By insanejedi 188 Comments
I always get into these international conversations between people from Canada and Europe saying how backwards Americans are for using the imperial system, and nothing boils my blood up more than not only unearned but also completely wrong intellectual superiority.
This the most cited reason for using the metric system is using the base 10 formula. Kilometer is 1000 meters, a kilogram is 1000 grams ect. But everyone seems to fail to realize that you can do the same thing with the imperial system.
Take the kilopound, it's 1000 pounds, a cenipound could be 1/100 of a pound. You've just taken the base 10 advantage of the metric system and applied it to the imperial system with little to no reducation of training.
Also the reason why the conversions of imperial are always 3 feet = yard, 12 inches = 1 feet is because base 3, 4 numbers have more factors than base 10.
Numbers that can divide by base 10
- 1, 2 ,5, 10
Numbers that can divide by base 12 (12 inches = foot)
- 1,2,3, 4, 6, 12
Numbers that can divide by base 16 (16 Ounces = 1 Pound)
- 1, 2, 4, 8, 12
As a result you can divide 12 by 3 or 4 without ending up with decimals or reconverting the whole unit system. This is why it has been used for centuries because it was easier to deal with in everyday life without ending up in tedious decimal places.
News flash, metric is just as arbitrary and unscientific as the imperial system.
Take a Metre for example. A meter was based between the distance between the north pole to the equator and was designed to be 1/10 000 000 of that distance. And then it turned out to be wrong, to fix that and to base it on a more scientific number it became the distance a speed of light traveled in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 seconds.
Wow like that couldn't have been done with by a yard! A yard could have just been redefined as the distance the speed of light travels in 1/274131050 seconds and would have been just as scientific.
Literally every measurement in metric not only is completely arbitrary but is based on an object that doesn't even exist. A kilogram is based on several prototypes that are sealed and not allowed access to, or this theoretical silicon sphere that weighs 1kg, but nature prevents you from making a 100% perfect sphere, so it's not even possible to have in the first place.
I don't know, maybe every reason on earth? Economical? Engineering? Cost of human life?
Yes, people will die directly as a result of officially changing to the metric system. Take the Gimli Glider where a passenger jet ran out of fuel half way through the flight because someone refueled it in pounds rather than kilograms.
Also it will take forever if not impossible to convert to the metric system, and no country in the world can claim to be fully converted.
Go look at European websites for goods and services and see how many times imperial measurements come up.
Why? Because when you decide to use metric, the rest of the worlds machines built in imperial don't magically change to metric. Screws, nuts, bolts, robotic cutting devices, ect on assets expected to last 20 years were built using imperial standard. Now when you make everything metric the dimensions are not the same so you end up with awkward measurements like soda bottles with 591ml.
As a result people who were going to be the "metric generation" ended up learning the imperial system anyways, and we have come to the worst case scenario of only knowing metric system in a world advertising itself as imperial.
How do I know? Because I'm a Canadian born in the late 80s when they instituted the metric system, and I still get angry everytime I get into an argument about the metric system inside of a steakhouse that is serving steak by the Oz."Metric is the only way to go! Can I have the 16 oz. Prime Rib please?"
Whats more annoying still is that the conversion process is insanely expensive.
Did you know a road sign costs over $400 to install? Now imagine replacing every roadsigns in the United States for $400 a piece for that system. Then pay for education, and also pay for the inevitable mistakes that will result of switching.
Is there a solution to the madness?
Yes, just let the free market decide which measurements make sense and which don't. You already have metric elements in the US out of no legislation to have them. 2L bottles of soda is an accepted measurement that for whatever reason have found to be logical. This way the system naturally progresses to the best standard.