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Old July 13th, 2010, 04:26 PM   #1001
earthJoker
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I agree with this. But I would go further. As well as a single international standard for measurement (and, of course, a single international protocol where all countries that currently drive on the left agree to switch to the right), I think there also needs to be an international standard of language.

Simply put, the current system where most countries use their own national language is messy and outdated. It adds immense cost to global trade and means that international travellers have to contend with speaking a foreign language. I propose that everyone across the globe should adopt English for exclusive use from January 1st 2011. German, French, Cantonese, Portuguese...all redundant, just like the Imperial system of measurement. Agree? Of course each of these languages have their own history and are embedded in the cultures of the countries and regions that use them, but the onward march of standardisation/homogenisation cannot be halted.

[Alternatively, we could all just agree that our differences make the world a slightly more interesting place. And that folk living in Denmark really have no business at all asking Americans, Britons or anyone else to adopt metric for every day use.]


There is an international system of measurement (called SI), it's just the US that want to play Asterix for some reason.
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Old July 13th, 2010, 04:31 PM   #1002
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It occurred to me the other day that Europeans have the same knee-jerk reactions to criticism that Americans do to the whole metric thing, but for Europeans it's pavement markings. Just as the metric system is qualitatively and objectively better than whatever else is out there, the American practise of separating directions of traffic with a different colour (yellow) is qualitatively and objectively better than the one-colour European scheme. But if you try and suggest they change to the better system you will be told it's none of your business, that's the way it's always been and it's working perfectly fine. This unwillingness to evaluate the subject objectively is the same protective instinct that kicks in when you criticise the US customary system.
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Old July 13th, 2010, 04:41 PM   #1003
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There is an international system of measurement (called SI), it's just the US that want to play Asterix for some reason.
There used to be lots of systems. There is a French system that has spread to most of the world. Most. The US and the UK have chosen not to adopt it, or not chosen to adopt it. "For some reason."

I fail to see why it is such a big deal to you. We have to be familiar with a second measurement system when we cross the border, so you should be able to do the same when you come here. Or alternatively, you could not come here.
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Old July 13th, 2010, 04:46 PM   #1004
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I fail to see why it is such a big deal to you. We have to be familiar with a second measurement system when we cross the border, so you should be able to do the same when you come here. Or alternatively, you could not come here.
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Old July 13th, 2010, 04:48 PM   #1005
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There used to be lots of systems. There is a French system that has spread to most of the world. Most. The US and the UK have chosen not to adopt it, or not chosen to adopt it. "For some reason."
These are the countries where SI units are not official

And I don't think reson as something to do with it.
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I fail to see why it is such a big deal to you. We have to be familiar with a second measurement system when we cross the border, so you should be able to do the same when you come here. Or alternatively, you could not come here.
Which part of discussion board you have problems to understand?
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Old July 13th, 2010, 05:25 PM   #1006
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These are the countries where SI units are not official

And I don't think reson as something to do with it.

Which part of discussion board you have problems to understand?
Add the U.K. (Where I just learned that metric is actually illegal on highway signs. Imperial-only. You'll occasionally see some miles-and-metric signs here.) Why don't you start working on them: they're closer to you, and do lots of things that annoy continentals.

"Problems understanding" not "...to understand." And I am discussing.
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Old July 13th, 2010, 05:39 PM   #1007
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It occurred to me the other day that Europeans have the same knee-jerk reactions to criticism that Americans do to the whole metric thing, but for Europeans it's pavement markings. Just as the metric system is qualitatively and objectively better than whatever else is out there, the American practise of separating directions of traffic with a different colour (yellow) is qualitatively and objectively better than the one-colour European scheme. But if you try and suggest they change to the better system you will be told it's none of your business, that's the way it's always been and it's working perfectly fine. This unwillingness to evaluate the subject objectively is the same protective instinct that kicks in when you criticise the US customary system.
There's one thing that never seems to be considered whenever people are talking about whether the way one...part of the world (country, continent, most of the world...) does things is "qualitatively and objectively better" than another area's way: It's not just a question, in my opinion, of whether one system is better than another in a vacuum, but whether the difference is significant enough to justify the disruption of the change from the "inferior" system to the better one. To get away from the metric example, someone on another thread was complaining about the British driving on the left, saying it was "unsafe." (And also saying it was evidence that the British think they're better than everyone, which is ridiculous.) His objection seemed to be based in particular on a recent experience of driving in London in a left-hand-drive car.

Well, let's think this through: is driving on the right really inherently safer - to any degree, let alone a significant degree - than driving on the left? I doubt it. So the benefit of Britain's switching to driving on the right would be to make it easier for continentals using their own cars in Britain (and also for British and Irish, once they've all got left-hand-drive cars, using their cars on the Continent). Weigh that against the cost of redesigning some intersections and interchanges, changing every road sign in the British Isles (in some cases just moving them across the road, but the signs at all those roundabouts would need to be redone...), a public-information campaign, and everyone's getting new cars - hence the bold three lines above (or using right-hand-drive cars on the right) and it seems to be a no-brainer for the British to keep doing what they're doing and people crossing the Channel to adjust. If it's really that difficult to drive a left-hand-drive car in London, you can rent a British car next time. As opposed to expecting 60 million people to accomodate you by getting new cars and spending tax money on new signs.

Back to metric: Yes, having everything in multiples of ten is convenient. If I were starting a country from scratch, I'd probably adopt the metric system for it. But we're not talking about starting a country from scratch here; we're talking about considerable disruption and cost to 300 million people, for relatively little benefit.
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Old July 13th, 2010, 06:15 PM   #1008
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Long story short, maintaining status quo is easier.
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Old July 13th, 2010, 06:31 PM   #1009
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Add the U.K. (Where I just learned that metric is actually illegal on highway signs. Imperial-only. You'll occasionally see some miles-and-metric signs here.) Why don't you start working on them: they're closer to you, and do lots of things that annoy continentals.
Oh come on, it's not that I can't sleep at night thinking how I could turn the US and Uk to the SI units. I just pointed out that it's only a few countries left that haven't switched yet. And therefore it is not at all comparable to languages.

Just on the topics of languages. I don't like signs that have too much text. In Switzerland we have almost no texts (other than names and numbers) on signs because it's a multi-lingual country.
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"Problems understanding" not "...to understand." And I am discussing.
Thank you for the gerunds and infinitive lesson
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Old July 13th, 2010, 06:45 PM   #1010
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Driving on the right isn't better than driving on the left hand side. There's not a better one and a worst.

But metric system is objectivelly better than imperial system (that's why the whole world started using metric instead of older and more primitive systems (like the imperial system) that each country used.).
As for the UK, appart from road distances, it's almost all metric by now.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxx☢Power View Post
Just as the metric system is qualitatively and objectively better than whatever else is out there, the American practise of separating directions of traffic with a different colour (yellow) is qualitatively and objectively better than the one-colour European scheme. But if you try and suggest they change to the better system you will be told it's none of your business, that's the way it's always been and it's working perfectly fine.
Actually, I think in this subject the american system (with yellow on the middle) is supperior, and I'd like it to bo applied in Europe.
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Old July 13th, 2010, 07:01 PM   #1011
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Originally Posted by Penn's Woods View Post
Back to metric: Yes, having everything in multiples of ten is convenient. If I were starting a country from scratch, I'd probably adopt the metric system for it. But we're not talking about starting a country from scratch here; we're talking about considerable disruption and cost to 300 million people, for relatively little benefit.
300 millions people will have to get used to another system, but it is not as difficult, expensive, or dramatic as changing side of the road traffic or as teaching the same language to the whole world.

And starting conversion today, children will grow up "metric minded" just like nearly 6.800.000.000 people in the rest of the world.
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Old July 13th, 2010, 07:29 PM   #1012
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It would be an absolutely huge undertaking to convert the US though. There must be millions of roadsigns. Not realistic to replace them overnight. Ireland started replacing distance signs in the 70s and while it's rare you can still sometimes see some old mile-based signs. The speed limits were changed overnight but that was a huge effort as well, such that it was delayed until 2005, despite having metric distances for 30 years. And that's a small country, imagine the same for a country that's practically a continent in its own right...

Metric is a better system but it's probably too much cost and difficulty for the US to convert now. Anyway there's no reason that they should if they don't want to. It's just a system of measures, these discussions get far too political.

Driving on the left might actually be objectively safer though, because most people are right-eye dominant.

As for EU vs US, I think the whole thing's a bit stupid. Both have their advantages. Only thing is the US network is often older so of course the quality will be a little worse, but that's natural. Plus there are Inter-states through really sparsely populated areas which will be lower priority to maintain. I do like yellow centre lines though and yellow diamonds (though better with symbols), and concrete barriers are safer when done properly. But then everyone likes best what they're familiar with.
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Old July 13th, 2010, 07:30 PM   #1013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penn's Woods View Post
Back to metric: Yes, having everything in multiples of ten is convenient. If I were starting a country from scratch, I'd probably adopt the metric system for it. But we're not talking about starting a country from scratch here; we're talking about considerable disruption and cost to 300 million people, for relatively little benefit.
I can compare it to change value in many european countries. In every country were different values, but now we have euro. changing wasn't easy. we had to change labels in shops, software in banks and in cash desks, and our habits but now many countries have one value and i think it's better and the same would be with changing system to metric in usa
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It would be an absolutely huge undertaking to convert the US though. There must be millions of roadsigns. Not realistic to replace them overnight.
who said that it have to be changed overnight? in usa I saw signs with double-system (a sign was in imerial system, and under it second sign in metric system), so i think they can change sings but not overnight but eg. in 10 years. it can't be so hard for the most rich country in the world

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Old July 13th, 2010, 07:51 PM   #1014
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Yeah but it's still going to take a long time to do it, if they really want to they can though I suppose. Needs a lot of political will for it.
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Old July 13th, 2010, 08:01 PM   #1015
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Originally Posted by ja_kubek2 View Post
I can compare it to change value in many european countries. In every country were different values, but now we have euro. changing wasn't easy. we had to change labels in shops, software in banks and in cash desks, and our habits but now many countries have one value and i think it's better and the same would be with changing system to metric in usa
Apologies in advance for taking this thread even further off topic, but I think you've chosen a poor example there. The UK has its fair share of economic problems like any other European country, but one problem that most of us here are glad we don't have is the Euro. During the last few months we have seen Angela Merkel, leader of a country of 82 million people, devoting a large part of her time & energy to solving the problems of Greece. That cannot be sustainable. Before the economic crisis, there was still a minority section of public opinion in the UK in favour of joining the Euro...but that has now evaporated. Euro membership is now completely off the agenda and I cannot see that changing for a very long time.

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who said that it have to be changed overnight? in usa I saw signs with double-system (a sign was in imerial system, and under it second sign in metric system), so i think they can change sings but not overnight but eg. in 10 years. it can't be so hard for the most rich country in the world
But the point you are still failing to address is that even if a US change over to metric was possible, why would they want to anyway? They're happy, thanks. Americans think in miles, pounds, feet and inches. It's a part of US culture. The only folk who seem to be upset about this live in Europe...and I can't see 300+ million Americans effecting a change simply to please a few grumpy Europeans!
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Old July 13th, 2010, 09:13 PM   #1016
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sorry, that i continue this off-topic, but i have to answered.
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The UK has its fair share of economic problems like any other European country, but one problem that most of us here are glad we don't have is the Euro.
you don't have the euro and you have economical problems like every country in europe. it shows that there isn't connection between the euro and economical problems.

Quote:
During the last few months we have seen Angela Merkel, leader of a country of 82 million people, devoting a large part of her time & energy to solving the problems of Greece.
they haven't problems couse of the euro, but cause of their stupid policy (socjalism)

Quote:
Before the economic crisis, there was still a minority section of public opinion in the UK in favour of joining the Euro...but that has now evaporated. Euro membership is now completely off the agenda and I cannot see that changing for a very long time.
yes and you are against shengen zone, lisbon tractate, and you are against any attempt to increase the competence of the EU. so i'm not suprised that you don't want the euro

eot

I will return to the topic. In my opinion highways in eu are better, because there are better quality, smaller traffic and in europe more people drive on the right lane than on the left. and we can drive faster. and we have germany (without a general speed limitt)

Last edited by ja_kubek2; July 13th, 2010 at 09:40 PM.
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Old July 13th, 2010, 09:25 PM   #1017
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I think you missed the point, there. But given that this is off topic, I'd rather not hijack the thread completely with a discussion on Euro membership. Happy to discuss via pm if you would like.
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Old July 13th, 2010, 09:56 PM   #1018
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LOL @ Europeans and their "I'm always better than anyone else" attitude.

So far, the only argument you Europeans have said is that it looks nicer.

All you Europeans agree that the interstate highway system is the most impressive highway system in the world....I think you are pretty much saying the US interstates win. You guys are saying the Interstate system is more impressive than your sorry ass motorways. We win.

1) Don't talk $hit about our system until you Europeans have to worry about covering an area twice the size Europe is now, and as one unified country.

2) Because of vastness of the US, especially the west, unlike say Germany we can't babysit every single stretch of highway in whole country.

3) Money plays a factor in the conditions of the roads, but not entirely. We are a car oriented country. I would love to see if Europeans could build a 14 lane freeway, complete with HOV access ramps, and interchanges as big the Texas high five, and still keep it looking European-motorway asphalt-good. Also maintaining freeways like that ALL OVER an area the size of the United states in EVERY major city. Can Europeans do it? I think not.
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Old July 13th, 2010, 10:10 PM   #1019
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LOL @ Europeans and their "I'm always better than anyone else" attitude.

So far, the only argument you Europeans have said is that it looks nicer.

All you Europeans agree that the interstate highway system is the most impressive highway system in the world....I think you are pretty much saying the US interstates win. You guys are saying the Interstate system is more impressive than your sorry ass motorways. We win.

1) Don't talk $hit about our system until you Europeans have to worry about covering an area twice the size Europe is now, and as one unified country.

2) Because of vastness of the US, especially the west, unlike say Germany we can't babysit every single stretch of highway in whole country.

3) Money plays a factor in the conditions of the roads, but not entirely. We are a car oriented country. I would love to see if Europeans could build a 14 lane freeway, complete with HOV access ramps, and interchanges as big the Texas high five, and still keep it looking European-motorway asphalt-good. Also maintaining freeways like that ALL OVER an area the size of the United states in EVERY major city. Can Europeans do it? I think not.
Am I wrong in guessing this was posted from a college dorm room?
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Old July 13th, 2010, 10:16 PM   #1020
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Actually, I think in this subject the american system (with yellow on the middle) is supperior, and I'd like it to bo applied in Europe.
It would have to be a different colour though, because yellow is already being used for temporary markings. How about green or blue? I guess it would look a little weird and unusual to begin with, but people would get used to it. Although, yellow markings being temporary, I guess we could just wait until they're gone and say, from now on, yellow separates directions of traffic and red is used for temporary markings.
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