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Ranting. Metric System.

Posted By: ah_clem
Date: Friday, 6 December 2013, at 2:39 p.m.

In Response To: Ranting. Metric System. (Ken Larsen)

I think we have as much chance of switching to the metric system as we have of switching to drive on the left side of the road.

Well, since most of the rest of the world already drives on the right and almost all of the countries that have switched in my lifetime went from left to right, I'd say the chances of the US switching to driving on the left is near zero.

As for switching to the metric system, it's actually happening although at a much slower pace than anyone expected. It will take a few generations and the conversion will never be complete (for instance, imperial units are still used informally in the UK even though all official measures are SI), but it's happening. But as the US increases trade with the rest of the world, and as the size of the US economy as a fraction of the total global economy, adopting international standards is inevitable. It will just be too costly for business to continue with the old units.

And while we are ranting about things metric and non-metric, allow me to nominate my favorite measurement, the ISO "metric" standard for tires, which is used both in the US and world wide. For instance, my tires are size 195/65-15. That means they are 195 millimeters wide, have an aspect ratio of 65%, and are for rims 15 inches in diameter.

This is really the best of all worlds! Millimeters, inches, and a ratio all rolled up into one ISO "metric" standard. How do you top that? And the funny thing is that the rest of the world is stuck using inches as part of the "metric" system.

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