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View Poll Results: left, center or right aligned?
Left aligned 12 28.57%
Center aligned 10 23.81%
Right aligned 0 0%
mixed (overhead center, exit left aligned) 19 45.24%
i don't look at the signage anyway 1 2.38%
Voters: 42. You may not vote on this poll

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Old March 5th, 2007, 05:14 AM   #161
CrazyCanuck
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The U.S. will not switch unless they have to right now. It would cost an absolute fortune to change all the signs, text-books etc...

The most logical way of doing it would be state by state, all at once would be too much.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 09:31 AM   #162
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyCanuck View Post
The U.S. will not switch unless they have to right now. It would cost an absolute fortune to change all the signs, text-books etc...

The most logical way of doing it would be state by state, all at once would be too much.
You'll have to count on some of the more progressive and cosmopolitan states (eg. California) to take the first steps on this, and the hick red(neck) states to catch on last.

I wonder if it would be in violation of any federal laws for any states to go ahead and change their street signs and school curriculum to metric.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 09:44 AM   #163
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They teach metric in science, by the way (no math books, but any quantifying science, eg Chemistry. Physics use both systems)
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Old March 5th, 2007, 09:55 AM   #164
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Why?? Do they like confusing people or something.
It's like asking Americans why they use the imperial system, very confusing confusing to the entire rest of the world.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 05:40 PM   #165
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^ I think right now we just have the "sorry, it's not our problem" take on the situation. It takes some sort of incentive to make people go through a change like that, and today we just don't have anything MAKING people want to change.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 06:54 PM   #166
FM 2258
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billpa View Post
Here are some examples of signs that use both metric and English measurements in Maine and New Hampshire...

image hosted on flickr

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That's interesting but as a U.S. driver I would totally ignore the metric measurement. I "know" and can "feel" what a mile is like but if you tell me 1.6km I have to convert that shit back to miles.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 07:25 PM   #167
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Canadian here, who gets influenced by the american media enough to be able to convert most.

however, you ask for my height or weight in metric. I honestly couldn't tell you. Temperatures I think in Celsius but can get over to Fahrenheit with relative ease. Distance, metric of course (Getting used to distances in the longer mile is a pain in the butt, merely cause its much longer than a km)

I think metric in the USA will happen eventually, as the younger generation gets educated and familiar with metric, some states (like the aforementioned California) may make the switch on their own, causing other states to follow suit eventually leading to one state to be the only imperial state left and be the stubborn one out, but yet celebrated and noted for staying with tradition (kinda like Saskatchewan in Canada not participating in daylight savings time)
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Old March 5th, 2007, 07:45 PM   #168
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I don't see the logic in the mile-system, there are no 1000 yards in a mile but some 1760. That's doesn't make sense. The metricsystem is more logical i guess, a 1000 meters is one kilometer.

But, i can imagine, when a whole country is adjusted to the mile system, you don't throw that easily overboard, and pick the metrical system.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 10:30 PM   #169
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I don't see the logic in the mile-system, there are no 1000 yards in a mile but some 1760. That's doesn't make sense. The metricsystem is more logical i guess, a 1000 meters is one kilometer.

But, i can imagine, when a whole country is adjusted to the mile system, you don't throw that easily overboard, and pick the metrical system.
It's not logical but it's what works for the U.S. It's like saying English is more logical because it only has 26 letters in the alphabet vs. the many characters in the Chinese "alphabet." If you grew up speaking Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese) it would be easier than English. When we grow up thinking 1 mile = 5280 feet, it's easier to comprehend than 1km = 1000m.

In the U.K. I was surprised to see that they also use miles on their highways but instead of measuring in fractions and feet, they used yards for exits and other short distance measurements. Since I'm not used to seeing "yards" on the highway here in the U.S, it was still hard for me to get a feel for how much time I had when the sign said the exit was 200yds. Now tell me the exit is 1 mile, 1/2 mile, 2500ft, or 1000ft and I know exactly what you're talking about.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 10:51 PM   #170
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FM 2258 View Post
It's not logical but it's what works for the U.S. It's like saying English is more logical because it only has 26 letters in the alphabet vs. the many characters in the Chinese "alphabet." If you grew up speaking Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese) it would be easier than English. When we grow up thinking 1 mile = 5280 feet, it's easier to comprehend than 1km = 1000m.

In the U.K. I was surprised to see that they also use miles on their highways but instead of measuring in fractions and feet, they used yards for exits and other short distance measurements. Since I'm not used to seeing "yards" on the highway here in the U.S, it was still hard for me to get a feel for how much time I had when the sign said the exit was 200yds. Now tell me the exit is 1 mile, 1/2 mile, 2500ft, or 1000ft and I know exactly what you're talking about.
That's why they try to standardize it in terms of science, when having those kind of units would be immensely frustrating to work with.

I think your example is perfect, it 1) illustrates the inconvenience of the Imperial system, since a mile is 1760 yards, its harder to get a feel for how much 200 yds. is, than if it were base 10, and 2) it shows that even with the same measurement system, the acclimatization of the way in which those units are portrayed and used also plays a factor.
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Old March 6th, 2007, 07:21 AM   #171
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Well to all the people in the US, saying they are just used to it, didnt they have same opposition in the UK when the UK currency wasn't base 10 and instead had some random numbers going from pence to dines to pounds and shit. Once the change was forced on them, people (even the old people) got used to it and realized how much more logical base 10 is and how much easier it makes everyday work. And on top of that, foreigners could ifnally understand british money. US using imperial is the same problem. The majority of the world can hardly understand it and the only way to really get a sense of it unlike base 10 is if you were brought up with it.
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Old March 6th, 2007, 07:36 AM   #172
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FM, have you ever driven anywhere except USA and UK? Based on your own account, you get extremely frustrated if the distance is in kilometres and if there are more major cities indicated on the directional signs than you are used to
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Old March 6th, 2007, 02:31 PM   #173
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaki View Post
Well to all the people in the US, saying they are just used to it, didnt they have same opposition in the UK when the UK currency wasn't base 10 and instead had some random numbers going from pence to dines to pounds and shit. Once the change was forced on them, people (even the old people) got used to it and realized how much more logical base 10 is and how much easier it makes everyday work. And on top of that, foreigners could ifnally understand british money. US using imperial is the same problem. The majority of the world can hardly understand it and the only way to really get a sense of it unlike base 10 is if you were brought up with it.
then the problem is that there is not enough of a drive for the system to change, i suppose, its not a major problem that needs to be addressed immediately
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Old March 6th, 2007, 03:39 PM   #174
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FM 2258 View Post
Why is metric the way of the future? I think Imperical is better. The world isn't divided up in 1s, 10s and 1000s. Things are imperfect and I think Imperical (U.S. Customary or whatever) fits our country better.
Sorry, but the truth is, the world is divided into 1s, 10s, and 1000s. The reason metric makes sense is because humans use the decimal system. This reason alone makes metric much more systematic and easy to use. Let me ask you this, when you learnt the multiplication tables, which did you find easiest except for the 1s row? The 10s, because all you have to do is add zeros.

And the argument that the system fits your country better is all in your mind. As you've said yourself, you've been raised on it, and it makes sense for planners to build things to whole number measurements, so what is 1 mile turns out to be 1.6.... kilometers doesn't happen because metric "doesn't fit."

But its the US's choice anyways. You can't blame them for loving or being raised in the Imperial System. That's the only legitimate reason you can claim for choosing miles over kilometers.
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Old March 6th, 2007, 03:47 PM   #175
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FM 2258 View Post
It's not logical but it's what works for the U.S. It's like saying English is more logical because it only has 26 letters in the alphabet vs. the many characters in the Chinese "alphabet." If you grew up speaking Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese) it would be easier than English. When we grow up thinking 1 mile = 5280 feet, it's easier to comprehend than 1km = 1000m.

In the U.K. I was surprised to see that they also use miles on their highways but instead of measuring in fractions and feet, they used yards for exits and other short distance measurements. Since I'm not used to seeing "yards" on the highway here in the U.S, it was still hard for me to get a feel for how much time I had when the sign said the exit was 200yds. Now tell me the exit is 1 mile, 1/2 mile, 2500ft, or 1000ft and I know exactly what you're talking about.
A little tidbit of info: Chinese, in fact, will sometimes use a character to mimic a sound instead of abstractly representing that character's meaning. Also, Chinese characters are composed of smaller elements that can add to the meaning, therefore, if you're able to break down the composition of a character, you can sometimes deduce the logic behind it.

As for the English alphabet, I once read an analysis that presents a spectrum of entirely phonetic to entirely symbolic languages. English was nowhere near being entirely phonetic, so to compare English with the metric system is fallacious.

Anyways, languages are a different issues entirely, but it was an interesting comparison you've made, FM. BTW, I've got no problem with the US not being metric, its entirely their choice.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 02:40 AM   #176
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Sorry, but the truth is, the world is divided into 1s, 10s, and 1000s.
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.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 04:32 AM   #177
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^ With the advent of binary logic based technology, you suppose we'll switch over to a numeric system with a base that's a power of 2?
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Old March 7th, 2007, 06:20 AM   #178
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^ With the advent of binary logic based technology, you suppose we'll switch over to a numeric system with a base that's a power of 2?
Nope, we've been using our fingers to count for too long. Besides, do you think anyone could read this: 100011101011011010011001, without having to think about it?
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Old March 7th, 2007, 06:25 AM   #179
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Nope, we've been using our fingers to count for too long. Besides, do you think anyone could read this: 100011101011011010011001, without having to think about it?
How about base 8 or 16?
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Old March 7th, 2007, 06:27 AM   #180
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How about base 8 or 16?
Then the metric system doesn't work so well, and we're back to where we are today.

Nope, horribly inefficient base 10 is going to have to stay.
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