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U.S. MUST go metric!! (Page 3)
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Andy8
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Apr 13, 2009, 10:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Rev-O, wouldn't that be a perfect Stimulus ?

-t
Exactly.

Lots of manual labour jobs to keep locals busy.
     
dzp111  (op)
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Apr 13, 2009, 11:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Rev-O, wouldn't that be a perfect Stimulus ?

-t
Hmm, I wonder. You've got a good point there T.

Didn't I read a few posts back that Mr. Obama was going metric soon? Sounds like a money-maker, somewhere(s), to some people. Hey, the more the merrier.

Touché.


: )
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dzp111  (op)
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Apr 13, 2009, 11:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by hayesk View Post
In Canada, tape measures are typically marked with metric and imperial, but they still often use Imperial..
True. We're (still) used to 2 by 4's, 4 by 6's, and 8 by 8's, where wood construction is concerned. In that respect I wage that those calculations will stay for a while.

It's seeming to me that inches and square footage works well with housing. For now. The rest, well, makes sense for the rest.
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CreepDogg
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Apr 14, 2009, 12:03 AM
 
Originally Posted by EndlessMac View Post
It still sounds like your scale is based on personal preference and your tolerance of hot and cold. For example, people who live in warm climates have complained about it being too cold when the weather gets near 50 F whereas as people who are used to snowy conditions don't even think that's cold at all. On your scale 50 would be in the middle but to people used to warm weather it would be lower on the scale for them. That's the problem with a scale based on human tolerance because everyone has a different preference.

My argument is that using the freezing point is a factual reference point that doesn't change to make a basis about temperature rather than someone's personal opinion about what's too hot or too cold. This way it's always the same scale no matter where you go which I believe is the whole point of this thread.
Um, and it sounds like that's your personal preference, so I guess we're even?

My argument is threefold:

1) the freezing point is still a reference point in the Fahrenheit scale. It just happens to be 32 degrees instead of zero. Because, guess what, the ambient temperature often goes below 32 degrees! Why is this not also the same scale wherever you go? I didn't know that in some parts of the world, water froze at 50 degrees on the Fahrenheit scale... So I guess we're back to a matter of preference.

2) I would say that most of the time, for most of the inhabited places in the world, temperatures are going to be in that 0-100 range. In some places, you see less of the range, and some more, and some beyond it, but certainly the 0 and 100 points are closer to commonly observed ambient temperature extremes than they are in the Celsius scale.

3) The 100 degree spread gives a more granular measurement than the 56 degree (well, 55.5555...) spread in the Celsius scale.

I get that it's a matter of preference. I'm just saying - there are logical reasons why imperial measurements work better for some purposes.
     
Wiskedjak
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Apr 14, 2009, 12:11 AM
 
I am thoroughly a child of Canada having gone metric. The only form of measurement that I learned in school was Metric. I measure speed in km/h, temperature in °C and small lengths in millimeters (0.8 mil is easier to say than 1/32). But, I measure weight in lb and lengths between millimeters and kilometers in inches.

When precision is the goal, I use metric. When estimation is the goal, I use Imperial.
     
dzp111  (op)
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Apr 14, 2009, 12:29 AM
 
Originally Posted by Wiskedjak View Post
When precision is the goal, I use metric. When estimation is the goal, I use Imperial.
Very well said. (and quantified).
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EndlessMac
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Apr 14, 2009, 01:05 AM
 
Originally Posted by CreepDogg View Post
1) the freezing point is still a reference point in the Fahrenheit scale. It just happens to be 32 degrees instead of zero. Because, guess what, the ambient temperature often goes below 32 degrees! Why is this not also the same scale wherever you go? I didn't know that in some parts of the world, water froze at 50 degrees on the Fahrenheit scale... So I guess we're back to a matter of preference.
Well, it seems that you misunderstood my last post. I didn't say the freezing point moved it's the people's definition of what is hot or cold would move on the scale. And to me it sounds like your scale is based more what people's definition of what is hot or cold. If that's not what you meant then we are not understanding each other correctly.

It does depend on what you are used to because I don't think everyone would agree that your 0-100 scale would be their preferential method. Like I said I find it more intuitive that zero would be the point of freezing rather then a random number like 32. Clearly you don't agree.

Originally Posted by CreepDogg View Post
2) I would say that most of the time, for most of the inhabited places in the world, temperatures are going to be in that 0-100 range. In some places, you see less of the range, and some more, and some beyond it, but certainly the 0 and 100 points are closer to commonly observed ambient temperature extremes than they are in the Celsius scale.
That just goes back to the argument about what you are used to because people who are used to Celsius think 100 is ridiculously hot whereas in Fahrenheit it's tolerable and they don't think it's weird to have negative temperatures. Depending on what each of us grew up with the numbers would have different meanings. Your preference seems to be having numbers in the positive number range while I don't have a problem with a more relatively disperse range between positive and negative numbers.

Originally Posted by CreepDogg View Post
I get that it's a matter of preference. I'm just saying - there are logical reasons why imperial measurements work better for some purposes.
Well, that is also a personal opinion. I also grew up with Fahrenheit so I'm used to it but I don't see it as being vastly superior to Celsius. It's only different and what a person is used to has a bias in what they think is better. But going back to the original topic, if most of the world is using one system then it makes it easier to interact with the rest of the world if we were also on the same system.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Apr 14, 2009, 02:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by Rev-O View Post
Why doesn't the US convert to metric? Easy. It would cost to much to change road signage. Every mile of highway and interstate in the US has a mile marker. Every exit ramp off of a highway, numbered route, or interstate is numbered according to the closest marker. Every advance sign on every interstate and highway references these exit numbers which are based upon the mile markers. Oh, and other advance signs mention distances to towns and cities in miles as well.
Wiki puts the total miles of interstate highway in the US at almost 47000 miles. This number does not reflect the total number of numbered US highways and numbered US routes in the US, just the interstate highways.
Now toss in all the speed limit signs. Now toss in ever advisory speed limit sign on exit ramps and interchanges.
Signs are made of aluminum. They're a little bit spendy. Now pay labor costs to remove and install all the new signs. Sure, you can recycle the old aluminum signs, but remember to figure in the labor costs to collect and haul signs to the recycling place, and recycled aluminum isn't even a drop in the bucket compared to the costs of new signs.
Yup. signs are a big factor in the US not switching to metric system. Remember attending a seminar on this topic at a state level many years ago. They said that it would never ever ever happen because they could never ever ever get funding for the signs.
This is all well-reasoned, except for one thing:

All road signage is regularly replaced anyway.

Over the next twenty years, nearly ALL signs are going to get replaced/refreshed at some point. Make the replacement dual Imperial/metric, and you have ZERO additional cost, while your children won't have to live with prehistoric idiocy.
     
ghporter
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Apr 14, 2009, 07:46 AM
 
Originally Posted by Rev-O View Post
Why doesn't the US convert to metric? Easy. It would cost to much to change road signage. ...

Signs are made of aluminum. They're a little bit spendy. Now pay labor costs to remove and install all the new signs.
Actually most states reuse signs all the time. The printing on highway signs, especially the smaller ones like mile marker numbers, is done on a plastic sheet whose backing is highly reflective, with simple screen printing of the colors and symbols. As already mentioned, signs are replaced on a regular basis-here in Texas, a lot of them are replaced about every 3 years due to fading from sunlight.

The resistance to conversion to the Metric system in the U.S. (and it's "unofficial" resistance, since by law we are already ON the Metric system-since 1976) is all about people. We have too many "educators" worried about whether we should teach skepticism about evolution (but not about creationism), too many day-to-day working folks just interested in seeing "Dancing with the Stars", and too many other people just not giving a rat's behind about much of anything.

If we simply started doing a little more, like having a while (required) unit in elementary school that had everybody using SI units exclusively for maybe 6 weeks, that could help immensely. Making the (replaced on a normal schedule) road sineage show both miles and km would help too.

It's not that one system is "morally superior" or even more or less functional on a daily basis, it's what PEOPLE are used to. Introducing daily use of SI units would be a simple, easy, and inexpensive step toward aligning the U.S. with the rest of the world, and making us more effective and competitive in the world marketplace.

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OreoCookie
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Apr 14, 2009, 08:08 AM
 
Such a transition would always cause problems in the beginning. E. g. when Daylight Savings was introduced in Germany, there were indeed problems with trains and such. Fast forward a few years later and those problems have all but disappeared.

I would start by making education SI-only. Not just a six-week course that is forgotten after one. Some opinions don't change, they just die out.
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CreepDogg
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Apr 14, 2009, 08:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by EndlessMac View Post
Well, that is also a personal opinion. I also grew up with Fahrenheit so I'm used to it but I don't see it as being vastly superior to Celsius. It's only different and what a person is used to has a bias in what they think is better. But going back to the original topic, if most of the world is using one system then it makes it easier to interact with the rest of the world if we were also on the same system.
I don't think it's vastly superior either. But there are logical reasons why one would prefer/choose to use it.

And I don't think inertia (i.e. "tmost of the world is doing it" is necessarily a good reason to switch. "Everybody else is doing it" has never really been a good argument in any context.
     
OreoCookie
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Apr 14, 2009, 09:16 AM
 
The inertia is on the American (and English) side to switch, it doesn't look as if it is in danger of being just dragged along.
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andi*pandi
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Apr 14, 2009, 09:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
If we simply started doing a little more, like having a while (required) unit in elementary school that had everybody using SI units exclusively for maybe 6 weeks, that could help immensely.
Thirty years ago my school did this. 5th or 6th grade? We made a paper meter stick and yard stick, compared them, measured things in the classroom, etc. I don't recall for how long, but it helped me in other classes later.

And if my little town had that curriculum, I'm sure others did.
     
Laminar
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Apr 14, 2009, 09:47 AM
 
As an engineer, having to deal with two systems is a PITA. Go metric and be done with it.
     
analogika
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Apr 14, 2009, 10:46 AM
 
Originally Posted by CreepDogg View Post
And I don't think inertia (i.e. "tmost of the world is doing it" is necessarily a good reason to switch. "Everybody else is doing it" has never really been a good argument in any context.
In a globalized world, it's actually an extremely good argument.

Order stuff to be built in China (or anywhere else), and not dealing exclusively with metric is a recipe for potential disaster. (In fact, didn't just that happen with some rollercoaster, where standard parts were delivered in standard measurements, causing critical failure at one point, resulting in serious injuries? Edit: Ah yes: http://lamar.colostate.edu/~hillger/...#spacemountain )
     
Laminar
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Apr 14, 2009, 11:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by analogika View Post
In a globalized world, it's actually an extremely good argument.

Order stuff to be built in China (or anywhere else), and not dealing exclusively with metric is a recipe for potential disaster. (In fact, didn't just that happen with some rollercoaster, where standard parts were delivered in standard measurements, causing critical failure at one point, resulting in serious injuries? Edit: Ah yes: http://lamar.colostate.edu/~hillger/...#spacemountain )
Close.

there were no injuries
     
analogika
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Apr 14, 2009, 01:43 PM
 
Oh, right.

I guess Imperial measurements aren't a problem, then, as long as nobody gets killed.
     
EndlessMac
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Apr 14, 2009, 04:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by CreepDogg View Post
And I don't think inertia (i.e. "tmost of the world is doing it" is necessarily a good reason to switch. "Everybody else is doing it" has never really been a good argument in any context.
Originally Posted by analogika View Post
In a globalized world, it's actually an extremely good argument.
I was going to say something similar to analogika. Human society has become a lot more globalized nowadays and I believe it's important to make that interaction more streamline in order to either save cost or confusion.

CreepDogg I understand your reasoning but if the U.S. started the new generation growing up with this new system then it wouldn't really be much of an issue.
     
Amorya
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Apr 14, 2009, 05:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by Oisín View Post
I think Amorya’s house might have that really annoying thing that’s really the worst of both worlds: double-handle, single-spout faucets. I truly hate those (used to have one, up until a year and a half ago when they renovated the building).

Now I have a regular mixer-tap, which is of course far better, since you actually have a red-blue lever to control (or in the case of the bath/shower, a temperature indicator), rather than two separate knobs to turn separately, hoping you’re turning them the right amount to fit in with each other.
It does mostly have those. One sink (upstairs bathroom) has the better type you describe.

Actually, I guess the main problem is the hot water system here isn't very good. Sometimes it loses water pressure and cuts out the heating for a bit, thus confusing everyone. (Luckily the shower heats its own water.)

I guess I'm lucky just to have it though. The house I grew up in, the water was heated over a coal fire. No fire, no hot water, at all, unless you boil it in the kettle. (That was the only source of heat too.)

Amorya
What the nerd community most often fail to realize is that all features aren't equal. A well implemented and well integrated feature in a convenient interface is worth way more than the same feature implemented crappy, or accessed through a annoying interface.
     
CreepDogg
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Apr 14, 2009, 06:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by EndlessMac View Post
I was going to say something similar to analogika. Human society has become a lot more globalized nowadays and I believe it's important to make that interaction more streamline in order to either save cost or confusion.

CreepDogg I understand your reasoning but if the U.S. started the new generation growing up with this new system then it wouldn't really be much of an issue.
Except then there would be fewer people to deal with the parts and infrastructure already in place with Imperial measurements. Fewer people knowledgeable about the system = more screw-ups.

So actually, I think being globalized makes it more important to be familiar with both systems. Or, maybe we should make everyone speak the same language as well? After all, it would make everyone's interactions more streamlined and save a lot of cost and confusion!

We're already down the path of having to deal with both systems. Maybe someday there will be some utopia where everything is metric, but you and I won't see it. In the meantime, I think it's good to have people around who know how the hell to deal with both, as well as conversion between the two.

And if we're going to have that, then might as well use the scale(s) best suited to the task at hand.
     
Aeolius
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Apr 14, 2009, 07:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by EndlessMac View Post
CreepDogg I understand your reasoning but if the U.S. started the new generation growing up with this new system then it wouldn't really be much of an issue.
Except they already tried that. The metric episode of Schoolhouse Rock was the only one that failed.
     
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Apr 14, 2009, 07:29 PM
 
Seriosuly, why do people think it has to be one way or the other. It's like it has to be all democrat or republican. Do people really have that much difficulty working with both?

There's room in the middle. Let's meet.
     
smacintush
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Apr 14, 2009, 08:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by Railroader View Post
Seriosuly, why do people think it has to be one way or the other. It's like it has to be all democrat or republican. Do people really have that much difficulty working with both?

There's room in the middle. Let's meet.
Again, what are the practical reasons for having TWO systems?

You may be able to come up with a fewn (very few) but in general the reasons to go metric far outweigh the reasons to have more than one system or to stay with imperial.

The answer of course is: "Uh…cuz we don't wanna change."
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Rev-O
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Apr 14, 2009, 08:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
This is all well-reasoned, except for one thing:

All road signage is regularly replaced anyway.

Over the next twenty years, nearly ALL signs are going to get replaced/refreshed at some point. Make the replacement dual Imperial/metric, and you have ZERO additional cost, while your children won't have to live with prehistoric idiocy.
Well, not so much with the 'except for one thing'.
GH Porter is correct, most state highway departments resurface and reuse their signs, but many municipalities do not. For those who do not resurface and reuse, the old sign is sold as scrap and a new sign is bought.
About the signage being replaced at zero cost. All traffic signs, from color to size to size of type to placement to the amount of reflectivity are covered specifically by the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) which is a federal standard that all states must adhere to. It covers pretty much every sign that can be placed on a public roadway. Take, for instance, a speed limit sign. It must be a specific size with specific size text and a specific color (black and white, of course). You couldn't just make it a dual speed limit sign without adjusting the type size, at which point it would no longer be a legally enforceable sign. Unless you can magically make the signs bigger to hold more information, you'd need fresh aluminum. So, in order to keep the size of the legend of the sign the same and put more information on the sign, you must create new and larger signs or post the information on separate signs, which can't really be done at ZERO additional cost.
BTW, this also applies to all advisory signs (advisory speed limit signs on off ramps), mile marker signs, advance warning signs (like 'Right Lane Ends 1500 Feet), etc.
On a side note, the MUTCD states that pretty much any enforceable sign (that is, a sign that you can get a ticket for not obeying), must be posted at least 7' from the ground to the bottom of the sign. Speed limit signs, stop signs, no parking signs, etc. If the sign is not 7' above the ground, it is not a legally enforceable sign so no ticket can be issued based upon. Some judges don't much care about this, but it's worth arguing the case.

As to the prehistoric idiocy thing, I hope you are just suffering from a bout of hyperbole. I hardly consider imperial units prehistoric and idiotic. It's not like the US is trying to get landers on Mars using cubits. The metric system may have a more reproducible inception, but it isn't any more prone to accuracy and precision than imperial units.
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Apr 14, 2009, 09:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by CreepDogg View Post
Except then there would be fewer people to deal with the parts and infrastructure already in place with Imperial measurements. Fewer people knowledgeable about the system = more screw-ups.
It's not like the change would happen over night because the majority of the population would still understand the Imperial system. At the beginning both systems would have to be taught but with an emphasis on the metric system while the Imperial system would be phased out...if indeed our nation is willing to change.

Originally Posted by CreepDogg View Post
So actually, I think being globalized makes it more important to be familiar with both systems. Or, maybe we should make everyone speak the same language as well? After all, it would make everyone's interactions more streamlined and save a lot of cost and confusion!
I'm not against using both systems but if most of the world is using metric and if we as a nation want to continue greater interaction with the world then in my opinion it makes sense to incorporate the metric system more into our own. And using your language example, many nations speak several languages but there are a few common languages that many nations speak in order to do business internationally so even language is becoming more streamline.

Originally Posted by CreepDogg View Post
We're already down the path of having to deal with both systems. Maybe someday there will be some utopia where everything is metric, but you and I won't see it. In the meantime, I think it's good to have people around who know how the hell to deal with both, as well as conversion between the two.
There is no disagreement there, but in the U.S. metric is barely adopted with the general public so not many can deal with both. If we as a nation are against fully switching then, I believe the U.S. would be better off fully understanding both but I don't believe we are there.

Originally Posted by Aeolius View Post
The metric episode of Schoolhouse Rock was the only one that failed.
Schoolhouse Rock has been ambitious in other topics too. I don't think metric was there only failure.
     
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Apr 14, 2009, 09:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
Again, what are the practical reasons for having TWO systems?
Both are valid in different areas. Some, just for tradition's sake.

I remember when a 1/5 of whiskey was a 1/5th of a gallon of whiskey. Measuring in metric has made the volume smaller and the prices the same.

Beer must be drunk in pints. Or quarts if you used to hang with me in my drinking days.

Give me metric tools any day of the week though.I can spot the difference in a 12mm nut and a 13mm nut much faster than I can a 9/16" and a 5/8" nut.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Apr 15, 2009, 04:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by CreepDogg View Post
Except then there would be fewer people to deal with the parts and infrastructure already in place with Imperial measurements. Fewer people knowledgeable about the system = more screw-ups.
That's kind of an irrelevant argument.

European mechanics have absolutely no difficulty working on Harley-Davidsons. My US-built studio equipment is no different to service than the boxes built in the rest of the world. They just require a completely different set of tools, is all.

There is nothing to be "knowledgeable" about when all that is needed is the extra effort of looking stuff up in conversion tables, or needing to maintain a second set of tools.

The basic laws of physics still apply, you know.

It's just that for NEW DESIGNS, the error potential is greatly reduced by working on international standards.

Dealing with two systems isn't something that people need to be trained in; it's not something that requires outstanding intelligence or years of experience. A foot-long piece of wood works exactly the same as one that's 30-some cm long. It's merely a question of additional work and additional error potential.

The only thing that requires lots and lots of time is for people to THINK in standard units. That's not an impediment to engineering or science; that's a cultural problem.

Originally Posted by CreepDogg View Post
So actually, I think being globalized makes it more important to be familiar with both systems. Or, maybe we should make everyone speak the same language as well? After all, it would make everyone's interactions more streamlined and save a lot of cost and confusion!
Your language example is an excellent depiction of why you're wrong.

If you want to do business with China, you learn Chinese. Either that, or you work through interpreters. But any businessman who actually speaks Chinese has a major competitive advantage.

This has obviously never occurred to you because it just so happens that your own language is the lingua franca that EVERYBODY ELSE has decided is the standard they had to learn.

Everyone DOES, in fact, speak the same language - yours. Except for China, actually.

Falls du es lieber siehst weil's dein Argument untermauert, kann ich ja gerne auf deutsch weiter reden. Ich glaube aber, es wäre vergebene Liebesmüh.

Originally Posted by CreepDogg View Post
We're already down the path of having to deal with both systems. Maybe someday there will be some utopia where everything is metric, but you and I won't see it. In the meantime, I think it's good to have people around who know how the hell to deal with both, as well as conversion between the two.

And if we're going to have that, then might as well use the scale(s) best suited to the task at hand.
Neither scale is "better suited". Length is length. Weight is weight. Temperature is temperature.

It's not about "better suited". It's about ease of use and interchangeability. SI is FAR easier to work with, due to being based on multiples of ten. Because, you know, our entire numbering system is based on the same system - that's why they call them decimals.

For an example of ease of use, see Railroader's tools, above. What's the next-larger size over a T8 torx? T9 (0.9mm)? Is a 6 mm hex head bigger than a 4 mm head? Probably. And dead-simple, even if you've never, EVER worked with these tools before.

Is a 5/16" hex driver bigger or smaller than a 3/8"? 1/3"? 1/4"? Quick, convert those to lowest common denominator and figure it out. Easy! —provided you've been working with them for decades and know them inside and out, or actually have them sorted that way.
( Last edited by Spheric Harlot; Apr 15, 2009 at 04:18 AM. )
     
hwojtek
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Apr 15, 2009, 05:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by Railroader View Post
Beer must be drunk in pints. Or quarts if you used to hang with me in my drinking days.
Uhm, 1 pint = 0.47 litre.
In Europe you buy beer by 0.5 litres, so technically you've got one more sip free.
And again, 1 quart is less than 2 x 0.5 litre. Metric wins.
Wojtek

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Spheric Harlot
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Apr 15, 2009, 05:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by Railroader View Post
Beer must be drunk in pints.
The hell it "must".



We'll leave the Britishers their own tradition in peaceful coexistence, but if the pint's a ****ing standard, it sure as hell ain't the only one.

     
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Apr 15, 2009, 05:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by hwojtek View Post
Uhm, 1 pint = 0.47 litre.
In Europe you buy beer by 0.5 litres, so technically you've got one more sip free.
And again, 1 quart is less than 2 x 0.5 litre. Metric wins.
Umm. In my part of Europe 1 pint = 0.57 litres. So if you buy 0.5 litres you've lost a sip.
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Apr 15, 2009, 07:30 AM
 
Bunch of pussies. Bavarians (≠ Germans) measure beer in liters
(The idea is that you're allowed to drink it if you can hold a full glass )
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Apr 15, 2009, 08:21 AM
 
It's better than the 12 oz. alternative that most cheap bars serve it in.
     
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Apr 15, 2009, 08:38 AM
 
Or the ridiculous 33 cl. they tend to serve more or less everything by over here.
     
Wiskedjak
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Apr 15, 2009, 09:11 AM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
Umm. In my part of Europe 1 pint = 0.57 litres. So if you buy 0.5 litres you've lost a sip.
*This* is what has always annoyed me about the imperial system.

imperial pint ≠ US liquid pint ≠ US dry pint ≠ Scottish pint
     
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Apr 15, 2009, 09:35 AM
 
It comes in pints?!?
     
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Apr 15, 2009, 09:58 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
That's kind of an irrelevant argument.

European mechanics have absolutely no difficulty working on Harley-Davidsons. My US-built studio equipment is no different to service than the boxes built in the rest of the world. They just require a completely different set of tools, is all.

There is nothing to be "knowledgeable" about when all that is needed is the extra effort of looking stuff up in conversion tables, or needing to maintain a second set of tools.

The basic laws of physics still apply, you know.

It's just that for NEW DESIGNS, the error potential is greatly reduced by working on international standards.

Dealing with two systems isn't something that people need to be trained in; it's not something that requires outstanding intelligence or years of experience. A foot-long piece of wood works exactly the same as one that's 30-some cm long. It's merely a question of additional work and additional error potential.

The only thing that requires lots and lots of time is for people to THINK in standard units. That's not an impediment to engineering or science; that's a cultural problem.
Right. That's why you posted a link to design problems emanating from metric-imperial conversion issues. It's an impediment to engineering when existing designs are in imperial units and someone needs to be well-versed to work with it in a 'new' system.

Your point is taken - a foot-long piece of wood is exactly the same as one that's 30-some-odd cm. So what's the problem with knowing both?

Your language example is an excellent depiction of why you're wrong.

If you want to do business with China, you learn Chinese. Either that, or you work through interpreters. But any businessman who actually speaks Chinese has a major competitive advantage.

This has obviously never occurred to you because it just so happens that your own language is the lingua franca that EVERYBODY ELSE has decided is the standard they had to learn.

Everyone DOES, in fact, speak the same language - yours. Except for China, actually.

Falls du es lieber siehst weil's dein Argument untermauert, kann ich ja gerne auf deutsch weiter reden. Ich glaube aber, es wäre vergebene Liebesmüh.
Really? Every country has adopted English as their official language? Color me surprised. Because that's what you're proposing, isn't it - every country adopts SI as their official standard?

Actually, you just demonstrated why YOU'RE wrong. If you want to have an advantage working in China, learn Chinese. If you want to have an advantage working with designs done in the US in the last 50+ years, learn the Imperial system.

If you'd rather discuss auf deutsch, be my guest, but I'll have to pass as mine is very rusty. I'll continue in English, thanks.

Neither scale is "better suited". Length is length. Weight is weight. Temperature is temperature.
Exactly my point.

It's not about "better suited". It's about ease of use and interchangeability. SI is FAR easier to work with, due to being based on multiples of ten. Because, you know, our entire numbering system is based on the same system - that's why they call them decimals.

For an example of ease of use, see Railroader's tools, above. What's the next-larger size over a T8 torx? T9 (0.9mm)? Is a 6 mm hex head bigger than a 4 mm head? Probably. And dead-simple, even if you've never, EVER worked with these tools before.

Is a 5/16" hex driver bigger or smaller than a 3/8"? 1/3"? 1/4"? Quick, convert those to lowest common denominator and figure it out. Easy! —provided you've been working with them for decades and know them inside and out, or actually have them sorted that way.
The Celsius scale is based on multiples of ten? After all, that's all I was really referring to. Seems to me, like I said, in that case the commonly used scale range for the Imperial measure for ambient temperatures is 0-100, where in Celsius it's minus-18 to 38. Which one looks more like multiples of ten to you?

As for the others, well, fact is, if you want to work on your Harley, you'll need those 3/8, 7/16, etc. wrenches. So you best get learning them. The bolts on your Harley aren't magically going to change to 12mm, etc. when everyone goes metric. The basic laws of physics still apply, after all.
     
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Apr 15, 2009, 10:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Bunch of pussies. Bavarians (≠ Germans) measure beer in liters
(The idea is that you're allowed to drink it if you can hold a full glass )
Real men measure their beer in Yards!

     
Spheric Harlot
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Apr 15, 2009, 10:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by Oisín View Post
Or the ridiculous 33 cl. they tend to serve more or less everything by over here.
Most beers here come in 0.33 and 0.5.
     
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Apr 15, 2009, 10:02 AM
 
Do cars come shod with 235/70R43.18 tyres anywhere?
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OreoCookie
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Apr 15, 2009, 10:03 AM
 
Originally Posted by CreepDogg View Post
Real men measure their beer in Yards!

<physicist in Oreo>Yard is a unit of length, not a unit of volume. </physicist in Oreo>
Who said a 1 l glass is the smallest, it's the default size (Personally, I prefer 0,5 l, because the beer tends to get stale after a while in a 1 l glass.)
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Apr 15, 2009, 10:06 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
<physicist in Oreo>Yard is a unit of length, not a unit of volume. </physicist in Oreo>
I was referring to its use as a unit of beer.
     
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Apr 15, 2009, 10:21 AM
 
My conclusion: the people who are opposed to it all live in the US and only use imperial measurements and are comfortable with that and almost never have to deal with metric measurements on any sort of conversion basis and therefore don't see why it's a problem at all.

Does that sound right?

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CreepDogg
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Apr 15, 2009, 10:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by ShortcutToMoncton View Post
My conclusion: the people who are opposed to it all live in the US and only use imperial measurements and are comfortable with that and almost never have to deal with metric measurements on any sort of conversion basis and therefore don't see why it's a problem at all.

Does that sound right?

greg
Not true for me. I have a background in engineering and have had to deal with both regularly. You're right about me living in the US though.

Besides, I thought the topic was about forcing the US to go metric. Shouldn't that be decided by the US (i.e. me and my fellow citizens)? You're welcome to your opinion, but I'd thank you not to dismiss mine.
     
CharlesS
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Apr 15, 2009, 12:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Neither scale is "better suited". Length is length. Weight is weight. Temperature is temperature.
The metric system is better suited for a lot of things, because of the way it has a small set of base units and then defines all other units in terms of those base units. So if you know the dimensions of a container, you can figure out the volume of liquid that it would hold, since 1 cubic centimeter is equal to 1 mL. And of course everyone who's ever taken any physics class knows that if you take mass (kg) and multiply it by acceleration (m/s^2) you get force/weight (N), then multiply that by the distance over which you apply the force (m) and you get the energy needed (J), then divide by the amount of time (s) to get power (W), etc. This works because the units are all defined in terms of each other - doing the same thing in imperial units would be really annoying, because you'd probably have to apply a conversion factor at each step.

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Apr 15, 2009, 12:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by Wiskedjak View Post
*This* is what has always annoyed me about the imperial system.

imperial pint ≠ US liquid pint ≠ US dry pint ≠ Scottish pint
Yes, among others, this is an excellent reason to switch to metric.

-t
     
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Apr 15, 2009, 01:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS View Post
The metric system is better suited for a lot of things, ... And of course everyone who's ever taken any physics class knows that if you take mass (kg) and multiply it by acceleration (m/s^2) you get force/weight (N), then multiply that by the distance over which you apply the force (m) and you get the energy needed (J), then divide by the amount of time (s) to get power (W), etc. This works because the units are all defined in terms of each other - doing the same thing in imperial units would be really annoying, because you'd probably have to apply a conversion factor at each step.
Exactly. Using `foot-pounds' to measure torque is utter non-sense, torque is defined as [force x distance], e. g. Nm, Newton meter is a proper unit to measure torque. Pound is a measurement of mass, not of force. (The proper underlying definition is, of course, pound-force-foot -- which means you need to multiply quite a few non-trivial numbers in your head to calculate torques.)
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Apr 15, 2009, 01:20 PM
 
A foot-pound of torque is defined as "pound of force applied through a one-foot lever." It's not nonsense. It is, in fact, very "intuitive." Teaching mechanical physics works very well when you're dealing with people indoctrinated with the Imperial system and you introduce foot-pounds. It's just not as obvious to some folks that "pound" is FORCE, not mass, since pound is defined in relation to earthbound gravitational forces. It certainly is tied to earthbound activities, and it's not useful when dealing with situations where acceleration due to gravity is not earth-surface normal, but it's not "nonsense.

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Apr 15, 2009, 01:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
A foot-pound of torque is defined as "pound of force applied through a one-foot lever." It's not nonsense.
It is non-sense, because torque is just defined differently, it's force times distance, not mass times distance. Forces are not measured in pound, pounds is a unit for mass. If you measure forces in `pounds' (put properly: pound-force), you equate the gravitational force of an object of one pound (mass times acceleration due to the Earth's gravitational field) with the mass (1 pound) itself. In terms of numbers the difference is just a factor, but physically, the bare definition is ill-defined and the implicit definition is misleading.
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Apr 15, 2009, 01:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Forces are not measured in pound
What's the deal with psi then?
     
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Apr 15, 2009, 01:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dakar V View Post
What's the deal with psi then?
Same deal: pounds are used to `measure' force instead of mass, the gravitational acceleration is simply dropped.
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