TheSonntag From Germany, joined Jun 2005, 4392 posts, RR: 29 Posted (10 years 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 4076 times:
Let me make this clear, this thread is not meant as US bashing.
But was the metric system ever considered in the US? I always find it odd that the US still use feet, inches, gallons and so on. Yet I know that you certainly think it is the best system as you are used to it. Equally, I would hate to change to another system as I was born with the metric system.
So a change to the metric system obviously will never happen.
But was it seriously considered? And why are you using Fahrenheit instead of Celsius?
SlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 66
Reply 3, posted (10 years 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 4058 times:
The last time there was a big push must have been in the Carter administration.
The big problem with that effort was that they kept translating for us. People got the idea that they'd have to use both system always for the rest of their lives.
I'm not that big a fan of the metric system. The math is really simple but it is not based on anything real any more than feet, miles or furlongs are. Maybe we should have some system based on the size of the earth.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
N1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 28516 posts, RR: 74
Reply 5, posted (10 years 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 4048 times:
Actually, metric is the official system of measurements for the US Government. The reason Imperial measurements (with some exceptions, our pints are smaller than UK pints, as are our gallons) are still used so much is because of the difficulty in converting such a large country en masse. The road system alone would cost billions and take quite a long time.
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
Superfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 40298 posts, RR: 73
Reply 6, posted (10 years 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 4048 times:
Quoting Cfalk (Reply 2): I remember dual use in the 70s, where speed limit signs and all sorts of things were required to be in both metric and Imperial. It was very silly, and died in the early 80s.
I remember seeing both signs as recently as the mid-1990s.
That 1987 Chrysler LeBaron convertible I used to have had US and metric nuts & bolts. That added to the frustration of owning such an unreliable car. It was full of suprises on the road and in the garage.
The digital instrument display like all other cars that come with that option can convert everything to metric with just one push of a botton.
Well, while the definitions itself are pretty strange today, as they needed to be more accurate, the original definitions of the metric system were based on the earth. For example, a cubic decimeter of water at lowest (3.8 degr. Celsius) density is exactly containing 1litre of water, weigthing exactly 1kg).
Of course, these definitions are not the ones used anymore today, but they make it very easy to calculate.
The metre actually was based on the size of the earth, but this definition is not used anymore.
Thus, the meter was intended to equal 10-7 or one ten-millionth of the length of the meridian through Paris from pole to the equator. However, the first prototype was short by 0.2 millimeters because researchers miscalculated the flattening of the earth due to its rotation.
Moderation in all things ... including moderation ;-)
Redngold From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6907 posts, RR: 40
Reply 13, posted (10 years 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 4000 times:
The metric system failed in the U.S. when, upon conversion of the length of I-90 (The U.S.'s longest interstate highway) from miles to kilometers, it was found that while its eastern terminus would remain at Boston, MA, its western terminus would be relocated to Humboldt, South Dakota - a thoroughly unacceptable alternative.
Aloges From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 9132 posts, RR: 39
Reply 15, posted (10 years 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 3988 times:
Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 14): The metric unit for distance (meter) is no longer represented by any earthly quantity:
Nowadays, you're correct. However its roots are very much down to earth:
Quoting Logan22L (Reply 10): Not true, actually. The meter was defined in the late 1700s as one ten-millionth of a quadrant of the earth's surface - that is the distance from the north pole to the equator.
Walk together, talk together all ye peoples of the earth. Then, and only then, shall ye have peace.
No, but that doesn't change the fact that the original definiton still is correct. The kg, for example, is defined as the weight of the international kilogram prototype, but 1 cubic decimetre of water at 3,8 degrees still weighs a kilogram.
So unless you are a physician, the definitons are still pretty straightforward.
However, I personally really hate Kilonewton. 500000lbs of thrust is something I understand. 250kn not. But this does not change the fact that I never would want to change from the metric system to another system. And therefore I also understand that people in the US don't want to change, either.
For example, the power of car engine in Germany officially must be measured in kW. Nobody cares, everybody wants to know how many horsepower (the German unit, PS, I guess every country had a slightly different definition of horsepower) it has.
If you changed it today in the US, I guess it would take 40 to 80 years until everybody uses the new units.
PA110 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2061 posts, RR: 22
Reply 18, posted (10 years 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 3960 times:
If I recall correctly, the reason why the Metric system failed was the cost. At the time it was introduced by the Carter Administration in the 70's, the U.S. economy was experiencing high inflation. Neither private industry nor the federal government was willing to underwrite the pretty hefty costs associated with converting to metric.
Prebennorholm From Denmark, joined Mar 2000, 6955 posts, RR: 54
Reply 22, posted (10 years 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 3934 times:
Quoting Aloges (Reply 11): Quoting SlamClick (Reply 3):
Maybe we should have some system based on the size of the earth.
Which would be... the metric system!
Aeh, that was in the good old days. Some 30 or 40 years ago the UN redefined the meter to be the length of a certain number of emission waves of gamma rays from a certain radioactive isotope. I don't remember the details.
That makes the meter a constant thing while the Earth is growing bigger at sea level as the sea rises due to global warming.
Edit: Wrong! Read reply #14 instead. I was mixing up with the modern definition of the second (time unit). Sorry.
[Edited 2005-11-23 01:53:38]
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
RayChuang From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 8245 posts, RR: 4
Reply 23, posted (10 years 6 days ago) and read 3924 times:
Actually, the US automotive industry has heavily used the metric system for a number of years. Note that nowadays engine displacement is defined in cubic centimeters or liters and tire width is defined in millimeters (though for some strange reason automotive wheel size is defined in inches even in metric countries; the Michelin attempt to definite automotive wheel size in millimeters with the TRX tire wasn't adopted by anyone else).
Also, the food industry has both metric and English measurements for weight, dry capacity and liquid capacity since the late 1970's. That's why you see soda bottles in 1 and 2 liter sizes all over the USA.
One thing that I find puzzling is the fact that even now flight altitude for commercial airliners are still defined in feet and not meters (per current ICAO rules).