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View Poll Results: Should the US switch to metric units?
Yeah, ASAP!! 71 73.96%
I dunno. Let me think about it. 7 7.29%
Now why would anyone use the metric system? 18 18.75%
Voters: 96. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-13-2015, 08:07 PM   #121 (permalink)
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Gentlemen! Do not spoil such wonderful thread with pointless flamewar, please.
You do realize you're in The Lounge? Dukes Up! We'll never get past ten pages otherwise.

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So nobody 'owns' it, it is a property of our planet.
Except that they got it wrong. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_metre

So they went to multiple archival platinum rulers. Then a single International Standard bar with ruled lines instead of measuring end-to-end. Still not good enough:

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The metre is the length equal to 1 650 763.73 wavelengths in vacuum of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the levels 2p10 and 5d5 of the krypton 86 atom.
So much more humane than the length of your stride, am I right? The strength of the metric system is it encompasses measures like the Coulomb that were macht nichts in Greek and Roman times.

How did that ten hour day work out?

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Old 12-14-2015, 03:41 AM   #122 (permalink)
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I am one foot longer than my wife, my 8 year old son already outgrown her shoe size.
For her foot and mile and paces are useless measurements.
For me they would be pretty much spot on, but as I am accustomed to metric I have to convert if I want to use them anyway, on top of that I am much less familiar with multiplying with 12 and dividing by 8 and so than with multiplications by the order of 10.
You can do halves and quarters in a 10 based system too. But unit conversions are no more difficult than shifting the decimal point.

Whether the decimal system is logical by itself is not the issue. We all use it.
A 12-based calculus would make imperial unit conversions easier, but even 'imperialists' use decimal.

The unit system you use will form your habits.
If cup is used as a measure sure enough most cup makers will make cups that match that size.
We have cups in all sizes, we take the one that suits the size of our drink (or thirst!) best.
Mugs tend to be 1/4 liter but not by definition.
When I cook I use the digital scale to measure quantities.

I won't say the metric system is better per sé.
I just want to state that when you grow up with it it is every bit as useful as the imperial system is to those who use that.
Making the changeover will require some getting used to, that is clear.
Two centuries after the change we still use remnants like the pound (homologated to 500 grammes) and ounce (raised 3˝ times to 100 grammes). The 'duim' (inch) and 'el'
(two feet) got lost except in old sayings.

And yes, the meter is close but not exactly the same as 1/10,000,000 the distance from pole to equator, as the 18th century French scientists who did the measuring only had telemetry tools with limited precision.
That precision is irrelevant though; once metered out the measure itself becomes the standard. Just as has happened with other standards.

The point is that they tried to create a truly global standard to facilitate scientific correspondence and trade all over the world.
What better source than the globe itself? Pity it is so big, but hey.
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Last edited by RedDevil; 12-14-2015 at 07:42 AM..
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Old 12-14-2015, 12:52 PM   #123 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by myself
We'll never get past ten pages otherwise.
See it worked. (actually I thought it was a different thread. )

Even though it is a struggle to define the units; as you say, people will accommodate themselves to the result. The real tension is between the decimal and duodecimal systems. With binary, octal and hexadecimal coming on strong the last 50 years.
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Old 12-14-2015, 02:12 PM   #124 (permalink)
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Construction using US measurements is tedious... I need to cut my 16' 8 1/4" board down by 3 11/16" which is... a waste of mental processing power and likely responsible for millions of dollars lost in making the wrong cuts.

The US should make road signs with MPH in large bold numbers and KPH in smaller letters. Then slowly transition to where the signs read in bold KPH and small MPH. Finally, MPH should be eliminated. This is how a successful transition would have to work. We already accept costly and difficult transitions in most states with Daylight Wasting Time; this is a much more important cause.

The crazy thing is that international units for aviation are given in US measurements instead of metric. Knots, really?
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Old 12-14-2015, 03:28 PM   #125 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by redpoint5 View Post
.....The US should make road signs with MPH in large bold numbers and KPH in smaller letters. Then slowly transition to where the signs read in bold KPH and small MPH. Finally, MPH should be eliminated. This is how a successful transition would have to work. We already accept costly and difficult transitions in most states with Daylight Wasting Time; this is a much more important cause. ......
They did the road signs as you described in the 1970's - and the plan was as you also described. The resistance was HUGE!!!
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Old 12-14-2015, 04:05 PM   #126 (permalink)
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It's unconstitutional to apply a rational system across the US.
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Old 12-14-2015, 04:48 PM   #127 (permalink)
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Bought sockets in March 1969, both Metric and American. Used American more back then Metric more now, SK Wayne. No big deal to me either way. 12 Shallow 12 point Metric Snap-on sockets now, 3/8th drive, hardly ever use them but they do come in handy occasionally.

Nice Snap on box also, never could afford one when I was working full time, got this one from a city worker's wife 7 years after he passed. Sold for $1700 in 1986, paid $500 for top and bottom boxes.

Got 55 bit & brace bits, they came in 16ths increments, pick them up occasionally at garage and estate sales, got 6 for a dollar once.

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Old 12-14-2015, 11:42 PM   #128 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Fat Charlie View Post
It's unconstitutional to apply a rational system across the US.
If someone ever invents a system that actually is rational, then we can talk. But the metric system isn't rational at all: it's just irrational in a different way.
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Old 12-15-2015, 01:01 AM   #129 (permalink)
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In order to continue this discussion we must all understand the 3 main differences between imperial and metric systems:
  1. The metric system defines each unit as a function of other units. For example: A liter is 0.1m x 0.1m x 0.1m . In imperial, each measurement can be defined by analogue, but historically they are unrelated.
  2. The metric system is base-10, just like the number system we all use to count. In imperial each measurement has a different base: base-12, base-16, base-5280, etc.
  3. The actual scalar length of the meter is more or less arbitrary, just like the inch or pound. On Earth or on a different planet, neither is better.

Summing up: The strength of the metric system is not in the defined length of the meter, but in its base-10 calculation system. The meter might as well be an inch long, or the gram may weigh an ounce, it doesn't matter.

So, discussing discussing whether a gallon (US or Imp?) of water is this many fluid ounces or weighs that many ounces is totally unrelated to how much a gallon or ounce actually is.

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Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
If someone ever invents a system that actually is rational, then we can talk. But the metric system isn't rational at all: it's just irrational in a different way.
And what would this rational system have/not have, which would differ it from the imperial or metric systems?

Or by rational do you mean rational numbers? This would mean all measurements must be a rational number (fraction of whole numbers), so there could not be lengths or volumes equal to, say, 'pi' or 'square root of 2'?
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Old 12-15-2015, 01:15 AM   #130 (permalink)
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I'd like metric a lot better if we calculated in base 12 or base 60, but I'm not going to press for that. The US might consider actually fulfilling the promise made to Canada, that if we switched, you would follow six months later. I've been wasting time doing conversions as your neighbor ever since. Almost every other country finds it awkward to do business with you. With no neighbors, Australia converted to metric and it only took two weeks for people to stop complaining. If you think this is hard, take a look at Sweden, where they changed which side of the road they drive on.

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