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Old 09-16-2008, 02:20 PM
 
Location: Paris, France
2 posts, read 1,986 times
Reputation: 12

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Hello!

When I came to America for the first time last year, I was so chocked.
On the way to the hotel, we drove on a motorway and it said ''Speed Limit 55''... so I thought why driving soo slow on a motorway I thought America use kilometres too as all other countries in world.
I've been to 19 countries and all of them had metric units except America.
How long have USA been using their system? Are they switching to the metric system?
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Old 09-16-2008, 02:29 PM
 
Location: The Rock!
2,372 posts, read 5,201,632 times
Reputation: 745
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parisianne View Post
Hello!

When I came to America for the first time last year, I was so chocked.
On the way to the hotel, we drove on a motorway and it said ''Speed Limit 55''... so I thought why driving soo slow on a motorway I thought America use kilometres too as all other countries in world.
I've been to 19 countries and all of them had metric units except America.
How long have USA been using their system? Are they switching to the metric system?
The US has never used anything other than Imperial measures and I'd rate the likelihood of a wholesale change over to metric about as likely as France adopting Imperial measures.
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Old 09-16-2008, 02:30 PM
 
9,186 posts, read 13,738,100 times
Reputation: 7442
We're one of only 3 countries in the entire world who isn't on the metric system. The others are Liberia and Myanmar.

In the 1970's the US finally decided to join ranks and finally switch over to the system used by the rest of the world, but the population resisted, and then when the oil embargo hit the government found itself trying to fix that problem and an economy that was crashing. The change to metrics was put on hold until the situation was controlled in the country, and then it was just never put back in place. It was a case of bad timing, and now we're so use to our system it's more a fact that people don't want to fuss with changing. My parents were telling me one day about the huge government and civilian drive to metrics in the 1970's. My mom was a teacher and they were making everyone get all geared up and prepared for the big conversion during the 70's. They it finally just died when Regan got into power and threw the whole thing out the window.

I'm sure it WILL happen in the future, it's silly not to, but it's always hard for one generation to be the one who puts up with the "relearning".

The metric system is much much easier to teach, since anything and everything is a multiple of 10. Our system is one where 12 inches equal a foot, and 5280 feet equal one mile. There's really no rhyme or reason, they just drew out the distances, then went and labeled them.

I think the thermometer is a good example. Using celcius they found the difference between freezing and boiling, then split that into 100 different units. Our system created the units of measure first, then put them on the thermometer. That's why we have a random 32 degrees for freezing and 212 for boiling instead of just 0 for freezing and 100 for boiling.
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Old 09-16-2008, 02:32 PM
 
Location: Hollywood North
426 posts, read 686,451 times
Reputation: 686
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parisianne View Post
Hello!

When I came to America for the first time last year, I was so chocked.
On the way to the hotel, we drove on a motorway and it said ''Speed Limit 55''... so I thought why driving soo slow on a motorway I thought America use kilometres too as all other countries in world.
I've been to 19 countries and all of them had metric units except America.
How long have USA been using their system? Are they switching to the metric system?
The US uses the imperial system and I don't see that changing anytime soon. Certain industries within the US use the metric system though. Canada officially uses metric but many industries like construction still use imperial. Also many of our grocery stores have prices per weight in both. I really didn't think this would shock most people, I assumed most people knew this about the US. Is this really distressing to you?
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Old 09-16-2008, 02:38 PM
 
9,186 posts, read 13,738,100 times
Reputation: 7442
I think people know about it, but they don't really stop to think about it until they visit. When you go anywhere else in the world it's the same and taken for granted. I think when they come here it's kinda a shock because it's nothing you've ever really THOUGHT about before.

I know when my friends from Europe come over to visit they sometimes make comments about things that don't seem rational to them. The most often said one is why did we choose 32 degrees to be our freezing point. They didn't understand what was so important about that number that it was specifically chosen. They thought 0 was easier for them to remember and understand. You know it's getting closer to freezing when the number starts going towards zero. I said we didn't choose that number, it just happened to be "freezing" when we labeled our thermometer and then used it. We just did it backwards from conventional thinking.

Same with, why do you have twelves inches in a foot? Wouldn't 10 inches be easier when you're measuring out distances and doing math? Don't you just have to memorize all those multiples of 12 to see how many inches are in a certain number of feet??

Why are there 5,280 feet in a mile? Why did they choose that number, it seems very random and hard to compute? They're use to thinking in multiples of 10 where the math is simple all across the board. Hold your hand out, there's a meter. 10 of those, you've got your 100 meter. 1000 meters is a kilometer. It's hard to hold out 1 foot and then imagine five thousand two hundred and eighty of them.
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Old 09-16-2008, 02:40 PM
 
Location: Greater PDX
1,018 posts, read 2,683,310 times
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I'm looking forward to adopting the Metric Alphabet (thanks Dan Ackyroyd).
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Old 09-16-2008, 06:15 PM
Status: "Snow is coming for Christmas!" (set 5 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
70,148 posts, read 60,913,797 times
Reputation: 20241
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago60614 View Post
We're one of only 3 countries in the entire world who isn't on the metric system. The others are Liberia and Myanmar.

In the 1970's the US finally decided to join ranks and finally switch over to the system used by the rest of the world, but the population resisted, and then when the oil embargo hit the government found itself trying to fix that problem and an economy that was crashing. The change to metrics was put on hold until the situation was controlled in the country, and then it was just never put back in place. It was a case of bad timing, and now we're so use to our system it's more a fact that people don't want to fuss with changing. My parents were telling me one day about the huge government and civilian drive to metrics in the 1970's. My mom was a teacher and they were making everyone get all geared up and prepared for the big conversion during the 70's. They it finally just died when Regan got into power and threw the whole thing out the window.

I'm sure it WILL happen in the future, it's silly not to, but it's always hard for one generation to be the one who puts up with the "relearning".

The metric system is much much easier to teach, since anything and everything is a multiple of 10. Our system is one where 12 inches equal a foot, and 5280 feet equal one mile. There's really no rhyme or reason, they just drew out the distances, then went and labeled them.

I think the thermometer is a good example. Using celcius they found the difference between freezing and boiling, then split that into 100 different units. Our system created the units of measure first, then put them on the thermometer. That's why we have a random 32 degrees for freezing and 212 for boiling instead of just 0 for freezing and 100 for boiling.
I worked in a hospital that used metric back in the 70s in Wilmington, Delaware. You just learn to think in metric after while. I really don't like the thermometer though. It's hard to explain, but 98.6 is normal boldy temp in Farenheit, while 37 (I think) is roughly the same in celsius. In celsius, the degrees are too large. 37 to 38 is a way bigger jump than 98 to 99. Even 1/10 of a degree C is much larger than a tenth in Farenheit.
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Old 09-16-2008, 06:19 PM
 
Location: West Michigan
12,133 posts, read 22,377,663 times
Reputation: 16230
Here we go again.
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Old 09-16-2008, 06:23 PM
 
2,249 posts, read 4,201,462 times
Reputation: 1956
Another one of these threads.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago60614 View Post
We're one of only 3 countries in the entire world who isn't on the metric system. The others are Liberia and Myanmar.

In the 1970's the US finally decided to join ranks and finally switch over to the system used by the rest of the world, but the population resisted, and then when the oil embargo hit the government found itself trying to fix that problem and an economy that was crashing. The change to metrics was put on hold until the situation was controlled in the country, and then it was just never put back in place. It was a case of bad timing, and now we're so use to our system it's more a fact that people don't want to fuss with changing. My parents were telling me one day about the huge government and civilian drive to metrics in the 1970's. My mom was a teacher and they were making everyone get all geared up and prepared for the big conversion during the 70's. They it finally just died when Regan got into power and threw the whole thing out the window.

I'm sure it WILL happen in the future, it's silly not to, but it's always hard for one generation to be the one who puts up with the "relearning".

The metric system is much much easier to teach, since anything and everything is a multiple of 10. Our system is one where 12 inches equal a foot, and 5280 feet equal one mile. There's really no rhyme or reason, they just drew out the distances, then went and labeled them.

I think the thermometer is a good example. Using celcius they found the difference between freezing and boiling, then split that into 100 different units. Our system created the units of measure first, then put them on the thermometer. That's why we have a random 32 degrees for freezing and 212 for boiling instead of just 0 for freezing and 100 for boiling.
So what's your point? Yeah the numbers are arbritrary, but people know how to use them.
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Old 09-16-2008, 06:29 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
14,851 posts, read 18,106,717 times
Reputation: 19002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parisianne View Post
Hello!

When I came to America for the first time last year, I was so chocked.
On the way to the hotel, we drove on a motorway and it said ''Speed Limit 55''... so I thought why driving soo slow on a motorway I thought America use kilometres too as all other countries in world.
I've been to 19 countries and all of them had metric units except America.
How long have USA been using their system? Are they switching to the metric system?
Gosh I hope not. WHen I travel to Canada with my Canadian husband and I am trying to figure out speeds and milage to towns, I get pretty sick and tired of multiplying everything by .6 all of the time. (Or is it dividing????). Although my math has gotten better since I met him. LOL

Our system works beautifully. If you go 60 miles and hour you know that it takes 1/2 hour to go 30 miles. 10 minutes to go 10 miles, etc. It makes a lot more sense to me. Unless the clock goes metric too (which I don't think is possible), it makes a lot more sense to just leave it the way it is.

20yrsinBranson
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