Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Metrics

Where can I start with this? It's just such a massive waste of everybody's time and energy as it's a total non-issue. The problem has been the packaging of it to the public. It's not Europe trying to nick your weights and measures. It's making things easier for you. A pound can still be a pound, it just needs defining as 454g rather than 16oz. A pint is still a pint, whether it's 568ml or 34.7 cubic inches. I don't buy the comment in the article that imperial measurements make it easier to sell to the US, as their imperial measurements are ever so slightly different to the British.
SI units fit together. When I was doing my Chemical Engineering degree, we once did the same calculation two ways: SI and imperial. The SI method gave you a figure in simple to understand units. Do it in imperial and there is a mass of different units, none of which fit. I wish I had the piece of paper I used just to illustrate the difference.
Harold Wilson's administration began the conversion to metric in 1969, but it ground to a halt before the roadsigns changed, for reasons I'm not able to find with a brief online search. I saw for myself the gradual change that happened in Ireland. For many years, roadsigns were in two units until the miles were gradually removed. This is a help in adjusting, although out in the sticks you could go past one sign in miles, go a bit further up the road and see another sign in kilometres and wonder if you were going the wrong way as the number was bigger.
And to finish, here's a question. Have you got any concept of what an acre is?

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