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Metric System
Old 11-23-2022, 06:06 PM   #1
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Metric System

I attended grade school back in the 60's and, along with many of you, was taught the basic metric system. Grams, centimeters, all that fun stuff. I distinctly remember teachers emphasizing "we will be transitioning to this system in the coming years." A decade later I noticed gas station pumps started displaying amounts in gallons and liters. That's about it. Except for having to maintain two complete sets of wrenches and sockets, the USA has really managed to avoid what the rest of the world has determined to be the best, most logical system. One of the reasons we are special, I suppose.
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Old 11-23-2022, 06:11 PM   #2
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I distinctly remember teachers emphasizing "we will be transitioning to this system in the coming years."
It has been the "preferred system of weights and measures for United States trade and commerce" since 1975.
https://usma.org/laws-and-bills/metr...e-notification

Right.

But even in Jolly Olde England the roads are marked in miles, not kilometers.
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Old 11-23-2022, 06:34 PM   #3
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Canada transitioned to metric when I was in grade school so I'm familiar and can easily work with both if need be. Isn't it time for the US to stop being stubborn and get with the times?
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Old 11-23-2022, 06:39 PM   #4
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Yeah, UK is still hanging on here and there. What's your weight in stone?

Since I started baking by weight, I got a good handle on what a few hundred grams feels like.

Runners know what a kilometer feels like. Soda drinkers know a liter.

Maybe some day this experience will result in a true switch.

Meanwhile auto manufacturers have switched. Mechanics almost exclusively use their metrics.

I'm all for it, but I'm honestly not a fan of Celsius. But I could deal with it if necessary.
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Old 11-23-2022, 06:43 PM   #5
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If anyone would do a GDP productivity loss study on why we should transition from imperial to metric, it would be a no brainer. Amazing more companies are not demanding this.
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Old 11-23-2022, 06:59 PM   #6
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If anyone would do a GDP productivity loss study on why we should transition from imperial to metric, it would be a no brainer. Amazing more companies are not demanding this.
We could start with the Mars probe that crashed because someone forgot to convert. Something like $150M that the taxpayers lost.

Important industries like autos have converted.

But yeah, more industries could benefit if they went all in.

It's not easy, though. We're still used to fasteners like hex nut sheet metal screws coming in standard sizes. I've recently started encountering metric versions of these. It's... Interesting as the common metric size doesn't fit the hex driver sets we have. So manufacturers of HVAC equipment, for example, are going to have to make a decision. Probably pretty soon, because the imports are here.
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Old 11-23-2022, 07:04 PM   #7
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Meanwhile auto manufacturers have switched. Mechanics almost exclusively use their metrics.
It's common in Canada for socket sets to include both Imperial and Metric. I have both. My Acura has 19mm lug nuts, my parent's GM vehicles are 7/8".
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Old 11-23-2022, 07:39 PM   #8
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It's common in Canada for socket sets to include both Imperial and Metric. I have both. My Acura has 19mm lug nuts, my parent's GM vehicles are 7/8".
They are probably 22mm if a recent car. 7/8 fits 22 well. GM has actually been really good about going metric.

Speaking of lugs. Wheels and tires are a mess . Maybe your lugs have metric threads. Maybe not. Then there are tires. They are measured in mm for width and profile, but put on wheels measured in inches. Whatamess
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Old 11-23-2022, 08:03 PM   #9
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In the 90s I worked designing building systems for the US government, domestically, where we were required to produce drawings in metric. So we’d design in Imperial, convert it to metric for the drawings, so the contractor could convert it all back for his work.

I worked on a commercial job in Chile and thought it interesting that pipe sizes were noted in inches with lengths in mm. After all, they sourced the pipe from the US but cut it to length themselves. But then again, a 1” pipe is identical to a 25 mm pipe but, in reality, is exactly neither.
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Old 11-23-2022, 08:13 PM   #10
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I've noticed the U.S. is finally, but still slowly, changing to the metric system. While I bought my first set of metric mechanic's tools shortly after buying a Yamaha motorcycle in 1967, it's been slow going since then. More recently I have noticed that more and more American-made mechanical stuff, like the Ariens snow blower I have, uses metric fasteners. The engine is made in China so that's not a surprise. But a lot of other stuff on it is metric too, as is the R/C hobby stuff I buy.

And within the past year or so the local newspaper has taken to reporting temperatures in both Fahrenheit and Celsius and distances in both miles and kilometers. So maybe in a couple more generations the change will be complete.
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Old 11-23-2022, 08:20 PM   #11
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Isn't this like when to take Social Security?

Back in the 70s I was working in lumber and everything I did was based on a system of 1/12ths. Today I don't care. Actually I weigh a lot of ingredients for recipes in grams and convert to ounces on the fly.
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Old 11-23-2022, 08:24 PM   #12
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Old 11-23-2022, 11:17 PM   #13
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If anyone would do a GDP productivity loss study on why we should transition from imperial to metric, it would be a no brainer. Amazing more companies are not demanding this.
In my engineering career I have operated almost exclusively in metric. It was not so much a choice as a reality every place I worked. I think the one major holdout is the aerospace industry although I have worked on non-aircraft projects for divisions of Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman and a few others and they were all strictly metric.

Yet when I leave work I speak American units. I am equally comfortable in both systems of units and have no strong opinion on whether the US should switch.

In the early 90s I would visit machine shops and see our drawings marked up with conversions to inches for dimensions but that has become rare in the last 20 years or so. Now they just flip the in/mm switch and machine away.

I will say that engineering calculations are FAR easier in metric units and that leads to fewer errors and ultimately lower cost to companies.

You will find that most countries have a traditional system of units that are still used behind the scenes and they typically have something that translates as "thumb" for example that is about an inch.
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Old 11-23-2022, 11:56 PM   #14
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In college my engineering thermodynamics professor had us using a system he made up for an entire month. I don't recall all the details but I remember that velocity was measured in furlongs per fortnight, the unit of weight was the average weight of a linebacker on the college football team (and of course it varied every year). Temperature used a scale that ranged from the ideal temperature for his coffee (29 degrees in his system) and the temperature he preferred his beer (0 degrees in his system), because, well prime numbers just complicate everything. It was a nightmare at the time but to this day I am extremely good at unit conversions.

And then there is the factoid that a barn*-megaparsec* is about 2/3 teaspoon and is therefore useful in recipes.

Ain't units fun!

* A barn is about the cross-sectional area of a uranium nucleus and is a real unit used in nuclear physics and is about 0.00000000000000000000000000001 square meters. A megaparsec is a unit used is astronomy and is about 19,170,000,000,000,000,000 miles.
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Old 11-24-2022, 12:27 AM   #15
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I'm waiting for America to adopt the Metric Time Standard (MTS) so we can have a longer retirement
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Old 11-24-2022, 12:30 AM   #16
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When I was flying repeatedly between USA and Canada, one time I flew into Kansas, hopped into my weekly rental, and drove at 65*.6 down the freeway.. I was driving as though I was still in Canada and had mentally converted to the km/h instead of mph.

Realized after so MANY cars passed me...
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Old 11-24-2022, 12:47 AM   #17
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I'm waiting for America to adopt the Metric Time Standard (MTS) so we can have a longer retirement
Would you prefer a Gs retirement or a Ts retirement?
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Old 11-24-2022, 12:48 AM   #18
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When I was flying repeatedly between USA and Canada, one time I flew into Kansas, hopped into my weekly rental, and drove at 65*.6 down the freeway.. I was driving as though I was still in Canada and had mentally converted to the km/h instead of mph.

Realized after so MANY cars passed me...
I bet a lot of people tried to inform you of your error.
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Old 11-24-2022, 01:40 AM   #19
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You mean you drove 40 on the freeway and didn't think it was slow?
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Old 11-24-2022, 04:30 AM   #20
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Do you think people would be willing? I'm ready. Metric is SO MUCH EASIER than imperial measurements. I can tell you instantly how many meters are in 6 kilometers. I can't tell you how many yards are in 6 miles without calculating it.

For an upcoming foreign trip I'm trying to familiarize myself with bird sizes that are given in that country's field guides in centimeters. 10 is small, 4 inches. 15 is medium. 20+ is 8 inches or more, relatively big.

I think the US is alone in its retention of the old system, which is ridiculous.
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