worldgineer, Aug 15 2006
  

       [CustardGuts]: My statement did explicitly note the velocity of the object to which the 1m/s/s accelleration should be applied Perhaps the term "additional" was ill-chosen, since my statement only applied to instantaneousl accelleration, and instantaneous acceleration, even in the direction of motion, does not add instantaneously to velocity (applying one watt of kinetic power to a 1kg object moving at 1m/s will instantly increase accelleration by 1m/s/s, but as the velocity increases in reponse to that accelleration the amount of accelleration would drop of markedly).   

       My key point was that the units were all interrelated. While it is true that many "natural relationships" between units--including both local ones such as the gravitational accelleration of objects in the vicinity of Earth (relates time and distance), or universal ones like the speed of light (also relates time and distance)--involve inconvenient numbers, having most of the units tied together is generally quite convenient.
supercat, Aug 15 2006
  

       Imperial at home (4x2 timber, 10'x12' bedroom)   

       Metric at work (63cc fill volume, unladen height 102.5 ±0.5mm).   

       And way back up about three years ago, what RayfordSteele said. I've been waging a "Campaign For Real Dimensions" for about 15 years now. Typically: "101.6mm is NOT a metric dimension, it's a metric conversion of 4"! Make it 100 or 102!! And do the same for the mating part, while you're at it."   

       I guess it comes down to scale. Inch sub-divisions are easier to see when measuring up a room, but for close work on a desk or with Hard Sums in the near future, metric measurements are more convenient.   

       I have to agree that as a British Engineer in the US, it's frustrating to have to convert to outdated and inconvenient units all the time. However it would be discourteous to my host country to force them to change for my benefit, so the way of gentle humo(u)r is the chosen path I tread.   

       Wait, wasn't that the idea in the first place?
egbert, Aug 15 2006
  

       The Brits are so high and mighty with the French system, looking down their noses at Americans using the English system. But they still have 3600 seconds in the hour, just like us.
ldischler, Aug 15 2006
  

       <rant>What gets me is the whole C F thing. Sure, basing your unit on freezing and boiling of water is a nice trick, but because both systems are too stubborn to use a real zero - you know, the absolute one - we're stuck with Tc = (5/9)*(Tf-32). That's just ugly. Then there's the messy problem of temperatures going negative. At least use K or R, people.</rant>
Worldgineer, Aug 15 2006
  

       /But they still have 3600 seconds in the hour, just like us.//   

       Unless you're using the New York minute.   

       [World], most people use temperature in a weather related context. °C is easy to relate to when it's cold, from there it's not difficult to fix 20°C to room temperature, ie comfortable, and anything above that as getting on the hot side. As noted above, °F is handy to relate to body temperature at the warmish end, not so much use when it's cold. K is an apparently arbitrary number whichever way you play it, and therefore irrelevant to most people.   

       Learn both (all) systems, use whichever is appropriate. Why does there have to be this godawful polarisation all the time?
egbert, Aug 15 2006
  

       It's not like I really know K or R well myself, it's just that temperature is one of the few measurements I can't quickly do in my head because there's no simple conversion (like multiplying km by about 1.5 to get miles, or multiplying pounds by 2.2).
Worldgineer, Aug 15 2006
  

       I'll be glad when fluids are measured in metric. All these ounces and pints and quarts and cups and gallons and gills and fingers and jiggers drive me nuts... and how the heck am I supposed to mix up a gallon of party punch when the liquour is all in 750 ml bottles anyway? I'ts hard enough figuring out how many serving I need and adding the appropriate number of shots.   

       I don't see why the can't get the street signs changed anyway though. It's not like anyone has any 3/16 mile wrenches to exchange.
ye_river_xiv, Aug 15 2006
  

       Do it half-assed like in some Latin American countries: Fuel consumption is measured in kilometers per gallon (US).
methinksnot, Aug 15 2006
  

       //it's just that temperature is one of the few measurements I can't quickly do in my head because there's no simple conversion//   

       I simply remember the metric temperatures this way:   

       The "Frigid Fives"
The "Tingly Tens"
The "Temperate Twenties"
The "Torrid Thrities"
The "Frying Forties"
  

       Not exact, but it worked when I lived in Canada (Didn't go out in a t-shirt when it was 8° C.)
Klaatu, Aug 15 2006
  

       //US pints and gallons are smaller, because they use the Queen Anne gallon, disbanded by Britain in about 1824. It's around 3.73 litres, as opposed to the 4.54 litres of a UK gallon.//   

       I was wondering if this might be part of the reason I've heard fuel costs in England were a lot higher than here. But it looks like fuel is purchased in liters, is that correct?
Zimmy, Aug 15 2006
  

       One wonders how much the convenience of metric engineering conversion math vs. the difficulty of Imperial unit conversion math plays as a driver in the supposed shortage in the number of American engineering and science students, or in the ability of metric students to be able to estimate, multiply, and divide complicated numbers quickly.
RayfordSteele, Aug 15 2006
  

       "Thus the metric system did not really catch on in the States, unless you count the increasing popularity of the nine-millimeter bullet."
methinksnot, Aug 17 2006
  

       [Zimmy]: Yes, fuel is sold by the litre here (and let's not get into litre / liter); currently £0.979 / litre or thereabouts.
angel, Aug 17 2006
  

       It still works out around seven bucks a (US) gallon. How To Force Americans To Stop Whining About Gas Prices.   

       Especially when you explain that the fuel is taxed, and then 17.5% sales tax is added so there's a tax on the tax.(Context: where I live has one of the highest sales taxes in the US at a whopping 6%.)
egbert, Aug 17 2006
  

       <off topic>[eg], 6% sounds like the lowest sales tax rate I've seen in the US, but I don't travel much. It's about 8.8% in Seattle, which is about the same as I payed back in California. I know, still likely low compared to European countries.</off topic>
Worldgineer, Aug 17 2006
  

       Back when I started reading this, there was something about the Americans dominating the world. Isn’t domination about making others do thing your way! Some other units that did not get much of a mention because they were imposed.   

       360 degrees in a circle, and 24 hours in a day, comes from Mesopotamian or Babylon.   

       7 days a week, from Christian Rome (I think - but I could be wrong).   

       Volts Ampere and Watts, from the power house of industrial Europe.   

       And from America we get; the barn,the bit, the byte. The byte? 8, 16, 32, 64. definitely not metric! My god they've got us all counting American. and they did it with such subtly and grease that I did not realise until just now!   

       Americans, subtly and grease, American? Am I in a parallel universe?
j paul, Jun 09 2011
  

       Yes, but not the one you think you are in.   

       Don't look behind you. Be afraid. Be very afraid.   

       // the barn //   

       The barn is a metric unit - 10&#8722;28 m2 (100 fm2)   

       // the bit, the byte. The byte? 8, 16, 32, 64. definitely not metric //   

       No - binary. And, quite reasonably, base 2 not base 10.   

       // My god //   

       Sp. My Borg, with a capital "B", please.
8th of 7, Jun 09 2011
  

       I refuse to use metric measurements, and I'm not American. [begins rant] Actually I just had some American guests staying in my place while I was away. They used every single towel,(and I have quite a lot of towels) filled the place with an unbelievable amount of garbage for two people over a five day period; left every thing switched on, and ignored all my carefully prepared instructions about leaving. Instead of forcing them to use metrics, I'd go for finding a way of forcing them not to be such dim-witted consumer wasters. grrrrrrrrr   

       They wanted someone to drive them around for a day for £150.... I put it up on facebook and not one of my friends or even my students wanted to do it. In fact many just laughed at the mere idea of spending that much time in the company of two Americans.... so I'd say Metric measurements were the least of their worries. [ends rant]
xenzag, Jun 09 2011
  

       // a way of forcing them not to be such dim-witted consumer wasters. //   

       We commend to you the products of Messrs. Smith and Wesson, Inc.   

       In 9mm calibre (enjoy the irony).
8th of 7, Jun 10 2011
  

       Can I just point something out here?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 10 2011
  

       It's really tough to live in the land of plenty and have to listen to constant whining from people that have to measure their dicks in centimeters so they can get a larger number.   

       But we find a way to carry on.
theircompetitor, Jun 10 2011
  

       //Count your fingers? Count your toes?   

       Weve been metric for millions of years!//   

       There's a misconception here (and in other annotations) that 'metric' means 'base 10'. The word for that is 'decimal'. While metric systems mainly use powers of ten to relate between units, 'metric' simply means based on the metre.   

       Like [egbert] said [RayfordSteele] said: an irony is that metric countries still speak of such things as 304.8 mm spacings, and 13 mm plumbing parts. In each case, the imperial standard has not been altered, merely renamed. In such cases, I tend to call a foot a foot. <Madonna> For we are living in an imperial world ... </Madonna>.
spidermother, Jun 10 2011
  
      
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