Author Topic: why is the US not Metric  (Read 59880 times)

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Offline bsfeechannel

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #1375 on: February 26, 2020, 09:52:05 pm »
Here is an article that claims THE international standard for the kg is kept in an underground vault in Paris.  I'm been to Paris but I wasn't searching for the vault.  Maybe the article is wrong, I wouldn't know.

https://www.bbvaopenmind.com/en/science/mathematics/el-sistema-metrico-la-medida-de-todo/

There are dozens of 'identical' copies but these are, at best, secondary standards.

The meter used to be a metal bar kept in, you guessed it, Paris!  Now it is defined based on the wavelength of a certain frequency of light.  This is easier to duplicate around the world.

I just know what I have read and I have to believe the article is based on some facts.  But, it's the Internet, facts are not in abundance.

The article you posted is outdated. The kilogram was THE LAST metric base unit still held as a prototype by several countries, including the US, when it was replaced by a standard based on the Planck constant, on the meter and on the second in November 2018.

The meter was defined in terms of the speed of light in 1983 and the second in terms of subatomic properties of Cesium 133 in 1967!

What is ironic is that the US and the UK played important roles in the transition from the prototypes to the current standards.

Now go and tell Joe Sixpack and Jane Average on the street that the metric system is as American as corn dogs. Please.

 

Offline rstofer

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #1376 on: February 26, 2020, 10:17:01 pm »
Now go and tell Joe Sixpack and Jane Average on the street that the metric system is as American as corn dogs. Please.

Why?  They're content with the existing system and have nothing to gain by the change.  What?  We gain conformity with Europe?  That really isn't a goal. Left to their daily lives, they probably don't give Europe a moment's thought per year!

When I arrived to work in Singapore, one of the very high up manager's asked what we thought of Singapore in the US.  I told him I didn't know, it had never come up in my family and I was pretty sure it didn't come up in many other families either.  If you had a relationship with the country, like family, sure, you gave it some thought.  The only thing I could think of was the jackets with the embroidered tiger that the sailors picked up when they stopped in for R&R.  It's kind of the same deal with Europe.  Every body knows it's 'over there' but nobody cares.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2020, 10:31:36 pm by rstofer »
 

Offline SilverSolder

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #1377 on: February 26, 2020, 11:11:14 pm »
Now go and tell Joe Sixpack and Jane Average on the street that the metric system is as American as corn dogs. Please.

Why?  They're content with the existing system and have nothing to gain by the change.  What?  We gain conformity with Europe?  That really isn't a goal. Left to their daily lives, they probably don't give Europe a moment's thought per year!

When I arrived to work in Singapore, one of the very high up manager's asked what we thought of Singapore in the US.  I told him I didn't know, it had never come up in my family and I was pretty sure it didn't come up in many other families either.  If you had a relationship with the country, like family, sure, you gave it some thought.  The only thing I could think of was the jackets with the embroidered tiger that the sailors picked up when they stopped in for R&R.  It's kind of the same deal with Europe.  Every body knows it's 'over there' but nobody cares.

Americans tend not to appreciate that European countries are smaller and far less homogeneous than American states - so people grow up there comfortable with the fact that there are other countries/languages nearby, and (apart from brexiters) most Europeans understand the need to find common ground on which to build (including agreeing on weights and measures).

Europeans, on the other hand, tend not to appreciate how different US states actually are from each other...  I was shocked, personally, having gotten used to the East Coast how different things are in the South, and the West, and even the North!
 
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Offline bsfeechannel

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #1378 on: February 26, 2020, 11:14:52 pm »
Why?  They're content with the existing system and have nothing to gain by the change. 

If they had nothing to gain with the change, why did your country invest so much in the improvement of the metric system? For the common citizens of the other countries that use metric on a daily basis to profit?

It seems like a stupid move, to use taxpayer's money for the benefit the rest of the world, especially Europe, that you despise so much, and keep the taxpayers themselves out of it.
 

Offline angrybird

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #1379 on: February 27, 2020, 12:09:06 am »
I just realized what is going on here.

If you non-USA guys are so insanely jealous of people that live in the USA, why don't you just move there instead of this futile bashing of such an irrelevant subject?

 :horse:
THE CAKE IS A LIE AND THESE NUTHATCH ARE WAY TOO DISTRACTING
 
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Offline bsfeechannel

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #1380 on: February 27, 2020, 12:28:27 am »
I just realized what is going on here.

No, you didn't. You came late to the discussion.

Quote
If you non-USA guys are so insanely jealous of people that live in the USA, why don't you just move there instead of this futile bashing of such an irrelevant subject?

We dismissed this argument long ago. What we are doing is to demolish nonsensical arguments that try to justify the use of imperial system and resist the adoption of the metric system.

ebastler summed it all up in his brilliant comment on the last page. Our arguments are objective, and your counter arguments are subjective. We find embarrassing holes in the their arguments, and the reply is "you're jealous".

Gimme a break.
 
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Offline angrybird

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #1381 on: February 27, 2020, 01:28:45 am »
You don't get it.

As a population, the USA doesn't care about justification or lack thereof.

It is what it is.  You aren't going to change it no matter how much and how long you argue.  This is why I referred to your arguine as "urine into the wind:  :-DD

Go drink a beer!
THE CAKE IS A LIE AND THESE NUTHATCH ARE WAY TOO DISTRACTING
 
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Offline petert

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #1382 on: February 27, 2020, 01:51:25 am »
The 8 inch and 5.25 inch floppy were developed in the U.S.  The development happened in Silicon Valley starting in 1967, so every dimension would have been imperial.
I am aware of the origin of the 3.5 inch floppy disk.

For the others I just took the German Wikipedia as reference, which claims the 8 inch floppy is really 200mm (instead of 203.2 mm) and likewise for other sizes. A quick search didn't result in any definite references, but there is no reason that the USA as origin would force it to be in inches, besides for marketing.

If you find a reliable reference (not that it's super important), let me know. My major point was that in Europe and Germany, inches do not remain out of laziness to convert, but due to foreign companies/market influences. Actually, as in the example of screens, inches were "reintroduced" and not common for TVs.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2020, 02:55:15 am by petert »
 

Offline petert

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #1383 on: February 27, 2020, 02:32:34 am »
Question 1:  In metrified countries, how is printer and photographic resolution specified.  In the US it is DPI or dots per inch.  Do metric guys do dots per centimeter or do you do do dot spacing (pitch as defined in the metric world)?  For some reason the metric world seems to gravitate towards the reciprocal of US standard units (liters/km, pitch in mm and so on).  I see no particular advantage to one or the other.  It is kind of like the side of the road you drive on.  Tradition, not advantage.
In practice it is messed up, because due to the computer industry being heavily US-influenced, a lot of measures are set to imperial by default.
So it's DPI for the resolution most of the time, but paper size is measured in cm.
Rarely used alternatives are are px/cm or ppmm.

The big advantage of having a fully metric system is that you can easily fit things together physically, without having to convert or calculate much, nor making small adjustments. (Coarser) Standard spacings and dimensions develop over time, if you use different measurement standards you will always have rounding errors, and need to take extra care.

When I started to use US robotic kits (sold in Europe), it became a real hassle to make parts fit, find the right screws etc. Many spacings were slightly off and things that I wanted to add wouldn't fit. When working with standard (yes, metric :p) stuff I rarely had to think about it, if it didn't fit then usually by a big margin.
In other words, inconsistent systems make it hard to just eye ball things.
It's like with software: good product design allows you to not worry about technical details, where they shouldn't matter.

Personally I don't care how the US measures. It's a pity though that resisting the switch has created inconsistentency, ironically, in more advanced technologies, such as printers, cameras, and screens, where this could have been prevented from the start, without much effort.


Quote
It seems that 40 kg would be pushing handling limits pretty hard, while rounding the US standard down to 35 kg would lead to accusations of implementing a hidden cost increase.
It might be surprising, but most companies that produce in Europe do so for European customers. So the US-standard wont be compared with at all, except for special cases.

What decides the size of bags or packaging is what fits well with other common sizes or weights of products. How large or thick are the pillars for a fence? That decides how much concrete you need. How are these pillars measured? In cm/meters, and that will decide how much kg you need, etc. Looking at many common use cases will decide what a good average (rounded to a nice number) will be. Since almost everything is in meters et al., US based measures will be irrelevant.
 
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Online CatalinaWOW

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #1384 on: February 27, 2020, 02:50:50 am »
Question 1:  In metrified countries, how is printer and photographic resolution specified.  In the US it is DPI or dots per inch.  Do metric guys do dots per centimeter or do you do do dot spacing (pitch as defined in the metric world)?  For some reason the metric world seems to gravitate towards the reciprocal of US standard units (liters/km, pitch in mm and so on).  I see no particular advantage to one or the other.  It is kind of like the side of the road you drive on.  Tradition, not advantage.
In practice it is messed up, because due to the computer industry being heavily US-influenced, a lot of measures are set to imperial by default.
So it's DPI for the resolution most of the time, but paper size is measured in cm.
Rarely used alternatives are are px/cm or ppmm.

The big advantage of having a fully metric system is that you can easily fit things together physically, without having to convert or calculate much, nor making small adjustments. (Coarser) Standard spacings and dimensions develop over time, if you use different measurement standards you will always have rounding errors, and need to take extra care.

When I started to use US robotic kits (sold in Europe), it became a real hassle to make parts fit, find the right screws etc. Many spacings were slightly off and things that I wanted to add wouldn't fit. When working with standard (yes, metric :p) stuff I rarely had to think about it, if it didn't fit then usually by a big margin.
In other words, inconsistent systems make it hard to just eye ball things.
It's like with software: good product design allows you to not worry about technical details, where they shouldn't matter.

Personally I don't care how the US measures. It's a pity though that resisting the switch has created inconsistentency, ironically, in more advanced technologies, such as printers, cameras, and screens, where this could have been prevented from the start, without much effort.


Quote
It seems that 40 kg would be pushing handling limits pretty hard, while rounding the US standard down to 35 kg would lead to accusations of implementing a hidden cost increase.
It might be surprising, but most companies that produce in Europe do so for European customers. So the US-standard wont be compared with at all, except for special cases.

What decides the size of bags or packaging is what fits well with other common sizes or weights of products. How large or thick are the pillars for a fence? That decides how much concrete you need. How are these pillars measured? In cm/meters, and that will decide how much kg you need, etc. Looking at many common use cases will decide what a good average (rounded to a nice number) will be. Since almost everything is in meters et al., US based measures will be irrelevant.

My questions were curiosity, not arguments for or against metric.  But since you brought it up I have to comment. 

First, I agree that having a consistent measurement system makes things easier.  But that is true for both imperial in metric.  This was a big problem in importing European goods here as "they didn't quite fit".  Now as metric has taken over worldwide and even here it is the obvious choice to standardize on.  Not because metric fits better, but because standard fits better (and the other simplifications that metric brings.

Second I agree that cement and ready mixed concrete are not usually exported.  Shipping costs are too high.  But it is my observation that studs and fenceposts are generally pretty close in size, regardless of the measuring system.  Similarly the thickness of a sidewalk or floor to support a given load is not changed (by more than roundoff error) by the measurement system.  I am much more convinced that the standard bag sizes are determined by ergonomic law as mentioned by others in prior posts.  With sizes rounded to the local measuring system.
 

Offline petert

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #1385 on: February 27, 2020, 03:09:34 am »
My questions were curiosity, not arguments for or against metric.  But since you brought it up I have to comment. 
Sorry if it sounded argumentative. My point was that not everyone compares to the US, since that is an assumption I seem to read quite often. No offense intended.

I am much more convinced that the standard bag sizes are determined by ergonomic law as mentioned by others in prior posts.  With sizes rounded to the local measuring system.
You are certainly right, as others have commented, there are laws regarding healthy maximum weights.

But those won't be the only reasons, otherwise you would not round it to such "smooth" numbers. 25 kg is 1/4 of 100 kg.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2020, 03:57:35 am by petert »
 

Offline bsfeechannel

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #1386 on: February 27, 2020, 03:29:15 am »
You don't get it.

As a population, the USA doesn't care about justification or lack thereof.

It is what it is.  You aren't going to change it no matter how much and how long you argue.  This is why I referred to your arguine as "urine into the wind:  :-DD

Go drink a beer!

Change what? We are not here to change anything. We are here to investigate why the US is not metric. While I drink beer, go read the posts in the thread that you said you didn't, so you don't repeat the same nonsense arguments your brothers in arms made and that we properly debunked.

And since you mentioned urine, in fact they are really pissed that their bullshit was not accepted.
 

Online tooki

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #1387 on: February 27, 2020, 03:39:22 am »
Change what? We are not here to change anything. We are here to investigate why the US is not metric.
Utter bullshit. If it were about discovering the reasons, then this would have been over about 50 pages ago. (Including the important discussion of what it really means to metricate.) But you keep saying the explanations are wrong (in other words, that only your explanations could be correct), and pepper your denials with insults about Americans.

It’s got nothing to do with wanting to enlighten yourself, and all to do with insulting Americans.
 
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Offline bsfeechannel

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #1388 on: February 27, 2020, 04:49:42 am »
Utter bullshit. If it were about discovering the reasons, then this would have been over about 50 pages ago. (Including the important discussion of what it really means to metricate.) But you keep saying the explanations are wrong (in other words, that only your explanations could be correct), and pepper your denials with insults about Americans.

To prove that maintaining the imperial system costs more than the change to metric, I told that I had to pay 10 times more (F.O.B.) for an imperial oilite bronze bushing, that is only sold in the US, compared to a metric equivalent that I could buy anywhere in the world.

I was invited, in the reply, not to set foot in the US or never buy products there again. I said that I was happy with the purchase, even having payed more, but noticed the fact. Just that. No one apologized.

So, I'm interested in investigating the subject. None of you are. You are only interested in muzzling anyone that points out facts that demolish your idea that the use of imperial has some advantage over metric.

Quote
It’s got nothing to do with wanting to enlighten yourself, and all to do with insulting Americans.

What insults? I have no reason to insult anyone for their nationality.
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #1389 on: February 27, 2020, 06:27:36 am »
To summarize:



 :)
 

Offline forrestc

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #1390 on: February 27, 2020, 06:43:37 am »
To prove that maintaining the imperial system costs more than the change to metric, I told that I had to pay 10 times more (F.O.B.) for an imperial oilite bronze bushing, that is only sold in the US, compared to a metric equivalent that I could buy anywhere in the world.

I was invited, in the reply, not to set foot in the US or never buy products there again. I said that I was happy with the purchase, even having payed more, but noticed the fact. Just that. No one apologized.

I could make the same statement about the metric parts that we can't get in the US.   And the attitude you have about the SAE parts is pretty much the same as the average person has in the US about metric parts.

But, there's a big difference.   For common things, I can get both types of parts for pretty close to the same price:

See https://www.mcmaster.com/standard-sleeve-bearings/oil-embedded-sleeve-bearings-7/

There are *big* avantages of not obsoleting the old systems/parts.   If you don't obsolete the old systems, then you maintain a manufacturing base so both SAE and metric parts are widely available and inexpensive.    If instead you abolish the older units system then you find that the parts for the old systems are more and more expensive, as you've found.   

These are some of the costs we keep trying to tell you exist and which you just discard as not relevant in your pursuit of convincing everyone that having two systems are stupid.   The counter point to this is that the cost of sunsetting an old system often exceeds the benefits of eliminating it, but it seems that you are unable to understand the basic economics at play here. 
« Last Edit: February 27, 2020, 06:47:37 am by forrestc »
 

Offline DBecker

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #1391 on: February 27, 2020, 11:49:53 am »

To prove that maintaining the imperial system costs more than the change to metric, I told that I had to pay 10 times more (F.O.B.) for an imperial oilite bronze bushing, that is only sold in the US, compared to a metric equivalent that I could buy anywhere in the world.


I have just been buying individual replacement bearings.  Price is little indication of anything.  Many supplier seem to charge based on how badly you are likely to need the part.

I can pay $5 and receive a major brand name SA205 series bearing, or spend $90 and get a generic Chinese bearing.

SA205 bearings are on point, since they are one of the most common medium bearing types.  They have a 52mm (2.05") spherical outer race and typical bore of 3/4", 1" or 25mm.  You can find suppliers that charge the same for metric and imperial, and suppliers that charge vastly more for the "other" units.
 

Offline DBecker

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #1392 on: February 27, 2020, 12:16:06 pm »
The 8 inch and 5.25 inch floppy were developed in the U.S.  The development happened in Silicon Valley starting in 1967, so every dimension would have been imperial.
I am aware of the origin of the 3.5 inch floppy disk.

For the others I just took the German Wikipedia as reference, which claims the 8 inch floppy is really 200mm (instead of 203.2 mm) and likewise for other sizes. A quick search didn't result in any definite references, but there is no reason that the USA as origin would force it to be in inches, besides for marketing.

You might have a question if the maximum thickness is 1.6mm or 1/16 inch, as well as the tolerance on other dimensions.  But the parameter that makes the design units clear is that 8 inch and 5-1/4 inch floppies specify 48 and 96 tracks per inch, which is from a 12 or 24 TPI drive screw on the stepper motor.

I still have a few 8 inch floppies, but no longer have a drive that can read them.

Back when there were still used equipment stores here in Silicon Valley (sadly the last two, Halted Surplus and Weird Stuff, recently closed) you could find historically important production equipment.  The oldest stuff was invariably in imperial units, with a gradual shift to metric.  I'm not running a museum so I never bought that equipment, but in a few decades people will realize  how much history was discarded.

« Last Edit: February 27, 2020, 05:07:18 pm by DBecker »
 

Offline angrybird

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #1393 on: February 27, 2020, 01:58:18 pm »
You don't get it.

As a population, the USA doesn't care about justification or lack thereof.

It is what it is.  You aren't going to change it no matter how much and how long you argue.  This is why I referred to your arguine as "urine into the wind:  :-DD

Go drink a beer!

Change what? We are not here to change anything. We are here to investigate why the US is not metric. While I drink beer, go read the posts in the thread that you said you didn't, so you don't repeat the same nonsense arguments your brothers in arms made and that we properly debunked.

And since you mentioned urine, in fact they are really pissed that their bullshit was not accepted.

I.... They...... Brothers....... What???

Are you a script?
THE CAKE IS A LIE AND THESE NUTHATCH ARE WAY TOO DISTRACTING
 

Offline KL27x

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #1394 on: February 27, 2020, 05:32:01 pm »
Quote
(by bsfeechannel) If they had nothing to gain with the change, why did your country invest so much in the improvement of the metric system? For the common citizens of the other countries that use metric on a daily basis to profit?

It seems like a stupid move, to use taxpayer's money for the benefit the rest of the world, especially Europe, that you despise so much, and keep the taxpayers themselves out of it.

US invested in metric and improving metric for the US. To make sure that it doesn't drift once we have pegged the inch and the pound to metric. It was for OUR benefit we did this. So we can continue being spot on with either system, interchangeably.

It would have been a disaster if we got together with UK to square up our imperial measures, truncating them to match with metric, having to deal with a "surveyor foot" as a result... and then Paris says, whoops, we have to make an adjustment. Looks like our prototypes are still fine. But somehow Germany, Japan, and China have gotten the message crossed and use a slightly different size. And since Germany, Japan, and China are who make all our stuff, it's easier to just change to what they use.

Out imperial measures are defined by metric. We improved metric to improve measurement. In any system. We chose metric because out of courtesty, we do that. We're fine to just peg our USC to what everyone else uses. If we were here trying to improve our ability to measure things consistenty and we insisted on using inches and pounds, that would be being a dick.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2020, 05:35:46 pm by KL27x »
 

Offline boffin

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #1395 on: February 27, 2020, 06:19:18 pm »
While there is a bunch of arguing without listening going on on this thread I continue to learn things and develop questions/observations.

Question 1:  In metrified countries, how is printer and photographic resolution specified.  In the US it is DPI or dots per inch.  Do metric guys do dots per centimeter or do you do do dot spacing (pitch as defined in the metric world)?  For some reason the metric world seems to gravitate towards the reciprocal of US standard units (liters/km, pitch in mm and so on).  I see no particular advantage to one or the other.  It is kind of like the side of the road you drive on.  Tradition, not advantage.

The photo-typesetters I used to deal with were 2540/1270 dots per inch; which I'm sure converts to something really unmanageable in metric
 

Offline SilverSolder

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #1396 on: February 27, 2020, 06:31:02 pm »


[...] and then Paris says, whoops, we have to make an adjustment.  [...]


That's not really how things work, though...  to put it mildly.  These decisions are made by representatives from all nations.
 

Offline rstofer

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #1397 on: February 27, 2020, 07:41:33 pm »
Second I agree that cement and ready mixed concrete are not usually exported.  Shipping costs are too high.
Even so, we export about $178 million of cement per year:
http://www.worldstopexports.com/cement-exports-by-country/

We're nowhere near the leading exporter but since I live near a port where cement is loaded, I have an inside track on knowing darn well we export some.
 

Offline rstofer

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #1398 on: February 27, 2020, 07:53:20 pm »
Change what? We are not here to change anything. We are here to investigate why the US is not metric. While I drink beer, go read the posts in the thread that you said you didn't, so you don't repeat the same nonsense arguments your brothers in arms made and that we properly debunked.

And since you mentioned urine, in fact they are really pissed that their bullshit was not accepted.

You've been told why we're not metric, you've been told why we never will be metric and yet you just refuse to accept the explanations.  You want to minimize the objections and that's fine but the objections are still the reason we will never change.  The objections may not suit you but they do suit us and we're the only ones who matter.  Trust me, we don't give a rat's patoot what the rest of the world thinks!

Just a suggestion:  You might want to get over it!

This whole thread has been America bashing since the first post.
 

Offline TimFox

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Re: why is the US not Metric
« Reply #1399 on: February 27, 2020, 07:59:31 pm »
While there is a bunch of arguing without listening going on on this thread I continue to learn things and develop questions/observations.

Question 1:  In metrified countries, how is printer and photographic resolution specified.  In the US it is DPI or dots per inch.  Do metric guys do dots per centimeter or do you do do dot spacing (pitch as defined in the metric world)?  For some reason the metric world seems to gravitate towards the reciprocal of US standard units (liters/km, pitch in mm and so on).  I see no particular advantage to one or the other.  It is kind of like the side of the road you drive on.  Tradition, not advantage.

The photo-typesetters I used to deal with were 2540/1270 dots per inch; which I'm sure converts to something really unmanageable in metric

That is 100 and 50 dots per mm, respectively.
 


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