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Zxian

Imperial vs Metric

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Slashdot had a discussion that relates:

http://ask.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/01/12/2338259

"Despite past efforts of the 1970s and 1980s, the United States remains one of only three countries (others are Liberia and Myanmar) that does not use the metric system. Staying with imperial measurements has only served to handicap American industry and economy. Attempts to get Americans using the Celsius scale, or putting up speed limits in kilometers per hour have been squashed dead. Not only that, but some Americans actually see metrication efforts as an assault on 'our way' of measuring. I personally deal with European scientists on a daily basis, and find our lack of common measurement to be extremely frustrating. Are we so entrenched with imperial units that we cannot get our fellow citizens to simply learn something new? What are those of us who wish to finally see America catch up to the rest of the world supposed to do? Are there any organizations that we may back, or any pro-metric legislators who we can support?"

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Boy, that's a long list of replies. Good and bad arguments on both sides.

NASA has ostensibly used the metric system since about 1990, the statement said, but English units are still employed on some missions, and a few projects use both. NASA uses both English and metric aboard the International Space Station. The dual strategy led to the loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter robotic probe in 1999; a contractor provided thruster firing data in English units while NASA was calculating in metric.

Fastest man made object:standard, men walking on the moon:standard, loss of Orbiter:metric.

Buahahahhaha.

The SI unit for time is defined as the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the Cs-133 atom.

If you can't remember this simple fact, you are not worthy.

I'm not worthy.

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I have always thought that the imperial system was a bit odd - whereas SI uses a very easy to understand system using base 10. Imperial is base whatever-we-feel-like-for-this-unit. When I get my height measured at the doctor and they tell me I'm 70 inches tall I have to think "wait... so divide by twelve and then the remainder is..." and it's quite annoying. If they could just tell me that I'm 177.8 centimeters tall, it's easy for me to look and see that ok, I'm 1.778 meters tall. Simple dividing by 10.

Then you get in to things like miles.... I can never remember what a mile is. Where the heck do 5280 feet in a mile come from? A kilometer makes perfect sense - kilo=1000; 1000 meters. Simple.

Also, in science classes we always use metric - if you turn in a lab with measurements in ounces instead of mL or if you give inches instead of CM, you will lose a lot of points. The fact is, in science, even in the U.S., SI is the standard.

That said, I still have to use imperial in my everyday life. How many miles from A. to B. How many pounds of apples. Etc.

The one unit that everyone has the same, and the one that I think is the most convoluted is time. Since it's all based on revolutions around the sun and the rotation of the earth, etc. it's a tad harder to control - we can't change how many days are in a year. We could change the length of minutes, hours and seconds though so there could be say 100 seconds in a minute, 100 minutes in an hour and 10 hours in a day or something like that. No, I haven't actually looked at those numbers to see how it would work out.

Anyhow, that's my opinion. SI pwns imperial. :D

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@Idontwantspam- and think about how nicely the divisions of a circle work out in degrees. At one time there was a number system that used 60 as the main factor. Base twelve works well with a lot of this stuff.

DL

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we can't change how many days are in a year. We could change the length of minutes, hours and seconds though so there could be say 100 seconds in a minute, 100 minutes in an hour and 10 hours in a day or something like that. No, I haven't actually looked at those numbers to see how it would work out.

Be consequent. Just dump minutes and seconds and start talking about centi- deci- and millidays. One old second is ~10 microday.

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Metric all the way. Fahrenheit makes no sense to me. Neither do feet, miles, furlongs, hog heads... etc.

I use feet frequently, and inches but only when estimating short distances and I don't care for accuracy. lbs also.

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