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Petition For Metric In US Halfway To Requiring Response From the White House

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the keeping-it-imperial dept.

United States 1387

fsterman writes "Without any prompting from the U.S. Metric Association, a We The People petition to standardize the U.S. on the metric system has received 13,000 signatures in six days. That's half the number needed for an official response from the White House. It looks like ending the U.S.'s anti-metric alliance with Liberia and Burma (the only other countries NOT on the metric system) might rank up there with building a death star."

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US Metric System (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500645)

"Liberia and Burma (the only other countries NOT on the US metric system)"

Right. And now the Metric system itself is from the US? Who writes this stuff.

Re:US Metric System (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500689)

Right. And now the Metric system itself is from the US? Who writes this stuff.

Do you really expect that most American will accept the metric system if it is somewhat unamerican? I don't mind it been presented as an american invention if it can help bring the US in the 20th century.

Also, I suspect this is exactly the idea behind this article. So shut up about it, and let this US metric system get root.

Re:US Metric System (2, Insightful)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500753)

The weights and measures system you use doesn't make you more advanced or retarded (yes, retarded literally means the opposite as advanced) any more than say Chinese glyphs make them more primitive than using an alphabet. Metric is every bit as arbitrary as imperial, it's just a bit easier to do unit conversions with them.

There are many things that almost everybody does which are harder than other ways (the English language is full of all sorts of inconsistencies and things that just plain don't make sense,) but we just keep doing them because it's what we're used to.

Re:US Metric System (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500801)

Metric is every bit as arbitrary as imperial, it's just a bit easier to do unit conversions with them.

Quick without looking it up how many cdyn in kN?

Re:US Metric System (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500919)

SI dude, learn how to use it. Stick to it and all will be well in your unit conversions world.

Re:US Metric System (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500979)

Metric != SI

Re:US Metric System (1)

WWJohnBrowningDo (2792397) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500983)

10^-9

Re:US Metric System (4, Insightful)

Cryacin (657549) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500863)

Yeah, you're right. Metrics of 10 are much simpler than orders of 16, 32, 34 or any other random selection. You really have to think about how many inches are in a yard, but it's not hard to know that it's 1000 mm in a meter. The trend continues with 1000m making a kilometer, rather than yards to furlongs.

Not to mention how many inches are in a meter.

Re:US Metric System (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500901)

So? There are 1000 mInch in an Inch. There are 1000 inch in a kiloInch. There is nothing special about the meter.

Re:US Metric System (0)

penix1 (722987) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500963)

It might be easier to use but it sure isn't cheaper to turn a whole country's system of weights and measures. Right now is NOT a good time to be paying for changing all the signs in the US to reflect metric. Nor is ti time to change all the gas pumps for the same reason. It just plain isn't economical. Besides, that is what God created conversion programs for.

Re:US Metric System (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500999)

What's 1/3 of a meter? A Foot? 1/4? 1/12? 1/6? Yep, metric, always easier. People who say that are too stupid to realize that there is something to the Base-60 system. 3x4x5 = 2x2x3x5. Nice prime-factorization, huh?

Re:US Metric System (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500819)

Do you really expect that most American will accept the metric system if it is somewhat unamerican? I don't mind it been presented as an american invention if it can help bring the US in the 20th century.

Also, I suspect this is exactly the idea behind this article. So shut up about it, and let this US metric system get root.

Yes. I should shut up about how stupid you are. Obviously the "US metric system" should take root. How silly of me.

Re:US Metric System (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500927)

It's a typo. Seriously, you must be new to Slashdot. Even so, calm the fuck down.

Metric . . . the liberal's tool (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500651)

Metric is the tool of unbridled liberalism creeping into our once-brave country. Introduced by a Negro in 1962, the Metric system is the favorite of politically correct pansy-boys everywhere.

Why won't people think of America first for once?

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Metric . . . the liberal's tool (-1, Redundant)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500723)

Not to mention having been invented by the Godless Communist Papist Socialist Cheese-Eating French.

If we are going to adopt a decimal system of weights and measures at least we should go with an American [google.com] one.

Re:Metric . . . the liberal's tool (5, Interesting)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500921)

If we are going to adopt a decimal system of weights and measures at least we should go with an American one.

From your link:

"Jefferson proposed to divide the foot into 10 inches, 100 lines, and 1000 points"

This is exactly how land surveying is done today in the US. Steel and fiberglass land surveyor's tapes and leveling rods are graduated in 10'ths and 100'ths of a foot as the standard. It has carried over from the land surveying electronics revolution in the 80s to be incorporated into total stations.

On a total station, you can switch between metric and English at the press of a button, but since land surveying is "1/3rd measurement and 2/3rds law" as one former boss put it, doing measurements in metric when a deed calls out English is just nuts.

--
BMO

Re:Metric . . . the liberal's tool (4, Insightful)

Phrogman (80473) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500949)

And this is the death knell of US Metrification as a likely future event: The irrational bigotry and hatred of the French exhibited by so many Americans, solely because when the US waged an illegal war based on false premises and deliberate lies, the French decided not to participate based on their own interests and their own democratic system.
Anything French must seemingly be spat upon the moment it is mentioned. Anything French must be inferior, cowardly, belittled etc, simply because its French, and they didn't want to come play in the first Gulf War when the US told them to. Its sad.

Re:Metric . . . the liberal's tool (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500789)

Hahaha disregard that, I suck cocks.

-- Ethanol-fueled

UK as well (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500657)

I don't see how a country that drives in miles, weighs in stones (pounds for other things), and sells things by the gallon counts as metric.

Pints (3, Insightful)

DaveAtFraud (460127) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500747)

I would hate to see the other units disappear as well but, as far as I'm concerned, someone should always be able to order a pint of ale. Any metric twaddle that threatens that should be thrown out with the other trash.

Cheers,
Dave

Re:Pints (1)

c_sd_m (995261) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500823)

Actually, in metric it'd make sense to order a half litre which gets you almost an extra 2 tablespoons of beer.

Re:Pints (1, Insightful)

DaveAtFraud (460127) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500869)

Somehow ordering "a half litre" doesn't role off the tongue that way "pint" does. Ditto for cup of coffee. I just can't see myself saying, "I'm just not awake until I've had my first 250 ml of coffee in the morning."

Cheers,
Dave

Re:Pints (1)

c_sd_m (995261) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500907)

You just stop ordering "a pint of brand X" and order "a brand-X". If Canadians can do it, you'll be okay.

Re:Pints (3, Interesting)

Krishnoid (984597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500923)

'I arst you civil enough, didn't I?' said the old man, straightening his shoulders pugnaciously. 'You telling me you ain't got a pint mug in the 'ole bleeding boozer?'

'And what in hell's name is a pint?' said the barman, leaning forward with the tips of his fingers on the counter.

'Ark at 'im! Calls 'isself a barman and don't know what a pint is! Why, a pint's the 'alf of a quart, and there's four quarts to the gallon. 'Ave to teach you the A, B, C next.'

'Never heard of 'em,' said the barman shortly. 'Litre and half litre -- that's all we serve. There's the glasses on the shelf in front of you.

'I likes a pint,' persisted the old man. 'You could 'a drawed me off a pint easy enough. We didn't 'ave these bleeding litres when I was a young man.'

'When you were a young man we were all living in the treetops,' said the barman, with a glance at the other customers.

You and this guy [george-orwell.org] . I think Orwell was trying to make a point about history being altered or lost when he wrote this part.

Re:Pints (2)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500985)

Or you can say pint and get a half-liter, the customer won't complain!

Re:Pints (2)

MBGMorden (803437) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500925)

Lots more to do with the culture of ordering a "pint" then the quantity.

I suspect it'll be like the US liquor industry though (which mostly IS metric) - even though they don't sell actual pints if you walk into any liquor store and ask for a "pint" they know you want a 375ml bottle. And a "half-pint" is a 250ml bottle (yes, even though that's a lot more than half of 375).

Re:Pints (1)

c_sd_m (995261) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500981)

In Canada bottles are ~330ml but a beer at a pub is still a whole pint (~500ml). It is a different culture if you think of a modern bottle of beer as a pint. I can't imagine that.

Re:Pints (2)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500851)

Australia went metric in 1970, and I can still order a pint in most pubs today (though middys and schooners are more Aussie).

Re:Pints (4, Insightful)

donscarletti (569232) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500915)

You can buy a pint of beer in Australia too, despite the country being otherwise completely metric.

You call it a pint because it is seved in a "pint glass", which by law holds 570 mililitres of beer, rather than the beer served one imperial pint of liquid (which, for historical reasons, it also happens to be).

Re:Pints (1)

Swampash (1131503) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500977)

In Australia "pint" is just a word that means "glass of beer that's bigger than the smaller one" based on local practice. Cross a state line and the "pint" is an entirely different volume.

Terrible (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500671)

When you use metrics, the numbers don't exactly align with the numbers that are used in IMPERIAL measurements, due to the effect of quantumn determination and observer-effects. So instead of RATIONAL numbers, sientists have to invent IMAGINARY numbers, which are more complex and harder to add and subtract (don't even get me started on division! Ugh!) so let's all get together and do the hokley polpokey to day Mister NUTTY HELLO!!!!!

US metric system? (2)

tsa (15680) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500677)

I can not believe that the metric system was invented by the US. I guess you meant IS metric system.

Re:US metric system? (5, Funny)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500827)

Yeah, these editors, sheesh. You give them an inch, they take a mile.

Re:US metric system? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500857)

It was invented by the French.

Given the Francophobic bile excreted by some US commentators, in response to the French not blindly following the US into Iraq, I can see that origin might be factor in some of the opposition to the "Système international d'unités" in the US.

Never underestimate familiarity (3, Insightful)

eksith (2776419) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500683)

For this to even remotely succeed, at least two generations of kids need to grow up with the metric system (or at least have it along side imperial). Then, when they enter the workforce, metric will seep into common usage.

Meanwhile, what of the generations of existing trades that rely on imperial? I.E. Carpentry, plumbing etc... It isn't just a simple matter of teaching metric either. All these industries and their supporting industries must switch or provide parallel measures (of course, the old timers will stick to imperial in that case, since it's there too). That's very, very, very expensive both in material and time.

Re:Never underestimate familiarity (1)

crath (80215) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500735)

This post is exactly right!!! Unfortunately, Americans, like Canadians (my ilk) are dense and stupid and will never do anything rational or sensible, and so their antiquated measurement system will endure.

Re:Never underestimate familiarity (1)

fredgiblet (1063752) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500751)

More expensive than not switching?

Re:Never underestimate familiarity (4, Interesting)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500757)

It isn't just a simple matter of teaching metric either. All these industries and their supporting industries must switch or provide parallel measures (of course, the old timers will stick to imperial in that case, since it's there too). That's very, very, very expensive both in material and time.

That sounds like something that will require a lot of work, and will require hiring a lot of people to do that work.
If only there was an unemployment problem in America...

Re:Never underestimate familiarity (3, Funny)

c_sd_m (995261) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500839)

It creates jobs and gives every red-blooded male an excuse to double his tool collection (at least the stuff like socket sets where you can get great bargains), what are we waiting for?

Re:Never underestimate familiarity (1)

EvolutionInAction (2623513) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500889)

While you guys expand your toolset, could you pick up some robertson screwdrivers as well? Last time I shipped a crate to the US, they used crowbars to open it up.

Re:Never underestimate familiarity (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500969)

For good reason too. Those square drive things cam out like crazy. Use torx next time, please.

Re:Never underestimate familiarity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500785)

Change is expensive ongoing costs are less. The longer it is left the more expensive is the change.

Re: Never underestimate familiarity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500793)

I'm Canadian, we use the metric system, have since before I was born, but an 8 foot 2x4 is still an 8 foot 2x4, and I still have no idea what I weigh in kilograms.

Re:Never underestimate familiarity (1)

Nutria (679911) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500803)

Agreed. There's a gob-smacking amount of infrastructure that presumes inches/feet.

Think of the building trade. The standard length for plywood, sheetrock and "stick" lumber is 8 feet. Who's going to buy something that's 2.4384m long? Sure they could make them 2.4m long, but it's 1.5 inches short. That's just not workable. Similarly, 2.45m is just a bit too long.

There will have to be a ton of exceptions.

Re:Never underestimate familiarity (3, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500895)

Many countries that have officially gone metric still use local units for things like building materials.

Your objection really isn't an issue.

Re:Never underestimate familiarity (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500835)

Funny thing is, up here in Canada a lot of us pick up a smattering of Imperial measurement-- inches, feet, pounds, cups, and so on, but rarely measurements that are larger. When I took a woodworking course in high school, one of the first things the teacher told us was that while we're officially Metric, just about everything related to construction is still measured in Imperial. Measuring tapes and yardsticks tend to be bilingual though, for those times that you really need to know how many millimeters 1/8" is.

Re:Never underestimate familiarity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500973)

I grew up with the Imperial system and now live in Canada where we have a weird hybrid. Wikipedia has some details. The weirdest that i personally experience is how cooking temperatures are in Farenheit while weather is in Celsius. WTF. I used to think farenheit was better, but i like celsius more now. Still miles>km and and I still think in mph which i feel is superior to kph. The L/km > mpg, but I don't care since I can calculate either way. L>>>>gallons ounces and quarts and pints. imperial volume is a PITA and I do know them, but it isn't burned into my subconsious. Let's see 2 pints in a gallon. 4 quarts in a gallon. 32 oz in a gallon. I'm sure i missed some. Oh ya, kg and grams>>>pounds and ounces.

You guys should try to switch some of your units. Miles will stick around simply because you have lots of suburbs.

Re:Never underestimate familiarity (2)

MBGMorden (803437) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500987)

We were already teaching metric in school (actually in grades 1-4) back when I was in school 20 years ago. The thing is that it doesn't really matter as for the most part its something kids learn and then when they get out into the real world unless they're in specific industries they don't use anymore and they end up getting used to customary units afterwards.

I specifically remember being about 13-14 and going to work with my dad who was a construction worker. He asked me a take a measurement of something and I remember reading it back in cm instead of in (up until that point I hadn't needed to measure anything in the real world and they said to use metric in school). After he cut the wrong size of material I was thoroughly chewed out and it was made clear that I don't EVER use that side of the tape measure again :).

We The Rest of The Universe ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500685)

... thank you.

That's a lot! (5, Funny)

Cruciform (42896) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500691)

13,000 American signed? That's like 20,000 in metric! (or airplane seats)

Re:That's a lot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500717)

13,000 American signed?

We should bend over backwards to satisfy 0.004% of the population.

Re:That's a lot! (5, Insightful)

fredgiblet (1063752) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500761)

No. But we should do something smart to help the entire population.

Re:That's a lot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500779)

No. But we should do something smart to help the entire population.

Yes we should do the smart thing and not fix what isn't broken.

Re:That's a lot! (1)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500859)

We should bend over backwards to satisfy 1/250 of the population.

FTFY.

Trouble with that... (1, Informative)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500695)

As a more libertarian society (yes, we are, like it or not) the government can't just tell us or any private entity what standards we will use, which was the barrier to entry it had the first time we tried to adopt it. Right now the USDA mandates that food and drug labels use metric, and various government organizations internally use metric (we used it exclusively when I was in the Army) but that's about as far as you can go. Things like road signs are also up to the individual states, and given that most of them are bankrupt, it would be hard to convince them to add that to their budget.

Personally, I prefer that day to day decisions like that remain ones that individuals make for themselves (or who knows what else the government can tell us what "thou shalt do") but it's just something that you need to consider.

Re:Trouble with that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500743)

Things like road signs are also up to the individual states

Which is ridiculous to most of the world. In most countries, such things are managed by a national authority.

Re:Trouble with that... (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500781)

We're a federation, such is the nature of the beast. Some of us prefer right to work states (such as myself) whereas some do not. Different strokes for different people, one man's junk is another man's treasure, etc.

Re:Trouble with that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500877)

Well, many of the 50 states are as large as nations elsewhere in the world. Seems that people outside the US keep forgetting that. It is reasonable for states to behave the way that similarly sized nations do.

Re:Trouble with that... (0)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500935)

That is true in various forms. California has a population size slightly larger than Canada. California is also the 8th largest economy in the world. Alaska is larger geographically than Europe. Arizona is larger than England, and I'd imagine has about as many numeric road signs.

Re:Trouble with that... (4, Insightful)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500805)

Governments impose standards all the time, because it is necessary. Entities like the FCC exist in great part to do this. Imagine for example what would happen if every US city had a different measure system. Nothing would match. Ever. Gee, you can break it down even more, imagine if everybody had his own measure system.

Keeping using one badly designed measure system while the whole world use another clearly superior is not only stubbornness but stupidity.

Re:Trouble with that... (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500845)

Well who decides what is badly designed and what isn't? Look at the English language for example, any linguist will tell you how much of a mess it is, how there is inconsistency after inconsistency (take for example the oo sound in the words floor, blood, or goose.) Yet as time goes by, more and more people go out of their way to learn it.

Is it because it is better? No, it's just because it's what the more advanced economies happen to use, and it's what we're used to so we don't change to something else. The US is a very advanced economy, and we happen to use imperial.

Re:Trouble with that... (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500913)

Well, governments do, because it costs them a lot to keep with bad standards and they have the power to enforce any standard they like. Furthermore anyone that has half a brain understand why the current measure system used in US is horribly designed.

Languages are a good example. You need different tools to accomplish different tasks. While it is perfectly acceptable to have an ambiguous language like English for general communication it is not good enough for other tasks. That is why in Mathematics the standardized Math language is used instead, for example.

Re:Trouble with that... (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500989)

Would you say the same about certain fields then? Almost universally (that is, worldwide) aeronautical parts are done in Imperial.

Re:Trouble with that... (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500955)

> every US city had a different measure system.

It used to be that way. That's why the Constitution has this thing about Congress establishing standard units.

Fast forward 240 years and now the time to go from one continent to the next is shorter than the time it used to take to travel between cities.

So guess what. If you want to sell your stuff outside your village (the US) you have a problem.

Re:Trouble with that... (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500883)

thank you! I've said a similar thing several times, are the "benefits" of metric worth overriding the choices of millions of americans with a government fiat? obviously not!!! The market has spoken, so to speak, and prefers to use US customary units. What does anybody care if joe schmoe uses metric or not? Just convert and shutup!

Re:Trouble with that... (1)

bondsbw (888959) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500937)

It's possible that most people don't like Imperial, but they don't switch because everyone else still uses Imperial. Chicken-and-egg.

The government is in a position to help make this move, if they would back it and put forth a true effort.

Highway markers are probably the most visible of Imperial units of measure, and their change would probably be the largest possible catalyst to a full switch. The interstate highway system is regulated at a federal level, and it should not cause too much issue to require that mile markers be replaced with metric whenever they are next replaced. They can coexist for a lengthy period of time.

Re:Trouble with that... (1)

ockegheim (808089) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500943)

As a more libertarian society...

Being a libertarian society seems to put certain reforms into the Too Hard Basket. Reforms that other countries enjoy include the metric system, the use of coins for small amounts of money, a modern electoral system, GSM, and restricting the use of semiautomatic weapons to professionals.

Of course, if you are as big and powerful as the US, other countries just learn to live with your proprietary standards :-)

Almost Not Quite (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500699)

13,000 is not half the number of votes needed, unless we're voting in metric. 12,500 is half. I can see that we're just a millimeter away from getting this done. Good thing my booze still comes in pints and not liters.

Let them eat cake..... (1, Insightful)

Kr1ll1n (579971) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500701)

Seriously.

While not a bad thing for the US to move to the metric system, there are WAY too many other issues that should, but won't be addressed first.

It's like having a house on fire, as well as an empty gas tank. For some reason, the empty gas tank (the lack of the metric system in the US) is WAY more important......

Re:Let them eat cake..... (1)

Andhesaidtome (2738249) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500953)

It's like having a house on fire, as well as an empty gas tank. For some reason, the empty gas tank (the lack of the metric system in the US) is WAY more important......

If the gas tank had leaked, causing the house fire and couldn't be turned off because it had an Imperial thread instead of a Metric one... (gas gas, not gasoline gas)

Re:Let them eat cake..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500997)

I think you are making the falacy of taking an issue to be "important" because it is on slashdot. - I'll address that in relation to the issue of the metric system:

Firstly, Because you read about an issue on slashdot does not make an issue more important than any other issues that exist. In fact the converse is probably as likely.

Secondly, Condescension on an issue that you don't believe is important doesn't make the issue go away or the people interested less worthwhile. It is like saying to a father who's turtle necking, "don't go to the toilet, its not important, spend time with your kids instead, that is what is important." While I agree with the sentiment, I think the damage caused to kids by seeing their father shit his pants in their company all while saying "Kids I do this because I love you, one day you will understand" is severe.

Thirdly, The unification of measuring systems across the states of america is a good live test of the health of the democracy. If you can't implement a measuring system, how can you even think that the important things will ever get fixed. Something like this is good to keep the system lubricated.

Fourthly, this is the first step in how we can begin to reach the utopian human culture as described by Gene Roddenberry. And I want my holo-sex, not just for me but for my grand kids.

why does anyone pay attention to those petitions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500703)

they are a total joke. between the death star silliness and the dismissive answers anything useful got lost.

Will the rest of the world use the metric system? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500705)

When is the rest of the world that is "on" the metric system actually use it?

You know, measuring things in Mm (megameters) instead of saying 1000km? or saying he's 1.82m instead of 182cm? (Heck, I'd even be satisfied by 18.2Dm).

When the rest of the world actually shows me that the "benefits" of metric are actually benefits, we 'murikans might think about switching.

Until then, it's substituting one arbitrarily sized unit system (based on the size of a person, or the amount of land an oxen ploughs in a day, or some other measurement we actually interact with) for another arbitrarily sized unit system (based on the size of the earth).

Good luck with that (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500707)

People do a couple calculations in college and then they think they know something. It's not simple like multiplying by 25.4. Start with a quarter inch bolt of which there are several thousand on an airplane. Then consider the hole for that bolt. Then consider the drill bit for that hole. Then think about the washer and the thickness of the sheet metal used to make the washer. Work your way back to the rollers that press out the sheets. Think about all the mistakes that are not made due to well understood measurement systems. There is so much to change.

Metric is nice. No doubt about that. Changing over is a gargantuan undertaking. Don't underestimate the difficulty.

Re:Good luck with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500763)

Aerospace is one of the only fields on engineering that has not embraced metric. It's why we still crash shit into Mars.

Re:Good luck with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500853)

Because space probe calculations done in metric never fail [telegraph.co.uk] .

The mars probe failed because people didn't label their units.

Re:Good luck with that (5, Insightful)

fredgiblet (1063752) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500787)

All but three countries in the world have done it. Are you saying we're unable to cope with an issue that nearly every country has managed to handle?

Re:Good luck with that (0)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500881)

No, we just use it because it's what we're used to. Sometimes change is necessary in some things in order to overcome technological barriers. A measurement standard isn't one of them.

Re:Good luck with that (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500909)

The metric system was established in European countries before the industrial revolution was even dreamed about.

Re:Good luck with that (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500931)

What is the issue? That the US is different? Should the entire world be a homogenous place where laws and regulations are the same? I thought we already went over this with blasphemy laws.

Re:Good luck with that (2)

Nimey (114278) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500905)

Oblig XKCD:

http://xkcd.com/526/ [xkcd.com]

tl,dr: it's better to visualize each measurement than to convert into familiar units.

advantages of metric (4, Funny)

belmolis (702863) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500709)

Adopting the metric system will eliminate a lot of confusion and ease standardization of container sizes and other such things, which in the long run will save a lot of money. Indeed, the Death Star will be cheaper to design and build, and more likely to work, if all of the work is done in metric.

Re:advantages of metric (2)

Bieeanda (961632) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500741)

It'd also prevent it from going the way of that Mars orbiter [cnn.com] back in '99...

Re:advantages of metric (1)

belmolis (702863) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500777)

Exactly. I would include that in my definition of "working".

Re:advantages of metric (1)

crath (80215) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500769)

Unfortunately, politicians do not want to eliminate confusion... they thrive on confusion and obscurity. Just like Canadian politicians (my home country), American politicians will vote to fuck over their citizens and do everything in their power to ensure that citizens are disenfranchised and screwed.

If it's useful to have one system.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500791)

.... then why'd you switch to metric?

Re:advantages of metric (1)

kenh (9056) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500843)

How?

A switch to the metric system will confuse a lot of americans who have used the imperial system of measurements for their entire lives.

Is there really a problem with "unstandardized" container sizes? How exactly do these problems manifest themselves?

How will a different unit of measure "save a lot of money"?

Thinking the key to building a successful death star relies on using metric bolts and nuts is silly. Trabants [time.com] were built using the metric system, and they were crap.

Re:advantages of metric (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500917)

There certainly is a problem with non-standardized containers. US companies have to maintain two sets of container sizes if they want to export.

The result is higher costs and lack of economic competitiveness.

Re:advantages of metric (0)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500871)

Explain how. How often do you find yourself having to convert units at all in techinical work at all? A programming example: If you're using double precision floating point, you have 17 significant decimal digits. Once you pick a distance unit (inch, foot, meter, kilometer), you shouldn't [have to] do any conversions, that just invites programming errors, whether you try to jump from inches to miles or meters to kilometers. So sorry, you introduce exactly zero improvement by deciding to use meters over inches or feet in your program. Same thing for software that interacts with hardware. A rocketry example: If everyone uses lbf-seconds rather than N-m for impulse commands, it doesn't matter. It all gets converted into milliseconds and volts when it goes to the control valves and servos. There is absolutely nothing to be gained by choosing metric over American units (or vice versa).

Mayans predicted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500719)

The Mayans actually predicted that the U.S. will switch to the metric system in 2013.

Good luck with that. (4, Insightful)

Lord Kano (13027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500755)

I don't have much of a problem with metric, but I don't think in metric. My children might be young enough to make the transition to metric thinking but this isn't going to happen in their lifetime because...

1. Baby boomers are the biggest demographic group and they will reject a metric transition.
2. If we have to wait for the baby boomers to die off, Gen X and Gen Y will be too entrenched in imperial thinking to make the transition.
3. When the baby boomers die off Gen X and Gen Y will be the demographic groups driving elections and when we're in our 50s, there's no fucking way we'll go along with a metric transition.
4. A lot of Americans like to keep doing things our way precisely because the rest of the world doesn't.

LK

Re:Good luck with that. (3, Insightful)

kwerle (39371) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500885)

I don't understand why there is a problem. We should require metric and allow both. Done.

Eventually (in 3 generations, I figure), companies will stop bothering with imperial. In the meantime, everybody wins.

Soon we'll be ordering a "Royale with cheese" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500797)

Check out the big brain on Brett! And say goodbye to the quarter-pounder.

Actually.... (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500799)

The US is in the process of metrication. Slow, but then again even France took a long time to convert.

For example all of US units are now defined in terms of metric units. The foot is 0.3048m.

http://www.nist.gov/pml/wmd/metric/metric-program.cfm [nist.gov]

How about instead of Decimal, we teach Dozenal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500811)

Then the metric system wouldn't make sense over the imperial system.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6xJfP7-HCc

should have been tied to stimulus grants (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500837)

Anyone taking stimulus money should have been required to convert over to all metric -- we could have actually gotten something useful out of all the "make work" funds that got wasted.

Too Late. (4, Informative)

edibobb (113989) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500887)

Too late, we're already on the metric system. The Metric Conversion Act of 1975 and designated the metric system as the "preferred system of weights and measures for United States trade and commerce."

It won't happen now (2)

Nimey (114278) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500929)

hell, it probably won't happen in my lifetime bar a major change in our political zeitgeist that will put "American Exceptionalism" to bed for good.

Why the fuck does this keep comming up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500975)

Isn't there enough serious problems in the world that need attention and money? Who gives a fuck what measurement units are used!

Holy fuck i'm surrounded by pedantic morons.. Oh sure we'll continue to screw things up on an epic global scale. but we'll do it in metric!

I want everyone who signed this petition right now to line up. You all need a kick in the teeth.

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