City-Data Forum Why Aren't We Measuring Metric Yet? (cell phone, website, buy, format)
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05-01-2007, 08:18 AM
 Location: Perth, Western Australia 9,595 posts, read 22,633,486 times Reputation: 3467

Quote:
 Originally Posted by KerrTown Try adding, subtracting, multiplying, or dividing those numbers. You might have a better appreciation for decimals/S.I. metric.
Yes but many of the official metric measurements have A LOT more zeros in it than your system. Not the best example of this, rain is measured in millimeters. Lets saw you get hurricane-like rainfall and instead of 10 inches forecast you have 254 mm. I think 10 inches is a lot easier to visualize. In a very rainy climate, annual rainfall is still measured in millimeters and your number is in the thousands. Deserts typically recieve at least 100 mm. Sounds like awefully big numbers don't they?

I've seen official measurements (non weather related) with 10 or more zeros before the decimal point and it can sometimes be tricky counting them all.

05-01-2007, 10:17 AM
 Location: Greater Houston 4,431 posts, read 8,482,642 times Reputation: 2021
Quote:
 Originally Posted by ColdCanadian Yes but many of the official metric measurements have A LOT more zeros in it than your system. Not the best example of this, rain is measured in millimeters. Lets saw you get hurricane-like rainfall and instead of 10 inches forecast you have 254 mm. I think 10 inches is a lot easier to visualize. In a very rainy climate, annual rainfall is still measured in millimeters and your number is in the thousands. Deserts typically recieve at least 100 mm. Sounds like awefully big numbers don't they? I've seen official measurements (non weather related) with 10 or more zeros before the decimal point and it can sometimes be tricky counting them all.
And I could say that the Sears Tower is 1,451 ft or 442 m tall. Which number is handier? The inch-pound measure sure has a lot of digits, four digits to be exact. The meter measure is only three digits. It is easier to digest the smaller value than the larger value. I guess the foot is unsuitable for measuring structures or mountains.

Of course the inch is too wide since 1 inch = 2.54 cm. I wonder how many fractions of an inch are in a cm? Also the fractions of an inch are much larger than a millimeter which is unsuitable for precision work. Enough nit picking though.

Death Valley, CA can get to about 50 C--half boiling since boiling is 100 C. How do you get the temperature in F without converting to Celsius because it is not as simple as it looks?

Answer: (212+32=244; 244/2=122 F) Anyone need an explanation?

Last edited by KerrTown; 05-01-2007 at 11:02 AM.. Reason: Celsius

05-01-2007, 01:22 PM
 Location: Shallow alcove hidden from the telescreen 2,794 posts, read 9,633,432 times Reputation: 1425
Quote:
 Originally Posted by ColdCanadian Yes but many of the official metric measurements have A LOT more zeros in it than your system. ...rain is measured in millimeters. Lets saw you get hurricane-like rainfall and instead of 10 inches forecast you have 254 mm. I think 10 inches is a lot easier to visualize.
Actually, the reason the Metric system makes so much more sense is that in an instant I know that 254 mm is approximately 1/4 of a meter, 25.4% to be exact -- .254 m.

But in day-to-day instances, you wouldn't use "254 mm"; you'd move the decimal point and use "25.4 cm."

Just like the very Metric U.S. money system, everything is divisible by 10. Everyone knows that \$1 = 100¢, but you don't say "100 cents"; you move the decimal point to the appropriate location, 1.00, and say "one dollar." Metric is exactly the same be it meters, liters or kilos. No ambiguity. It's SO easy!

Last edited by Winston Smith; 05-01-2007 at 01:32 PM..

05-01-2007, 01:29 PM
 Location: Perth, Western Australia 9,595 posts, read 22,633,486 times Reputation: 3467
Quote:
 Originally Posted by cre8 But in day-to-day instances, you wouldn't use "254 mm"; you'd move the decimal point and use "25.4 cm."
Theoretically they could, but they don't.
Weather forecasters using metric always measure rain in millimeters and snow in centimeters.

What's 10 feet of snow in centimeters?
The eastern side of NY's Lake Ontario shoreline received that in a 48-72 hour period late this winter.

Better question, who actually cares how many centimeters is in a 10 foot snowfall?

05-01-2007, 01:45 PM
 Location: Perth, Western Australia 9,595 posts, read 22,633,486 times Reputation: 3467
Quote:
 Originally Posted by KerrTown Of course the inch is too wide since 1 inch = 2.54 cm. I wonder how many fractions of an inch are in a cm? Also the fractions of an inch are much larger than a millimeter which is unsuitable for precision work. Enough nit picking though.
I agree fractions of an inch divisible by two are unsuitable for precision measurements.
A millimeter is also too big for most precision metal work.
That's why engineers, mechanics and machinists usually use "thousandths of an inch."

05-01-2007, 01:46 PM
 Location: Shallow alcove hidden from the telescreen 2,794 posts, read 9,633,432 times Reputation: 1425
Quote:
 Originally Posted by ColdCanadian Theoretically they could, but they don't. Weather forecasters using metric always measure rain in millimeters and snow in centimeters. What's 10 feet of snow in centimeters? The eastern side of NY's Lake Ontario shoreline received that in a few days. Better question, who actually cares how many centimeters is in a 10 foot snowfall?
Well, converting between feet and meters isn't easy, but that's not because the Metric system is hard; it's because the old Imperial system is completely illogical. In the example of 10 feet of snow, you have to know beforehand that 1 meter = aprox 3.3 feet. Thus, 10 feet of snow is about 3 meters -- or 300 cm (or 3,000 mm).

05-01-2007, 01:52 PM
 Location: Shallow alcove hidden from the telescreen 2,794 posts, read 9,633,432 times Reputation: 1425
Quote:
 Originally Posted by ColdCanadian I agree fractions of an inch divisible by two are unsuitable for precision measurements. A millimeter is also too big for most precision metal work. That's why engineers, mechanics and machinists usually use "thousandths of an inch."
There is also a micrometer (.100 of a cm, or .10 of a mm).

05-01-2007, 01:54 PM
 Location: Perth, Western Australia 9,595 posts, read 22,633,486 times Reputation: 3467
Quote:
 Originally Posted by cre8 Well, converting between feet and meters isn't easy, but that's not because the Metric system is hard; it's because the old Imperial system is completely illogical. In the example of 10 feet of snow, you have to know beforehand that 1 meter = aprox 3.3 feet. Thus, 10 feet of snow is about 3 meters -- or 300 cm (or 3,000 mm).
No my question is, when snowfall amounts approach 10 feet, give or take a few inches, do you think most people really care exactly how many centimeters are in it?

I worked it out on the calculator and it's 304.8 centimeters. Lets call it 305 centimeters.

Do you think the residents would be thinking, "...Wow we've had 297 centimeters of snow, I can handle this, but I really hope we don't get another 9 centimeters on top of this; that would be my mental breaking point..."

I'd hate to be the one counting the centimeters by hand, one centimeter at a time.

05-01-2007, 01:58 PM
 Location: Perth, Western Australia 9,595 posts, read 22,633,486 times Reputation: 3467
Quote:
 Originally Posted by cre8 There is also a micrometer (.100 of a cm, or .10 of a mm).
I know, my last post was just to kid.
I've heard of the micrometer unit, but I've almost never seen it used.

In my experience, thousandths of an inch are still used extensively in Canada.

05-01-2007, 06:40 PM
 Location: Greater Houston 4,431 posts, read 8,482,642 times Reputation: 2021
Quote:
 Originally Posted by ColdCanadian Theoretically they could, but they don't. Weather forecasters using metric always measure rain in millimeters and snow in centimeters. What's 10 feet of snow in centimeters? The eastern side of NY's Lake Ontario shoreline received that in a 48-72 hour period late this winter. Better question, who actually cares how many centimeters is in a 10 foot snowfall?
The reason they like using millimeters is to remove the decimal point since it can create a stumbling block to pronounce the decimal. When I was in elementary school, the school district wanted to teach us that the decimal was pronounced "and" as in two and fifty-four meters NOT two point fifty-four meters. It didn't stick after a few years.

Oh yeah, feet is not part of the metric system so converting it into centimeters will be more problematic than moving the decimal point.
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