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Metric vs. Imperial or Will the USA ever go metric?

Updated on January 23, 2011
Metric vs. Imperial
Metric vs. Imperial

Fact: The United States is the only industrialized country in the world that doesn't use the metric system as its predominant system of weights and measures. Today only the USA, Liberia and Myanmar still use the old English Imperial system. The rest of the world is metric.

Here is a funny fight between Metric and Imperial System. And the winner is...

Metric vs. Imperial

or Will the USA ever go metric?

Ladies and gentlemen, we are here today to determine the United States measurement challenge once and for all.

In the blue corner we have our current US champion for many years, weighing in at 220.4623 pounds, our hero: Igor Imperial.

In the red corner we have, weighing in at 100kg all the way from France, and currently storming the world wherever he goes, our challenger: Mean Mr Metric.

It will be a great fight today and one that may change the course of history. Can Mean Mr Metric defeat Igor Imperial and change US life forever, or will Igor outwit the classy opponent and maintain his place in history.

We are about to find out.

Gentlemen, I want a clean fight. Shake hands and come out fighting on the bell.

Round 1: "DONG"

They both approach each other and meet in the middle of the ring. Metric has trained well and opens with the first punch:

How many feet in a mile?

Imperial answers after a moments hesitation with:


"Good exchange there Bob, hasn't worried either of them."

"No Bill, it's still neck and neck, although Imperial took a fraction of a second to divert that question."

Imperial decides to attack with a similar strategy: How many metres in a kilometre?

Instantly, Metric flashes back with: 1000

"Wasn't that a great counter by Metric eh Bob - so quick. He's looking good tonight"

"Sure is Bill"

Imperial goes on the attack again with a curly one: How much does a litre of water weigh?

Metric comes back quickly with: 1 kilogram

"Great offense from Imperial there Bob. Combining both measurement of mass and volume - well thought out."

"Sure thing Bill, but I think he may have left himself a bit vulnerable here. If I can guess, Metric should follow up with..."

How much does a pint of water weigh?

Imperial reels back with such a tough one. He hesitates.

"Thought he'd do that Bill, he's looking shaky. I wonder how he's trained for this?"

Suddenly, Imperial's eyes light up and he comes back with:

1.0431758 pounds

"Well Bob, our champ got out of that one but it was a bit messy eh?"

"It was Bill. I think he was lucky there. Metric should come back with a tough one here if he's got it in him."

As Metric prepares for an offense, the champ Imperial slips in a sneaky one:

If 1mm of rain falls on 1 square metre of roof, how much water is collected?

"What a shot Bob! That'll hurt him."

Metric defends without a flinch:

1 litre

"No Bill, Metric has trained too well and has got too much ability. That reply was instananeous. You know, I think he should follow the same strategy as before and follow up with..."

If 1 point of rain falls on 1 square foot of roof, how much water is collected?

"Imperial is down!"

1 2 3 4 5 6 7...

7.97922 fl oz

"What an answer! Our boy's still got guts!"


End of Round 1.

"Bill, that bell came just at the right time. This fight shouldn't last the next round."

"You're right Bob, but that guy from France is just too good.

Round 2: "DONG"

Imperial comes out and slips in a gentle offense:

How many grams in a kilogram?

Metric defends:


"Playground stuff there Bob."

"Yeah Bill"

Metric goes for the kill:

How many grains in an ounce?

"Uh oh. I think this is it Bob."

Imperial stutters:

uuuhhhhmmmmmmm. Which system?

"Oh Bill, he's answered with a question. That's not following the spirit of the game!"

Metric replies:

All three.

"Curtains Bill. I'm sure."

Imperial responds:

Well in Avoirdupois its 437.5, in Apothecary its 480 and the other one is... What other one?

Metric jabs:

You tell me.

Imperial falls to the floor.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

"Knocked out Bob!"

"Yeah Bill. I guess we have to get used to the idea of a new system here in the US of A. This guy is a mean lean measuring machine."

"Just let me interrupt you Bob, our man Leroy is down in the ring talking with Mean Mr Metric."

"Mean Mr Metric that was an incredible last blow there. Tell me what is that other system"

Tell you the truth, Leroy, I don't know nor care. I just know there are three and they are all stupid.

"Interesting response there from Mean Mr Metric, Back to you Bill"

"We've just got word that the judges are going to make an announcement..."

After final discussion, the judges have decided to declare the fight null and void due to the fact that the win by Mean Mr Metric would mean that some politicians might lose the next election.

Let's Get Metric Video


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      i was mixing 2 stroke fuel... 4 years ago

      the oil container has a little table: "how much oil to add to how much gasoline for a given volumetric ratio of gasoline to oil". The only reason such a table is necessary is because of the imperial system, this table would be pointless if everything was metric. It gets even more hillarious; the table lists everything in pints, quarts, and gallons. I already am lost with these units. However, the measurements on the side of the container are marked in mililiters and fluid ounces!!!

      wtf is a fluid ounce, wtf is a pint, and wtf is a quart.

      I live in the United States, the imperial system is moronic.

    • profile image

      Bill 5 years ago

      Don't like our Imperial system?

      Too bad. We don't care....

    • profile image

      Bram 5 years ago

      I got a great idea! why not say that 1 km = 1 mile, 1 foot = 1m then 1 mile has 1000 feet. so no need to change songs so profit

    • profile image

      willy 5 years ago

      Sorry, We're not changing.

      You don't like it, go somewhere else.

      I use both at work, not a problem and we are not changing there either.

      Always some maroon that knows what's better for you.

      We are ignoring you, enjoy!!

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      MC_Squared 5 years ago

      The USA never adopted it fully* - although IT HAD SIGNED A TREATY TO BE FULLY METRIC BY 1976 - because "it's too expensive". CLEARLY, all the other countries (with more, or FAR more population and roads) went through the expense (and kept their treaty promise), so there's non excuse. But, for those folks who actually prefer the King's way over NASA's, then I can only say "HAIL TO THE KING." and add "Stop having your Independence Day - CLEARLY you love the King."

      Also, Fahrenheit is a POLISH invention. Stop joking about "Pollocks" since you think they are smarter than NASA.

      The REAL truth is - Americans don't want to change ... that is .. until MICROSOFT or OBAMA say "change", then they EMBRACE it.


      * Yes, America is HALF metric:

      • Engine sizes are in liters.

      • Motorcycleengines are all in cc (CENTIMETERS!)

      • Carbs are all in GRAMS.

      • Any run/walk in the USA - Professional OR amateur (KILOMETERS)

      • Q: Wow - that's a great stereo, Dude! What's the efficiency of that speaker?

      A: "97 dB @ 1 watt at 1 meter" [Dude] (that's METER)

      • Cocaine is in kilos"! (KILOGRAMS)

      • Professional cameras are 35mm (MILLIMETERS)

      • Super-8 film? 8 MILLIMETERS

      • HI-8 tape? 8 MILLIMETERS

      • The tires on your car are: 205/75 R15 (205 is MILLIMETERS! the 75 is % and the 15 is inches)

      • That 9mm Pistol pistol? That's 9 MILLIMETERS

      • All US food content is in MILLIGRAMS

      • All USA prescriptions are in MILLIGRAMS

      • Wine is sold in LITERS

      • Mountaineer gear is all in mm (MILLIMETERS)

      • If you are a Mechanic, your micrometer is 1/millionth of a METER, not INCH. Also (mentioned above), ALL tire sizes in the USA use mm (millimeters) for the middle tire size.

      • Fabric is all sold in cc and square meters.

      • Oh, and let's not forget the biggest one: The big, baaaaaad US MILITARY is completely Metric. Go ahead - check it out - ask any Service person.

      • I just have to add: Look up the US definition of "Calorie" - you'll find that it's: "The quantity of thermal energy required to raise one gram of water 1°C at 15°C." That's GRAMS and Celsius.

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      wjg 5 years ago

      Why is the metric system easier than USC? The most frequently given answers include:

      1...Because Metric is simple and consistent. There is only one meter and one kilometer and one liter..Unlike the mile (3 miles, international mile, US Survey mile, nautical mile.) and two gallons (Imperial gallon and US gallon) Metric is simple and less confusing, fewer errors, less cost.

      2...Because it dramatically reduces conversion factors in calculations. Less time doing calculations, fewer errors, less wastage in material and time, less cost.

      3...Because Metric prefix's enable whole numbers only. Avoiding decimal fractions and missinteruptation and errors.

      4...Because Metric offers units from very large to very small.

      5...Because Metric dimensions are easier to divide by three.

      6...Because it has links between related measurements.

      7...Because it uses logical symbols.

      8..Because it is the only properly maintained system.

      9..Because practically everyone uses it. For more than 95% of the world population, the Metric system is the customary system of units, and for more than half of the industrialized world, it has been for at least a century.

      Will the USA ever go metric?? Yes but eventualy...Why? Well it will be forced to by factors outside its control..Because

      1) Using metric measures means fewer costs than when using USC and in an increasingly competitive world reducing costs is very inportant.

      2) Using metric measures is a requirement for international communication. Metric measures are the international language of measurement. In a world where international communication is bringing the global community closer together to remain in measurement isolation would lead to the decline of the USA.

      When will the USA adopt metric measures as its primary system of measurement??

      It will adopt it not because the rest of the world uses it but because the USA uses it.

      Thats when it will adopt it.

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      William 5 years ago

      Sorry, but we americans don't give a Flying Fk what you globalists think.

      This whole argument is just a prime example of human nature.

      Someone is always trying to convince the other that their way is

      the only way and as since the dawn of time it will never be resolved.

      But it does fit the mindset of liberal, global view internationalists.

      My way or no way! We know what is better for you regardless of what you think.

      And we know you don't and it does not matter anyway.

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      nat 5 years ago

      one of the reasons to go metric is that calculators are 10-based. it is impossible to use calculators with imperial system. (try to calculate area of the room and how much tiles would it need)

      i think that next step from the gov should require metric measurements to be listed first on the products and imperial to be optional. also, to make older people comfortable, imperial measurements should be additionally provided for at least 50 years.

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      wjg 5 years ago

      @Bill of Oz

      I am not from the US but you ask an interesting question regarding tyre/tire internal diameter measurement. Why is it in inches when width is in milimetres/milimeters? I dont have a definite answer but I believe its a hang over from when the US was dominate in the auto and tyre/tire industry. This is an example of "hidden metrication" because the wheel and therefore the tyre/tire is made in Metric measures but are marketed in US customary (USC)/Imperial measures. A similar situation occurs with TV screens, which are made in Metric dimensions (mm) but marketed in USC (inches) to hide the fact thats its made in Metric measures and to make the it more acceptable to US consumers.

      For more info see ISO Metrric tire code at

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      Bill of Oz 5 years ago

      can someone please explain why tyres (tires if you live in the US) here in Australia have an internal measurment in inches but the profile and width are measured in mm? i.e. 205/65 15 what the....

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      AB 6 years ago

      Please go metric, America

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      Vicar Sergeant 6 years ago

      I'm a British life-scientist. Of course I know a lot of brilliant American scientists as well, and they of course use the metric system (i'll just pipette 0.000000231/32" mils of a fluid ounce or something of purified DNA, I don't think so). I have lately been teaching myself electronics using the Eagle CAD package, and was astonished to learn that Americans still measure (leaded) electronic components and circuit board spacing in Imperial! This makes the job about 100x more complex than it needs to be (think about the CAD grid measurements when you are adding 1/32nd of an inch every box, and you have a screen made of 100s of boxes, convert to mm and it sliff has to fit imperial components, so 1.27+1.27+1.27 etc WHAT!?!), so no, the USA does not use the metric system for all science and engineering. I'm also a biker and a musician, and I believe that Harleys are still made using imperial. This might explain their propensity to go slowly (if at all) while leaking all sorts of fluids everywhere. Fender USA guitars (if you consider guitar making engineering, and I do) are also definately manufactured using imperial measurements, but they seem to be able to do it ok. By the way, no offence meant on the Harley front if you are a proud American, as superior metric Japanese motorcycle engineering killed the British bike industry dead during the 70's and 80's. For all they looked and sounded cool, for all they were legendary, British and American cars and bikes were crap while Britian and America still used imperial. British ones were so crap, we now only make (very very good) Japanese cars and bikes using Japanese metric tooling. American cars and bikes survived due to American jingoism, but they are still utter crap. The American car industries days are numbered. Luckily Harleys are still trendy all over the World, and beloved of their solid shiny metal and leather poorly engineered crapness.

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      wjg 6 years ago

      Hi Langenbahn.. An interesting history of the Imperial/US Customery/Metric measuring systems..

      As far as I am concerned, metric is a good and practical system of weights and measures, and I cannot understand Americans' aversion to it. I'm a 64-year-old New Zealander and I grew up through the 1950s and 1960s with the British Imperial system which is similar to the US system; however, when New Zealand fully metricated over 30 years ago (1976) I made the effort to learn and think in metric and I'm exceedingly glad I did. It is infinitely easier than Imperial and far more practical. Anyone who says that a decimal system of weights and measures such as metric is less practical than the medieval Imperial system of weights and measures doesn't know what he/she is talking about and likely has never trained themselves to use and think in metric. If 12 is divisible by 2, 3, 4, and 6, 1000 is evenly divisible 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, 20, 25, 40, 50, 100, 125, 200, 250, and 500. And metric units can be rearranged so that you're not dealing in long-digit numbers; for example, I'm 179 cm tall or 1790 mm, which can be expressed as a metre and a fraction thereof, that is 1.79 m, which is simpler than expressing it in feet and inches--if you make an effort to learn and use metric and so think in it, that is. And just like a person's height expressed in feet and inches where heights are usually rounded out to the nearest inch, heights in metric can be rounded out to the nearest cm or decimal fraction of a metre. After learning metric, when I had occasion to drive in Asia or Europe I wasn't confused by road signs in kilometres or metres and speedometers in km/h. I am not swayed by the cultural argument that the Imperial/US Customary is somehow an essential element of Anglo-Saxon culture or heritage. It is no more an element of the culture of any English-speaking country than is metric; and New Zealand's full conversion to metric has proved that. Do yourself a favour America, and change while there is still time.

      Metrication is an official system of measurement in America. Although you may not be aware of it metricaion is becoming more prevailent especially regarding manfactured good and products. This has been called hidden metrication. An example is the Auto industry.

      All American cars (that is those made by GM, Ford and Chrysler) are metric made and have been since the 1970s. It was their choice to change and they didn't care if others didn't or were opposed. So switching from Japanese to American based on the metric issue would gain nothing.

      I realize that most Americans are probably oblivious and think Americans cars are still made in obsolete units. They may also think that Japanese cars built or sold in the US are the same. They may be fooled by what they see on the dashboard instead of seeing what appears on the company's engineering drawings. They may not even know (or care) that metric fasteners hold their cars together.

      It may not matter to you what units are used, but it matters to industry. The wrong choice of units can limit a products appeal and legal sale in many parts of the world and even the local economy. Those who produce inch fasteners in the US obviously don't have any auto company customers.

      Metrication sets an internationally approved standard of measurement. Metrication is inevitable. It is not a situation of IF but only of WHEN and HOW.

      A final note.. One does not fully apreciate the benefits of the Metric system until one fully uses it and only then does one ask the question.. "what was all the fuss about change and conversion".

      After all said and done its only a measurement system.

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      metricking 6 years ago

      Wow Langenbahn! You write much and say nothing. I find it interesting you target my comment as opposed to the many on here. Sadly, you make my point and the irony escapes you.

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      Langenbahn 6 years ago

      Okay, Metricking. How about a measured, intelligent and historically literate American response? There are good and human reasons to resist “metricking.” If you wish – which I doubt- to understand American and, to a lesser extent, Anglospheric resistance to the Frenchified metric scam, read "Measuring America" by Andro Linklater.

      (Aside: yes, I know the French did not invent the metric system, but they ... well, ‘popularized it’ wouldn’t be the right phrase, as it is inherently anti-popular – however, they were the first to try and make it ubiquitous. Hence, “Frenchified.”)

      Linklater’s book begins with the creation of the Gunter Chain, a land surveying instrument invented by Edward Gunter, a New England clergyman and mathematician. It was the means of measuring America especially, later on, the Louisiana Purchase, which made land – the most important measure of economic power at the time, available to anyone, thus democratizing it. The book is heavy on the ins and outs of old measuring systems, but just when it threatens to become bogged down in arcana, Linklater starts making some larger points:

      “…The Dutch engineer Simon Stevin was the first European to publish an account of decimals in 1585, and Gunter quickly grasped the concept, using them in his logarithmic tables. Decimals make arithmetical calculation simpler because ordinary numbering is based on 10: There are single digits up to 10, and an extra column is added with each multiple of it, at 100, 1,000, and so on. In effect, the decimal point is simply moved over one place. However, for a practical activity like surveying, it is far easier to halve and quarter a distance or double and redouble it. The process can be done by eye in an instant, and the result is easily checked by measurement, or if needed by calculation.

      Gunter’s chain allowed either method to be used … It was that ease in calculating acreages, as much as its accuracy and straightforward practicality, that earned Gunter’s chain its popularity among surveyors using the old 4-based system of measurements. Even the least competent could come close to the standards of exactness that were now expected of them.”

      Thus we see emerging the tension between the two systems: the rationalist, authoritarian, arbitrarily conformist metric system, and the more human-based “imperial” system. For example, the acre, like most ancient measures, was based on an utterly human scale--in this case the "area of agricultural land that could be worked by one person in a day.” Metric measures exchange humanity for conformity, regularity and precision (precision is nice, I admit), and sacrifice soul for science:

      “The foreignness of the metric system went deeper than names. It took uniformity to a degree that no layperson could immediately comprehend. The traditional measures had variety because they related to different activities. Cloth was measured by the ell or the aune because it was natural to hold it and stretch out the arm to full length. A journey was measured by the yard or the toise because the road was walked. Land was measured by the acre or the arpent because that represented work. The metric system forced people to separate the measure from the activity altogether and deal with an abstract unit that as [Polish historian of science Witold] Kula observed, "would be equally applicable to textiles, wooden planks, field strips and even to the road to Paris." What underlay the popular dislike of the metric system was a very modern anxiety, the sense of alienation from the natural world.”

      Of course, on the basis of alienation from the natural word and even our own bodies, every people should have resisted, so why is the resistance heaviest in the Anglosphere? I’m tempted at this point to bring up Hobbits, or better still the scene at the end of (abysmally bad) Johnny English where Pascal Sauvage, a Frenchman trying to become King of England by subterfuge, shrieks,“All this stupid little country has to do is stand in line and do what it is told for one miserable day, but can it do that?”

      No can do, Frog Boy. Indeed, as Linklater accounts, it was the Jacobins, Napoleon, and the French in general who were responsible for trying to impose metrics on the rest of the world.

      “[Louis XVIII] might have claimed to be an absolute monarch, but he ruled through a vast, centralized government machine that had grown out of the Revolution and the Napoleonic Code. It was the machine that wanted the metric system. As Napoleon himself had been forced to admit, the simplicity of calculating in decimals suited bookkeepers--and prefects, and bureaucrats, and government officials of every kind. Swallowing his reservations, Louis agreed to keep the metric system alongside the customary measures. "The important lesson France has taught the world," remarked a cynical friend of Kula, "is the effectiveness of centralized administration."

      It was not wholly a coincidence that the unpopular metric system spread across Europe in concert with the growth of government bureaucracy.”

      Now the French, I have been told, love, nay worship the civil service, but in the Anglosphere we:

      1: hate bureaucracy – “What, gentle reader, is a bureaucrat? A hired janitor who thinks he owns the building.” – Ezra Pound

      2: loathe rationalistic quantifications: “Statistics are the triumph of the quantitative method, and the quantitative method is the victory of sterility and death.” - Hillaire Belloc

      And …

      3: maintain “affection for the proliferating variety and mystery of traditional life, as distinguished from the narrowing uniformity, egalitarianism, and utilitarian aims of most radical systems." - Russell Kirk

      As science historian Edward Tenner said: “Americans even hate seeing dual mile and kilometer road signs. The metric system has been a casualty of its identification with political authority.”

      The Metric System is the official system in most places. That is exactly why it must be – and in America, is – opposed at the grass roots level. The American Military uses SI measurement? That’s for war. When they come home they will eat pounds of steak and wash them down with 12 or 16 or 20 ounce can of beer. Heck, I myself am about to take a take an 11.7 mile (approx. 18.8 km) bike ride and then down a 32 oz. (approx. 938ml) high-protein almond mocha smoothie. I do some machining as a hobby and I can do metric or imperial screw threading no problem. See, Metricking? I can do it both ways. Like Walt Whitman, I am large. I contain multitudes. It is you who are small, whiny, elitist, reductionist, conformist, parochial and “French.” ;)

      P.S. Whoever brought up the base Chinese base 16 system. There is something to be able to move decimal points easily. While it’s a dirt simple matter "decimalize" (to coin a word) imperial fractions, fractions are useful too because …

      P.P.S. Whoever was talking about the ease of the imperial system in carpentry was dead on.

      P.P.P.S. Whoever brought up a United States of South America? I’d love to see that. What would be better than the United States of America? Ten United States of America.

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      metricking 6 years ago

      I see many postings on this board not doing much to eliminate the stereotype of the whiny, loud and dumb American. If you can count to ten, you already know the metric system. It's not as though you are having to learn Cantonese. Americans like to have battle lines and enemies over the stupidest things imaginable. The irony of that is the American military uses SI measurements.

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      ANON 6 years ago

      Nobody has brought up yet another practical aspect of the customary US measurements. 12 (inches in a foot) has more factors than 10 (base of metric system), enough to make carpentry, construction, and just small measurements in generall a lot easier to calculate on the fly, especially when accuracy is important but precision isn't. Like take this one foot piece of cloth and measure a third of it, ok heres a 4 inch piece, instead of 3.33 decimeters of a 1 meter piece. One sixth? 2 inches. Very simple, very easy. Customary has a number of other advantages as well, and to be sure it has disadvantages. However the disadvantages are mostly in converting between units that nobody would have to convert between in daily life, hence why it works so well.

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      rphb 6 years ago

      Here is a possible scenario from the future. Inspired by the European union the south American countries from Mexico to Argentina forms there own union that turns into a federation.

      The United States of South America becomes the leading world nation, with the largest economy, the most powerful army and most stable currency.

      Because of the USSA’s influence Spanish becomes the new dominate world language. In 2030 Spanish and Chinese are the launguages thought, while English is only spoken in North America and UK.

      Will the USA still then refuse to accept a superior system and act like a child, or do they simply not believe that a time will come when they are no longer the dominant power?

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      abe 6 years ago

      Williams, You are a tard.

      1st of all, growing up on a retarded Imperial system doesn't give you the right to make up an excuse for not converting.

      Both my parents grew up on old Chinese base-16 measurement and they adopted metric system without much sulk (unlike you Americans who had whined and complained like crying baby)

      2ndly, all the major contribution, science discovery made within USA were 99% done on metric system. Being a scientist myself, I am fully aware of that. It was the dumbwited USA public who refused to change, not hardworking,innovative, putting space shuttles into orbits scientists who refused so.

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      Memememetoo 6 years ago



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      Stefan 6 years ago

      I've read most of the comments now. I live in Sweden and have been brought up with the metric system. I really don't care if Americans want to use the Imperial measurements in their everyday lives.

      A lot of people have pointed out that Americans make things difficult in trades and so on, someone write something about having to re-write code with a calculatir for a couple of hours. Why not just send it back to the american and let him/her redo it to fit the metric system? I think this is the problem, nobody really cares if the average american measures his penis in inches och cm, what pisses people off is the way America just does whatever it pleases and expects everyone else to adapt, but when the majority of the world uses metric then the U.S acts like a child and refuses to change even though metric is superior.

      What if the rest of the world stopped teaching children english in schools? We need a universal system for measurement just like we need a language that most people can understand, it's all about being able to communicate better and America would not be a superpower if the rest of the world didn't learn english. Maybe it's time for America to adapt for once.

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      wjg 6 years ago

      I have never understood the collective ignorance and arrogance of Americans: @ metricking. I think americans think they are a powerful world leader and that everybody else should follow their lead. Hence they see no need to change to the metric system. Unfortunaly what alot of americans fail to see is that the USA is a diminishing world power. Metrication will be adopted when they become followers and globalisation demands it. Probably in 30 to 50 years time.

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      metricking 6 years ago

      I have never understood the collective ignorance and arrogance of Americans. The metric system is a better tool. It has nothing to do with idiotic hooting and hollering of patriotism. It doesn't get any dumber than America.

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      Skywalker 6 years ago

      How many gallons are 10 cubic feet? How many pounds are 10 cubic feet of water? Stupid americans. Go to metric NOW!!!

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      xg 6 years ago

      The examples about computing volume and weight are absurd, no one (e.g. non-geeks) does this on a daily basis. Units are almost exclusively for *comparing* things, where actually I have realized US system is better.

      An inch feels like the right minimal "1" unit such that someone's poofy hair or slightly non-vertical posture won't add "1" to their apparent height. Ten pounds is a narrow enough range so that "185-205" makes sense as a category. In fahrenheight "60's" is a useful range to state as well. Celsius 10 versus 19 on the other hand is way too broad.

      Anyone in USA that knows how to compute volumes and convert chains of units and has a desire to do so is perfectly comfortable using metric. How do you euro-bums think stealth bombers and multiple-reentry ICBM warheads are designed !?

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      wjg 6 years ago

      The question is..Will the USA ever go metric?

      The answer is YES but not in the short term.

      Why..Because the USA already uses the metric system.

      The metric system is uses in the medical, scientific, electrical and electronic industries.

      Why..Because companies that trade in the global market such as Ford GM IBM Boeing and NASA use the metric system

      All countries use the metric system. The system is simple open and worldwide.

      However because the USA uses what is known as hidden metrication, the time period to officially adopt the metric system is going to take about 30 to 50 years.

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      Jesse 6 years ago

      @William, are you for real?

      we 'foreigners' know that you americans, burmese, and liberians grew up with the imperial system. don't be dumb, of course we know that.

      yes, you are forcing us to change. the average american doesn't seem to know too much about the metric system. for anyone in america who was not born there, the imperial system is highly confusing, and americans don't seem to know enough about the metric system to be useful.

      and we are not forcing you to change. just providing reasons for.

      the fact is that americans LED the world in most aspects. not LEAD. sure, it worked, but why keep it? there really isn't many reasons that i can think of.

      and your last argument is pointless. american football is played on a metric field, and nascar races are in kilometres - they just don't say it.

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      Mike 6 years ago

      There will always be people that have difficulty converting in either system, for example centimeters to meters, that's why we have tools like this to do the work for us:

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      william 6 years ago

      To hell with metric.

      What you foreigners don't understand is that we grew up with Imperial just like you did with metric.

      Why should you force us to change? We are not forcing you are we.

      And the fact is we led the world in most aspects with this system.

      So don't go away mad, just go away.

      I'll switch when football is played on a metic field and a nascar race is in kilometers.

      It ain't happening.

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      not imperial 6 years ago

      The U.S. has *never* used the "imperial" system. The imperial system was created by Britain after the U.S. was no longer a colony. This has been pointed out a few times in this column, but no one seems to acknowledge it. If there is a strange country at all, it may be the UK, who can't decide what system of measurement they are using from one century to the next (going from standard to imperial to metric).

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      Cobus 6 years ago

      To me, most of these posts seem to be little more than flag waving. We have the Americans going on about their freedom to choose, and mostly everyone else accusing them of narrow-minded conservatism. I really don't see what the problem is. I grew up with the 'metric' unit and therefore feel very comfortable with it. If the Americans feel the same with the 'imperial' system, then why can't they persist with it, and use metric as well? What is wrong with such plurality?

      Competitiveness in the export market? One of the posts indicated that American companies are already moving towards metric, which nullifies that argument.

      Furthermore, I'm certain that the Americans who need to be versed in the metric system – be they scientists, engineers, dress designers or mechanics – are already so.

      It is like with language – what is wrong with being bilingual? If an American salesman wants to travel from LA to San Francisco why should the speed limit posted on the board be in km/h and not mph? It is like expecting a Russian housewife in St. Petersburg to speak to her local butcher in English, just because that is, by convention, the international language of business.

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      Jesse 6 years ago


      Your argument is invalid.

      1. Units do not have a particular cultural heritage that would be lost with the conversion to metric.

      2. Languages do have a cultural link that would be lost.

      3. You cannot argue that any one language is particularly easier than another, unless it's a manufactured language, because languages developed before 'intelligent' humans, no? Words just randomly formed, as well as verb conjugations that really don't make sense.

      4. That (^) argument is relatively equivalent to the metric/imperial argument. Imperial is a (numbers) language developed long ago, over time, from basically random things.

      You can compare the English language to the imperial system, whereas the created metric system is similar to a language like Esperante, created for the sole purpose of being easy to learn.

      America, Burma, and Liberia will eventually have to change to the metric system, and the world will probably eventually change to metric time. That is, unless they want to fall behind and inconvenience every other country, in which case we will just stop buying from America.

      America will no longer have the economic power to say "no, do it our way, please convert." in 50, or 100 years.

      It's just easier to do things in tens.

      Note that years are measured in tens as well?

      Make of it what you will, but I believe that my comment basically gives enough reasons for a conversion.

      Method, on the other hand, is another thing.

      Clearly it would have to be slowly implemented, but this is not difficult:

      - Begin teaching a generation of kindergarten children both systems (I believe this has already happened?).

      - Once those children are (oldest), say, 25 (in the workforce, 'current' generation), begin only teaching the next generation metric.

      - The entire workforce, by the time the first generation is retiring (~age 50?), the first second gen. children will be joining the workforce, and be entirely interchangeable.

      Simple as (the metric system..? ;) heh) that!


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      HurP 6 years ago

      So when will we see the Imperial byte? Or the bits per fortnight? Or the dots per inch? Woops.

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      Spixxel 7 years ago

      The great thing about the SI system is that everything uses the base of 10, and it consists of 7 units.

      Length - metre

      Mass - gram

      Time - second

      current- ampere

      kelvin - temperature

      candela- luminous intensity

      mode - amount of substance

      and if all of these are correkt nothing else is needed to be measured.

      While the imperial system does not even contain all of these units.

      Just look at probably all scientists in ur country and they are for sure using the SI-units (what u are incorrektly calling the metric system)

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      Marcus 7 years ago

      Imperial is old and outsmarted many times by metric. I can only guess the reason for americans to be so against it is the same reason the brits refuse to change to right-lane traffic.

      Some sort of belief that they are "right" and everyone else is "wrong".

      Sad really, metric is brilliant in every way compared to the outdated and dumb imperial and for once it would be nice to see the world actually share a standard all over...

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      bigmark 7 years ago

      I really believe that the US should change but in its own time. It is inevitable for accuracy in the future and trade, i have to have 2 sets of sockets incase they are imperial. The Americans changed hundreds (decimal) of words - if not thousands to make it easier for the immigrants to learn the english language-- eg tyre=tire , aliminium- aluminum. already one mars mission destroyed because of imperial measurements not being accurate enough. Ya shoe and clothing sizes suck- dont buy them anymore, tools and machinery too- dont buy them anymore. I am a baseball fanatic though so everything i said is taken back when it comes to baseball.

      All jokes aside- for international trade of goods it has to be changed.

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      Nikos21 7 years ago

      Hate to break the news for you in the U.S. but the metric system will stand alone at the end. All U.S. companies already use metric and the imperial system will eventualy fade out. It just will be a generation or two. And this for 2 reasons: 1st all new products you'll create or import will be and work in metric and 2nd buisness, politicians and scientists want this change but no one is willing to pay 200 billion USD you need to make the change, so they are leaving it to take over by its own in time.

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      Rumcove 7 years ago

      Whoever wrote the text for the "US-title fight" between Mean Mr. Metric and Igor Imperial and the dialog of ringside commentators Bill and Bob deserves a prize: it is a very funny piece of writing, I laughed out loud reading it. For myself, I much prefer metric to Imperial. I grew up using Imperial in the 1960s and the early 1970s in Australia, but I studied hard and learnt metric in high school and trained myself to think in it; so now I prefer it. However I can still use Imperial if I am forced to. I was forced to use Imperial measures travelling around North America: Americans of course hate metric and will never adopt it and while Canada is nominally metric, Canadians never use it. Likewise, Gt. Britain and Ireland are nominally metric but they ignore it too; many people in the UK, like Americans, hate metric. Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa are the only English-speaking countries where metric has really taken. I really don't know why metric has met such bitter resistance in the US and UK. It is at the very least the technically better system of weights and measures. Imperial is still good and useful, but compared to metric it can be quite confusing and difficult to calculate in due to its odd unit conversion factors, e.g. 1760 yards in a mile, or 5280 feet; or this beauty, 277.3 cubic inches in an Imperial gallon which has 20 Imperial fluid ounces to it but 231 cubic inches in a US gallon which has 16 US fluid ounces to it. Metric murders this confusion. Really a case could be made for teaching both systems and using both interchangeably. This would be confusing for only a while until everyone gets used to it. CORRECTION: I MEANT TO WRITE ONE IMPERIAL PINT HAS 20 IMPERIAL FLUID OUNCES TO IT WHILE ONE U.S. PINT HAS 16 U.S. FLUID OUNCES.

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      person 7 years ago

      My argument for english is that fractions are in fact easier. My argument for metric is that decimals are more precise. Also, for prononciation, I think that it was designed for french.While in english a meter is 2 syllables, in french it's ...still 2 but they are vowels so it dosen't count but...never mind back to the topic. I live in québec, and here we still use both(english in contruction, metric everything else) and it work just fine. in ikeas here there are giant conversion charts on the walls. we use celcius for everyday, and farenheight for cooking. we use cm, dm, m in school and inches, feet in construction. we mesure speed and distance in km, yet pool temperature are in farenheight. we are in a transition, maybe officially metric was implanted in X date, 19XX, but its just a transition. we don't say "a 355ml bottle of soda" we say "a can of soda". and i'm probably sure you don't say "a 12fl.ounce bottle of soda" USA, don't be afraid of change. just do what we are doing right now.

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      floris 7 years ago

      you are a real genius razvan 10 km on sea is further than 10 km on land. and a day is when the sun is back on its highest point not much choice with that number in a year. though you'r right in seconds.

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      Razvan 7 years ago

      Look people ... one size does not fit all. Use whatever you're comfortable with. I was born in a country with metric system and now live in a country with imperial and metric system.

      My truth is : metric system is good if you have to make conversions, which you don't have to in your day to day life. The primary reason measurement systems were developed in the first place were for humans to appreciate sizes and communicate them. And for this, the imperial system is better to use in a day to day life. Think about people who have not been to school or children who have not learnt the system yet ... they always have a foot with them ... or a finger ( inch ) to appreciate a size. If you do science, then use metric as it's better for calculus.

      A simple example where imperial system is better for practical reasons is the fact that it uses miles and nautical miles rather than kilometers, and the problem is this :

      A distance of 10 Km recorded ( by a car, for example ) for traveling on flat land is shorter than a distance of 10 Km recorded for travelling on sea. This happens because of the Earth curvature and the difference between sea level and land. The arc length travelled on land is shorter than the arc travelled on sea. This might not be a problem for a 10 Km distance but it can be for a 10,000 Km This problem is not addressed by the metric system but instead, it is addressed by the imperial system with nautical mile.

      The conclusion is .... use what works best for the problem. All this bragging about one is better than the other in its entirety is just pathetic and shows lack of knowledge.

      Also, can you tell me how many times you needed to convert days in months or years ? or seconds in days ? ... The argument about ease of conversion does not really hold water, I bet there's better arguments in favor of metric system, but not this one.


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      Nup 7 years ago

      What is an inch, a foot, mile, a gallon? Why is a foot 12 inches, not 10. It just complex and illogical. The metric system is based on one thing, the meter. 1000 meters is a kilo-meter, 0.001 meter is a milli-meter. 1000 kilograms is 1 cubic meter of water. It just makes sense. America is just too stubborn and self centered to notice or even care about the troubles they cause the rest of the world.

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      Ted 7 years ago

      OK are we really having this argument. Ive seen most people calling americans ignorant or lazy. I just want to throw this in. Both the Metric and Imperial Systems work. America has been imperial a long time and the people here are used to it so to change would be a mistake the way some of you seem to be suggesting. Now i will admit this i have no idea how to use the metric system. Im not ashamed to admit that i just was never taught it or had a reason to learn it. Just because i use miles instead of kilometers to measure how far im going to drive doesnt matter does it? Sure the metric system is easy to use and converting stuff in the Imperial system may take a little longer but its what we have its what most americans understand and because of that we use it. Go use the metric system i dont care just dont say we need to change just because you think our system is dumb. America has done pretty damn well on the imperial system despite everything so i say stick with it for now and if we do need to change someday do it gradually but leave some things the way they are like miles, feet, inches, and pounds. And finally i have to say americans are not ignorant its easy to keep track of our states there are only 50 after all. Like i said im american and i know all the states and most of the countries in the world so sure some people may not know where some countries are but then its the same everywhere each nation has their knowledgeable people and those who lack that same knowledge. So thats it Both systems work, we are all biased pretty much to the ones we learned first or the only one we know. just because we are different doesnt mean we should be disrespected for it. Its like religion or race do we want to hate others for their differences or try to get along and cooperate for something better.

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      peter 7 years ago

      Having the US switch to the Metric system (strictly) is like having all countries that speak English and some other language to strictly speak English just because most nations have already done so. To me, this is a ridiculous notion. Everyone and every nation should have the choice. and if the US does decide to go strictly to the metric system, they should do it gradually so those who are older and out of school can learn instead of making them adapt to something completely unfamiliar to them. It is the same way if everyone began using the US system of measurements...many people would be lost and confused, except for those of us in school who will be taught how.

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      Wyncko Tonckens 7 years ago

      Come on guys! Imperial is a thing of the past, Metric is the way to do all measurements it,s easier than you think, it,s all based on the decimal system. This means all units have to be converted into metric and that,s speed and distances, length, weight/mass, temperature and so forth the whole nine METERS people (not yards) Say goodbye to miles, mph, feet, yards, gallons and degrees F.

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      David 7 years ago

      To be fair, even in the UK we still partially use the imperial system. We and the US are 2 of only 3 countries left in the world still using mph on the roads. (I can't remember the 3rd at the moment.) Lots of people in the US seem to think we use km/h on our roads but we don't. Milk still comes in pints in the supermarket as does beer in pubs too.

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      ForFunOnly 7 years ago

      Think about it this way, 7 inches seems smaller than 18 centimeters. So when a guy using the metric system says they have a 10cm pen, they can go around pretending that 10 is bigger than 7. But in reality, 10 is just under 4 inches. Any guy that that uses metric likes to think that they have a big pen... ... Just for Fun!!

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      people, seriously 7 years ago

      ok jeez people. the US dosent wanna change. respect canadian, and yes i use metric and i grew up with it, but i also learned imperial and it isnt that bad...i use inches and centimeters... and plus for the US to change it will cost alot of $$$$$$ i mean to replace road signs, to change all the textbooks etc.

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      Skywalker 7 years ago

      Can you answer me in 5 seconds how many yards are 5.36 miles? 5.36 kilometers = 5360 meters. Or could you answer me in 5 seconds how many inches are 7.24 yards? 7.24 meters = 724cm. Only 3 countrys in the world are still using the stupid imperial system. Any others are using the metric including the U.K. (officially).

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      Troll 7 years ago

      U mad, world?

      Imeprial is fine to me, and it would be rather stupid to convert to Metric if you're used to or only know Imperial... Too late to change now. -_-

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      Geir 7 years ago

      Hey, there is a bolt missing in this American piece of shit! Run down to the hardware store an buy one. It looks to be a 6mm bolt.

      The bolt will of course not fit, since its an 1/4" bolt with 20TPI threads.

      This is the reason US should convert to the metric system. We will not buy your imperial products, and you will loose a lot of jobs. When you convert, and believe me you will, it will be for economic reasons and not practical!


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      I agree 7 years ago


      and Yes, I would have trouble using a time system based on 10...still I think it'd make sense and it'll be a year or two until every young person got used to it, for the older ones it'll take 4-6 years (just like it was when we changed currency).

      I think a time system based on 10 would make things even easier in the long run and our kids would be wondering why their grandparents used that outdated system...

      unfortunately that change is not gonna happen though.

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      I agree 7 years ago

      The system based on 12 DID make sense (we used to use it as well in Germany. 1inch=1Zoll, 1dozen=1Dutzend) comes from times when things had to be observed in their relation to natural phenomena (12 moon cycles in 1 year) and the way we express time is still based on that (12hrs day, 12hrs night)...

      yeah, and we also used to burn witches and believe if a black cat crossed your way it's a bad omen...some of these things DID make sense 600 years ago (well, not the cat and witch thing obviously) most of them don't make much sense in todays world, so they got abandonned and/or replaced with a system that makes more sense.

      I really believe that the Americans complaining are only complaining cause they're either too lazy to change or just to ignorant....

      if "ease of use" was really a valid point, why not change your money system?

      Atm your currency is based on 10 (1$, 10$, 100$, 1000$ etc).

      and then that ridiculous argument "we're living in a free country, we wanna be free to choose what we use"...well, you're also free to choose your own language...make up your own fantasy language, teach your kids that language and be happy that you were free to do'll quickly find out, that you kid's gonna have trouble in the real world cause it won't be able to communicate.

      Also: in the other countries of the world noone is imposing a system on us..I can still use Zoll (=inch) if I want's just stupid, so I choose not to use it.

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      Funnylad 7 years ago

      It's easy to to tell who's american just by the ignorance if their posts, lol. bringing the Same argument over and over again, not understanding that it's been disarmed countless times already, "it's easier to say 1inch than 2.54cm" how can anyone with half a

      brain still think he made a point with that "argument"?

      @Dave: great post!

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      Dave 7 years ago

      I'm a Brit living in the states and I wanted to point something out. The US doesn't interchangeably use multiple systems despite what people seem to imply on this forum. If someone asks me my height and I tell them 192cm, I'm almost always asked what that is in feet and inches. If I buy a tape measure in the US, it will invariably only be in inches. If I buy one in the UK, it will be in inches and cm. America does not generally understand metric, despite what other posters are trying to claim.

      I learnt imperial weights and measures when I was younger and I was very very glad to see the back of it. When the metric system was introduced in Britain, a lot of places started dual labelling things. Food would be priced in pounds and kilos in the supermarkets; temperatures on the weather forecast would be in Celsius and Fahrenheit; liquids would be in pints and litres; etc. It didn't take long for the old imperial measurements to be dropped though.

      The funny thing is, a lot of people say they like inches because they are more suited to everyday use (12 inches instead of 30cm) and then contradict themselves by saying they prefer Fahrenheit because it is more sensitive - when the 20 degrees of a nice day in celsius is far more convenient than the 70 degrees of a nice day in Fahrenheit.

      The reason I like metric more than imperial (as someone who has converted) is just the convenience of having a system that is self consistent. But most of all I like using a system that virtually everyone in the world understands. There were many things I liked about Imperial. It was nice that my foot was about a foot long (measuring rooms and furniture approximately was very easy). I now know that three of my feet is a metre, and the distance from my outstretched hand to my opposite shoulder is also a metre. I know a lot of these rules of thumb, and converting them was no problem at all.

      I just want to correct one other thing though. Americans don't still to Imperial because they are dumb or lazy. It is actually hard work to work with Imperial units. They stick with them because it is a lot of hassle to change (Britain learnt that when it changed - even though the change was totally worth it). They also stick with Imperial measures because they can. They are a large enough market to dictate to other people to a certain extent, and arrogantly do so. Britain wasn't a large enough market to dictate to other people, so to effectively trade with it's most important trade partner (the EU) they really had to convert. The problem for the US is that this won't remain the case. Already many car manufacturers who sell in the US are going metric. Many more will follow. And once China or India take over the place of the US as the biggest economy (which will happen soon), the US will no longer be able to so easily dictate. Eventually to compete with the rest of the world a conversion will be necessary.

      There are many things that are painful in the conversion, but I know I was glad after conversion that when working on a car I no longer needed 3 sets of spanners (metric, Imperial and Whitworth). There are a bunch of other things I'm glad for as well.

      Let me finish with a simple question. In Britain 40 years ago we had non-decimal currency. There were 4 farthings in a penny; 12 pennies in a shilling and 20 shillings in a pound. To further confuse things, 21 shillings were a guinea; 5 shillings were a crown or a dollar; 2 shillings a florin; and so on. If you think that system is ridiculous and you wouldn't take it; then in turn you have to think that Imperial weights and measures are ridiculous. You probably convert between different measures in the Imperial system more often than you think. Fluid ounces into pints; pints into gallons; inches into yards; yards into miles (especially when walking). I'm sure you can do all those conversions - I can do all the conversions between pounds, shillings and pence. It is just that I don't want to hassle of the conversions.

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      universal 7 years ago

      Hey Joe, if you knew anything about America, you would know we use both Metric and English(imperial) systems. In high school we only used the metric system when doing designs in CAD (Computer Aided Design). In college we used both. Also don't patronize us Americans by saying K's (pronounced Kays). We know how to say that because we have something called the 1 Mile, 2 mile 5k and 8k when it comes to running. Also like someone else pointed out we use metric and imperial in guns as well. The .38 Special as well as a 9mm gun. But what I find the most ironic of all of this is that Americans get a bum rap about lazy and unintelligent, however, you (the rest of the world) are too lazy to deal with our imperial measurements and want us to change for your benefit. We already know how to do both, so why don't you learn to do both. Just like when talking to someone in a different language. Would it be nice if everyone used the same measurement, regardless of which it is. Sure. Would it be nice if everyone spoke the same language regardless of what language it is. Of course. But doesn't mean its the only way to live. We know both systems and use both systems. Either learn the other system as well, or stop bitching, and if you guys are all too lazy to learn the other system then you have no right to make fun of Americans for being too damn lazy.

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      Joe 7 years ago

      I love how people from the US always harp on about the "freedom" to choose which system is best like the rest of us oppressed because we (the rest of the world) are "forced" to use the metric system. The rest of the world changed because it is without doubt the superior system.

      We all "choke" when we say 16 kilometres instead of the supposedly simpler 10 miles - right... Just so you know, here in Australia we often say 16 k's (pronounced kays). One syllable, just like miles.

      Also, we have millimetres, centimetres and metres so we can use the most convenient measurement for the occasion. Don't get me started on Fahrenheit and how it's more accurate. In celsius, everyone knows anything under zero is really cold, anything over 30 is hot and anything in between 15-25 degrees celsius is comfortable.

      Use what you like, but don't try and convince everyone else what you use is better. The rest of us will live in our "repressed" countries happily using our easy to use metric system.

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      Qtip 7 years ago

      In the US, we are required to learn both the English and Metric systems of measurement in school. I use both regularly, depending on what is measured. As someone stated earlier, we use whatever system is best suited for the task at hand, since we are allowed a choice and have been taught both. Anyone I know in the states can understand either. Now, when I lived overseas, this was certainly not the case. We have both a .38 special and a 9mm you don't have to be a gun enthusiast to clearly understand or to relate to either term. Not to mention, if you are prescribed 2ml on a prescription (usually for children) or 1 tsp. most of our measurement tools accommodate for both. In the US, being diverse, adaptable, and having a variety of choices is kind of what our foundation was built on. Granted it doesn't always work out in the most positive way, but it has served us well so far.

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      Rainman 7 years ago

      At freeway speeds, if a town is 45 miles away, you will be there in about 45 minutes. Slick! Or, if it is 75 km away, traveling at 95 kph, you'll be there ((75 / 95) * 60 = about 45) in about 45 minutes....

      We engineers need to be fluent in both systems. Metric is best for physics. English is best for everyday life. If you can't remember the last time you needed to convert feet to miles, then English is the system for you.

      The worst part of the metric system is how smug people get about using units that always seem inconveniently large or inconveniently small. That's not superior, it's dumb.

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      Daniel 7 years ago

      I've read a large majority of the comments here, and well I have no replies so here is my two cents.

      Actually, this is a reply! In Australia, somebody is still 6 foot 3 inches tall in daily speaking, but if you were to fill out a form that required height, you'd never see an imperial measurement requested.

      Okay, screw it. These are, in some way or another, replies.

      I would never want to use the imperial system, I know I've grown up metric, but multiples of ten is much easier for use in daily life.

      Also, on the Delaware thing: Delaware is a state, the Czech Republic is a country! Can the people in America even locate the ridiculous amount of states?

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      metric 7 years ago

      "hey there. i need 0.867 square miles land for my new hotel"

      "it's 20 bucks a square yard"

      dear americans

      how much do i have to pay now? isn't it just stupid how long it takes to find that out? :)

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      Nick 7 years ago

      Vael, the whole point of this is that they wouldn't be allowed a choice, lol. And no, the words aren't phasing out. If a woman goes to a slimming club, she loses a pound, not just less than half a kilo.

      No, the words don't fit. The anglophone world, believe it or not, does have a culture, and a long one. Read any poetry, listen to any song and try and fit the word centilitre into it.

      The rise of the metric system parallels the removal of freedom and choice - you know, what democracies are supposed to have.

      I don't question the right of anyone to live how they want in their country; I just want to live how I want in mine, OK?

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      Roger 7 years ago

      The last time I checked, were in america. And in america, we don't use fancy things like centi-maters and kilogaphs. Palin for president! USA USA USA!!!!!!!

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      Vaeil 7 years ago


      And would they go back if given the choice? I doubt it. Again, all the arguments you can come up with are arguments from point of already having it; "I don't want change." - There is no real argument for not going metric beside the hassle of switching.

      GB still uses those words, however, they are slowly starting to phase out, and people do know what you mean when you use metric.

      Oh, and about 'words don't fit'. Make them fit. So many languages use the words already, even in song. And if you're really keen on using words; Use the military word 'click' instead.

      Again, this is just an argument from "We don't use Metric now so why should we?". Stop living in your own world. Things go wrong because you cling on to useless systems while the rest of the world is being sensible. It's not the middle ages anymore, people halfway around the world do influence you now.

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      Tristam 7 years ago

      Get it right, it's "Celsius" not Centigrade. The last time Centigrade was used was 1948.

      This article was wonderful. It highlighted the importance of the Metric system. Why should America change? Because the Metric system is an International standard. Since we are all using the Internet now having a unified efficient system is pretty important. How important? NASA uses the metric system.

      In the comments people spoke mainly of three categories: Length, Volume and Temperature. Wouldn't it be great if we had a system that united all of these? Guess what, there is ! 1L of water is 1Kg. I wonder what water is at 0°C and 100°C are respectively?? At 0°C, water is at triple point and at 100°C it's at boiling. Oh, you want an accurate measurement for frozen water ... wow -1°C that was so hard.... please my brain hurts. Oh please don't make me use decimals... because clearly all computer programs would run better if we were forced to use integers.

      Wouldn't it be great if we had a system where you could just count like you do in natural language? Oh... do I have to go over to Metric? My brain still hurts from thinking one degree lower than zero. Let's just destroy the English language, speak with inconsistent pronunciation and spell things however we want. Yeah, because international standardisation is terrible yeah. Metric system, why use a system that is used for measuring CPUs and atoms. The standard for Physics all over the world.

      Let's use a system that difficult to convert, unsuitable for science and has no term lower than inches.

      And how about Fahrenheit???

      "The second point, 100 degrees, was the level of the liquid in the thermometer when held in the mouth or under the armpit of his wife"

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      Nick Hill 7 years ago

      The truth is that there was never any popular enthusiasm for metric in Australia or Canada - they weren't given any choice in the matter, their governments told them they were changing and that was that.

      In England someone is still six foot two, not whatever the hell that height is in metric.

      Ever hear the Seekers or Peter and Gordon sing 500 miles? Mile, foot, inch - these are words that fit the english language. Kil-oh-meeter, cent-ee-meter, keel-o-gram - forget it. Ugly, horrible, clunking words that just don't fit. Sod the metric system, now and forever.

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      lol 7 years ago

      what about football

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      Crispy 7 years ago

      The US still uses English units because no one has *forced* us to be metric. If we did, I'm sure plenty of people would be fine with it and learn (someone mentioned that's why God gave us a brain) but the small minority who are not willing will whine and moan until they get their way.

      Remember when the colorized $20 bills came out in 2004? Everyone said they looked like Monopoly money and expressed dislike, but it was forced upon us and now it's second nature to see one. The medical field is metricated, our food products have metric printed on it, it's just a matter of rounding the measurements to usable numerals-- "400 mL (23.7 FL OZ)" is more convenient than "24 FL OZ (407 mL)."

      As for road signs, they should be dual signed for a year (SPEED LIMIT 105 km/h (65 MPH)) and as the English signs need replacement, simply remove them altogether. It's like learning a language: if you have English to fall back on, you'll never learn Spanish unless you're fully immersed and forced to try it.

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      Jacob 7 years ago

      T S -not saying americans are stupid(assholes are everywhere)I just specified location as my experience is that many people dont know.

      Vaeil- I agree. to use metrics is easier for everybody. All countries are connected nowdays, and using metrics is necessity(setting up international standars, dealing with companies etc). Countries using metrics are not going to switch to imperial, because it is simply much worse system.

      Changing system is not going to change your habits, and culture of your country. So you can still keep your nice gun, call it 38.

      Yeah, and Why I am speaking English?because it is very easy language to use, and everybody understand..the same with metrics

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      Vaeil 7 years ago

      Delaware would be just east of Maryland, Manitoba west of Ontario. States and provinces generally aren't a problem, though I fail to see how this is relevant when it comes to a discussion about measurements.

      "I disagree with your insistence on forcing your people to use one, " - And I completely disagree with you. People SHOULD use one measurement system. We don't live in a closed off world anymore. Hell, "use what you want" is such a bad idea, it even made space probes crash down. We live in an international world now, and a single system of measurement would be an amazing benefit. The rest of the world has already chosen the right one, it's time for those last few countries to do so as well.

      "what kind of moron wouldya be to say "Hey bob nice gun. .38 special?"" - Well, probably an American, since you still have those silly gun laws, but apart from that. This is the same issue as we dealt with earlier on those cans. We don't use '9.652' rounds. We just use 10 mm or 9 mm rounds.

      "only the white-coated scientific nerds who wear pocket protectors and did extracurricular stuff in school should use metric. " - Actually, a lot of people use metric. The very fact that in most countries, everyone uses the same easy system means that we all understand each other perfectly. Why on earth would you use a different system of measurement in your daily life than you would at work? Why would you use a different system everywhere?

      There is NO need for Imperial whatsoever. For the sake of the international world, just learn Metric.

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      Robert 7 years ago

      Thats weerd, a million comments and no cussin'! Ha ha. Anyway, metric sucks because what kind of moron wouldya be to say "Hey bob nice gun. .38 special?" "No, we went metric. Now its a 3.1415 million-nano-deci-bolt." I like my gallons, yards, miles, quarts, and pounds just fine. And so what if you have to use your head? Thats what God gave us brains for. If ya ask me, only the white-coated scientific nerds who wear pocket protectors and did extracurricular stuff in school should use metric. And they should stop imposing their dumb ideas on all the rest of uPr

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      Quentin 7 years ago

      The US have adopted the metric system.They have computers (Binary is metric).They can add and subtract (Metric application).They just convert it to a language they like and can psychically relate to.In time it will change.Stubborn patriotism or arrogance cant stand in the way of progress.As stated before the US have already converted it will just take time for the ordinary folk to become familiar and comfortable with the use there of.

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      T S 7 years ago

      We in the United States aren't idiots. We know where the Czech Republic is. Haven't you heard, Americans love to travel to Prague. Can the average European tell me where Delaware is or even Manitoba in Canada? Our nation is large and diverse, we have a lot to learn about our own continent.

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      Jacob 7 years ago

      good article, but very simple fight.

      Somebody mentioned here it is all about what are people used to.

      If you look on British, cause UK is actually place where imperial system is comming from, you see they use still Pounds, not Euro as many countries down here in Europe nowdays. This is because of historical reasons.

      Some years ago, people just simply used for measuring objects feet, inch and things people have in their daily life:)

      And what about business?

      I live in Czech republic(for US people- thats in Europe).

      I daily communicate with US companies, and they all use metrics.

      What if you want to build a house? Do you go to cityhall or where you people in US go ,and show them plans in metrics(meter) or Feets?

      Basicaly every nation has had theirs own currencies, and measurement systems. Most of Europe went Metric, and it was a good step.

      We use metric system, as whole Europe, and I can´t complain.

      My opinion- US go metric, and let Imperial system to Britain.

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      Stosh 7 years ago

      You are defending a false-choice. We use both measurement systems in the U.S. I'm glad to live in a country where one is free to chose whichever measurement system best suits the application.

      I disagree with your insistence on forcing your people to use one, and only one measurement system, but that is your choice and I accept it. Please return the favor, and accept our choice to expand the measurement systems that are available to us, instead of narrowing them.

      Also, if you have a GOOD reason for making your available tools for understanding the universe smaller, then forward that. But: "it's too much work to know more than one" doesn't really fit the "GOOD reason" request now does it?

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      Handsome Harry 7 years ago

      To not go metric is as ?????????? unlogical is as close as I could come.

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      HondaSushi 7 years ago

      Metric rocks, Imperial sucks, I understand that everyone is different everyone may like this and may like that, but this is a different subject. I live in Australia and Metric is the way to go, if America doesn't switch they'll fall behind and will always be behind.

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      Costa  8 years ago

      Hmm, Honda motorcycles made in the U.S, (American Honda Motor Co.Torrance, California) Why do they use metric nuts and bolts?

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      Billy-Bob 8 years ago

      Did you know that metric time was instituted in France for 5 years after the French revolution, only stupid people had a hard time adjusting and now we are still stuck with a stupid and akward measure of time around the world? I want to switch to metric time. Unfortunately there are too many stupid people who can't recognize the significance of the advantages. Regardless, a good day to you all!

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      Crazy in the UK 8 years ago

      You could always meet half way like loads of us in Britain do. If it is 50f/10c or less we use centigrade if it is warmer we like farenheit though the weather always show celsius they tend to give the farenheit equivalent if it's warm. Seems people like a warm day in the 70's but prefer it below 0 if it's cold ha ha We call it centiheit

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      Nick 8 years ago

      Cans aren't 355mL in metric countries.

      Europe uses 330mL so that they can fit 24 in an 1000 x 1200mm pallet.

      Australian pallets are larger, and we use 375mL bottles.

      355mL is pretty much confined to America.

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      Craig 8 years ago

      Aussie 1985. The reason cans are 355ml in Metric countries and to standardise or is that standardize the sizing around the world. Why have 1.25 litre or liter bottles ? Because they are based on US Imperial sizing. Hate to say it but from a consumer perspective the US is the center or centre of the world. :s

      Ask why a 2 litre or liter bottle in the US has such a weird Imperial sizing. Because it was created in a metric country.... Actually I think they are marked 2 liter.....

      Oh while I have a bee in my bonnet or is that

      Aluminium not Aluminum, but I will forgive that. But I will not forgive the pronunciation of the word Missile. A Missile is a projectile weapon. And you do pronounce Projectile using they ILE not the LE. Oh also not related did you know the term miss in missile is because the projectile weapon actually explodes close to the target and does not actually hit it. That would be called a Hitile or a guided rocket. Same reason why you detonate a Bomb before it hits the ground. Bigger explosion thus greater destructive yield. Or is that "Give Way"

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      Craig 8 years ago

      Good Response Vaeil about the Trade system. The problem with the worlds biggest consumer market staying imperial is that clothing sizes are always made in imperial sizing for them and are up converted or down converted to a Metric sizing. That's why when buying clothes the sizing varies so much.

      Just stop complaining and go metric already. If it truly is a secret society like the FreeMasons (Stonecutters, see Simpsons Episode Homer the Great) stopping this (Sorry Dan brown but they are secret) then wouldn't they benefit by the US going metric, then their secret codes based on imperial measures and weight would be even harder to crack. :D

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      Vaeil 8 years ago

      Unit between centimeter and meter: Decimeter, which is 10cm, or 1/10 m. 5dm = 50cm, or 0.5m. 3.82dm is 38.2cm. SI units use basic, standardized prefixes for this: - So in the same way, there's units between meter and kilometer, 1 decameter = 10m, 1 hectometer = 100 meter or 1/10 kilometer. This is the same for everything, centiliter, deciliter, liter, decaliter, etc.

      Nor do we use things like "355mL can". The standard is a 33cL can, which would be 11.2 fl oz - This is all just a case of standards, and isn't an argument in favour of either side. America uses 12 oz because it's a round number for them, most metric countries use a 33cL can because it's about the same, yet an easy number (And, *3, pretty much a litre).

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      Aussie1985 8 years ago

      I grew up using the metric system in Australia and thought it was great. I am currently living and working in the USA for 7 years and really like the non-metric system or whatever you want to call it. its not as easy to convert by just moving the decimal (which I kinda miss) but rarely do you need to find out how many inches are in 534 miles. I like how the measurements don't really use such or small numbers. For example, its nice saying the can of soda is 12 ounces rather than 355mL and saying the poster is 3ft4in long as opposed to 102cm. Our numbers get so large because we don't have any unit of measurement between cm and M (or at least I don't know of one). What I don't like thought is their is no unit smaller than an inch. If you want to measure anything smaller than an inch you have to start using fractions and stuff which is confusing. What I really like and wish we would use back in Australia is Fahrenheit. I love the Fahrenheit scale. With the larger amount of numbers, the use for decimals isn't really needed.

      Before anybody says anything like "why don't you just move to the US then"..1st of all thats really stupid to say, just because I like the "American System" of measuring and 2nd I love Australia. Its my home, my family and friends live there and I love my city I live in. Go Brisbane! I don't know why us metric users always bash the other system. It really isn't thats bad. Theirs nothing difficult to in remembering that water freezes at 32 and boils at 212 and that their 5280ft in a mile. Its like riding a bike once you know how you always do. I'm not saying everybody should convert back, I'm just saying it not such a bad system as everybody makes it seem to be. Thought as I said I do miss the ability to convert easier.

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      scott 8 years ago

      hahaha!! how can you not figure out which is bigger from 3/64 and 5/32! 5/32 is 10/64, so bigger, takes half a second to multiply it by two lol.

      one of the reasons i love mitsubishi is that they are the only company tenacious enough to purely use metric on their cars, even down to the diameter of the exhaust pipe!

      I dont know about everyone else but i find it really easy to change systems on the fly, i can convert between bar, kpa, psi, atmospheres and inches of h2o without breaking a sweat. its not hard.

      america just throw out the old rubbish like you did with black and white tv's, carburetted cars, betamax, cassette and hd-dvd. that crap is all great - for hobbyists.

      bigger, better, faster. isnt that what america is all about?

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      Vaeil 8 years ago

      About the "Milimiter, why so small" comment, if 104 mm of rain falls, just call it 10 cm. Which is perfectly usable.

      About the "Why change" comment, because America isn't a closed world. We live in a world of trade, and American standard units are different from that of the rest of the world. We don't have to visit the USA to be affected by imperial units. It's time for the world to choose one system, and metric is simply the system to choose.

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      Why 8 years ago

      I don't get what everybody's deal is with the U.S not "legally" converting to metric. In fact, we use metric fully in medicine, science and on all of our labels of food which is measured in grams and stuff. It's not our official measurement but we use it a lot. We are not the only country to use the imperial units. I have Canadian and Mexican friends who cant even visualize what a centimeter looks like. They use Fahrenheit to cook with, measure in feet and inches, weight in pounds, it's NOT just us. I don't here ANYBODY getting mad at the UK for still measuring in miles and MPH. People think the the U.S ONLY still uses the imperial system and solely the imperial system. I really like to measure in Fahrenheit. If anybody does reasearch on it, you will see it was made SPECIFICALLY to measure weather temp, body temp, ect. We use a larger amount of numbers to get a precise temperature. Celsius was made for the the hell of having 0 freezing and 100 boiling. (O no, we have to remember 32 and 212 what are we going to do). To get as precise as Celsius you have to use either decimals or fractions and you have to use negatives more. One degree in Celsius can make a little bit more difference than one degree in Fahrenheit. I know, I've used it enough to realize it. All in all, who cares if Americans rather drive 500 miles than 804 Kilometers. Who cares if we rather use the word MILE in our songs because it rolls of the tongue easier than kilometers. Who cares if we rather say it rained 4 inches than 102 millimeters (what, you people couldn't find a smaller unit to measure in). Who cares if we rather say Mt. Everest is 29,029 feet than 8,848 meters. We never told the world that they had to convert to this other way of measure things so, why does the world think they can tell us to change to this thing because ours doesn't work for them. You don't see the U.S telling the world to switch back. Everybody says it is so difficult to remember that, 212 is boiling temp, 5280 feet in a mile, 1 US gallon is 128 US fluid ounces, ect. Well than, how do you remember all those words in your language and phone numbers. Should we all than change to the Hawaiian language because it only has 12 letters. I will admit their are some advantages to the metric system. I like to use cm and mm for measuring small objects. I couldn't tell you if 3/64 is larger or 5/32. Thats when inches does not come in handy. It might be nice for converting just by moving the decimal point. For the most part this system works fine for us and if you don't like it, don't visit the U.S, you have plenty of other countries to choose from.

      WOW, they say Americans are lazy.

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      Costa  8 years ago

      I also grew up using a bit of both systems! Being a refrigeration mechanic I worked with PSI,CFM F ect. I must say it is the system that you are used to, or grew up with you would prefer! So yes i will biased as well! Imperial is a crappy outdated system!!! What the hell is 3/64, 5/32 which one is larger? Why wont the USA go metric? Too stubborn? Afraid of change? Who cares if water boils and condenses at exactly 212 degrees Fahrenheit. We are not discussing accuracy here, what we are talkin about here is the convenience and ease of the metric system, freezing = zero, boiling = one hundred! Simple!

      Man the whole world is metric except the US, come on that’s got to tell you something! Even Canadians have come to the party!

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      Vaeil 8 years ago


      They are both equally accurate, as they are both DEFINED values.

      0 degrees Celcius is DEFINED as being the temperature where water changes states solidliquid, while 32 degrees Fahrenheit is DEFINED as the temperature where water liquefies.

      It's a pathetically weak argument that makes no sense on Chris' part.

      If we see normal speech, 0 and 100 degrees centigrade are both more than exact enough for the usage of water by 'normal' people. Saying your boiling water is 100 degrees centigrade isn't completely right, but the difference between how exact it is and how exact 212 degrees Fahrenheit is isn't valid in real life.

      On the same time, we could turn the question around and go to the field of science: At what temprature, in Fahrenheit does water liquefy? It's not 32 degrees.

      Not that that question is actually important beyond linguistics. Chris makes no sense in calling it up because it's not valid for the actual use of trying to prove Imperial is easier.

      Obviously this is biased, but the fact of the matter is that the 7 defined units of SI are extremely easy to fit together, and that in extent, the derived units are easy to work with in accordance with the rest as well.

      For example, in the kitchen. I measure the weight of some flower, and then I have to add milk to it. Luckily, thanks to SI, if I need to add 300cl of milk, 300 extra gram on the scales is going to be exact enough. (Milk isn't water, but it's close enough).

      It's simple, for two reasons, one arguable, one not. For one, base 10 is simple, arguable, but most of the arguments on the other side boil down to "It's more natural". But the second factor, unarguable, that makes it so simple is that EVERYTHING is base 10. Liters, Meters, everything. This makes calculations with multiple units extremely easy.

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      lol 8 years ago

      Get your facts right you prick. US uses US customary measures, not English imperial. UK gallon =4.54L, Us gallon = 3.8l, just as one example

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      Siyang 8 years ago

      Well, *obviously* this is biased. You can't express an opinion without being biased.

      The imperial system is not extremely difficult to use, but in my opinion, it's still pointless to make everything uselessly difficult for young children to learn.

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      Sithira Nelaka 8 years ago

      this is biased

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      Anonymous Fred 8 years ago

      I learnt both Metric and Imperial when I was growing up. I think that imperial is ridiculously outdated amd inconveniently difficult to use. This 'boxing match' sums it up beautifully and highlights the comparatively useless nature of the Imperial system.

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      ickest  8 years ago

      thank you this is very helpfull for my project

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      Johnny Katz 8 years ago

      I could remember California going Metric in 1979 and 1980 for a short time until they changed it back to the old way due to complaints . The freeways had markings in Km and the wheather was given in Centigrade . All though the metric push of the 70s and 80s has fizzled out, there are still some old freeway signs today that have distance given in both miles and Km through out the state

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      Kebab 8 years ago

      GG Good game

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      grc 8 years ago

      @chris... and i always thought 0 degrees c was 32 degrees f... every conversion calculator ive used has always given me 32 degrees f = 0 degrees c in that case how is 0c not as accurate as 32f

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      Benjamin 8 years ago

      the US has been wooped here, so in its defence I'll say that as far as vehicles are concerned for some inexplicable reason people use imperial.

      Other than that only a patriotic bunch are stubborn enough to stick with the old system.

      The reason I came here is that I'm programming vehicle dynamics for a game, and sent some code to someone in the U.S. when I got it back and remerged the car started showing silly behavior. He knew I wasn't a yank... but these guys just have to impose it on th rest of us!! now I've wasted hours going over code with a calculator!

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      Wyncko Tonckens 8 years ago

      It,s about time for the US to go metric, the senseless imperial measurement system will be a thing of the past. Look at Canada for example!


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