Metric System vs. Standard System

  1. Anyone think the US will start using the metric system anytime soon?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. dextercioby

    dextercioby 12,303
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    I can only hope,as your system of units is highly illogical.

    Daniel.
     
  4. SpaceTiger

    SpaceTiger 2,977
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    Heh, yeah, agreed. The only logic that's preventing a switch is the fact that we're used to it and Americans are notoriously resistant to change.
     
  5. brewnog

    brewnog 2,793
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    Even though the Yanks insist on calling it the British system, and try to make it look like it's the Brits who are forcing them to keep measuring things in slug pounds per cubic barleycorn hour.


    Bring on compulsory global metrication!



    One interesting Imperial unit I saw recently was for calculating the thermal transmission of walls. The unit is BTU/hour/sq ft/cm/degree F.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2005
  6. Most people don't like change. However, I think if the metric system was taught in school to little kids, they would accept it more than they would the standard system. And then, you would have a generation of Americans who are willing to go with the easier system and whoever is president at that time can say that the metric system will be used in the US without much trouble.

    Ahhh my wonderful 50 year plans that never happen.
     
  7. We need a form of standardization for the physical units worldwide. I am amazed that authors of certain physics books still keep using the non-standard American system. It is ok to put a few exercises to test the unit conversion abilities of the student, but having half, or all of exercises or worked problems with the American units is a really bad idea.
    Besides I would add that the system is difficult and illogical. Take the quantity of distance, for example. In SI the meter is defined and all existing sub- or super- units in that system are by powers of 10. On the other hand in the American system there is a weird relation between inches, feet, and miles making it hard to convert :-(.
     
  8. Yep, my problem with the American system is that I have to look it up every time I convert. Especially when I'm converting between the two systems.
     
  9. Pfft, a plan aimed at more than the next election? HA!
     
  10. Monique

    Monique 4,700
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    The Euro has just been introduced in many European countries. It is a little hard at first dealing with a new currency, but after a year you don't know any better.

    If on all the gallon milk containers in the stores all of a sudden would be marked as containing 4 liters of milk, I think people will get used to it soon enough. As long that the two different systems get used side by side for a while, so that people can associate the two values to eachother.
     
  11. Thats the only system we've ever used in my high school science classes (I live in the US). Only some "regular" class people and non-science/math oriented people don't know the metric system in my school. Only problem is that I can work out a problem in the metric system but it's hard for me to relate metric measurements in the real world. For example, if you asked me what temperature I think it is outside, I could tell you it's around 70 F but I couldn't really tell you what it is in C without thinking about it for a minute. Same with distance or speed. I could tell you that the car was going about 50 mph but I couldn't guess how fast it was going in kph. Don't even remember what the convertion is for mph to kph off the top of my head. Even though I use the metric system everyday in my physics class, thats just using it on paper, I've never really related them to real life experences.
     
  12. In aviation, they use standard units. Would anyone want a pilot who momentarily mixes 100 meters with 100 feet?
     
  13. Galileo

    Galileo 2,002
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    Can you guys feel how it is like for Europeans to play D&D? :cry:
     
  14. The US was suppose to switch back in the 70's when Canada did. There excuse was cause it would be too expensive. Bet they are kicking themselves now. Cause its going to be about 1000% more expensive to start now.

    And if we tried hard enough i bet we could find reasons to blame the bush family.
     
  15. selfAdjoint

    selfAdjoint 8,147
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    It would be very expensive to convert the US the rest of the way to metric. Note that it has been partly converted already; although milk is still sold by quarts and gallons, booze and wine are sold by liters.

    But to convert lengths will require retooling all the manufacturing. There are metric screw thread standards even! And think of all those signs along the main roads, giving the tenths of a mile; they would all have to be taken down and new ones erected for tenths of a a km (cms?). The laws setting speed limits in MPH will have to be changed to cite KPH (or mps?)

    Frankly I don't see the government sponsoring this. It will cost a bunch, and what does it buy us?
     
  16. FredGarvin

    FredGarvin 5,087
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    I can imagine how expensive it would be for just my company to convert. It would never happen unless someone else paid the huge bills to do it.

    Personally, I have no problems going back and forth between the two systems. Why does everyone else?
     

  17. Just minimizes confusion. Standardization is always a good thing. Simple is better too.
     
  18. SpaceTiger

    SpaceTiger 2,977
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    Conversion would be a one-time cost, but when we start losing satellites (*coughmarsprobecough*) over it, I begin to think it might save us money in the long term. Also, remember that the average person is not particularly good at math. Although you may be able to mentally calculate the number of inches or feet in 6.5 miles, most people can't. Contrast that to calculating the number of meters or centimeters in 6.5 kilometers. I'd say most of the population could be trained to handle that.
     
  19. The one good thing I learned in track season is that I slowly adopted metric usage of meters... it is so much easier to specify distances in terms of hundreds of meters compared to hundreds of feet. I still have yet to do the same for temperature, though I know the relation for kph/mph but I have to do some mental algebra in order to figure it out.

    As Entropy implied earlier, the standard system is really weird, its next to impossible to estimate things and trying to figure out unit relations takes a deal of effort and some minor annoyances.

    I still have no idea how to visualize slugs and the like....
     
  20. Integral

    Integral 7,345
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    Metric system stinks. We should abandon any base 10 system simply due to the lack of prime divisors. 2 and 5 just are not enough. If we cannot have our nice binary/base 12 system then let us all adapt a base 16 system.

    You will have to pry my foot/inch tape measure from my dying hands. I hope never to be forced to use a metric tape measure. :yuck:
     
  21. BobG

    BobG 2,340
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    I agree with Integral. 10 is a pretty lame number to base your numbering system on. 12 would be a fantastic base for a numbering system - it's divisible by 2, 3, 4, and 6. Base 11 wouldn't be too bad either - then we wouldn't have to constantly deal with simplifying fractions; they'd already be in their most simplified form. Base 16 is even better than base 10.

    The problem isn't the fact that the English system doesn't use a base 10 system. The problem is that there's no standardization between the different systems (12 inches per foot, 16 ounces per pound, etc.). If they at least used the same base, we could just the change our numbering system to match.

    By the way, it shouldn't be that hard to visualize how much a slug is. It's about the same amount of mass as the apple that hit Newton on the top of his head.
     
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