Our system of measurement is so screwed up


10 thoughts on “Our system of measurement is so screwed up

  1. Shulzi

    I live in a place where the metric system is used and this is the stupidest graph I’ve seen.

  2. Andrew

    Don’t forget about all of the other imperial units for length and mass either, like chains (22 yards to a chain), furlongs (8 furlongs to a mile), drachms (really), quarters and hundredweights (20 to a ton, though the US hundredweight is lighter than the UK hundredweight as the US ton is also lighter). (Here are a couple of quick graphs of length and mass.) And then there are completely different sets of units for area, volume and maritime lengths…

    Incidentally, Wikipedia also told me that the US is one of 3 countries that have not adopted the SI system as their primary or sole measurement system, along with Myanmar / Burma and Liberia. Yay.

  3. Juli

    I cannot be the only person who saw this and thought, “Oooooh, that’s how many yards there are in a mile.”

  4. Ben

    It’s even more messed up for Canadian’s. We have to use both the Metric and Imperial systems of measurement. The government is metric (highways) and the population is imperial (height weight) and in building both are used. Argg.

    1. BP

      I’m Canadian… and I don’t use Imperial for anything except a persons height and for lumber.
      Everything else is metric… distance I think of in metric units for instance.

      However, now that I’m thinking about it; I think I’ll make the effort to know my height in meters.

      The fact that a lot of our population still thinks of some thing in Imperial units is because we only switched a generation or two ago and a lot of folks who leaned imperial are still around, and because of our proximity to the US.

      It’s maddening when I’m writing some software, or building something and there are units in inches!

  5. Cynthia

    The only way the imperial system could be seen as “better” would be by believing it forces people to “do math” all the time, but I don’t think that actually happens, does it? And what about temperatures? Isn’t the Celsius system much simpler also? At 0 degrees water freezes, at a 100 it boils. I never really get Fahrenheit (except for 451). ;o)

    1. Alexandre

      Yes, Celsius is simpler. At surface pressure, water freezes at 0ยบC and boils at 100ยบC and the scale is divide in 100 ticks. Another interesting fact is that “scientific” temperature is measured in Kelvins (K) and to pass from Celsius to Kelvin you just need to add 273.15.

      Now imagine all scientific publications that MUST be published in SI. An American scientist has to communicate to the American audience in Imperial and write scientific papers (for the international community) in SI.

Comments are closed.