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Should the USA go metric?


Do you think the USA should go metric?  

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  1. 1. Do you think the USA should go metric?



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The US can't afford it. It would take years and years and piles of money to change every sign, car, textbook and more just to convert. 300 million people have to re-learn another system. Imagine this. The US takes over the world. They force everyone to change to imperial. In 3 countries (Lebanon Myanmar, and Liberia), they are okay, seeing as they use imperial. The rest of the world, not so much. You are in one of the metric countries, and you have to pay huge taxes just to convert. You have to learn imperial, buy a fixed car, drive on roads with imperial signs. There would be civil wars and rebellions all over. This will happen in the US if we convert. Bad idea, waste of money and time.\

Cheers

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No we can't change the number of days, but the calendar could be reformed: 12 months of 30 days, plus 5 (or 6 for leap years) days of non-denominational Turnover celebrations.

I like the World Calendar, equal sized quarters, each date is the same day of the week every year, leap years are handled well. It just messes with the 7-day week a bit, which will garner some opposition.

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So Africa doesn't exist? And what is with England and STONES (I still read people using that, don't deny it)?

Living in the UK, we buy all our goods in grams and kilos. People are weighed in kilos although for the people who were alive when imperial was around (a dwindling number) there sometimes also is the possibility of them using stones, pounds and ounces.

Fuel is sold in litres, milk comes in litres, cheese is in grams and so forth. Nobody buys a quarter pound of anything, everyone buys 100 grams of stuff. It is this way by law and it is this way everywhere.

Just because some older people still use the old way of measurement colloquially (even then usually solely for personal weight) does not mean it is ubiquitous.

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Two things irritated me more than anything regarding this matter when I visited US - miles and gallons. My car had mph speedometer and all roads have miles, not km. My frustration was even more when I had to remember that there were actually two kinds of miles - one ~1.6 km and another nautical one ~1.8 km. I always used the wrong one when I had to estimate the distances. Having been used to kilometers my mind simply accepted the sign 220 as 220 km, not 220 miles.

Gas stations were easier since they have displays with price so I didn't bother just how many litres a gallon was. And rulers and tapes with no cm scale! When I first saw it my first impulse was to call up for a crusade to convert the heretics, by the sword and fire if necessary. I had to manually multiply everything by 2.54... And this was long before internet was readily available in your smartphone. In fact I didn't even have a cell phone at that time and every conversion I had to do in my head. These poor backward people certainly need help in accepting the right units :D

Seriously, the conversion of the signs, etc is not all that expensive (and it shrinks into insignificance when compared to the US military budget). The right thing to do is to start teaching children in schools the metric system as a default one. The second generation will already be converted.

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And Julian Dates (also, Heliocentric Julian Dates). Even so, if you're out there in reality, want to actually observe things, you'll better be using the standard degrees and hours. A decimal system could save time but imagine how many papers, clocks, and scales need to be changed. Then there's sidereal time, moving at it's own pace compared to the civil time whatever system is used. Days in a year can't be decimal too, not to mention lunar and solar (and lunisolar) calendars out there.

But hey, angles (and time) are not even a (spatial) dimension ! Get back to dimensional things, and all that dependent on them !

It does affect the real world when you start measuring things that occur over time - and it is decidedly non-metric.

ie..

60 km/hr is...

16.6666667 m/s, or

1440 km/day

etc...

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It does affect the real world when you start measuring things that occur over time - and it is decidedly non-metric.

ie..

60 km/hr is...

16.6666667 m/s, or

1440 km/day

etc...

Yes, but why would you actually use those¿ People do because they are used to that. But one could simply express everything ins m/s and be done with it.

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Half a day is a lot more intuitive and relevant to the human experience than say... 43.2 kiloseconds.

That's it as a measurement for time now, not for speed. I wouldn't measure speed in something per half-day; not even as something per day.

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Well that is the beauty of metric pre-fixes - it caters to numbers of any magnitude.

10 micro-days is 0.864 seconds, if you want numbers of similar magnitude to a second.

60km/hr = 1440km/day = 1.44m/μday

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It's not like metric spread because it is inherently superior at everything. The mere fact that science abandoned Celsius for Kelvin argues against that.

Erm? Kelvin IS an SI base unit just like the metre, second, etc. There are 100 K between the temperature at which ice melts and water boils, just as there are 100°C between the temperature at which ice melts and water boils (at standard sea level atmospheric conditions). The imperial equivalent to the Kelvin scale is the Rankine scale.

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Working in the sciences and being in the US, I would like to see metric used more, but I don't think it's that big of a deal. I've been able to do rough conversions in my head and can get a pretty good concept of either unit system. I've actually found that since working with cryogenics, it's a lot easier to think of temperature in Kelvin now. "Hmm, looks like a balmy 295K outside today! I guess I could go with short sleeves." This thread also made me think of this photo I took on my recent trip to JPL.

GZkTHCt.jpg?1

My guess is they'll never live down that one unit conversion mistake.

I will add that I can't differentiate between metric and SAE nuts and bolts just by looking at them. I need a template to figure out which is which.

Edited by VirtualCLD
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Living in the UK, we buy all our goods in grams and kilos.

Just because some older people still use the old way of measurement colloquially (even then usually solely for personal weight) does not mean it is ubiquitous.

I wish this was true. Just two years ago I asked for half a kilo of mature cheddar, and the counter assistant gave me 478 grams, and apologised for it being a bit over. The fresh from school darling had converted the half kilo to a pound, and then tried to cut me 454 grams.

- - - Updated - - -

What's that in gallons ?

Just under twelve and a half of her majesty's gallons. Nearly fifteen American ones.

- - - Updated - - -

Well, I find that I like metric for working with numbers and imperial for working with people. It's easier to say you're a foot from something than 30.48 centimeters. And it's easier to put 30.48 centimeters into the calculator than it is to put 3/16ths of an inch.

You'd agree, then, it's easier to say a rocket is four metres wide than four yards, one foot, one and 7.685 sixteenths of an inch?

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Erm? Kelvin IS an SI base unit just like the metre, second, etc.

Yes, in the same way that nautical miles are SI base units because... reasons I guess? The point is that Celsius was replaced by the scientific community because it really wasn't that useful for their purposes, even though it was metric and based on science, its end points were still too arbitrary. Science will keep changing the way it measures things based on its own needs but the needs of science and the needs of everyone else are different. :)

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no, i believe that if we were to move to metric it would effect most of our country. 1 - we would have to take down EVERYTHING that is Imperial, or US Standard units to the metric system. that meaning about a gazillion spped limit signs among other things 2 - think of all the people from 8 - 25 years old that have already learned the imperial system, it will be a very stressful switch to take away something the spent almost their whole life learning. 3 - whats the point? what does it benefit? and how will it effect the US? ... all im saying is just because most of the other countries out there use metric, does not mean we have to. and also we don't use "Stick" and a unit for butter, its just how lazy some people are. i know most countries look down upon us because of this system, but the fact is that they only do that because most of them cant even begin to understand our system compared to ours. no hate but true :)

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I would like to point out that the US is currently in transition between the two units. All school children are taught both metric and imperial and in STEM metric is much more common. In fact, most of my college professors prefer to use Metric because of the easy way the units work and will give us imperial to make sure that we know our conversion factors.

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Yes, in the same way that nautical miles are SI base units because... reasons I guess?

No, Kelvin is one of only seven SI base units. SI does not have any other base units. All other metric units are defined in terms of these seven:

metre for length

kilogram for mass

second for time

Ampere for electric current

Kelvin for temperature

candela for luminous intensity

mole for the amount of substance.

Notice that neither the nautical mile nor degrees Celsius are included in the list.

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@DeeJayDemon

1. You don't have to do that over night. There can be a transitional period where both systems are accepted. If that period is long enough (eg. 20 years) it's more that enough time to replace all signs etc. when they have to be replaced anyway because of age (rust, etc.).

2. Stressful? Afaik all the US people already know the metric system because it's thaught in school for what, 50 years? Also don't underestimate the adaptability of people. If you confront them with only metric units they'll understand it in less than a month even if they don't pull out a book and study it.

3. The point is it's easier to handle. You have only one unit for a physical quality. For example, why using a dozen different length units, each with its own conversion factors and limited sensible uses (you don't use miles to measure the size of a bacteria), when you can do the same with only one unit without the need for a conversion factor and no restrictions?

It's not that the imperial systems doesn't work but it doesn't work well in all modern day applications. It's made for the uses in the late middle age and the beginning of the industrial age. But that times are long gone. Our understanding of the world and what we do everyday evolved. Why not evolving the preferable measurement system too?

Edited by *Aqua*
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*snip* The point is that Celsius was replaced by the scientific community because it really wasn't that useful for their purposes, even though it was metric and based on science, its end points were still too arbitrary.*snip*

The difference between the 2 scales isn't all that huge. In essence you could say the Kelvin scale is a shifted Celsius scale with the scaling bit intact. Other than that, yep, the Celsius scale is too arbitrary to be really, really useful to scientists who need more exactness. I like to think of it as the Celsius scale was v 1.0, they polished it and released Kelvin as v1.1.

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i do not understand why the european countries hate us so much, probably because we enjoy our lives the way they are rather than changing our average lives to suit their needs.

Hate? No.

Slightly bemused by? More likely.

Do note that most "imperial" units are defined these days as being some multiple of a metric unit, so even the US is really using metric by proxy. Nobody is demanding that the entire US change every road sign overnight (and that really sounds like you're listening to propaganda rather than fact), however it is telling that the country that invented imperial has mostly abolished it. Sure, road signs are still in miles, and you tend to go into a pub and ask for a pint, not 568ml. I could rage hard about the local govt's attempts to strong-arm shopkeepers here with legal penalties. That alone has probably instigated more resistance against the metric system than anything else. But, that doesn't detract from the benefits of deriving everything from a common base of 10, rather than having to try and remember if it's 4s, 12s or 16s, and where 0 and 100 are on the farenheit scale.

Edited by technicalfool
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I like the World Calendar, equal sized quarters, each date is the same day of the week every year, leap years are handled well. It just messes with the 7-day week a bit, which will garner some opposition.

Week length mostly has to do with working week today. Going for an 10 days week with 3 days off might be an option.

The real fun start if you colonize another planet. Suddenly you have two calendars. The local for everything local including farming and summer holidays. Birthdays and religious holidays will follow earth calendar so you get Christmas once a earth year no matter day and year length.

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2. Stressful? Afaik all the US people already know the metric system because it's thaught in school for what, 50 years? Also don't underestimate the adaptability of people. If you confront them with only metric units they'll understand it in less than a month even if they don't pull out a book and study it.

From experience I'd say that is not true.

It took a lot of people nearly a decade to get used to the Euro. "That's XXX in [former national currency]" is a phrase you heard a lot. For years.

In Germany the Horsepower was replaced by the Kilowatt in 1978 as the official unit for measuring power. There was a transitional period up until 2009 for using hp in advertisment. Five and a half years of using the kW exclusivley later lot's of people still don't really have an intuitive grasp of scale when confronted with measures in kW.

Old habits die hard.

Not to say it shouldn't be done...

Edited by One Wheeled Panda
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