Post by RichA Post by RichA Post by RichA Post by RichA
American ad for a chocolate, er, "candy" bar. They mentioned the sizes of
the two bars. But in metric, centimeters. I wonder why? Because
centimeters make larger numbers (2.54cm per inch) and it sounds better?
Probably because it makes tatal sense to everyone but those in the US of
A, Liberia and Burma.
The ad was American, for American sales, unless they're using it in other
I've never seen a Payday chocolate bar here. With good reason: the
cheapest chocolate bars available in Germany taste so much better than
anything I've ever had in the U.S. (except for super expensive imports
from elsewhere: $12 for what I'd pay under 2 euros here!).
So I guess the ad was meant to confuse only you.
Perhaps others are unaware or not paying attention. Or aware and just
don't care. After all, most people in the world would have zero issues
with metric measurements. Everyone instantly knows how many meters long
a kilometer is, for instance.
Quick, how many yards are there in a mile?
Why are "ounces" used for both weight and volume, with some 16 to a
unit, others only 12? That's just crazy.
Tell me why normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees and not just rounded
up to 97. -> en.wikipedia.org
For laughs and giggles, ask a European how far 5/8 of a mile is.
For the most part it's Americans confusing the rest of the world by
sticking with an archaic and irregular system of weights and measures,
when a logical and virtually universal system exists.
Yet another fine example of conservatism in action: intentionally
keeping things crazy complicated, less economical and way effed up.
One point: conservatism is NOT about resisting change - all change - no
matter what. Change happens and conservatives know that and are capable
of going with the flow. For instance, conservatives didn't resist
electricity or using cell phones when they came along because they had
obvious uses/advantages. But conservative people do have a certain
resistance to change for change sake. In other words, if the old way
still works fine, why complicate everyone's life by doing things
differently? So I can well understand Americans being resistant to the
metric system because they have a perfectly adequate measuring system
The US military - arguably a very conservative institution - uses the
metric system and has for a long time. I assume that's because of
America's involvement in NATO and the need to work with other countries
that were predominantly metric. (Canada started converting to metric in
1979 and phased it in gradually over several years.) Imagine the chaos
if a Belgian spotter told an American artillery battery to fire at an
enemy 450 meters away and the American didn't know the conversion and
just guessed (or failed to fire in time because he was scrambling to
find out the conversion)? Or just fired at something 450 yards away?
That would actually be pretty close but the difference could be crucial
in a real battle. I've often wondered if the standard use of metric in
the US military would eventually percolate out to the rest of the US
economy but, so far, it hasn't in any big way.
There's no doubt that the Imperial system is less logical than the
metric one but it *does* work and has for centuries. The cost of
converting all manufacturing over to the metric system would be
substantial. All sorts of manufactured items would require expensive
modifications; for instance, drink containers would have to be made in
metric sizes like liters instead of quarts. All kinds of packaging would
have to be redone to use metric units. I expect most garages would
already be fine since so many metric vehicles already operate on US
roads that most mechanics probably already have wrenches in both US and
metric systems. But the average weekend mechanic may have problems if
he's always bought American cars. Gun owners might have challenges
adapting to calibers expressed in metric units. Motorists would be
confused by gas priced in liters instead of gallons. (I still remember
when we started converting to metric in Canada. One day, the gas was
99.9 cents/gallon and I was wondering how they'd accomodate any increase
in price since all the signs only had a capacity of 3 digits. The next
day, the prices were 19.9 but were measuring liters instead of gallons.
And now the signs mostly have 4 digit capacity so there's no problem
accomodating 130.9 cents/liter).
Based on my experience, even if America switched to metric tomorrow and
stopped teaching anything but metric in school the same day, people
(especially older people) would continue to use the old units for
decades. For instance, it's not unusual to hear Canadians say things
like "What a scorcher it is today! Must be 90 degrees!" even 30+ years
after we went metric. That, of course is 90 degrees Fahrenheit, even
though we're a metric country now. But the kids who grew up on the
metric system and never really learned the imperial system probably
think only in metric units. And Canadians who grew up on the old system
probably use miles or miles/hour almost as often as they to kilometers
or kilometers/hour. I was telling an anecdote the other day in which I
did 80 past a radar training station (which I didn't know was there) and
got away with it. I was referring to 80 miles/hour (back when speed
limits were 50 or 60 mph); a metric-only person would just be baffled by
that anecdote and wonder why I thought it was a big deal to drive 80
kilometers/hour when the speed limit on major roads is usually 100 kph.
I'm *still* not used to measuring tire pressures in kilopascals and
honestly couldn't tell you what pressure my tires need in those units
without digging out my manual. But I know that I need 35 psi so I'm good