Metrication, or metrification, if you will, is now in use all over the world with only three holdouts. They are Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) and Liberia and the United States.
As far back as the 1800s metric standards were considered as the basis for a worldwide standard.
SI as it is known (short for Le Système International d’Unités) is actually being practiced by many manufacturers and service companies in the US. and metric measures are now recognized in the common market place. Almost everyone knows what a liter of soda is, for example. Its interesting to note that the contents of that unopened one liter bottle weigh about one kilogram (commonly call a “kilo”).
But is it practical? Is it hard to use? Is it a natural way to think about things?
Consider these facts:
Water freezes at ZERO degrees Celsius and boils at 100º C.
One millimeter is about the thickness of a dime.
One centimeter (10 millimeters) is about the width of a fingernail.
Most footraces are now measured in kilometers. A kilometer is 1000 meters.
Most automobile engines are now described in terms of liters.
The smallest common metric unit of length is the millimeter and there are 10 mm to the centimeter and 10 cm in a meter. 1000 meters is a kilometer.
Notice that they are all related to each other by units of ten
On the other hand:
In traditional measurements,
We measure small things by 1/1000th of an inch but then we also use 16ths, 32nds, 64ths of an inch.
There are 12 inches in a foot, 36 inches (3ft) in a yard, 5,286 feet in a mile.
At least nine different meanings for the unit we know as a “ton”: short ton, displacement ton, refrigeration ton, nuclear ton, freight ton, register ton, metric ton, assay ton and ton of coal equivalent.
We could go on and on ad nauseum about the lack of uniformity in the traditional measurement system, but by now we should be able to see that the metric system is a usable, sensible one.
I’m not just a kid who grew up with metrics, either. I was born in the Great Depression and we never heard of metrics then or for decades later. But when I first started working in the imported automobile business I jus made it my business to learn and use the system.
If I can do, anybody can.
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