Going metric...

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by cmartinez, Jun 4, 2015.

  1. cmartinez

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 17, 2007
    3,560
    2,529
    Not only did my family's lifestyle forced me to grow up as bi-lingual... my own career forced me to become bi-unital too!
    Practicing engineering down here gets a little more complicated since about 50% of the components and parts that I use are manufactured using the imperial system, and the other half are metric.
    This is an interesting article explaining a little history of how the metric system failed to be introduced into the U.S. and how it is still being slowly pushed and promoted.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2015
    tjohnson likes this.
  2. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
    10,515
    2,369
    Having grown up with the Imperial system (UK) I'll bet N.A. is glad it went metric currency a long time ago . LSD** (not the drug) was a pain.
    I prefer to work in metric, so much more straight forward.:cool:
    Max.

    **LSD Lat: Librae, Solidi, Denari (Pounds/Shillings/Pence).
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2015
    cmartinez likes this.
  3. djsfantasi

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 11, 2010
    2,802
    832
    I like to work in metric, but visualize in imperial.

    Tell me 80.835mm and I have no idea that it is almost 4 inches (3-13/16).
     
    Papabravo and Wendy like this.
  4. Papabravo

    Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
    10,137
    1,786
    If Lincoln Chafee becomes president, he will push for another bite at the metric apple.
     
  5. Sinus23

    Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    160
    403
    There are plenty of things here that are measured in inches like nails, tires, pizzas and such. The only people that use feet as a unit here are pilots for altitude and sailors for depth. Sailors also use nautical miles but nothing else is measured in miles here. Oil companies use gallons and barrels but the consumer only deals with liters and so on.

    There are probably professions here that deal with every imperial unit in one way or another but for the average citizen, an inch and a pound are the only imperial units that most people here have a firm grasp of.
     
  6. cmartinez

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 17, 2007
    3,560
    2,529
    I can easily visualize distances in both units (just try not to involve furlongs here, ok?) But it's temperatures that get to me... I can't quickly estimate equivalent values between Celsius and Fahrenheit. And with all due respect to Mr Fahrenheit, but I think he did a humongous blunder when he involved the behavior of two different substances to define his scale.
     
  7. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
    10,515
    2,369
    The confusion Between Canada and the US was the difference in the liquid measure between a Imperial (Can) and the US Gal/pint etc.
    I would guess that the US changed their pint to 16ozs to conform with the weight unit of 16oz (Lb)?
    I had Americans recite that 'A Pint is a Pound the World Around" I had to remind them it wasn't quite true.
    Because of the prevalence of US goods sold in Canada, many Canadians were not aware of the difference, and were/are getting ripped off when ordering a pint at the bar.!:eek:
    Max.
     
  8. tjohnson

    Active Member

    Dec 23, 2014
    614
    121
    I just had a conversation the other day about going metric, and found the video especially interesting. I think one of the biggest inconveniences caused by making a complete switch in the U.S. would be having to replace road signs. It would take a tremendous amount of money and manpower to replace all of the speed limit (mph->kph) and distance (mi->km) signs in the country!
     
  9. cmartinez

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 17, 2007
    3,560
    2,529
    And bridges maximum allowable vehicle heights and weight limits.
     
  10. Sinus23

    Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    160
    403
    Interesting. The difference is almost 100ml which means about 1 less beer per six pack

    True which is why we still use inches for some of those things manufactured overseas. Relabeling every item would be a pain and costly.
     
  11. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    12,100
    3,034
    It's so frustrating to those among us that lived through the 70's. Some things moved quickly and almost painlessly (2L bottles for instance). We all knew it would take a while for other things like road signs, but it seemed like it would not be difficult to get the job done in one generation, and be done with it forever after.

    Here we are, 2 generations later and still screwing around with dual scales on speedometers, temperatures in two units, socket wrenches with metric dimensions but drives in 3/8" or 1/2", and on and on. Good grief, the hassle we have imposed on ourselves by doing a half-assed conversion has been far more costly than just getting it over with. Like pulling off a band-aid – just do it.

    Odd to see this enter the realm of politics, though. Maybe an inexpensive way to get a bit of press attention?
     
    panic mode likes this.
  12. cmartinez

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 17, 2007
    3,560
    2,529
    Where there's money involved, there's always politics... The system of units is everyone's concern, actually. You go to the market and buy pounds of beef... then someone tells you that it's kilos of beef now... and all those unfamiliar with the change will panic, especially old people.
    The only area in engineering that I've seen relatively unaffected by all this is piping... all the piping threads that I manage when designing something are always in imperial units... but maybe I'm being unfair here, the topic of threads is huge and would probably deserve an entire thread (no pun intended) all for itself.
     
  13. Papabravo

    Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
    10,137
    1,786
    The potential danger in switching from altitude in feet to altitude in meters for aviation makes most people shudder. Would you want to be the responsible party for the first aviation related fatalities as a result of the switch?
     
  14. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    12,100
    3,034
    Well-run companies have change-management procedures. I've seen it work very well. Switching fully to metric would be trivial if the change is managed well.

    But, well-run companies are the exception that proves the rule.
     
  15. cmartinez

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 17, 2007
    3,560
    2,529
    Wasn't that the cause of one of NASA's biggest failures on Mars when one of its probes crashed because the spacecraft's sensors were calibrated in yards while the navigational system worked in meters?
     
  16. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
    10,515
    2,369
    If you Google Gimli Glider you will see! (about 25mls from me)!
    When Canada switched over to metric the Pilot worked in Gallons and the fuel truck worked in Litres, last year was the 20th anniversary.
    Fortunately he was an experienced glider pilot!
    They had said up till then it could not be done.
    Max.
     
  17. Sinus23

    Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    160
    403
    I'm pretty sure that the last time I took a flight that the captain told us the passengers the cruising altitude in both ft and meters.

    Maybe he was just showing off his on the fly math skills ;)
     
  18. Papabravo

    Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
    10,137
    1,786
    AFAIK. Air Traffic control and pilots world wide still use feet for altitude and knots for airspeed.
     
    Sinus23 likes this.
  19. cmartinez

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 17, 2007
    3,560
    2,529
    I wander if that's still going to be the case 100 years from now.
     
  20. Sinus23

    Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    160
    403
    Thanks you reminded me that our sailors also use knots per hour.
     
Loading...