Why The Metric System Sucks

I own one of these, but mine glows in the dark! Very often, I find myself listening to the same stupid conversation from some people who otherwise call themselves American. Usually one person complains about the fact that America doesn’t use the metric system, and then the other person or people agree. That is, until I show up.

See, I’ve made it my personal goal in life to decry the evils of the metric system and instead advance the continued use of the customary system, which I believe is not only wonderful, but far better than the metric system, a system, by the way, first adopted in France.

See, the main argument for the metric system, from its supporters, is that the conversions are all in tens. There’s 100 centimeters in a meter, and 1000 grams in a kilogram. Thus, its supporters argue, it is a more natural counting system, as you only have to remember one number, and that number is ten, which is also the basis of our decimal counting system.

To this, I say, “fine.” I understand that ten is easier for those of simple minds. But the rest of the metric system is ridiculous! Examine, for example, the measurements of each unit:

  • Meter – One meter is equal to the distance that light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second.
  • Kilogram – One kilogram is equal to (get this) the mass of the “international prototype of the kilogram.” [General Conference on Weights and Measures]
  • Degree Celsius – One degree C is equal to the fraction of 1/273.16 “of the thermodynamic temperature of the triple point of water.” (I don’t even understand what this one means.)

Compare this to the ease of one inch being the length of your thumb, for example, and it’s easy to see that while the metric system may have tens, the customary system has humanity. Perhaps the best illustration of this is found in measuring temperature.

Celsius, as any metric fanatic will tell you, is simple because 0 is the temperature of freezing water (at 1 atmosphere) and 100 is the temperature of water boiling (at 1 atm). Whoop-dee-doo. I can’t recall how many times I’ve been in the kitchen, thinking, “well what temperature should I set the pot on my stove so that this water will eventually boil?” Oh wait, yes I can: that’s never happened. Because that’s ridiculous. There’s no time that any normal person would ever need to know what temperature the water should be at to freeze or boil. All they need is a stove or a freezer.

Fahrenheit, on the other hand, has much more useful measurements. [At this point, someone will scream, “who can remember 32 or 212??” to which I respond, “me,” and see the paragraph above, “who cares?”] 0 is the temperature at which ice will not melt no matter how much salt you add to it. 100 is (approximately) human body temperature.

So you look at the thermometer outside and it says ‘0’ – don’t bother salting your sidewalks! You look at your oral thermometer and it says ‘98.6’ (look, they made the system a long time ago, but they were close), BAM, you’re okay! No fever here. Too bad the Celsius thermometer isn’t as easy. “36.8” just isn’t as easy to remember. I rest my case.

  • Guest

    Ah – I *can* post again!
    OK, here goes: Americans HATE metric. But here's how THEY use it RIGHT NOW:

    Tire sizes are in mm (the first number); prescriptions and nutrition is in grams & calories; engines are in liters and cc, car tires & bolt patterns are in mm; all runs and walks are all in km; all Professional cameras have been 35mm, wine is sold in liters, eyewear is measured and manufactured in mm. I have a LONG list if anyone want me to post it.

    Einstein, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and George Eastman (Kodak) all *refused* to use imperial. Ben Franklin actually stood on a soap-box and tried yelling at the public (for 4-6 hours per week!) – trying to rid the King's measurement – in favour of science. He failed miserable – even though he was the US President at the time. In modern times, Obama promised promised conversion, but after 2 terms, …

    Eastman changed film from 1 7/16 inch – to 35mm. That was UNHEARD of in a time where the USA was so against metric. Funny – they HATE the King, yet refuse to abandon his system of measurement – in favour of science. You know: NASA. I'm just being a "mosquito" – Confucius say: Man who think he too insignificant to make a difference …. never been in bed with mosquito. Yes, I *bug*, and am mocked (as Jesus and many inventors were), but I keep trying.

  • Guest

    I am banned from replying, but in *case* I now can, here is my short (if it doesn't go through) reply:
    I *know* it's not about loving a King – it's just a good argument because when I put it in those terms, it makes them think about it. It IS about American's not wanting to change. Oops – until OBAMA touts "change", or M$'s new upgrade comes out – THEN people want the change. But in all other cases, they DON'T WANT CHANGE. But that's closed-minded, and it worships the imperial system.

  • kiwi-ian

    Why the fixation on conversions. I grew up in both an imperial system (UK at the time) and a metric system (France) and can use both but I do not convert from to the other just as when I speak French I think in French and do not translate.

    There is a huge error by people trying to convert from one to the other. A foot is about the length of a large person's foot. Half a metre is about elbow to fingertip. If you work like that, both systems can be visualised.

    It is converting that is causing problems. A tree is 30' tall (9.14m). But is it 30'? Or is it 29'6" (9m) or even 32'10" (10m). 30' was just a rough guess, so convert it roughly – anything between 9-10m. Especially since we wouldn't say 28', we would go up in 5' increments.

    The advantage of the metric system is that all measures are inter-related. 1 lit of water weighs 1kg (not exactly but on human scale terms it does).

    There are those that argue that ease of calculation isn't really an issue. If apples cost $4.33 per pound, how much are 8 apples weighing 2lb 10oz? Or in metric, 1.19kg at $9.55 per kg (that's much easier to calculate).

  • Death

    Numbers and math are a language. We just speak different languages. The system doesn't matter how the scale is set it is arbitrary. As with translations there is always error. Therefore it would be advantages in ways if all spoke the same language. NASA has lost huge projects because of minor fractional difference. But however If some are more advanced keeping scientific knowledge seperate might be an advantage. And speaking differently would only aid the fact.

  • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

    If this is satire, it's not that good. If you are serious, that's just sad.

  • ericmarseille

    What a poor, pathetic and hopeless cretin you are…Hope you're not the average Yank!
    – Meter : was first based on the earth's equator ; in order to make it "appreciable" by the naked eye and practical in everyday measures, it was defined as one four-millionth of the earth's equator…Only very recently has it been refined by measuring light, because of the necessary scientific precision
    – Kilogram : True, it was only a question of reference to the standard kilogram…But listen to this, o honorable dumbass of cosmic proportions : one kilogram is EXACTLY the mass of one liter, that is, 1000 centimeters cube, of water…Get it? I don't think so! You've got a passageway between distances and mass that way, your stupidity! and still using only powers of ten!
    – Celsius temperature scale : This is the simplest temperature scale to use for humans!! zero degrees, water freezes, put on your skates! one hundred degrees, water boils, time for tea! WHAT don't you get in your peanut-shaped brain about that, tell me?

  • andreas

  • Davide Dopesick

    lol the amount of bullshit in this post.

    A degree fahrenheit is not even defined by something, in fact it has been rearranged to meet with the celsius standard, which meets with the kelvin standard, which is actually used by fucking physicists for some reason.
    A pound is defined exactly as 0.45359237 kilograms. oh shit.
    A foot gets even more ridiculous, it is defined to be equal to exactly 0.3048 meters, but in past times every city in europe had it's own fucking definition of foot, because fuck standardizing, we're measuring things based on my fucking fever. Hope you catch a big one.

  • whocares

    As long as we know what the units mean, why should anybody care about the origins?

  • Metric System FTW

    "One kilogram is equal to (get this) the mass of the “international prototype of the kilogram.” [General Conference on Weights and Measures]"

    And one pound is defined as '0.453592…. kg'. It's reliant on the metric system.

    • MC_Squared

      Actually, a kg is defined as "1 liter of distilled water". That's why 1 liter weighs 1 kilo. A kilogram is 1,000 grams, as 1,000 ml is 1 liter.

      A pound is defined as:
      7,000 troy grains.
      Strictly speaking, this was the Roman "libra" pound of 12 ounces, not the more "modern" one of 16. That's where we get "Lbs".

  • E pluribus unum

    So the foot is based on what? then length of your foot? lol… this is so retarded

    • MC_Squared

      Indeed, it IS retarded – the "foot" was originally a Roman's foot [I'm guessing you can guess which Roman]. Then King Edward IV [the ego-head he was] mandated the "new" foot was HIS foot and the revision was a decree.

      That's why I'm so cynical about "Independence Day" and "All hail the King" – it is clear that Americans [who say they HATE the King] – refuse to abandon the King's system – in favor of NASA, science, medical, military…

      when anyone says they prefer feet, gallons, pounds …. over kg, cm, liters … they are flat-out endorsing Kind Edward IV. I just laugh at them and say "Stupid Americans". And since I have citizenships of multiple countries – including the USA (but would NEVER live there again!), I can indeed put them down.

      Also, let us not forget the "original OBSESSED" person – who would stand on a box and yell to passers-by "WE MUST GO METRIC – let's RID THE KING!" That man was BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.

  • Ripping053

    Of course the U.S. ought to change to metric/SI. Metric is a much better system than customary weights and measures.

  • Alec Higgins

    Once you get into physics or engineering, the SI(metric) system makes so much more sense. The US customary system makes absolutely no sense and is based off silly measurements like the length of a dead kings foot. Meanwhile, in metric water freezes at zero, boils at 100. All units go by ten. They actually have units of mass where as the US system it is weight. Furthermore, people don't even know the US units. Can you tell me what a slug is? Or a furlong? It makes absolutely no sense.

    • MC_Squared

      You are indeed correct. Ben Franklin, Ronald Reagan and many others also agree with you whole-heatedly. Most Americans don't like change [until Microsoft mandates it, or Obama campaigns with it], and clearly love the King and don't want to leave his ingenious measuring system. Makes me wonder WHY Americans celebrate "Independence Day".

      All I can say now is;- the COWS get it by now. Most of the readers on this post don't. To them I say:
      Bye. Au revoir. Auf Wiedersehen. Adiós. До свидания. さようなら。 再見。 Αντίο. (but then, that's all Greek to *me*.)

      Anyway, nice post – I agree with you.

  • Katie

    They're offering "How to be sarcastic" classes at the Y next month.

  • Austin

    I just want to say I have teachers in my school kepp saying and preaching "We need to be on metrics!!!" to which I really want to say, "If you like them so much you can go to places were metrics are used you know" I grew up on the American system, I know people who think its stupid, that probably being because it isn't taught anymore and then teachers just tell us how the metric system works and how much better it is everyone agrees with it without learning how our system works so when i know how it works to me the battle feels kinda one sided. Now I will say America is independent or at least should be and that is why we use that system, its unique like we are, and well why should we have to change for everyone else? I"m not saying they have to change for us because that's dumb. Metrics has its perks and so does the American system. for instance we use metrics for small things and thats were I like metrics to stay, such as bolt sizes wheel sizes, electric component measurements, processor measurements etc. Now the perks for the American system are the big things, here I mean distance, speed and height. Maybe temperature but again because I grew up on it. When I see 40 degrees I think well that not to warm is it? when i see 60 or 70 i think thats a nice temp and when i see 100 i think well dam its hot outside. but 39 degrees in Celsius is about 100 in ferinheight and well that seems kinda small, point is I feel like more times than not the metric system makes something an obscenely large or small number. for instance 50 Mph is fairly fast, doubtful someone could run that fast and its the speed most small engines on dirt bikes and outdoor vehicles can reach. In metrics or kilometers that 80 Kmh once again that big number, or 75Mph the most common highway speed in the USA, thats 120Kmh though and here for me thats a little bit big for the speed you feel, or maybe for how fast the wind rushes over you hand when you hold it out the window. This argument is in a way tedious, what i mean by that is everyone else thinks differently, so now someone else wants to force you to think the way they do because they dont want to convert their measurement. I cook quite a bit so I use the American system there as well, and the reason why i use miles is because it covers more distance then a kilometer and is faster as well but thats the way I think. I would take 5280 of my foot over roughly 3000 any day (3.3 feet= 1meter, 1000 meter=kilometer hence 3000) All in all its just the way things work and i prefer it because it sets the USA apart from the other countries, metrics are fine but in my eyes for smaller stuff, and thats what i'll continue to use it for but above all else i still think the American way is the best for me. So why fight over it and why change both are good for certain things, I don't see a need to have everything under one blanket (if you understand that analogy)

    Plus i like a challenge i dont want things easy all my life, math is fun XD god didn't give us math and science to suffer and be bord he gave it to us so we could learn!

    • Bob

      1) The USA signed a treaty [which it broke – surprise!] that it would be metric by 1976.
      2) Ben Franklin was a HUGE advocate for metric – most of the founding fathers hateu England. Clearly, YOU *love* it.
      3) All hail the King! NASA, medical and science are a joke! The KING rules!

      • portlandguest

        Actually, you can die from medical dosage mistakes because of a mistake made when one doctor wrote "mg" instead of "mcg" or conflating mass dosages with cc volume (10 fold dosage error) when using drip infusion. I would recommend they change to something else to avoid these errors.
        Vitamin A and D are measured in "international units" instead of mcg for the latter, at least. 1000-fold overdose of the latter would probably poison you from a single pill or kill you if you took more than that.
        Don't risk your life over this ideological battle over measurement systems. Design a new one with safety in mind, if necessary.

  • Moses

    When you tell me Mt. Everest is over 9000 meters high, all it means to me is 9000 x 39.37" divided by 12…now I got an idea how high it is. Using metrics is NOTHING more than speaking French instead of English. I like English thanks.

    • Bob

      All hail the King!

  • Static

    Came across this page hoping to link an American friend to a detailed criticism of the metric system, but whatever content is masked by the author's excessively pretentious diatribe. Jesus Christ, you are full of yourself.

    • Bob

      And *you* have broken Commandment #3.

  • Buford T. Justice

    Here are the correct formulas for converting ºC to ºF and vice versa:

    ºC = (ºF – 32) / 1.8
    ºF = ºC * 1.8 + 32

    ºC is not metric temperature. There is no such thing. There are no such things as kilocelsius or millicelius. Any metric values dependent upon a ºC definition can be redefined using ºF.

    ºF is a human temperature scale. The numbers have more meaning. It would take someone of low intelligence to not remember water begins to freeze at 32 ºF and begins to boil at 212 ºF (a difference of 180 ºF). Fahrenheit was not invented based on the properties of water. Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit created a 1:1:1 mixture of water, ice, and salt (ammonium chloride) to create the lowest possible temperature he could in his lab equivalent to a very cold winter day which became 0 ºF. He then based the average human body temperature at 100 ºF. After properly marking his new temperature scale, water was found to freeze and boil at the two temperatures I already specified.

    ºC was based on water from the get-go. Anders Celsius invented his temperature scale with 100 ºC as the freezing point of water and 0 ºC as the boiling point of water. He died not long after he invented his temperature scale which was soon reversed to what it is today.

    Celsius has a major flaw since it is based on water and that is there are not enough degrees of separation. 0-40 ºC covers the same range as 32-104 ºF. These are the most common weather temperature ranges. Celsius has 40 places and Fahrenheit has 72 places. This makes using decimals for accuracy on Celsius vital. The same decimals applied to Fahrenheit make it even more accurate.

    0 ºC is too common in the temperate zone of Earth where most of us live. 0 ºF (-17.8 ºC) is possible but it is somewhat rare. If you go outside when it is 0 ºF and you are not properly clothed, you will eventually die. 0 ºC is somewhat survivable with a T-shirt, blue jeans, socks, and shoes (but it is not that comfortable). The point is that Fahrenheit has more meaning at 0 than Celsius does and it is rare for Fahrenheit to be in the negative numbers for measuring the weather temperature in the temperate zone.

    Basing temperature on water is stupid. Water's freeze and boil temperatures would change at different places and at different atmospheric pressures on Earth and would be even further changed on different planets like Mars and Venus.

    For scientists needing to know the temperature compared to absolute 0, instead of using Kelvins (based on Celsius), they could use Rankines (based on Fahrenheit). 0 K is equal to 0 ºR. The difference between Celsius and Kelvin is 273.15. The difference between Fahrenheit and Rankine is 459.67.

    The only creatures interested in temperature measurement are humans. It makes sense to base a temperature scale on what humans feel like Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit successfully did instead of solely on water like Anders Celsius did.

    I don't feel -17.8 to 40 ºC, but rather 0 to 100 ºF :-)

  • MC_Squared

    Actually, when I was in Chemistry at Princeton, I asked the Professor "If like
    charges repel, than why are protons together in the atom?" But aside
    from that, I never convert the Polish system (Fahrenheit) into anything
    …. I only use Celsius. But, to convert Celsius to Kelvin, it's C +
    273. It's actually 273.15, but the neatest thing about C is that it's
    based on fresh water: freezing (0) and boiling (100). F is based on a
    mixture of ice, water and ammonium chloride. He (the Polish guy – Daniel
    Fahrenheit) measured when it froze at 387.7 m (1,272 ft). He picked his
    temperature scale by making 0 [zero] degrees the coldest outdoor
    temperature he could find in his hometown of Danzig (now Gdanlask,
    Poland). He took the lowest temperature which he measured in the harsh
    winter of 1708 through 1709, and making 100 degrees the temperature of
    his own body. CLEARLY Pollocks are better than NASA. CLEARLY the King is better than science.

  • MC_Squared

    Actually, when I was in Chemistry at Princeton, I asked the Professor "If like
    charges repel, than why are protons together in the atom?" But aside
    from that, I never convert the Polish system (Fahrenheit) into anything
    …. I only use Celsius. But, to convert Celsius to Kelvin, it's C +
    273. It's actually 273.15, but the neatest thing about C is that it's
    based on fresh water: freezing (0) and boiling (100). F is based on a
    mixture of ice, water and ammonium chloride. He (the Polish guy – Daniel
    Fahrenheit) measured when it froze at 387.7 m (1,272 ft). He picked his
    temperature scale by making 0 [zero] degrees the coldest outdoor
    temperature he could find in his hometown of Danzig (now Gdanlask,
    Poland). He took the lowest temperature which he measured in the harsh
    winter of 1708 through 1709, and making 100 degrees the temperature of
    his own body. CLEARLY Pollocks are better than NASA. CLEARLY the King is better than science.

  • Ryan

    You probably never take Chemistry.If you did take try convert kelvin into Fahrenheit without calculator.

  • http://profiles.google.com/krzrsms david b

    Nice. Multiple cut and paste copies with no logical arguments, consisting mostly of personal insults. This doesn't help your case any.

  • http://profiles.google.com/krzrsms david b

    Gallon -> 4 quarts ->8 pints->16 cups
    Just look at the size and you can pretty readily guess that theres 2 cups in a pint for instance. They are nicely scalable like that. :)

  • Joel Chase

    Except for the fact that the U.S.A., Liberia and Burma are the only countries that are still officially on imperial. And that in Liberia and Burma, the average citizen lives on less than $2.00 per day. Plus, you need to shut up. Memorization doesn't play a factor in this. 36.8 is just as easy to remember as 98.6. If you're arguing, you're arguing against the rest of the world.

    • MC_Squared

      Maybe I'm not conveying correctly – I am FOR the metric system, NOT imperial. I am being CYNICAL about "all hail the King", *not* serious. So many Americans PREFER metric, so I "let them win" with cynicism. Also, I'm not sure where 36.8 came from, but 98.6 F is *exactly* 37.00 (or "37") C, not 36.8. The fact that the rest of the world is metric is part of my argument *against* imperial. Again, to make it clear: I *despise* imperial; I am a HUGE fan of metric. But I'll shut up, per your request.

    • MC_Squared

      CORRECTION: I previously wrote "So many Americans PREFER metric…", but I meant to write "So many Americans PREFER imperial…" Sorry for the incorrect statement. :-)

  • common sense

    its not about how comfortable some idiots are when it comes to measuring the temperature of "no need to salt your drive", the measurement system is there for people who actually need it to be accurate – engineers and scientists. how the fuck is 98.6 easier to remember than 36.8? you are a moron

    • MC_Squared

      First, I normally don't dignify malediction and impunity with a reply, but 2) *I* am not a protagonist for 98.6 3) Neither of these examples is easier to remember …. but: 37 versus 98.6 IS a tad easier to remember, but Americans LOVE that old Polish system. 4) I recommend you go to School – and anger management classes. Even if this was meant for another Poster, I won't lower myself to you after this post.

  • Pingback: Is it Time for Metrics in US Recipes? A Q&A with Ten Speed’s Melissa Moore()

  • Saladin David

    Normal human body temperature is 37 degrees Celsius.

    • MC_Squared

       That is correct – it's 37.00˚ to be exact.  In the Polish system (Fahrenheit), it is 98.61˚.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1678081929 Bill Wheaton

    Thanks for this.  I agree.  And that drives my science teacher friends, and scientist brothers up the wall.  Division by two is natural, and one thing that the metric system cannot do is evenly divide by 3.  But with 12 it is easy.  12 is divisible by 1,2,3,4,6 and 12. 2/3 of 12 is 8, 3/4 of 12 is 9.  The only thing that is missing is 5,7 and 11.

    10 is divisible by 1, 2, 5 and 10.  What is missing? 3,4,6,7,8, and 9.  12 is far superior.

    Admittedly, 1/16 of an inch is too large, and 1/32 of an inch is to small for a "smallish" number.  But 1/24 is about the same size as a millimeter, its a great size, and since it is divisible by 12, that makes it fit into the imperial system perfectly. (Google "Bob's Rule", I highly recommend it).

    It's said that kids are confused by it, and they aren't confused by the metric system.  Bull.  Ask a kid to throw the ball to you and it doesn't make it half way, he instinctively knows what that means.

    Chromatic scale on the keyboard anyone? (ok, that's arbitrary, kind of)

    You mention the temperature thing.  In actuality, the original temperature scale DID set the human body temperature at 100 degrees and 0 was the freezing point of the most common substance on the face of the earth – sea water.  Humans and Nature together.  I like that.  Makes as much sense as basing it on the freezing point of pure water, which is nearly impossible to produce.  And the degrees are closer together, so the gradient is finer.  I don't know about you, but setting the thermostat to 65 vs 66, vs 67 degrees is a whole lot different than 18 vs 19 degrees.

    Volume measured in doubling units.  Hello?  Binary system?  Possibly the most basic quantum measure in the existence of… well, everything at all without exception!  Binary is just not that hard.

    And if metric is so sensible, then why is it that metric plywood is still conveniently 18mm thick (3/4") and 1219mm (4') wide and 2438mm (9') high, even in so-called "metric" countries?  Oh, sure, they try to fake it with 125cm x 250cm, but its as much a fudge as the old nordic inch vs the japanese inch vs the English inch vs the French inch vs the American inch.  They were all pretty close.  But if the metric system was the be-all, then   the sheets would have been 5mm, 10mm, 15mm and 20mm thick, and the sheet size would be something sensible like 150mm x 300mm like they are in some Eastern European countries.  

    But they typically don't.  Why?  Because imperial measure with its multiples of 12 is clearly superior and much more adaptable to building useful, every day things, like dwellings.

    To their credit, Europe started the whole "32mm" system of cabinet making.  It is indeed a wonderful thing.  But there again, it's binary too.

    The metric system likes to pretend that there are no domains – that somehow really small things are the same as really big things with the decimal point moved around.  But in practice, that is simply not true, and not intuitive.  Smallish sized things – are measured in proportion to things we know and use all the time.  Our hands – body part sized things.  For daily use, the imperial system works fine.  To do daily activities, its all that is needed, and is a good, common domain measurement system.  Meters are slighlty too long.  Decimeters (as if), are too short for an interim unit.  centimeters are too small and inconvenient and have no bodily correlation, and millimeters are enough to choke you and make a middle-aged man go blind.  It is thoroughly inconvenient.

    And to further conflate adherence to a 12 based system with the political philosophy of monarchism is a complete red herring and shows complete ignorance about where the system comes from.  I suppose that in that same vein, we should be measuring angles in "rads", have 10 day weeks, and 10 'hours' in a day because it is somehow easier.  It's a load of crap that even the French tried and rejected.
    So, yeah, the metric system sucks for a lot of reasons.So if the OP was being sarcastic or not (and its not obvious), to call people who think as I do, "hillbillies", is elitist claptrap.  As it happens, I'm a graduate of a prestigious engineering university.  And my science teacher friend who is a proponent of the metric system is a presidential science teacher award winner PhD who lives in the hills of north Georgia. so bigoted remarks about hillbillies ring with a dull thud.

    • MC_Squared

       With temperature, thermostats in metric are 18.1, 18.2, 18.3 … so it's actually 4x more accurate that F, but … what heating or colling systim is going to be that accurate anyway – even in 1 increment F scale.  It's all "approximate".

      Also remember – the 3/4" and 4' beards – are NOT 3/4".  I buy wood, and boueght lots of it when I was in VA, FL, CA and other States, andn it's never the measurement its supposed to be.  It's approximate.

      Yes, the metric system is horrible – this NASA thing is garbage, and clearly the King (yes, King Edward, 843 BC) was WAY ahead of his time.  The USA should add to their list of "countries to invade" all those with the metric system (all countries on the earth except Bhurma, Zimbabwe and the USA), and we should all say "HAIL TO THE KING!".  Oh, let's stop celebrating "Independence Day" – *clearly*, the USA *loves* the King.  Yep, fractions are better than decimals … let's start saying "I'm listening to FM 107⅓"  [rather that 107.3], and let's start saying "this has 1,742 micro-ounces" [rather than "this has 300mg of potassium]". Let's say "I drive that big 71" [rather than "I have that big 2.5 liter engine".

      If we are going to bag metric, let's BAG IT!  ALL HAIL THE SUPERIOR KING!   Why DID we fight a war to rid ourselves from this great man??  ANd the Polish man who invented that wonderful scale in the 1400's?  He was FAR better than these stupid scientists – pure water, freezing and boiling .. How RIDICULOUS.

      So, NO MORE POLISH JOKES, people!  The King IS superior to NASA, and Poland IS superior to Science.  As a matter of fact, I want to be Knighted – where's Elton John, Paul McCartney and Phil Collins … .now THERE are some tough guys I want to learn from to be a true warrior!


    • MC_Squared

       With temperature, thermostats in metric are 18.1, 18.2, 18.3 … so it's actually 4x more accurate that F, but … what heating or cooling system is going to be that accurate anyway – even in 1 increment F scale.  It's all "approximate".

      Also remember – the 3/4" and 4' boards – are NOT 3/4".  I buy wood, and I bought *lots* of it when I was in VA, FL, CA and other States, and it's never the measurement its supposed to be.  It's "approximate".

      Yes, the metric system is horrible – this NASA agency is *garbage*, and clearly the King (yes, King Edward the 14th, 843 BC) was WAY ahead of his time – and SUPERIOR.  The USA should add to their list of "countries to invade" all those with the metric system (all countries on the earth except Bhurma, Zimbabwe and the USA), and we should all say "HAIL TO THE KING!".  Oh, let's stop celebrating "Independence Day" – *clearly*, the USA *loves* the King.  Yep, fractions are better than decimals … let's start saying "I'm listening to FM 107⅓"  [rather that 107.3], and let's start saying "this has 1,742 micro-ounces" [rather than "this has 300mg of potassium]". Let's say "I drive that big 71" [rather than "I have that big 2.5 liter engine"]. Let's take the stock market back to fractions – as it was 20 years ago.  This decimal garbage is HORRIBLE.

      If we are going to bag metric, let's BAG IT!  ALL HAIL THE SUPERIOR KING!   Why DID we fight a war to rid ourselves from this great man??!!!  And the Polish man who invented that wonderful F scale in the 1400's?  He was FAR better than these stupid scientists – pure water, freezing and boiling .. How RIDICULOUS.

      So, NO MORE POLISH JOKES, people!  The King IS superior to NASA, and Poland IS superior to Science.  As a matter of fact, I want to be Knighted – where's Elton John, Paul McCartney and Phil Collins … .now THERE are some tough guys I want to learn from to be a true warrior!


  • Toysforsale75

    Oh Yeah, almost forgot, whose thumb are you using? Andre the Giant or Gary Coleman?

    • MC_Squared

      The thumb used by American standard inch is King Eduard the 14th, circa 440BC. If you love the inch, then you love that King.

      • http://profiles.google.com/krzrsms david b

        Actually it isn't, and if you were as intelligent and well read as you
        claimed you would know that. The US customary inch is based on the s.i.
        meter, and has been since 1959. Before that it was based on the Clark Ellipsoid, which is based on the size of the earth. It isn't the point of reference that is
        the major contention between the systems is the number base.

  • Toysforsale75

    you contradict yourself.  You can remember, ah,… oh yeah 32 and 212.  No more difficult than remembering 36. ah, oh yeah .8.  And how is going to put 1 gallon of gas in their car and drive a precise number of miles? I know if I drive 100km I will burn about 12L of gas. A much more meaningful ratio.

    • MC_Squared

       Hmmm.   [contradict], maybe, but I can't understand your premise.  CLEARLY, you love the King, and you aren't going to change.  No problem – you win – the King is superior to science.  I get it … Bet Franklin & Alexander Bell are morons in their obsessive quest to rid the King's system and go to the scientific way [base 10], but, unlike them, *I* don't want to take any more of my time trying to change the 300 million people – to see things like the 6.7 billion people in the world.  Americans LOVE their King, and that ain't gonna change.

      CLEARLY you don't *get* it, and don't
      want to.  I heard Americans are arrogant, and I tried to prove that
      premise wrong, but I see that I proved it to be CORRECT.

      And the "thumb", by the way, was King Edward the 14th – his thumb (shaft) SIDEWAYS was the "inch" decree.  1,830 paces was a mile, and his foot was a foot.  Yep – this NASA stuff is CRAP – hail to the King.

      This conversation is SO over.

  • RJ Bever

    The metric system is NOT better, it's just a different language! We don't speek french and say "papone", we say "butterfly"! Whats the difference! The metric system still has to split hairs just like english system! Half a millimeter? It's not easier!!!!! Just different! Don't appease other countries and their systems….the USA and the english system is what delivered the whole world from WW2, we built all their equipment in english system and they scrapped everything after the war because of it and came up with ISO, who cares, they still have it wrong! That's why the Hubble Telescope first went up screwed up!…The stupid metric system!!!!

    • MC_Squared

       I'll say it again:  HAIL TO THE KING!  Americans CLEARLY love the King, and HATE science.

      By the way, in SI (Metric), they don't say "half a millimeter" – it's said .5 mm.  If it's so stupid to say "half a millimeter", is it equally as stupid to say "half an inch".  if you accept one and not the other, you're simply "closed-minded" and are not worth wasting time with.

      Although your "French" metaphor is ironic – here in Canada, French is one of the 2 official languages, but just FYI: it's "papillon".  Again, if you say "I DON'T CARE!", it again proves you are closed minded and arrogant.  Hmmm …. sounds like Americans.

      ANY way… ok, you win – the King is the best, so stop celebrating Independence Day. And throw away your computers and smart phones – they are manufactured in metric, so CLEARLY they can't work.  Say, what shall we start using for food content – now that we are bagging milligrams?  Micro-ounces?  And for our tires, a 225R 75 14 will now be 8 55/64 75 14.

      100mg of aspirin?  Nope – it's now 0.0035274 oz. And that 1200 cc motorcycle – you better call it a "74". Your 2 L car engine: you now drive a "123".

      Finally, those IDIOTS – Benjamin Franklin and Ronald Regan – both of whom wanted to change to metric – we need to begin telling the world how IDIOTIC they both are.And GOD SAVE THE QUEEN.  ALL HAIL THE KING.  For July 4th, I'll definitely join you in line to salute our King.

      • http://profiles.google.com/krzrsms david b

        Yes you do have a tendency to repeat yourself. A limited vocabulary perhaps? Just run out of the ability to have a civilized discussion, or do you have some sort of pathological need to clutter debates with your personal shortcomings?

        • MC_Squared

          There are a few "notable" books where "repeating one's self" is "standard": the Bible, the Koran, the Sutra…

          Here in my Country, I am known as a great Hockey player, runner, and 9-instrument Musician. My other "shortcomings" I will gladly accept in account of my successes. But in response to your insult, I'll only reply "I have never killed a man, but I will read your obituary with great pleasure."

    • MC_Squared


    • BMW Fan

      quick rebutal… maybe i should tell bmw, mercedes, porsche, ferrari that their engineers suck and they should listen to you. are you really this stupid, or are you being sarcastic? in hubble, "1
      of 2 sides of a device known as a Control Unit/Science Data Formatter that is
      responsible for sending data from Hubble to scientists on Earth (a quote by said Allard
      Beutel, NASA)", but i guess you know more than nasa. nasa did have an issue with the mars landing, as it was engineered in metric, but the machinists made it in british (inches), so it was way too heavy.if you are going to post here where smart people may be reading, please know your stuff. there are 7 billion people on earth who say that metric is better … only 330 million say it sucks. please get a brain cell.

      • Ryan

        Actually half of the 330 millions which is more tolerance to change think metric is better.

  • MC_Squared

    If the kilometer and x100 or x200 is so stupid, then America, stop using milligrams for your prescriptions – use micro-ounces or something.  if you really hate the Scientists and LOVE the King (CLEARLY, the USA loves the King!), then stop celebrating "Independence Day".

    Since the 340 million Americans are CLEARLY smarter than the 7 billion rest of the planet, just go bomb them all and use the wonderul King's system.  ALL HAIL THE KING.  NASA is *stupid*!!!

    • http://profiles.google.com/krzrsms david b

      We would like to. Unfortunately, due to a corrupt congress popular decisions are rarely made, only the ones that make them money.

  • Halliday

    The Metric system does indeed suck. From an esoteric standpoint the English system is based on harmonic measurements. The metric system is not. Science heads think it cool but its actually a divisive system designed to take mankind further away from nature. From an HVACR Tech standpoint, there is nothing more stupid than Temperature in Celsius or pressure in BAR. These are idiotic gradients that need to go back to the chem lab and be taken totally out of the mainstream and especially be taken out of operating environments such as commercial microbreweries. Those that think it cool to be talking in terms of HL/hr, its not. The sane in the Engineering community are still using GPM which makes a lot more sense.

    • MC_Souared

      HAIL TO THE KING – he (King Andrew) was WAY ahead of his time.  Better than NASA, his wonderful system of 1217BC is indeed the best. Let's throw away our computers, phones, and cars – all manufattured metric, and stop using GPS – it's via NASA. As a matter of fact, I'm throwing mine away now – I'll not be able to access this site.

      GOD SAVE THE QUEEN. Let's also stop celebrating "Independence Day" – we LOVE the King.

      All hail the KING!  NASA, take a HIKE – a bunch of IDIOTS!  The KING was SMART – scientists are IDIOTS!!

  • Jsmith080645

    Sigh… you are a moron

    • MC_Squared

      CLEARLY, *you* are a LESS on. I have been measured by MENSA at 162. I'm betting that 100% of readers had to do a search for "MENSA". I rest my case. But, I'll not continue to "have urinating contests" with "lessons". I'll keep being cynical and saying: "the King wins – he IS superior. NASA, what a bunch of morons. By the way, a "moron" is clinically defined as someone with an IQ of 70 or less. Again, I'll wager that 100% of readers are having to look that up. And I therefore rest my case.

  • Abe

    The ignorance/stupidity of americans has been proven to me just by reading this article… 

    • MC_Squared


  • Mcsquared

     You win – the King's system is and was superior to the Medical, Engineering, and Military system.  ALL HAIL THE KING.  Now, stop celebrating "Independence Day" – you LOVE the King!

    Oh – I see you are sarcastic.  When Americans defend their ancient King system, it makes me laugh.  When I (sarcastically) chant "All hail the King", they just don't GET IT.

    Sigh …. AMERICANS.

  • Scrubduff

    the author's confused and frustrated ignorance is amusing… just as amusing as when a rebellious teen girl asks why she cant walk around at night wearing tramp clothes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003244914380 Ben Zhong

    I don't even know where to begin pointing out the faults in your reasoning and as such I will not attempt to do so however I will say that this sad excuse for garbage is not only a sad testament to what is wrong with the US education system but is a sign of severe mental retardation and I advise you to seek help. Furthermore I believe that you owe everybody who has even glanced at this an apology as they have been made dumber because of it.

    Yours Sincerely Were You High When You Wrote This

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003244914380 Ben Zhong

    bdewhofewhiipfewp that makes about as much sense as your arguments

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  • Bob

    Face it. No one uses the old, complicated, and antediluvian imperial system anymore. Scientists use it and the rest of the world minus three countries (US being one) is metric. Seriously, why do we care about the dang imperial system?!? And do you even know how to read science?

    • http://profiles.google.com/krzrsms david b

      Actually several hundred million people use it everyday. Sorry, your disregard won't take that fact away.


    I think its important to mention that the US  measuring system is also much more user friendly for every day use than the metric system. Like you said, everyone seems to just love the fact that Metric is based on 10. On the surface, that seems reasonable. But did you ever wonder why the pound system is based on 12?

    Well, its a simple matter of usability. Try this:

    Divide a foot by 2 for an even 6 inches.
    Divide it by 3 and you get a nice even 4 inches. 
    Divide it by 4 and you get 3 inches. 
    Divide it by 6 for an even 2.  
    Divide it by 8 and you get 1.5. 

    Now do the same for the Metric system based on units of 10.

    10 only divides evenly with 2 and 5. The rest are a huge mess of long fractions or repeating decimals. Its very sloppy.

    Metric system has its place with science. I give you that. But have you ever tried to build something from scratch using it? On a day to day basis, the Metric system does not hold a candle to the US system.


    • http://profiles.google.com/krzrsms david b

      Thats one thing that my brother, an engineer stated as well. To his mind, and I somewhat agree, that has a lot to do with our continued use of it. US customary is just handier in the building of things, in engineering. We have traditionally been a nation of builders and doers, not mainly scientists. We have been making a long transition from builders to calculators, a transition that isn't doing us any favors either.

      Scientists like the ease of calculation with metric, since they rarely deal with physical examples. If your calculation comes out with 1.3333333 thats fine, it plugs into a program quite nicely. Now try to build with it. Theres significant problems there. Not ones that can't be overcome necessarily, but we already have a system that we operate with well, and as of yet have no reason to change.

    • You argument is hypocritical

      NASA seem to build some pretty complex things with it from scratch and so does the rest of the world. Also divide your foot by 5,7,9.

  • Aaron

    Metric and Customary systems are strong in different areas and in different contexts. Volume I think is one the metric system wins hands down, whereas length I have to give to the Customary system. The conversions for different units of volume are just too confusing in Customary, however the meter is simply too big and its subdivisions too small for many practical applications (the length of my arm for example).

    As for temperature it depends on the context. If I'm working with chemicals, it's much more useful to measure them in Celsius since it provides a ready and intuitive context in its comparison to water. However for measuring the weather, I give it to Customary, simply because the approach to 100 degrees makes a much stronger psychological impact than the approach to 37.777.  For people who are used to Customary, 100 degrees marks an important boundary between what is "hot" and what is "REALLY hot."  It's sort of like the impact percentages have on the mind; 100 degrees is 100 percent "too hot," and you get the same measured understanding of the approach to that temperature as you cross 70 degrees (percent), 80 degrees (percent), and so on.

  • Breno

    dumb blogger is funny

  • Anon

    Cant tell if trolling….or just very stupid.

  • yodawg

    This guy is clearly not an engineer.

    • MC_Squared

      If you are citing *me*, I'll gladly point out that I have TWO patents I invented, one at SECOE Technologies. And yes, I used exclusively metric (duuh!). And yes, I know π to 100 decimals. Do YOU [without looking it up]? $500 says you don't. NOW who's the Engineer? Hee hee.

  • El Supremo

    The crematoriums and gas chambers at Auschwitz were designed to metric units. Should that not make you proud? And the bombs we dropped on Germany and Japan were in pounds and tons. THe people  who won the war used the British Engineering System. THe people who lost the war used the metric system. Is there a message there?

    • Papadelsupremo

      yes , germany was more advantaged that usa, so like always americans need to stole german thechnicals to improve american technology, the american scientif uses metrics, only  silly people (most of america uses the medieval system), well done

      • http://profiles.google.com/krzrsms david b

        Actually its not medieval its significantly newer then that. Some of it like the Fahrenheit scale were made in the 1700's. But accuracy is clearly not your aim, its merely to insult.

    • MC_Squared

      The USA – the ONLY country to use an atomic bomb – and use it TWICE … on CIVILIANS … .does that make YOU proud? So, get a brain cell and go to "logic" class. Those of us who (proudly) live outside of the USA, these posts reinforce the "stupid Americans" premise.

      • http://profiles.google.com/krzrsms david b

        Yes actually. We ended a war that would have cost at least a million more if we had to invade the islands of Japan using the conventional methods that we were using successfully. Japan had no chance to win, but would have kept on fighting to the end without a decisive blow. Bombing of civlians was common in wwII by both sides, in all countries as countries were fighting countries, not just the guys in uniform.

        We've also managed to keep ourselves in check and not use our significant stockpile of nuclear weapons since, while we had many occasions that it would have saved us manpower and money to do so. How would vietnam, Korea, China, or much of the middle east look if we were more strident in our use of nuclear arms? We deserve credit for that as much as the blame for using them before they were used on us.

        • MC_Squared

          How typically American: WE can attack YOU, but if YOU attack us…. watch out!! Amazingly close-minded. Well, I'll say it again: so AMERICAN.

    • MC_Squared

      This premise is so ridiculous, I'll not even dignify that with a reply. Except this to say it's moronic. Do you vote?? Man, I'd hate to live in *your* country.

  • Adudethatlikesfood

    You're fucking retarded. 

  • ,,,

    That's what you think. I think american measurement sucks big time.

    • MC_Squared

      And I agree [and 6.7 billion other people]. What really alarms ME is – Americans [who HATE the King] – not only use the King's 1422 system, but REFUSE to abandon it!! Oh, except for motorcycle and car engine sizes, and about 200 other things. Yes, it's VERY funny – and I'm actly being very cynical in my posts. People think I'm dumb, but they can't see the cynicism. It's really funny.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EWC3LNGC2ETEYILW72T3DRXI2Q Rafel Krol

    haha so it's 'better' to have 'don't salt the sideway' and 'my body temperature is normal' against 'the water freezes' and 'the water boils'.

    what a ridiculous point. and saying that knowing whether your bodytemperature is normal is more human or contains more humanity makes no sense at all. water is probably the the most important substance on this planet, so why not adjust our measurements to it?!

    by the way i don't support neither system. there both arbitrary, that's all. and by the time your 20 something, you should remember relevant numbers like say body temperature, boiling point of water, etc…the only thing that is important is that you decide for one system and stick to it or learn them both at the same time. BAM.I rest my case.

    • http://profiles.google.com/krzrsms david b

      'Water is probably the most important substance on the planet.' An excellent statement of opinion. Why not carbon, or hydrogen, or oxygen, human grey matter, holy water from the sacred sea, or solar plasma? Each of those may be the 'most important' substance as well. Water as a choice is just as arbitrary as any in the English system.

    • MC_Squared

      Indeed, some of the arguments posted here are ridiculous. Americans – defending the King's old system and the Polish system …. it's both ironic and hilarious. And *I'm* slammed as "stupid" on this post! How many of these posters are MENSA tested, and $500 bucks says: every one has no look-up the acronym. NOW who is stupid? Hee hee…

    • MC_Squared

      With all due respect, what is ridiculous is your spelling and grammar. Just to teach you:
      – "I don't support neither…" should read "I don't support either" or "I support neither".
      – "There both arbitrary…" should read "They're both…"
      – "Your 20 something" should state "You're 20…"

      OK, class …. repeat after me: The USA signed a treaty that
      they would be metric by 1976 ….. one of 3,472 treaties they signed,
      yet did not live up to. I guess being a bully makes one "right". Stay with King Edward the 14th 846BC system – it's better than NASA and science and computers. Yep the King IS superior – WAY ahead of his time.

      Now, Americans, say it with me: ALL HAIL THE KING! And stop celebrating Independence Day – you CLEARLY love the King, and not glad you left him.


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  • kdf

    not sure about the speed of light measurement for the meter. what I understood is that the length of the meter was originally based on the length of the earth from the equator to the pole. ie: one ten millionth of this distance = one meter.
    sure this is as arbitrary as anything else, but it is based on the thing we stand and live on, the earth. Makes more sense than some dead english king's foot. Interesting story if you are interested – to obtain the measurement of equator to pole the measured over land through the thick of the French Revolution and though it took years they were extremely accurate – as tested by our modern satellite methods.

    Yeah, base 6 and base 4 are better than base 10. Too bad we didn't have 4 or 6 fingers total. But Caveman had 10 fingers so we have a base ten counting system. That isn't metric's fault. It was there already. And science, even in America, is now done exclusively in Metric because it is just plain better. Imagine counting money in imperial or 'customary' systems. trying to make change with 5 farthings to a shilling, but 9 shillings to a crown… or whatever. nonsense. how many feet in a mile anyway? get out your calculator.

    thankfully the 'customary' system's days of being customary are nearly over. The US is soon to lose its economic dominance and not long after that the rest of the World will tire of making special exception for 'fluid ounces' and 9/16 inches and 1760 yards in a mile. Then the US (and Liberia and Burma: the only other countries following this old fashioned system) will switch over.

    • MC_Squared

      And don't forget that the USA signed a TREATY – promising to be completely metric by 1976. "Too expensive", they argued …. but it (or *any* conversion) was expensive for all OTHER countries that lived up to this sam treaty. Indeed, the mentality [or lack thereof] of general Americans is amazing. if they had been brought-up with metric, they would be defending *that* with just as much passion. The real truth is – they are resistant to change.

      • http://profiles.google.com/krzrsms david b

        Actually we wouldn't, because the debate wouldn't be happening in the first place. The fact is that people in the U.S. are fine with the system that we use, and have no need to change. Beyond that we find utility in our system, and are independent enough to continue its use on our own.

        As outlined in other comments our system is better in some circumstances. We choose not to change just for change sake, and because it makes other countries uptight to know that we don't want their system.

        • MC_Squared

          A couple of guys who did HUGE debates to change to metric: Ben Franklin, Thomas Edison, Albern Einstein. Ronald Reagan. But you're right – all really stupid people. And if the USA doesn't change – just to make other countries uptight – is both sadistic and moronic. But you win – the King's system IS better. ALL HAIL THE KING.

    • me

      Check the number of sections on each of your fingers. BAM! you no longer have the misconception that the thumb is a finger. BAM! you have another hand left over to keep counting for another twelve.

      • MC_Squared

        The following is all by memory – not looked-up: "Fingers" are called "phalanges" or "digits" in medical terminology. Each digit has 3 sections (bones): proximal, medial and distal.

        And that science, medicine, the military, and engineering use exclusively metric (science) and not imperial (the King) tells me they are all either really stupid (and posters here on this lonely site have the answers to humanity's problems), or they're ON to something. Hmmm … I'm thinking the latter.

        Then again, the USA signed a treaty that they would be metric by 1976 ….. one of 3,472 treaties they signed, yet did not live up to. I guess being a bully makes one "right".

        Can I say "BAM" now?

    • MC_Squared

      LOVE your post. Well said! There people are so stupid, and "cave man", as well. They all LOVE the King, ey?

      Thanks, Mate!

  • Michael

    I only have two issues with the metric system: The number base (base six is better than base ten) and the base units (a version of the Lorentz-Heaviside system where the gravitational constant equals four pi). Scale the units (6^54 for time, 6^42 for length, 6^12 for mass, 6^24 for charge), and you get a system that is not only universal, but useful.

    /okay, so 333 seconds * 36 minutes * 36 hours per day is a little strange. It still simplifies universal constants very nicely.

  • William

    I think the metric system is more effective than the Customary System because of the relations between the measurements, here's why:

    Metric: You need to find the weight of 183 milliliters of water. Easy, almost exactly 183 grams (almost because of impurity of water). Took about 2 seconds.

    Customary: You need to find the weight of 7 tablespoons of water. I don't know how to do this. You look it up online and find that one tablespoon of water in 0.5 ounces. Multiply that by 7 to get 3.5. Took about 30 seconds, and your search might not have been correct so it might have took longer.

    See what I mean? And also your explanations of why customary is better are just kind of random, especially with the random numbers you gave. . . that happen far more often in customary. By the way, I live the USA.

    • http://www.nathan-miller.com nathan

      How often, exactly, do you need to know the weight of water?

      • William

        It was an example for how the metric measurements relate to each other without you needing search conversions and such like in customary. Although it only works for water in metric, a quart is rarely almost exactly a pound. And on and on.

      • William

        Let me post something else. You say:

        Meter – "One meter is equal to the distance that light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second." Well it does have a definition, and also, the former definition was far easier to remember. But it is the base measurement in metric, so does it matter (You don't need to know to know metric)? As with all the other ones.

        Yard – Completely random measurement equivalent to 3 feet.

        And it is pretty much the same for all of the measurements. And you can add any prefix to make a different measurement by the powers of ten.

        Customary is completely random (unless you think measuring by the king's body parts is not random).

      • MC_Squared

        Truckers and construction crews, for one. They need to know their weights for every trip. Since most things (cement) are the weight of water, it's EXTREMELY important. People don't realize the importance of things – until it affects THEM.

        Here's one that affects most people (North of latitude 25 [Miami]): WATER FREEZING. People below Miami say "How often do you need to know the freezing pint of water??!"). People in Boston well know why, and anyone with a radiator in their car needs to know the boiling point. But bicyclists will say "Why would anyone need to know when water boils??!!"

        Perspective. Also, why do we go by the old Polish way? Why not the newer way? Do people like the old way? Then get rid of mobile phones, computers, televisions – use a feather & inkwell and smoke signals.

    • El Supremo

      Hey William — Try your French metric system on applications like navigation, music, the periodic table of elements, Fibonacci mathematics, computer machine code, etc. Ancient old world units of measurement date back to the Sumerians ca 4000 b.c.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Yan.Pascal Pascal Yan

        Are you stupid ?

        • http://profiles.google.com/krzrsms david b

          Based on your 'argument', that would seem to apply to you more then him.

        • MC_Squared

          Yes, he (and david b) is.

    • Anonymous

      ok now give the weight of 183 ml of gasoline, or shampoo. Since the SI measurements are based on water it has an artificial advantage when using calculations based on that.

      So whats 1/3 of a meter 3.3333 approximately centimeters.. whats 1/3 of a foot 4 inches, exactly.  Its more common to need to divide by the numbers in the imperial system then it is by 10 in everyday life. i.e 1/2 1/3 1/4

      I know its an old thread, but this is when I got here.. :p ..and there needs to be someone on the other side of the fence represented.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Yan.Pascal Pascal Yan

        that's like if I ask the weight of a random liquid, you can't calculate it without the rights informations ….

        • http://profiles.google.com/krzrsms david b

          Well I believe that was the point. Unless you run the majority of your calculations on water, the choice of that as a basis is essentially random. That makes one of the arguments for the metric system specious as well, since it isn't any more of a logical choice then those chosen for any other system.

      • MC_Squared

        183 ml of gasoline is APPROXIMATELY 183g, or .18 kg.
        ⅓ of a meter is 30 cm (NOT 3). And nobody ever says ⅓ of a meter – they say it in cm. Just as you say the King's foot, or say a "yard". You don't say ½ of a yard is 1'6", or 1.5 feet.

        Again, saying metric sucks and imperial is superior – IS saying "ALL HAIL THE KING!" and endorses his superiority over NASA, science, medical, engineering, and the big, baaad US Military. But, ok, you win – King Edward the 14th IS superior. ALL HAIL THE KING! Does this mean you'll stop celebrating "Independence Day", too? If you're not hypocritical, you will indeed stop celebrating it.

        • mystixa

          Oh… swing and a miss! If you were measuring water, which the system is based on you would be right. Gasoline is .65 g/ml so 183 ml of gas is 118.95 grams. Which is just as arbitrary a number as the cherry picked examples given for the reverse.

          Saying that one system has superior qualities over another says nothing on the origins other then the originators created effective systems that found their uses over time.

          'They' do say 1/2 a meter at times. You hear it in human heights, and other smaller lengths frequently. Often centimeters are substituted which brings in another piece of the problem. That being that the SI units are not in very human friendly increments. Hundreds of centimeters vs feet and inches for smaller measurements, 100 degrees of seperation from frozen to boiling instead of 180 has the opposing problem.

          We use a lot of the english system everyday. We speak the english language, we have a legal system based on english common law. I'm sure you'll stop speaking english now and move exclusively to speaking french since you're so incapable of balanced rationalizations.

          • MC_Squared

            I'll pass your comment on to BMW, Mercedes, Ferrari, and all those stupid scientists in the world. The 6.7 billion people in the world are idiots – incapable of balanced rationalizations – but you 300 million arrogant Americans are right. And no – having been to 21 countries; lived in 5 …. nobody says "half a meter" – people say .5 meter, or 50cm. In some countries, people say "I'm 1.8 meters [tall]"; other countries say "I'm 180 cm".

            But *you're* the boss – knower of all. I salute you and the horse you rode in on. Oops … wrong "salute". :-)

          • mystixa

            Strange then that someone so deeply steeped in the metric system and self appointed cheerleader for it makes such a basic mistake as assuming all fluids have the same mass per volume.

            You make accusations of arrogance and yet it is your comment that is snobbishly overlooking the features of an alternative and functioning system that we use everyday.

  • Ryan

    My favorite part is where you compared the scientific (read, silly) definitions of 3 measurements from the metric system, to just 1 basic rule of thumb for 1 SMALL distance measurement from the imperial US system.

    You realize you can scientifically describe the imperial measurements in terms of light travelling in a vacuum or the triple point of water (triple point has something to do with a certain pressure and temp where water is potentially in all 3 states of matter – solid, liquid, gas. I think….. it's been a while.

    I hope this is a tongue in cheek article because BOTH systems are arbitrary. Both have their pros and cons. Metric is FAR superior in the world of science. Imperial is nicer for construction / everyday use – but mostly because it *HAS* been commonly used. Imperial is just as much if not MORE of a pain in the ass when you start dealing with 1/16th or 1/32nd fractions of an inch.

  • entd

    Well from where to start? The definition in customary system is awful. Why? Feet, inch (thumb), yard, etc, of king. It is ridiculous and not very exact. Meter is not unit far from reality, it is even more fitted for everyday uses than feet, only defined quite accurate. Meter is near length of normal step. You could easy exchange unit if you want, if default unit is not fitted. Kilogram was originally defined as weight of liter water in normal conditions (for accuracy reasons it was redefined to weight of thorium-iridium alloy). Temperature Celsius scale is not dependent on water salinity it's based on pure water, which is far more better unit than Fahrenheits mixture in 18 century, which no one use, by the way boiling water point is 180 apart from 32F (reference to Romer's scale), 100F is not body temperature. Celsius temperature was redefined on more reliable "absolute zero" relation. There are other pointless definitions. In Europe bear is sold in half litre bottles, so need of customary units is easy resolvable (cola in example 0.5L , 1.5L, 2L etc.). What's more: other arguments are no better. Everybody talking about advantage of using base 12, but everybody forgotten that only few units uses it (feet>inches, and some type of interchangeable size of ounces). 3 is really good base!!! (sarcasm).
    Another think, most people say metric system must be forced, but in reality, customary (imperial) system was forced too, because there was a lot of variants in feet.
    Even more, some most used system in aviation and ship industry is based on nautical miles and knots (n. miles per hour). This system is not imperial nor metric, but it is more related to metric, because of definition of seconds latitude.
    And for Jane American science nowadays is based on metric (SI) , because of collaboration between NASA and other space agencies. Imperial system already cost an billion of dollars, because one team from Lockheed Martin used imperial system unit for force (pound force) instead metric unit (newton), other teams used metric system for all measurements.

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  • Bob

    I have to point out: 1000 thou in an inch, 12 inches in a foot, 3 feet in a yard, 220 yards in a furlong, 8 furlongs in a mile, 3 miles in a league. These seem pretty tame compared to some of the area measurements (e.g. A rood is a furlong by a rod, and a rod is 16.5 feet, making a rood 10,890 square feet). Not to mention, I'm literally one hundred percent certain that there is at least one person on earth who's thumb is not an inch long. In fact, I think that people with a thumb exactly one inch in length are a vast minority.
    At this point both metric and imperials systems were created quite some time ago, meaning that any initial starting points for the measurments are irrelevant. Who cares about getting close to a hundred, or a fraction of the speed of light. I would rather use the system that is used by physics on a regular basis rather than one that's dropped after you're done weighing yourself and cooking. By the way 36.8 has exactly the same number of digits as 98.6, and anyone who grew up on 36.8 probably thinks 98.6 is just as odd.
    Nobody is whining that Americans won't adopt metric, well maybe some people are, but noone who matters. If you want you can be proud that you, along with Myanmar and Liberia, are the only countries that don't use metric.
    All I'm saying is, I prefer metric, but if you don't, that's fine too. There's no need to start a spitting contest with everyone else.

    • http://www.nathan-miller.com nathan

      To be fair, if we did have a spitting contest, my measurement would be in furlongs. I spit that far.

  • Jane

    Why should America change to the Metric system? We are the most powerful nation in the world. Let all of Europe use the American system of measurement. When someone says he is going to run 10 miles, it is 10 miles. When they have a 10k race, you have to convert it into miles.

    • heh

      heh I don't think this is going to happen.. your system of measurement sucks…

      NASA has switched to using metrics… ask someone really intelligent if they prefer metrics or imperial units… i

      • El Supremo

        In the Constellation Program (replaces Shuttle Program) NASA is reverting to U.S. Customary Units. Check it out on the web.

        • http://www.nathan-miller.com Nathan Miller

          That's pretty interesting and I didn't know that! Thanks for the tip. Also thanks for your other responses. You make some good arguments and it's nice to see someone who can read this post and agree with it, rather than just resorting to simple ad hominem attacks.

    • E pluribus unum

      America is the most powerful nation in the world? lol keep telling you that…

    • aquataste

      your a stupid bitch that has nothing to do with anything. it s a pain in the fucking ass to have to convert units to this bullshit pointless american adopted system. I seriously believe it was made to purposely troll people. the whole goddam world uses the metric system for a reason. Its way more convenient. its not a dick measuring contest its units to measure shit, people in this country are so low capacity!

  • David

    We broke off from Enland over 200 years ago. Why do we still worship the British King by measuring things based on his body parts?

    • http://www.nathan-miller.com nathan

      I've heard this argument before, and I have this to say: With a few exceptions, the British are using the metric system. Regardless of the historical origins (and this goes for Yoni's comment about the meter as well), today's meaning is what is important. Today, the British, as well as everyone else, uses the metric system. But America isn't a follower. The customary system is ours. (In fact, the full name is the United States Customary System, and it differs from the old British Imperial System.)

    • Remco

      I actually never heard that the imperial system sucks, I can easily convert the metric system to the imperial one. It is however much more convenient to use the metric system in (scientific) calculations, especially in the thermodynamic fields all compenents coincide. (Reynolds number, Strokes law etc….)

      The Celsius is actually not really a part of the metric system, it is Kelvin. Celsius is just based on Kelvin. The number 273.16 comes from there. We use it on daily basis, but I don't see much difference in using that one or Fahrenheit, it is just a matter of opinion. In calculation however Celsius works out better since the difference between 2 temperatures is the same number as the difference between 2 temperatures in Kelvin. Once again, this can be used very easily be used in common formulas (especially in the thermodynamics)

      The only thing I do wonder and I hope you could explain to me is the ounze (oz). As far as I know:
      1 oz = 30 g
      but also
      1 oz = 30 ml
      In the case of water 30 ml of water weights (almost) the same as 30 grams.
      In any other case (milk, beer, oil) 30g is not equal to 30 ml. Would you say that 1 oz is not equal to 1 oz in that case? because that makes no sense.
      So I wonder how you deal with that, do you make use of density? g/l in the metric system


      • http://www.nathan-miller.com nathan

        Well actually it's a matter of two different measurements with the same name. The avoirdupois ounce is a measure of weight (not mass, so it's closest equivalent is not a gram but rather a Newton) and happens to be about 28 grams on Earth. It's one-sixteenth of a pound, which actually means weight in Latin (pondus). The avoirdupois pound was originally defined as 7000 grains, each of which is about the weight of a single grain.

        On the other hand, a fluid ounce measures volume. There are eight fluid ounces in a cup, which as Yoni pointed out above, makes it ideal for cooking. A gallon, which contains sixteen cups, is defined as 231 cubic inches. This is approximately the volume of a cylinder six inches deep and seven inches in diameter, or roughly three by seven by eleven (using the approximation pi = twenty-two over seven). In medieval times, this was how wine was transported.

        Whenever you hear the word "ounce" alone, it's either referring to the weight measurement or the volume measurement in cases where the two can't possibly be confused. [i.e. I have an ounce of milk – no one cares how much milk weighs.] If there is a possibility of confusion, you'll hear "fluid ounce" for the volume measurement.

    • MCSquared

       In 1906, Alexander Graham
      Bell wrote:

      "It is safe to say that after the metric system has
      been adopted by the U.S. and our people have become accustomed to its
      use we would no more dream of going back to the present system of
      weights and measures than we would think of carrying on the processes
      of arithmetic through the medium of the old Roman letters in place of
      the Arabic numerals we now employ.”

    • MC_Squared

      Now THAT'S the question of the day. Let's also stop celebrating "Independence Day" – we LOVE the King.

      All hail the KING!  NASA, take a HIKE – a bunch of IDIOTS!  The KING was SMART – scientists are IDIOTS!!

      Hee hee – I'm SO cynical, ey?

  • Yoni

    A meter was actually first based on the Earth's equator, but when we found that it changes, we made a new definition that never does (the speed of light thing.) Wikipedia explains that a meter was "one ten-millionth of the distance from the Equator to the North Pole through Paris." Again – working with tens and making things easier.

    You didn't mention that our system is better for cooking/baking. The metric system might be easier for calculations in science, but in the kitchen people don't multiply by ten very often. They tend to double or halve much more frequently. Thats why our system is based on 2's and is very natural.

    8 oz to a cup
    2 cups to a pint
    2 pints to a quart
    4 quarts to a gallon

    • Dale, Atlanta

      You realize the author is being sarcastic right?

      I'd much rather use metric system for cooking also. Who said you had to multiply each measurement by ten???

      Imagine using a nice linear measurement system of 5ml, 10ml, 20ml, 100ml, 200ml, 500ml and then liter of course… instead of having to hassle with conversions between cup, once, teaspoon, quart, blah blah blah. Hell I still don't know that actual measurement of teaspoon and tablespoon as it relates to ounces.

      But you would want to rework recipes to fit the metric system better and that is apparently asking too much from the lazy masses.

      • heh

        nope…. somehow his sarcasm isn't obvious.. there are lots of hillbillies out there, you know…

        • jb

          Don't feel bad. The sarcasm was lost on me as well. I've met far too many people who would be saying "HELL YEAH" to everything written in this post.

      • MC_Squared

        Wow – someone with a BRAIN.  Cool!
        Yeah, there are lots of King-lovers out there.  I say "HAIL
        TO THE KING".  if they love fractions and base 2 or 12 or 16…   I guess it IS better than base 10.  I say "let them stay there and rot".  The 7 billion people who choose metric are idiots – the 330 million who still love the King are the ones who are right, ey?

        Most don't realize that Fahrenheit is POLISH.  C is based on fresh water freezing and boiling at sea-level.  Nope – salt & ammonium chloride freezing in Poland is FAR better.

        ALL HAIL THE KING.   

        • corners

          you really think its all about loving a king?!

    • MC_Squared

      TO THE KING – he (King Andrew) was WAY ahead of his time.  Better than
      NASA, his wonderful system of 1217BC is indeed the best. Let's throw
      away our computers, phones, and cars – all manufattured metric, and stop
      using GPS – it's via NASA. As a matter of fact, I'm throwing mine away
      now – I'll not be able to access this site.

      GOD SAVE THE QUEEN. Let's also stop celebrating "Independence Day" – we LOVE the King.

      All hail the KING!  NASA, take a HIKE – a bunch of IDIOTS!  The KING was SMART – scientists are IDIOTS!!