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Thread: Why the US still uses an archaic system of weights and measures

  1. #31
    Master political analyst Dittohead not!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OlGuy View Post
    They do use metric in English crime shows though a 127mm knife doesn't have the same visceral as a 5 inch blade.
    127 mm? That's not a knife....


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  2. #32
    Vexatious Correspondent Leo2's Avatar
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    I must say that it has always puzzled me that the USA - a modern, advanced society, has chosen at all to use the outmoded, 18th century Imperial systems of measurement. It is only my grandad, who lives in Edinburgh, who has ever used that system (as a boy). What is doubly puzzling, is the fact that the citizens of the newly emerged United States of America chose -after a long and bloody conflict with the mother country - to use the systems extant in, and peculiar to, Great Britain and her colonies. Ignoring the much simpler, and more universal, metric systems developed by their allies and saviours - the French. US citizens seem to have willingly adopted the metric system of currency (presumably abandoning the more cumbersome pounds, shillings, and pence,) so why the adherence to the even more cumbersome quarts and gallons; inches, feet, yards and miles? Measurements such as 3/16ths and 7/8ths are sheer lunacy. I understand that most of the Commonwealth (including the UK) went metric with a minimum of fuss.

    Can any sensible American explain the appeal (other than familiarity and laziness)?

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dittohead not! View Post
    The reason is pirates.










    link

    So, the USA adopted the British Imperial system, which it still uses. Back in the '70s, the government tried to get us into the 20th. century, but didn't succeed. Now, here we are in the 21st. century, still using an 18th. century system of weights and measures.
    Interesting. There were other chances. John Quincy Adams was pretty much obsessed with this topic and tried to get the US to switch to metric when he was Secretary of State in 1816-17 also.

    John Quincy Adams? Report Upon Weights and Measures | Shannon Selin
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  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo2 View Post
    I must say that it has always puzzled me that the USA - a modern, advanced society, has chosen at all to use the outmoded, 18th century Imperial systems of measurement. It is only my grandad, who lives in Edinburgh, who has ever used that system (as a boy). What is doubly puzzling, is the fact that the citizens of the newly emerged United States of America chose -after a long and bloody conflict with the mother country - to use the systems extant in, and peculiar to, Great Britain and her colonies. Ignoring the much simpler, and more universal, metric systems developed by their allies and saviours - the French. US citizens seem to have willingly adopted the metric system of currency (presumably abandoning the more cumbersome pounds, shillings, and pence,) so why the adherence to the even more cumbersome quarts and gallons; inches, feet, yards and miles? Measurements such as 3/16ths and 7/8ths are sheer lunacy. I understand that most of the Commonwealth (including the UK) went metric with a minimum of fuss.

    Can any sensible American explain the appeal (other than familiarity and laziness)?
    Don't forget ego. It's OUR system and we won't be swayed by others, even if it's ALL the others.

    But moreover, it's a function of our politics. There is no constituency for it (that is, there's no one who will profit from it or save money, while lots of people profit from selling two different sets of tools, for example) and it's costly in the immediate term. Changes in the US usually happen because someone will profit or save almost immediately and they push for the change. Even something like the Americans with Disabilities Act (which was enacted under a Republican president) wouldn't have been successful if it didn't mean work for tens of thousands of contractors, carpenters, and suppliers of building materials--who had to build all the ramps and physical accommodations needed.
    Thanks from Leo2 and Madeline

  5. #35
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    It's funny that our measurements for tires involve BOTH systems. In "P215/65 R15," 215 is the width measured in millimeters and the 15 is the diameter of the wheel in inches.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post
    I am not baking any cakes with "500 grams" of flour.

    They wouldn't taste like freedom!
    As much as Freedom Fries would taste against French f
    Fries ?
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  7. #37
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    It is very difficult to convert a recipee in cups into grams…… The cake is going to have a different taste…...
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  8. #38
    Veteran Member EnigmaO01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dittohead not! View Post
    as do countries that can still put astronauts into space.
    Yes all our scientists use the metric system. It's just every other dumbass that resists it.
    Thanks from Dittohead not! and Leo2

  9. #39
    Veteran Member EnigmaO01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OlGuy View Post
    They've been talking about it for thirty years but haven't done it yet. Besides a crescent wrench will usually work if you don't mind the heads getting rounded.
    Crescent wrenches suck the big one. Seems like a good idea but they don't work that great.

  10. #40
    Veteran Member EnigmaO01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post
    I am not baking any cakes with "500 grams" of flour.

    They wouldn't taste like freedom!
    You're right it would be 454 grams of flour. And you would get better accuracy.

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