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  1. British Absolute system (poundals, pound-mass)

    0 vote(s)
  2. British Gravitational system (slugs, pound-force)

    1 vote(s)
  3. Other Foot/Inch-Pound units/system

    2 vote(s)
  4. SI

    7 vote(s)
  5. CGS

    1 vote(s)
  6. Gravitational SI (Kilogramme-force, TME)

    0 vote(s)
  7. Other

    1 vote(s)
  1. Feb 23, 2004 #1
    Just wondering how many people here use English units as opposed to Metrical ones. That is, people living in the english world (UK, USA, Australia, Canada etc)

    Also, in your dealings with either English units or metrical ones, what have you found to be the major shortcomings of the system?
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2004
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 23, 2004 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    I use pound-mass most of the time, but I've never heard of a "poundal." Anyway, I think the drawbacks of the English system are obvious, but in my particular industry (HVAC), its the one we use.
  4. Feb 23, 2004 #3

    You use the pound-mass but have never even heard of the poundal? Oh my God, what kind of weird system do you use?? The poundal is the English unit of force when you use the pound as unit mass. You will find it in any technical manual of any quality. Here would be an interesting set of questions for you, though: do you use the slug? Do you use inches more than feet? Do you use pound-force as well as pound-mass?

    BTW, what drawbacks? What I mean is, what drawbacks do you encounter when using the system? That is, drawbacks does not equal some theoretical idea that not usinga prefixing system is bad. I mean actual problems you have run into whilst using English units. I would be interested to know :)
  5. Feb 24, 2004 #4
    Why all the numbers, Mike? PS exlaborate.
  6. Feb 25, 2004 #5
    Sorry if I sound a bit dim, but those numbers are not familiar to me. Also, I do not see how "2.63 children" is metric.

    I am 6'1".

    BTW Mike, nobody who uses the metric system measures their height to an accuracy of 0.1mm. In fact, many metric users round to the nearest 2cm. I can tell your figure has come about because you really know your height in inches and feet (68") and have just applied the forumla 1mm = 1/25.4"
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2004
  7. Feb 25, 2004 #6


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    Science Advisor

    A pound is weight, not mass. The slug is the English unit of mass (1 slug at 1 g is 32 pounds). I never heard of a poundal either.


    Editted - didn't notice the very top. Didn't even notice it was a poll.
  8. Feb 25, 2004 #7


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    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    I voted other because I use more than one of the choices (bad poll design to allow only one). I use foot pound in everyday life because those are the standard units where I live, and I use SI units in technicl work. I date back to cgs units (Hell, I date back to "centigrade"), so I have a lot of units in my head. You should have also included "natural", i.e. Planck units.
  9. Feb 25, 2004 #8
    what?? I'm living in pure metric world, and height is rounded to nearest 0.5cm. What you said makes it obvious that people you refer to come from inch world - they round to nearest inch.

    ps. I'm 184.5cm. Kinda also 6'1". So, are you taller or shorter than me? Do you even know your height precisely enough to compare? :wink:

    edit: oops, I just realised I'm not the target audience of the quiz.. sorry. I voted for SI, so substract one if you think it skews the poll.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2004
  10. Feb 25, 2004 #9
    The "average" person in the U.S. does't have any idea whatsoever what a kilometer is or what a cubic meter is. It's very nice to use a system of measure that is as logical as the metric system, however, most of the people that I have to deal with on a day to day basis have no Idea of how the metric system works. If I use the metric system and then have to convert back to the english system, instead of just moving a decimal point, I end up dealing with the very same fractions and decimals that the metric system is supposed to eliminate. I was taught the metric system in public school in the 1960s because we were going to convert soon. Unless there are great advances in increasing life expectancy, I will not be buried in a hole that is 1.8288 meters deep.
  11. Feb 25, 2004 #10
    I am sorry, but the pound is a unit of mass primarily. It is only a unit of force as much as the kilogramme is a unit of force i.e. never, but the pound[-force] and kilogram[-force] are commonly used. the poundal is *THE* English unit of force. The slug is only unit of mass in the gravitational system.

    Your post is frustrating because there is a widespread misconception, even amongst engineers, as to this point. The pound is a unit of mass.
  12. Feb 25, 2004 #11
    I don't believe I CAN do more than one option. I should have said planck units, but forget about 'em. Ooops!! :O
  13. Feb 25, 2004 #12
    I know many, MANY immigrants from totally metric nations- nations metric forever, like former french african colonies. The yoften measure to the nearest 2 kg and cm. That is a fact. Also, it is customary to measure down to the qtr-inch in English- I am 72.75", but ususally say 6'1 for simplicity sake :)

    BTW, whatever, it does not change the fact that people do not round to 1/10mm as that man did.
  14. Feb 25, 2004 #13
    Mate, what is so difficult about fractions? Ans: nothing.
  15. Feb 25, 2004 #14
    At last you get my point, there is absolutely nothing wrong with fractions. To me, being 5 and 8/12 feet tall is just fine. That's why there is nothing wrong with using the english system. Americans are very stubborn, it will probably take a century for the metric system to be in everyday use here.
  16. Feb 25, 2004 #15

    Oh, I see what you mean. I thought you were a metric supporter favouring decimals only. I get you. I myself am a member of the dozenal society of Great britain as well as the British Weights and Measures Association, so am an English supporter. But back to the thread!!

    [edit] Although Mike, there *is* a tendency towards decimal in America (such as 1.5ft, often seen)
  17. Feb 26, 2004 #16
    There is obviously nothing wrong with any consistent system, like there is nothing wrong with octal or hexadecimal numeric systems. When you get used to one, it seems natural. There really can't be fundamentally any major shortcomings of the system.

    Problem is the very issue of conversion. It starts to really piss you off when deep space probes start missing their targets due to faulty conversions, or when it wastes awful lot of your time when communicating, which is obviously not problem of any system, but fact that there are too many different ones.

    Metric system was never historically natural to any nation. It was artificially made to simplify calculations, bringing it closer to decimal numeric system, and for unification. Imo, any debates of english vs. metric system is really debates about historical vs logical international system of units.

    I wonder what you seek with this poll? (btw, what is "dozenal society")? Are you seeking for some justification for scrapping metric system as useless?
  18. Feb 26, 2004 #17
    As to what I hope to achieve with this poll... I am saying not a lot. But I do not wish to show metric as something to be scrapped at all.

    The Dozenal Society of Great Brtain is a society- with its American sister organisation- that aims ot promote dozenal (duo-decimal) numeral systems, attempt to show the benefits of such a system etc etc. Though, I believe even in base ten there is nothing wrong with factors other than ten used in weights and measures.
  19. Feb 26, 2004 #18
    Bryan and Wimms, I agree with both of you on several very good points. I have nothing against the metric system. It is a major pain to have to do conversions all the time for no good reason. If each country would just pick a system(I can live with any of them) and use it, It would save a lot of time and effort. There is no good reason to make conversions all the time on things that aren't going to cross any borders. Many dumb mistakes have been made by intelligent people that have cost lives. -Mike
  20. Feb 26, 2004 #19
    Now that I've found it by google, I'd say very peculiar way to spend ones short lifetime, and most probably even more futile than just going for decimal/metric.

    Just found this: http://www.metric4us.com/
    Check out the why pages.
  21. Feb 26, 2004 #20
    I've read that all before. Much of it is pure nonsesne, anyway. Like, for instance, how many pounds in 200 ounces- when in the hell would you continue measuring in ounces beyond two ro three pounds? Complete and utter rubbish.
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