The English System of Measurement Is Making A Comeback!

Discussion in 'The BS Topic' started by danbrennan, Sep 17, 2021.

  1. danbrennan

    danbrennan Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    :) (From an article behind a paywall),

    The British government has announced that U.K. businesses will once again be allowed to sell their products in traditional, British units of measurement, like pounds and ounces, instead of the metric system.

    This move is a win for freedom-loving people everywhere, and the restoration of customary units should be a cause for jubilation in the streets.

    The metric system has its origins in the French Revolution, as a way to stick it to the Ancien Régime. It didn’t go international until 1875, when a group of diplomats got together in Paris (which, historically, is a pretty good indicator that a bad decision is on the way) and signed the Treaty of the Meter. That treaty established the BIPM, an intergovernmental organization with a French name, to oversee a new, worldwide measurement system.

    Just like that, with the strokes of a few pens in Paris, centuries of history began to be erased. The French Revolution may have been over, but the mindset of the revolutionaries lived on. The French Revolution was a time when men were, in the words of Edmund Burke, “pull[ing] down more in half an hour, than prudence, deliberation, and foresight can build up in an hundred years.” The top-down imposition of the metric system did just that by erasing customary units.

    By “customary units,” I don’t just mean the U.S. customary system, but any unit of measure derived through custom. If you read about the origins of customary units, you’ll find that many of them are based on specific occupations, like brewing, farming, and surveying. They were invented by people doing their jobs who needed a way to measure things. They developed units of measure that were useful to them and persuaded others to adopt them for ease of commerce. Customary units eventually became standardized through a bottom-up process. They represent the wisdom of our ancestors, the accumulated experiences over the centuries.

    The meter represents the distance that light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second. It was originally defined as a tiny fraction of distance along the earth’s equator. It’s so far removed from anything normal people do, it may as well have been invented by aliens.

    As Burke said, “it calls for little ability” to point out “the errors and defects of old establishments.” Indeed, it calls for little ability to say, “Base-ten would be easier.” Never mind that we tell time on a non-base-ten system and it works just fine. It’s not for lack of trying other systems, either: The French tried a ten-day week and ten-hour days for a while, but it didn’t stick.

    Or consider that the computer or smartphone on which you’re reading this post measures information in bits, a base-two customary unit derived from the days of punch cards and vacuum tubes. And there’s eight bits in a byte, oh no! (Customary units also have elements of humanity in their very names: One half of a byte is called a “nibble.”)
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    By allowing customary units again, the British are striking a blow against that nonsensical and destructive worldview. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than with a cold drink — from a twelve-ounce can.
     
  2. biker

    biker Veteran Member

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    How many "hands" tall is that high horse you are perched on? :)
     
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  3. Twisted_Metal

    Twisted_Metal Administrator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    What’s your Camaro get for mileage using kilometers per Imperial Gallon?

    Does Canadian Tire sell wheel weights by the gram or ounce?

    Is your tire pressure gauge in PSI or do you use kg/cc?

    Is Molson Golden sold in 12 oz. cans or some weird fraction of a liter? (355 ml)

    I mean…. wouldn’t you rather have a pint of ale?

    Just curious….
     
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  4. biker

    biker Veteran Member

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    Oh man... you know it.... I was in early grade school when we started learning metric, but it never really stuck. Like a foreign language, I still think in imperial measurements in my head and have to convert if needed. The only thing that ever stuck was common weightlifting standards as metric was the international standard.
    GM was confused too, as half of my Canadian 81 Z is metric and half standard.
    We used to venture to Quebec on weekends because you could still get beer in quart bottles. Didn't take many of those big boys to make u tough.
     
  5. biker

    biker Veteran Member

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    As for mileage.... it is liters per 100 kilometers!!!! What could be more ridiculous!!! Like Dan's article above said, how in anyone's hell is that a useful practical measure???
     
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  6. Gary S

    Gary S Administrator Lifetime Gold Member

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    Back when I rode a bike, I liked it when the Canadian bikers would come through here and brag they were getting around 60mpg with their Harleys. We had a hard time getting up to 50mpg with ours. They must have better gas in Canada. :)
     
  7. Twisted_Metal

    Twisted_Metal Administrator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Canadians buy gas by the imperial gallon but fuel economy is measured in liters per 100 km?

    Who the canuck came up with that idea? :confused:

    Bad pun intended, no offense meant. ;)
     
  8. danbrennan

    danbrennan Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    17. It's a very big horse :D
     
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  9. biker

    biker Veteran Member

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    Yes. We used the Imperial gallon which is bigger than the U.S. gallon, but for the past 45 years or so, fuel here has been sold in liters (litres?) I still can't get it right.
    And yes, it's a real thing... L/100km. You can't make that shlt up. Well, someone did.
     
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  10. gramps

    gramps Veteran Member

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    I grew up at the very tail end of teaching both measurements - to be followed by my younger brother a couple years behind me who never learned inches or anything other than metric. I got him hired on at the construction co I was working at after he graduated high school. Nearly got himself fired because he didn’t know standard measurements and instead of asking for help he would go have a smoke or pick up scraps etc. when asked to go cut a board to a length. Poor f’r couldn’t read a measuring tape. Luckily the boss thought decently enough of me to talk to me first before canning his arse and I figured out the problem and taught him the basics and bought him as he put it the “tard tape” which had increments down to a 1/16” of an inch labeled not just a bunch of lines between the inch hash marks the entire 25’. He did very well after that and worked there long after I left and moved stateside.
     

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