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Old March 7th, 2007, 08:50 AM   #181
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I was born Canadian and grew up with metric. I always think distance in km and speed in km/h. I have no clue about miles until I went to the states 2 years ago; one very nice American lady explained it to me on the airplane. She said "think of a clock with 60 minutes around the clock. 60 mins = 60 miles if one drives 60 miles/hour." I thought to myself "DUH!!!" So it makes it easy to determine how far cities are...like if seattle is 180 miles away, that is 180 minutes drive or 3 hours drive. And, if an exit is just 1 mile away, then it's just another minute till one reaches the exit. Pretty simple...I can understand why the States is quite stubborn to change to metric. If it works, it works...for transportation anyways. But of course, every 100 km is 1 hours drive if driving 100 km/h. That's easy too. I still haven't found a good way to understand Fahrenheit though unless I convert to Celcius. But I guess it's what one is used to when growing up.

By the way, I find one mile quite far...too far...compared to having one kilometre left till the exit. LOL

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Old March 7th, 2007, 09:48 AM   #182
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The truth is that today's science uses only metric system. Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, Engineering - they are all metric. Some units that Americans use in daily life such as Volts and Watts are derivatives from metric units. All electrical devices use integrated circuits that are measured in micro- and nanometres and that use same Volts and Amperes. Hell, all customary units are defined in terms of metric and not otherwise.

I do understand that an average Joe Brown would not probably give a damn about all this scientific nonsense as long as his metric car can drive him to work and his 100 Watt 120 Volt bulb produces enough light and his metric computer can take him to his favourite adult entertainment sites But then he also can't call metric system the Devil's tool
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Old March 7th, 2007, 12:19 PM   #183
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The truth is that today's science uses only metric system. Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, Engineering - they are all metric. Some units that Americans use in daily life such as Volts and Watts are derivatives from metric units. All electrical devices use integrated circuits that are measured in micro- and nanometres and that use same Volts and Amperes. Hell, all customary units are defined in terms of metric and not otherwise.

I do understand that an average Joe Brown would not probably give a damn about all this scientific nonsense as long as his metric car can drive him to work and his 100 Watt 120 Volt bulb produces enough light and his metric computer can take him to his favourite adult entertainment sites But then he also can't call metric system the Devil's tool
The thing about it is, in classes (in high school) they still use imperial units for simple problems (eg If a car is going at a speed of 200 ft/s and it slows down at a constant rate of 20 ft/s^2, how long will the car travel before it comes to a complete stop?) Of course in a case like this unit is not an issue, but i think it would be best to standradize that in science classes.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 02:52 PM   #184
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Nah, it's divided into halves, thirds, quarters, eighths, etc. much more easily than tenths. If we had a different number of fingers other than ten, we would certainly use a different base counting system, not to mention a different form of the metric system (though it would probably be similar in mechanism). Face it, mathematically, ten is not a very useful number, evenly divisible only by itself, two, five and one. Twelve, for example, is evenly divisible by itself, six, four, three, two and one.

The customary system makes a lot of sense for the time it was invented, with the units based on easily identifiable everyday things, and then pared down to the ones most readily useful (we use feet and not hands because feet are more useful). Not only that, but they use the most common ratios, very important for a time when there weren't calculators. You have a foot-long length of string, you know how long a foot is, four inches (fold into three), three inches (fold into four), two inches (fold into three, then fold again), etc.

Metric might make more sense today, but before the modern era, customary/imperial, at least in linear measurement, kicked its ass. That's why no one used base 10 until the French.
It isn't horribly inefficient. True, tangibly halves, quarters, and eights are more realistic. But who in the world today measures stuff using their feet? Even today, you use a yardstick, a ruler, etc.

When you bring those measurements on paper, it makes perfect sense to use metric because our numbering system is decimal. True, fractions make inches and feet more versatile, but when its on paper, it doesn't help you calculate at all. Whereas in meters, you don't mind ugly decimals because you can just move the decimal point to suit whatever your scale is.

I suppose if we taught kids how to be acquainted with binary or hex before decimal, an alternative form of metric could be utilized.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 02:55 PM   #185
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The thing about it is, in classes (in high school) they still use imperial units for simple problems (eg If a car is going at a speed of 200 ft/s and it slows down at a constant rate of 20 ft/s^2, how long will the car travel before it comes to a complete stop?) Of course in a case like this unit is not an issue, but i think it would be best to standradize that in science classes.
Those were a pain in the ass as I remember. I always had to have those conversion tables at hand, whereas with metric...

Time is another scale that makes calculations difficult.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 06:10 PM   #186
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It isn't horribly inefficient. True, tangibly halves, quarters, and eights are more realistic. But who in the world today measures stuff using their feet? Even today, you use a yardstick, a ruler, etc.

When you bring those measurements on paper, it makes perfect sense to use metric because our numbering system is decimal. True, fractions make inches and feet more versatile, but when its on paper, it doesn't help you calculate at all. Whereas in meters, you don't mind ugly decimals because you can just move the decimal point to suit whatever your scale is.

I suppose if we taught kids how to be acquainted with binary or hex before decimal, an alternative form of metric could be utilized.
No, I agree. As I said, metric probably makes more sense today, with calculators and all. A foot has no real relation to anyone's foot size, it's mostly derived from a bunch of measurements that once had to do with someone's foot size. It's just as arbitrary as a meter.

One more thing, why is being able to move the decimal point all that important? In physics class, I would be docked points if I put 2.5 km/s as opposed to 2500 m/s (just for an example, not real life in the least bit). Same as if I put 25 cm/s as opposed to 0.25 m/s. It's almost as if the SI actually got rid of the biggest advantage of the metric system! Only way it really helps is when you have to convert to the base measurement, which in a real-life situation, isn't really all that important often.

The biggest true advantage of the metric system is that most of the other units of measurement in a scientific context are based on metric measurements.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 06:25 PM   #187
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One more thing, why is being able to move the decimal point all that important? In physics class, I would be docked points if I put 2.5 km/s as opposed to 2500 m/s (just for an example, not real life in the least bit). Same as if I put 25 cm/s as opposed to 0.25 m/s. It's almost as if the SI actually got rid of the biggest advantage of the metric system!
Regardless of the the point you would loose or whatever 2.5 km/s is just the same as 2500 m/s and 25 cm/s is the same as 0.25 m/s.


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The biggest true advantage of the metric system is that most of the other units of measurement in a scientific context are based on metric measurements.



Really man, you may not want to switch to metric, and that's ok... it would cost alot of money for the US to change to the metric sistem, but claiming that the imperial system is just as good as metric and that metric isn't obviously better in every regard is just stupid.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 06:44 PM   #188
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I think the metric system is a lot more logical than imperial, seeing as metric is base 10.

Granted, I can totally understand why imperial feels better to Americans, myself included. It's what we grew up with, and the units we think in. Conversions to different imperial units, like miles to feet or whatever, aren't very necessary in daily tasks. Any single task is associated with one or two single units... such as driving: miles and miles per hour.

I'm not adverse to the metric system though, as I was exposed to it when I was young and visiting relatives in Asia. I can do many of the conversions in my head.

Those signs in Maine are weird though... I could focus on one or the other, but mixing the two systems seems a bit weird.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 06:59 PM   #189
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No, I agree. As I said, metric probably makes more sense today, with calculators and all. A foot has no real relation to anyone's foot size, it's mostly derived from a bunch of measurements that once had to do with someone's foot size. It's just as arbitrary as a meter.

One more thing, why is being able to move the decimal point all that important? In physics class, I would be docked points if I put 2.5 km/s as opposed to 2500 m/s (just for an example, not real life in the least bit). Same as if I put 25 cm/s as opposed to 0.25 m/s. It's almost as if the SI actually got rid of the biggest advantage of the metric system! Only way it really helps is when you have to convert to the base measurement, which in a real-life situation, isn't really all that important often.

The biggest true advantage of the metric system is that most of the other units of measurement in a scientific context are based on metric measurements.
The advantage is the conversion as well. For building height its easier to deal in meters, or for distances its easier to deal in kilometres, and with these measurements you know the scale of everything in terms of everything else, maybe not in fractions like 1/3 or 1/8, but in powers of 10. But as Rail Claimore says, these units are rarely converted, but when they are, metric is much easier.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 07:42 PM   #190
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maybe not in fractions like 1/3 or 1/8, but in powers of 10.
Which is much easiear! That's why metric is a base 10 system.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 07:45 PM   #191
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Time is another scale that makes calculations difficult.
Indeed. The system we use to measure time is not logical, so it's not good.

I'm not saying we should change to another system, but the fact is that hours, minutes and seconds suck, when compared to the metric system.

We should have a day with 10 big time units, each big time unit with 10 medium time minutes, and so on and so on.

Anyway, I guess that we'il have to stick to what we got.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 10:54 PM   #192
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Regardless of the the point you would loose or whatever 2.5 km/s is just the same as 2500 m/s and 25 cm/s is the same as 0.25 m/s.
Right, but it doesn't matter that you CAN convert between them, because you aren't going to convert between them. No one says they're 1730 mm tall... they usually say either 173 cm or 1.73 m. The fact that you can convert by moving the decimal point has no real advantage in day to day activities. Unless you can give me a counterexample where the conversion in metric is absolutely necessary every day. Likewise, no one says that they are 74 inches tall, they say they are 6' 2". There's no need for converting, since everyone's speaking the same measurement language in the first place. I can't think of any English-speaking country that uses (or once used) yards for height, for example.

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Really man, you may not want to switch to metric, and that's ok... it would cost alot of money for the US to change to the metric sistem, but claiming that the imperial system is just as good as metric and that metric isn't obviously better in every regard is just stupid.
What's crazy about what I said? SI is going to stick around because of the volt, the ohm, the ampere, the joule, the candela, etc. are all based on the meter, the kilogram and the second. There's nothing crazy about that, and it's the biggest advantage the metric system has; our entire scientific establishment cannot exist in its current form without it.

I know that you were probably taught that the metric system was a great advance over the reactionary customary systems that were in place beforehand, but that doesn't mean one cannot carry out their daily activities without using that system effectively; the United States does it every day. The metric system isn't better in EVERY regard, it has its particular advantages, as does the customary system. Metric probably has more advantages, but if I didn't have a calculator, I'd rather calculate in customary, since the division is usually easier, if you stay with one base unit (which you usually do until the end). Not to mention, I've never used decimals after I got past pre-Algebra, fractions are so much easier to deal with.
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Old March 8th, 2007, 02:26 AM   #193
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I know that you were probably taught that the metric system was a great advance over the reactionary customary systems that were in place beforehand
Nop... We just accept the metrical system as it's what we've been using from birth.... We basicly don't even say how much better metric is nor do we usually talk about other systems(imperial) at school.

Just to say that we aren't taught how great metric is... we just realize that when we get a glimpse of other systems like the US customary system.
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Old March 8th, 2007, 04:26 AM   #194
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Nop... We just accept the metrical system as it's what we've been using from birth.... We basicly don't even say how much better metric is nor do we usually talk about other systems(imperial) at school.

Just to say that we aren't taught how great metric is... we just realize that when we get a glimpse of other systems like the US customary system.
There's your problem, it's just a glimpse... come over here, live here for a couple of years, you'll be using miles and pints and pounds like the rest of us... resistance is futile...
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Old March 8th, 2007, 05:57 AM   #195
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This all boils down to almost all Americans being completely comfortable and fine with our system, and having absolutely no reason to change. It would be a "hardship" to them.

I can obviously see the reason for a change, but to your average American it is the exact same as how the rest of the world would react to switching to our system.

Until someone convinces the masses that they SHOULD change, they just won't. It's been proposed many times before, but people just don't want to bother being the ones who have to learn the system over again.

They're not stupid or *******s, they're just going along with their lives as normal and don't see why they should change. We don't drive in other countries, and aren't exposed to metrics - it's basically alien to us as far as distance measuring.
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Old March 8th, 2007, 10:12 PM   #196
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There's your problem, it's just a glimpse... come over here, live here for a couple of years, you'll be using miles and pints and pounds like the rest of us... resistance is futile...
Obviously if I went to live in there I would have to get used to it.
Adapting to miles wouldn't be dificult... it's pretty easy to convert miles to km's.

What is really hard is for example to measure my height in imperial units... convert to feet... to an exact number of feet, and then just add some inches... It's nuts!!!
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Old March 8th, 2007, 10:14 PM   #197
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Oh... and convert fahrenheit to celsius is very difficult too... you just have to have an idea of how muchs ºC's correspond to 70ºF, 80ºF, etc... apart from the basic: 0ºC = 32ºF.... 0ºF=-18ºC.
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Old March 8th, 2007, 10:34 PM   #198
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Obviously if I went to live in there I would have to get used to it.
Adapting to miles wouldn't be dificult... it's pretty easy to convert miles to km's.

What is really hard is for example to measure my height in imperial units... convert to feet... to an exact number of feet, and then just add some inches... It's nuts!!!
As long as you remember that a meter is about three feet, it isn't that hard. Honestly, when converting to metric in daily use, I don't even think about trying to be exact. If someone is, say, 195 cm, I'll just say he's about 6' or so, since that's pretty close. Same with liters, they're pretty much equivalent to quarts in my head (even though there is a difference). A kilo is about two pounds, so just think of a pound as half a kilo. This ended up working out last time I was in Mexico, when I was the only one who realized that we wanted quite a bit less than 750 g of ham!

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Oh... and convert fahrenheit to celsius is very difficult too... you just have to have an idea of how muchs ºC's correspond to 70ºF, 80ºF, etc... apart from the basic: 0ºC = 32ºF.... 0ºF=-18ºC.
Yeah, that's tricky. Usually, the cheap, expedient way is to subtract 32 from the Fahrenheit and then divide in half. It won't be exactly right, but close enough. Rarely, does anyone here care about the exact temperature; usually someone will say on a nice day "It's about 75" or on a cold day "It's in the 20s" or on a really hot day "It's pushing 100". The differences in degrees are small enough where it's not as important to be exact as it is in Celsius.
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Old March 9th, 2007, 08:36 AM   #199
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Right, but it doesn't matter that you CAN convert between them, because you aren't going to convert between them. No one says they're 1730 mm tall... they usually say either 173 cm or 1.73 m. The fact that you can convert by moving the decimal point has no real advantage in day to day activities. Unless you can give me a counterexample where the conversion in metric is absolutely necessary every day.
Here is how people use the units of length: if it is under 1 cm, then they use mm. If it is longer than one cm but shorter than 50 cm, people use cm. Then, they may say "half metre" instead of "50 cm", but the latter in not rare. In terms of my height, I may say either "182 cm" or "1-82". Distances under 1 km (short or long) are measured in metres, no exception. These examples give a better taste of how people do conversions in a daily life. Now, some more. If we assume that most liquids have the density of water (1 g/cm³) then you can momentarily convert mL into grammes and litres into kg. If you come to a store, you wouldn't ask for a "1/8 kg of cheese". You would say you need "150 g of cheese".


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I know that you were probably taught that the metric system was a great advance over the reactionary customary systems that were in place beforehand
If 6 or more generations were brought up with the metric system, they wouldn't need to reassure themselves that metric system is really superior.


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I'd rather calculate in customary, since the division is usually easier, if you stay with one base unit (which you usually do until the end). Not to mention, I've never used decimals after I got past pre-Algebra, fractions are so much easier to deal with.
You've got to be joking. Don't tell me it is easier to calculate 3/4 + 3/8 than 0.750 + 0.375.
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Old March 9th, 2007, 08:46 AM   #200
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Obviously if I went to live in there I would have to get used to it.
Nope, not necessarily. I came to the USA almost 7 years ago, and still use metric units except for the long distance (miles). I know how to convert some widely used units such as pounds, inches/feet and gallons, but my brain still needs 2-3 seconds to do that. I undestand Fahrenheits as long as they are above 50º, but in a daily life I still use good old Celcii. As for liquid/solid ounces, I still have no idea how much it is.
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