Thursday, 19 March 2015

Rule #294: Weights and measures

Map of countries that have yet to adopt the metric system

Why is the U.S. slow to adopt the metric system? Apparently cost. NASA engineers recently reported that converting the space shuttle's relevant drawings, software and documentation to SI units would require $370 million. Fair n'uff. The American pharmaceutical industry, however, went "hard metric," which means its products display only metric units. For the most part, though, the U.S. remains the only industrialized nation that hasn't made the metric system compulsory. I wonder what's holding them back? The accuracy, the ease of calculation...

I don't think cost is the only reason. It's just another example of American mentality:
"You can have my inch-pounds when you pry them from my cold, dead hands."
Not unlike bilingualism, this dual system is a pain in the ass. Many  units of measure use the same name but have very different meanings. For example, there are 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, ton of coal equivalent and my fav, the shit-ton. As in, "I drank a SHIT-TON last night, man"
But enough is enough. Get on board America! My hot trophy girlfriend is sick of me ruining dinner because I have to convert the volume of every ingredient in my recipe.
The following is irrelevant, but noteworthy ...There is an exact unit of volume called the butt. - See Webster's dictionary:
*Butt: a measure of liquid capacity equal to 126 gallons or two hogs heads.
From another dictionary:
*An English butt is 2 hogshead of 54 imperial gallons each or ~129.7 US gallons (i.e., a UK butt is apparently slightly bigger than a US one).
*A Spanish butt is based on a wine cask and is equivalent to 140 US gallons or ~116.6 UK gallons (i.e., a Spanish butt is bigger still).
So next time someone says they have a "butt load" of stuff, just remember, that is about two 55-gallon barrels worth of stuff.

In the new world, the metric system will be adopted world wide. 

1 comment:

  1. I really love the meme picture of barney in how i met your mother :))


Agree? Disagree? Lay it on me!