Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Metric System


At the heart of much speculative fiction (and fiction in general) is a question. What if? On Tuesdays I like to throw one out there and see what you make of it. Do with it as you please. If a for-instance is not specified, feel free to interpret that instance as you wish. And if you find this becomes a novel-length answer, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements ;)

This week's question is more aimed at readers in the U.S. (But if you're outside the U.S., you can still play along.) I'm not sure why this particular thought popped in my head. A student needing help with her chemistry assignment in French class and my knitting project all kind of collided, and...

What if the U.S. finally joined the rest of the world and started using the metric system?

18 comments:

  1. When I was in elementary school and that was YEARS ago I remembered talk that it was supposed to happen I think in the year 1984 that we would convert to the metric system. Well we did some things but of course not all things. Its interesting because doctors do everything metrically. I think it would be interesting if it finally came to be, but I don't see it happening soon. We are stuck in our ways I think.

    betty

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    1. It's taught in science classes, but it seems like that's about it. I don't think it would be that hard to convert if we made a concerted effort.

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  2. Mass hysteria, dogs and cats living together...!
    I remember when I was in grade school they spent a year trying to switch and then gave up. While metric makes more sense as a measurement, we've been using our system for far too long

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  3. All people from 25 and up would chuck it into the trash. We are stuck in our ways. I remember 1984 and the way that went.

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    1. It's really not that hard. It'd take an adjustment period, of course.

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  4. I'm totally on board with this. I have no idea how many feet are in a mile without looking it up, but I sure know how many meters are in a kilometer. Plus measurements in science class would be a lot less confusing.

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  5. I would fall off my chair! Hahaaaaa. I remember when they changed it here in Canada, I am OK with celcius but I still go by inches and feet. The metric makes no sense to me even if it is supposed to be simpler. I just can't picture it in my head. Ask me to convert 12 ft to metric and I am one lost puppy. We change everything here-metric, celcius, kilometres. Funny, when I watch Canadian shows dealing with construction etc... they all use inches

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  6. Well I'm in Australia but I think you guys would love it. It makes everything so much easier to work out. We don't even bother teaching 12 x tables anymore.

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  7. Every time i bitch online about it being so hot (40+ degrees) all my American friends would stop telling me it was cold and getting confused when i ask what the hell they are talking about :D

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    1. Yeah, well Celsius is weird. Fahrenheit is weird, too, but that's the weird we're used to.

      Hey, next time you comment, make sure to leave a link to your blog. Thanks.

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  8. It would be hard for those of us raised on the old system (myself included!) but I had to use the metric system in my scifi novel so I think we'd all manage, albeit perhaps not happily!

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  9. When I was in school, an attempt was made to teach us the metric system. It's used in scientific communities, but I think it's just too much of an effort to wipe out the old ways.

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    1. They still do teach metric, mostly in science classes. (Well, the rest of the world uses SI, so if we want to be science literate...)

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  10. I was gonna say that all those road signs would ned to be changed from miles to KMs, but the truth is that even though the UK pretends to be metric, all the road signs there are still in miles after more than 3 decades. So maybe not much would change?

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    1. Maybe that's what we need to tell ourselves.

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  11. I can remember when they tried (briefly and half heartedly) to go metric - in the 1970's? On the other hand, Canada converted successfully in the 1970's, and they survived. The metric system makes so much more sense, but I would miss "zero" temperatures meaning really really cold and not just the freezing point of water. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

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    1. But 0 degrees would still be cold.

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