Author Topic: why is the US not Metric  (Read 22207 times)

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Offline jonovid

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why is the US not Metric
« on: October 25, 2019, 10:24:21 am »
whats the attraction to the use of old imperial measurement in the US?
here in Australia everything is Metric,  like most of the world.
why is the US system of measurement the odd one out?
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Offline daqq

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2019, 10:33:31 am »
Mix of history, price of changing stuff, pride and stubbornness.

Or, as an insane person will tell you, having an insane system cobbled together by drunken mathematicians is an expression of freedom against the tyranny of multiplying things by 1000, and prevents the New World Order:

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Offline NivagSwerdna

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2019, 10:47:03 am »
In the UK we still have road distances and speed limits in miles despite having most other things in SI units... strange really.
... and when it is really hot the tabloid papers say... "Oooo what a scorcher <big number>F"... I seriously doubt many people understand F in the UK now... not me anyway.  :)
 
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Offline austfox

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2019, 11:28:21 am »
here in Australia everything is Metric,  like most of the world.

Except for tyre pressure (psi) and to a lesser extent food energy (calories).

Note the electronic tyre pumps at service stations, which default to psi, but are required by law to have a metric (kPa) toggle switch (which I have never seen anyone use).

Most food packaging is in kJ, but it seems a lot of media commentators still like to use calories.
 

Offline Simon

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2019, 11:48:17 am »
Oh well, this must be the 5th topic to discuss the same thing! Usually ends in a row so expect me to lock it!
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Online wraper

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2019, 11:54:21 am »
Comfort zone. In reality it kinda sucks but you are used to at and oppose any changes.
 

Offline jfiresto

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2019, 12:07:54 pm »
whats the attraction to the use of old imperial measurement in the US?
here in Australia everything is Metric,  like most of the world.
why is the US system of measurement the odd one out?

There was a serious but ultimately unsuccessful push to go metric in the 1970s, but the U.S. was still largely self-sufficient and most found the change wasn't worth the candle. The subsequent Great Offshoring has changed that. I predict most imperial units will eventually die out as ever fewer learn how to calculate with fractions, and even fewer want to!
 

Offline Simon

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2019, 12:17:37 pm »
The imperial system is Roman! they didn't have computers and no reliable method of measurements so they did stuff with body parts. An inch is your thumb and the itallian word for inch is thumb. Other measurments are foot and hand. Why on earth would a modern measurement system be based off body parts? Sure there is some sort of standadization now but it still inherits all of the flaws it originally had when the Romans were using every  bodily appendage other than their genitals as a standard of measurment.
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Offline SerieZ

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2019, 12:28:12 pm »
I have been wondering the same for a long time.
And while I think for some small subset of American it comes down to Pride I believe it broils more down to good old Convenience.
Why change something which has been and still is working?

Most Americans do realize Metric is better for the Modern Information Age and I certainly do not think the Imperial will survive this Century in the US or elsewhere in anything other than niche applications.

Even in PCB Footprints are starting to be more commonly in metric and I am seing less and less of the good old 2.54.
When I was learning Electronics and doing my first Layout it weirded me out... I never really had Inches in Mind as a youngster.
(Eventually I got semi-assimilated and now have little problems for conversion tho)  :-DD

Edit: Spelling
 

Online MagicSmoker

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2019, 12:34:07 pm »
Sigh... Until American children are taught metric the Imperial system will persist, simple as that. It's not about what is better, it is about what is familiar, and in the US the Imperial system is by far the most familiar one.

 

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2019, 12:50:12 pm »
Mix of history, price of changing stuff, pride and stubbornness.

Or, as an insane person will tell you, having an insane system cobbled together by drunken mathematicians is an expression of freedom against the tyranny of multiplying things by 1000, and prevents the New World Order:
:-DD You can't make that stuff up. This is freaking hilarious! I just can't tell which one was the troll there...
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Offline TimFox

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2019, 01:14:15 pm »
When this question arises over and over again, I point out that the US did go officially metric in 1959, including a re-definition of the US customary unit the inch to exactly 2.54 cm.  One might say that they didn't tell anyone about it, however.  Because of this re-definition, another customary unit, the US Survey Foot, was added following the old definition (39.37 inch = 1 meter, slightly different) so that we did not have to rewrite every single land tenure document in the country.  Perhaps the last holdout for customary units will be the screw-fastener industry.
 
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Offline Simon

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2019, 01:29:36 pm »
Basically it's due to arrogance and stupidity. A UK minister wants to take the UK back to imperial when/if we leave the EU. Needless to say he is known as "the member for the 18th century" when he is not being called worse.

This asshole knows nothing of engineering and could not give a toss. He just holds onto his "imperial" system like a religeon and is too stupid to realize that it is the Roman empire not the British empire that brought them and as much as he hates the EU he is advecating a system of measurements that came from the EU........
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Offline Muttley Snickers

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2019, 01:39:33 pm »
These metric versus imperial threads are nuts and just end up in division.   ::)
 

Offline NivagSwerdna

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2019, 01:44:29 pm »
A UK minister wants to take the UK back to imperial when/if we leave the EU.
Fake news.  You should lock the thread.
 

Offline IanB

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2019, 01:45:21 pm »
These metric versus imperial threads are nuts and just end up in division.   ::)

Actually they are nuts and bolts and end up in screw ups  ;D
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Online SiliconWizard

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #16 on: October 25, 2019, 02:33:25 pm »
Mix of history, price of changing stuff, pride and stubbornness.

Yup, probably! And even though I find this a bit retarded (but that's just an opinion, certainly not a fact), I have nothing against having a "cultural" exception of some sort. Excessive uniformity is uninteresting and not a goal in itself.

The only thing I find "weird" with this subbornness is the link with the old british empire. Obviously the "imperial" in the imperial system is the BRITISH empire, which the USA has become independent from a long time ago. That's the oddity IMO. I guess they should have had the "pride" of getting rid of it after they got independent. But they also wanted to clearly separate themselves from the rest of Europe. So that were difficult times.

But now... I think it's a bit too late. The more you wait, and the harder it would become to switch to a different system. Had they done that before, or just at the start of the "industrial revolution", that would have been possible. After that, it would become increasingly hard. These days, the cost of switching (just considering the financial cost) would probably be gigantic.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2019, 02:35:50 pm by SiliconWizard »
 

Offline Sal Ammoniac

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #17 on: October 25, 2019, 02:44:29 pm »
In the UK we still have road distances and speed limits in miles despite having most other things in SI units... strange really.
... and when it is really hot the tabloid papers say... "Oooo what a scorcher <big number>F"... I seriously doubt many people understand F in the UK now... not me anyway.  :)

At least in the US we're all Imperial. The UK has a bastardized mix--like you said, road distances and speed limits in miles/MPH, temperatures in C. Food weights in grams, but people weight in stone (talk about a bizarre unit). Drinks in pints (and not even the same pint we have in the US).
 

Offline Simon

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #18 on: October 25, 2019, 02:48:13 pm »
yes but we don't have mixed measurements in the same industry like the US space industry did ;)
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Offline richard.cs

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2019, 02:51:02 pm »
You might as well ask when North America will join the 230 V world :-D Lots of advantages there (~3 kW available for common domestic appliances, lower final circuit currents leading to fewer fires and higher energy efficiency, eventual death of split-phase and weird stuff like high leg delta).

Saudi Arabia is currently in progress, approaching the end of the 10 year preparatory stage and soon to enter the 15 year implementation stage: https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/saudi-arabia-switches-electricity-voltage-to-gulf-standard-1.511391 They are moving from 127 V P-N / 220 V P-P to 230/400.

 

Online xrunner

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2019, 02:52:13 pm »
Because a football field would be 91.44 meters long and would sound dumb.
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Offline vk6zgo

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #21 on: October 25, 2019, 03:03:39 pm »
here in Australia everything is Metric,  like most of the world.

Except for tyre pressure (psi) and to a lesser extent food energy (calories).

Note the electronic tyre pumps at service stations, which default to psi, but are required by law to have a metric (kPa) toggle switch (which I have never seen anyone use).

Most food packaging is in kJ, but it seems a lot of media commentators still like to use calories.

I usually switch to kPa, but I've noticed most of the time  I'm looking for 220kPa, which is near as dammit to 32 psi, anyway!

What gets up my nose is selling beer in pints-------Years of Aussie tradition thrown away so little "trendoids" can pretend they are in London.
After Metrication, Schooners, Middies, etc, survived in the nearest metric size, but they couldn't fight the forces of fashion.

And the "pints" are probably not real red-blooded "Pommy"  pints, but rather, wimply little US "pintettes"!
« Last Edit: October 25, 2019, 03:27:28 pm by vk6zgo »
 
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Offline dave j

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #22 on: October 25, 2019, 03:12:08 pm »
A UK minister wants to take the UK back to imperial when/if we leave the EU.
Fake news.  You should lock the thread.

Rees-Mogg did order his department's civil servants to use imperial measurements (including in official documents). It's not much of a stretch to assume he would switch the country back to imperial if he could.
 
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Offline vk6zgo

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #23 on: October 25, 2019, 03:26:15 pm »
Because a football field would be 91.44 meters long and would sound dumb.

It depends on what kind of football.:-

An Australian Rules football ground can be between  135 & 185 metres long.

A Rugby League ground is 100metres.

A Rugby Union ground is 106-144metres.

A Gaelic football ground is 130-145 metres.

The "World Game", which vociferously claims to be the only real "Football", is played on a ground that can
vary between 90-120 metres long, except in International matches, where it must be between 100 & 110 metres.
 

Offline Sal Ammoniac

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #24 on: October 25, 2019, 03:44:47 pm »
yes but we don't have mixed measurements in the same industry like the US space industry did ;)

Did. That's not the case anymore. All tech industries in the US are strictly metric now and have been for quite some time. Sure, there are probably the odd exceptions here and there, but they are just that--exceptions.
 
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