Author Topic: why is the US not Metric  (Read 25304 times)

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Offline vk6zgo

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #425 on: November 11, 2019, 04:10:42 am »
(One issue I take with Customary critics is that they criticize a system they’ve never really used, so their smugness is based on theories, not practical experience.)

Does not compute. If I didn't have to use imperial, I wouldn't be criticizing it.

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Well, it is an organically evolved system. But in many cases, those old units made sense in isolation. And regardless, there’s often no advantage to changing, but real costs and risks, so you just don’t until the balance of pros and cons changes.

We can only regret that a small percentage of the world's population can't see benefits, but only costs and risks.

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Anyhow, make sure you’re not going all rstofer again.

Poor rstofer has become the intemperance unit of the imperial system.
You don’t have a country set. Are you American? Or are you in a fundamentally metric country, and only deal with a small amount of Customary? (If the latter, then you’re still within the group of people that don’t really use Customary, and thus aren’t comfortable with it the way someone is who grew up with it.)
There are still a large number of Australians who were brought up & spent a fair number of years of their working lives working with Imperial measures.
We finally completely switched over in 1974, following piecemeal changes in some industries from about 1970.
I picked up a mistake in an early posting because I know, & have worked with Imperial regularly in the past.
Seriously, though, except in a school maths problem, how many people would need to use the number of feet in a mile (5280), anyway.
I had it drummed into me, as did many of my generation.

As the saying, often but probably wrongly, attributed to the Jesuits, puts it "Give me the child for the first seven years, & I will give you the man".
(No, I didn't go to Catholic School).

All that said, my generation seamlessly adopted Metric measures.
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I didn’t say that Americans ONLY see costs and risks. As I and others have said repeatedly in this thread: changes do involve costs and risks, and so one will only accept those when the benefits exceed them. At no point did anyone say that Americans see NO benefits. It’s simply that one has to weigh the benefits against the costs and risks. Do I have to spell out this basic logic in any more excruciating detail, or will me typing it out for the tenth time finally break through that noggin? ;)
 
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Offline forrestc

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #426 on: November 11, 2019, 09:39:48 am »
I can see other countries saying to Boeing, hey, you want to continue selling aircraft to us, a minimum requirement would be you have to sell aircraft in our measuring system (which is metric).  Then and only then would Boeing think about changing to metric.  Same goes for other businesses that export to the rest of the world.

How about getting Airbus to switch to metric first?

This is a good example of the effect of inertia on a measurement system.   Nuts and bolts in large commercial aircraft have traditionally been imperial, and there are lots of imperial-dimensioned parts that are certified to Aviation standards.   When Airbus started up, they elected to continue along the same path to avoid the costs of having different parts just for their aircraft.   So a European aerospace manufacturer is producing an aircraft that uses non-metric fasteners.
 

Offline tooki

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #427 on: November 11, 2019, 12:31:44 pm »
Much more than metric vs customary fasteners, I just wish we could switch everything to Torx and eliminate all the other driver types.
 
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Online mzzj

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #428 on: November 11, 2019, 01:20:51 pm »


This is a good example of the effect of inertia on a measurement system.   Nuts and bolts in large commercial aircraft have traditionally been imperial, and there are lots of imperial-dimensioned parts that are certified to Aviation standards.   When Airbus started up, they elected to continue along the same path to avoid the costs of having different parts just for their aircraft.   So a European aerospace manufacturer is producing an aircraft that uses non-metric fasteners.
For some odd reason seatbelt mounting bolts are 7/16 20 TPI even on european cars.
 

Online bsfeechannel

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #429 on: November 11, 2019, 01:33:43 pm »
"Yes, imperial and customary are a nightmare, because they use different bases, even within the same scale: 12 inches in a foot, 3 feet in a yard and 1790 yards in a mile."

Reply:  the US statute mile is 8 furlongs of 220 yards each, or 1760 yards.

Thou, inch, foot, yard, chain, furlong, mile, league, fathom, cable, nautical mile, link, rod, different units for the same measurement: length. All of them with odd bases for the multiplication factors.

Metric has just one unit: the supreme METER, with just one base for factors: 10.

But then you have perch, rood, acre for area and fluid ounce, gill, pint, quart and gallon for volume.

Metric has... TA-DAAAA!: the supreme METER: m² and m³.
 

Online GeorgeOfTheJungle

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #430 on: November 11, 2019, 01:48:37 pm »
I don't know why, but I've always liked the units of measurement of the British Imperial System.
git diff *
 

Online bsfeechannel

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #431 on: November 11, 2019, 01:55:39 pm »
I have no explanation for 12 inch = 1 foot stuff.  My guess is, the King had in mind 16 inches to the foot, but one of his cronies was corrupt and always pocketed some of whatever the King bestows to the public, so he figure if the King want to give 16 inches to a foot, I'll pocket 4 inches for my own benefit, and gave the foot only 12 inches...

The reason for the inch to be 1/12 foot is in the name of the unit. It comes from the Latin uncia, which means precisely one twelfth.

The Romans used base 10 for addition, multiplication and subtraction, and base 12 for division.

The Romans used base 10 for whole numbers and base 12 for fractions.

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Meter is not a natural unit.  it is an artificial construct just like a dollar or a euro.  What seem "the best unit to use" is based on common perspective and common familiarity within a culture (such as culture of say Chemist vs Civil Engineers vs Nutritionist vs...).   We now use 1/2 life of uranium (or any radioactive sample) instead of 1/10 life of uranium.  1/2 life is something scientist are comfortable with and have a mental gauge of how to apply that number.  We could switch to using 1/10 life of uranium, but what does that gain us?  None I can think of other than confusion.

The meter can be adjusted to whatever scale you need. In metricated countries people use the meter to measure the diameter of a proton, the thickness of sheet metal, the length of a screw, the size of furniture, the dimensions of a property or a house, the distance between two cities, the size of the earth.

The metric system was thought out from the ground up for the modern world.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2019, 04:16:08 pm by bsfeechannel »
 
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Offline ciccio

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #432 on: November 11, 2019, 02:34:10 pm »

The Romans used base 10 for addition, multiplication and subtraction, and base 12 for division.


Never heard this. It's interesting. Can you supply some reference? .
I studied Latin, more than 50 years ago, but I remember that division was done by series subctraction, using the standard notation, which can be assumed "base 10" or "base X"
Best regards
Ciccio

Strenua Nos Exercet Inertia
 
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Online Cerebus

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #433 on: November 11, 2019, 03:45:35 pm »
The metric system was thought out from the ground up for the modern world.

Only if you regard the end of the eighteenth century as "the modern world".

Thinking about it, it's perhaps odd that the US didn't adopt the metric system ab initio. The American war of independence and the adoption of the metric system by France were going on at roughly the same time and France was a formal ally of America. Many aspects of American revolutionary thinking were heavily influenced by 'modern' ideas that were being passed around in Europe at the time. America decimalized its currency (remember that the British Colonial monetary system was a base 12/base 20 system) but didn't follow through with the other aspect and metricate its measures. Curious...
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Online bsfeechannel

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #434 on: November 11, 2019, 03:49:05 pm »

The Romans used base 10 for addition, multiplication and subtraction, and base 12 for division.


Never heard this. It's interesting. Can you supply some reference? .
I studied Latin, more than 50 years ago, but I remember that division was done by series subctraction, using the standard notation, which can be assumed "base 10" or "base X"
Best regards

You're right.

I should have said, the Romans used base 10 for whole numbers and base 12 for fractions.

Gratias tibi ago.
 

Offline ebclr

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #435 on: November 11, 2019, 06:02:34 pm »
Instead of metric or imperials, everybody must use a binary system and will save a lot of power,, Man's and machines together  :-DD
 

Online bsfeechannel

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #436 on: November 11, 2019, 08:16:20 pm »
You don’t have a country set. Are you American? Or are you in a fundamentally metric country, and only deal with a small amount of Customary? (If the latter, then you’re still within the group of people that don’t really use Customary, and thus aren’t comfortable with it the way someone is who grew up with it.)


I didn’t say that Americans ONLY see costs and risks. As I and others have said repeatedly in this thread: changes do involve costs and risks, and so one will only accept those when the benefits exceed them. At no point did anyone say that Americans see NO benefits. It’s simply that one has to weigh the benefits against the costs and risks. Do I have to spell out this basic logic in any more excruciating detail, or will me typing it out for the tenth time finally break through that noggin? ;)

Try to think if all of a sudden, instead of expressing capacity in farads, you had different units depending on the order of magnitude for expressing the same thing, each with a nonsensical (albeit "historical") relation to each other and employing different bases for whole numbers and fractions, just because some nation wants to stick to a meaningless tradition.

I think you wouldn't be happy if you now had to do the same for resistance, and that you had to apply different conversion factors depending on the order of magnitude of the resistance and the capacitance to calculate just an RC time constant.

That's what would happen if instead of metric, people opted to use their customary system to define capacitance and resistance.

If you are capable of imagining such a situation you will quickly understand how imperial sucks.
 

Online bsfeechannel

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #437 on: November 11, 2019, 08:18:40 pm »
Hah, speak of the devil, this is what a friend just posted to Facebook. He and the friend who commented are both millennial Americans:

They will be curators of an open-air museum of antiquated units.
 

Offline soldar

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #438 on: November 11, 2019, 09:48:12 pm »
Only if you regard the end of the eighteenth century as "the modern world".

The 18th century is classified as modern history. In fact, late modern history.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_time_periods

Modern History – After the post-classical era

    Early Modern Period – The chronological limits of this period are open to debate. It emerges from the Late Middle Ages (c. 1500), demarcated by historians as beginning with the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, in forms such as the Italian Renaissance in the West, the Ming Dynasty in the East, and the rise of the Aztec in the New World. The period ends with the beginning of the Age of Revolutions.

    Late Modern Period – Began approximately in the mid-18th century; notable historical milestones included the French Revolution, the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution and the Great Divergence

    Contemporary History – History within living memory. It shifts forward with the generations, and today is the span of historic events from approximately 1945 that are immediately relevant to the present time. For example, the Post-Modern movement (Soviet Union and United States, 1973–present)


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Online Cerebus

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #439 on: November 11, 2019, 10:44:29 pm »
Only if you regard the end of the eighteenth century as "the modern world".

The 18th century is classified as modern history. In fact, late modern history.

The "modern world" and "modern history" aren't the same thing. You can tell because people use different words for them. People don't "fly around the history" or "Write a world of the 100 Year's War".

If your point is to stand, you'll have to go back and change bsfeechannel's  original claim to "The metric system was thought out from the ground up for the modern history" and that would clearly make a nonsense of it.
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Offline soldar

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #440 on: November 11, 2019, 11:21:44 pm »
The "modern world" and "modern history" aren't the same thing. You can tell because people use different words for them. People don't "fly around the history" or "Write a world of the 100 Year's War".

If your point is to stand, you'll have to go back and change bsfeechannel's  original claim to "The metric system was thought out from the ground up for the modern history" and that would clearly make a nonsense of it.


I have no problem with his original quote. To me saying "the metric system was thought from the ground up for the modern world" means it was meant to be a break with the past and focused on the future.

In any case, not worth arguing about.
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Offline Cubdriver

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #441 on: November 12, 2019, 02:30:43 pm »
You don’t have a country set. Are you American? Or are you in a fundamentally metric country, and only deal with a small amount of Customary? (If the latter, then you’re still within the group of people that don’t really use Customary, and thus aren’t comfortable with it the way someone is who grew up with it.)


I didn’t say that Americans ONLY see costs and risks. As I and others have said repeatedly in this thread: changes do involve costs and risks, and so one will only accept those when the benefits exceed them. At no point did anyone say that Americans see NO benefits. It’s simply that one has to weigh the benefits against the costs and risks. Do I have to spell out this basic logic in any more excruciating detail, or will me typing it out for the tenth time finally break through that noggin? ;)

Try to think if all of a sudden, instead of expressing capacity in farads, you had different units depending on the order of magnitude for expressing the same thing, each with a nonsensical (albeit "historical") relation to each other and employing different bases for whole numbers and fractions, just because some nation wants to stick to a meaningless tradition.

I think you wouldn't be happy if you now had to do the same for resistance, and that you had to apply different conversion factors depending on the order of magnitude of the resistance and the capacitance to calculate just an RC time constant.

That's what would happen if instead of metric, people opted to use their customary system to define capacitance and resistance.

If you are capable of imagining such a situation you will quickly understand how imperial sucks.

Why do you have such a huge bug up your ass about the US and the measurement system(s) we currently use?  The reasoning has been explained to you repeatedly (see, for instance, tooki's post above, quoted as part of yours).  Your example is ridiculous - no one is suddenly changing systems - we are continuing to use a system we've been using for many years, while transitioning to metric where doing so makes sense to us.  Is a base ten system fundamentally far more logical?  Yes, it is.  This fact has been acknowledged repeatedly in this thread.  The fact remains that the US is a big country with a large installed base of non-metric things.  It would cost a fortune to change everything over, replace the signs on over four MILLION miles of roads, and get everyone to think in metric units rather than the current system.  At this point, we don't feel that change is worth the cost and effort.  Deal with it.  Somehow, we seem to be doing so.

We get it - in your opinion, everything measurement-wise that is non metric is archaic, sucks, makes no sense, is stupid, <insert additional pejorative(s) of your choice>.  We don't care that you don't like it.  It currently works for us.  If it bothers you that much, feel free not to come here and not to use anything we currently make that isn't based on a metric standard.  Jesus H. Tap-dancing Christ give it a rest already.

-Pat
If it jams, force it.  If it breaks, you needed a new one anyway...
 
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Online Zero999

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #442 on: November 12, 2019, 10:20:53 pm »
Perhaps the title of the thread should be changed to "Why does anyone care the US is not Metric?" I certainly don't. I couldn't care less if anyone uses crappy imperial/customary units, so long as I know what they are i.e. it's a US pint, rather than imperial pint, so I can convert.
 
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Offline AG6QR

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #443 on: November 13, 2019, 06:27:30 am »
For those who abhor non-decimal factors in units, why do you put up with our current system of time?  Short of tweaking Earth's orbit, we can't do much about the number of days in the year, but all the subdivisions of a day are entirely up to us to control.   We don't need to follow the Babylonian system of 24, 60, and 60.  We could use centidays and millidays for ordinary timekeeping.  A centiday is 14.4 of our traditional minutes, and a milliday is 1.44 minutes.  Once we made the switch, we'd easily change our habits to make classes, meetings, and TV programs last two to four centidays, cookies bake in one centiday or a bit less, a work day is 33 centidays, etc.

Quick: if an engine rotates at 2000rpm, how many revolutions does it make in an hour?  A day?  If the same engine rotates at 3000 revs/milliday, you immediately know it completes 30,000 revs/centiday, or 3,000,000 revs/day. 

Converting meters/sec into km/hour is not necessarily intuitive to most people, but converting m/microday into km/centiday is just moving the decimal.

So why don't we make the switch?

We'd have to replace all clocks.  We'd have to get used to thinking in centidays and millidays.  Camera shutter speeds, frequencies on our radio dials, frame rates of movie cameras, the standard pitch of musical instruments, baud rates of serial data transfer, and our AC power grid are a few of the random things we tie to the second.  We measure pulse, respiration, and the speed of rotating machinery using the minute.  Our system of time zones and the speed limits on our highway are tied to the hour.

There's no doubt in my mind that, after we transitioned to metric time, a lot of math involving times would become much simpler for humans to deal with.  I also have no doubt that many of those who grew up with our present system of hours:minutes:seconds would have difficulty adjusting to decimal time. And the retooling that would be required would be horrendous, as would the synchronization of such things as airline schedules and teleconference timings during the transition.  I'm confident I will not live to see the adoption of metric time, and I suspect my (as yet unborn) grandchildren won't, either.  Because we're unwilling to make the change and suffer the cost ourselves, we're condemning future generations to suffer through the difficulties of the current system until such time as they take it upon themselves to adopt a sensible set of measurements.

If you understand why the world still uses hours:minutes:seconds, you understand why the US is still using pounds and feet.  The arguments for the status quo versus decimalization of measurements are the same in both cases, at least qualitatively.  The relative magnitudes of the costs may be somewhat different of course.
 
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Offline wasyoungonce

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #444 on: November 13, 2019, 07:48:51 am »
Worked with metric and imperial on military aircraft.  Yes of course many fasteners are proprietary like DUZ etc but its such a pain using the US imperial compared to the metric.

Speaking to the FSRs...they know its mad but explained no matter how much better metric is for everyone, including scientific notation and standards,  its just...well..they don't collectively care nor will they ever change.  Indeed they cannot understand why other countries adopted metric.  Then places like UK..metric and imperial...really that's mad!

But like world voltage standards....it ain't going to happen!
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Offline Tepe

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #445 on: November 13, 2019, 08:02:42 am »
There's no doubt in my mind that, after we transitioned to metric time, a lot of math involving times would become much simpler for humans to deal with.

The ten day weeks would probably not prove to be immensely popular...
ceterum censeo systemd-inem esse delendam
 
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Online GeorgeOfTheJungle

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #446 on: November 13, 2019, 09:31:33 am »
1 milliday = 86.4 seconds
1 hour = 41.666666667 millidays
1 minute = 0.6944444444 millidays
1 second = 11.5740740740 µdays

:--
git diff *
 

Offline tooki

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #447 on: November 13, 2019, 09:50:16 am »
Remember Swatch Internet Time? Yeah, people just flocked to it! :p

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swatch_Internet_Time



P.S. They really need to make a memberberry emoji.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2019, 09:52:08 am by tooki »
 

Offline Tepe

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #448 on: November 13, 2019, 12:27:50 pm »
1 milliday = 86.4 seconds
1 hour = 41.666666667 millidays
1 minute = 0.6944444444 millidays
1 second = 11.5740740740 µdays

:--

1 day = 10 hours = 1,000 minutes = 100,000 seconds
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Online GeorgeOfTheJungle

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #449 on: November 13, 2019, 12:47:14 pm »
1 milliday = 86.4 seconds
1 hour = 41.666666667 millidays
1 minute = 0.6944444444 millidays
1 second = 11.5740740740 µdays

:--
1 day = 10 hours = 1,000 minutes = 100,000 seconds

 :-+ Good idea! Let's call 0.864 seconds a second from now on! What could possibly go wrong?
git diff *
 


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