Login/Sign up

World Association of International Studies

Post The Metric System
Created by Ronald Hilton on 09/30/00 6:31 AM

Previous posts in this discussion:


The Metric System (Ronald Hilton, USA, 09/30/00 6:31 am)

As a Positivist believing in "Order and Progress," I cannot tolerate the disorder of incompatibility. I pointed out the incompatibility of railroad gauges as an example, but Ron, who is from Australia, said that without different gauges the railroads of Australia would not have been built. I floored him with two arguments: 1) his argument did not justify the half-inch difference between French and British rail gauges and 2) It made no sense or half of the world to drive on the left and half on the right. Now, in what I judge to be a revanchist act, he comes up with another argument in favor of confusion, but he clearly has mixed feelings. He says:

"Good for you, Ronald. [A mere courtesy!] A year or two ago I was driving to Birmingham and noticed that, although the UK had gone metric, the road distances were still indicated in miles, which Martin Packard would approve. However, to use the abbreviation m for mile is something I cannot approve, since by international treaty, to which the US [UK?] subscribes, the abbreviation m is agreed for the mete.

On the way back to London we pulled off the highway at a roadside eatery and found a street sign reading "Toilets 100 m." One hundred miles to the nearest WC!

Not to worry. Many of the reasons for going metric have become moot because of computers that can change from mph to km/hr at the flick of a switch. Your friendly petrol bowser can present dollars per gallon or dollars per liter without the need for special mechanical gearing.

The market will decide whether a manufacturer in the US finds it more economical to use metric sizes or one of the various American bolt sizes in equipment for export to Germany. And the German manufacturers will decide whether to invest in US rulers, calipers, micrometers and bolts to serve the US market.

There are some nasty features of going it alone, however. A screw-cutting lathe is able to cut screw threads at 8 threads per inch, or 10 threads per inch, etc., if one simply replaces a pair of gears with one of several sets that are kept on hand. But there is no replacement gear that converts to metric. There would be if metric threads were characterized by so many threads per cm, but they are not. Metric screws are specified by their pitch, measured in mm per thread.

My comment: Down with confusion! People will forget to flick the switch. And don´t forget the millions lost when a sky probe went astray because NASA was mixed up between meters and yards. All this reminds me to include something on the globalization of measurements in the conference agenda.

The US system does have its defenders, including Bienvenido Macario from the Philiipines, but in a long statement defending it he seems to back my position. "In 1994, I was an observer in an international Geothermal workshop in Manila. One of the speakers is a Stanford alumna who, realizing the need to bridge the two systems of measurement, decided to give figures in both English and its metric equivalent."

Rate this post
Informational value 
Reader Ratings (0)
Informational value0%

Visits: 17


Please login/register to reply or comment: Login/Sign up

Trending Now

All Forums with Published Content (44640 posts)

- Unassigned

Culture & Language

American Indians Art Awards Bestiary of Insults Books Conspiracy Theories Culture Ethics Film Food Futurology Gender Issues Humor Intellectuals Jews Language Literature Media Coverage Movies Music Newspapers Numismatics Philosophy Plagiarism Prisons Racial Issues Sports Tattoos Western Civilization World Communications


Capitalism Economics International Finance World Bank World Economy


Education Hoover Institution Journal Publications Libraries Universities World Bibliography Series


Biographies Conspiracies Crime Decline of West German Holocaust Historical Figures History Holocausts Individuals Japanese Holocaust Leaders Learning Biographies Learning History Russian Holocaust Turkish Holocaust


Afghanistan Africa Albania Algeria Argentina Asia Australia Austria Bangladesh Belgium Belize Bolivia Brazil Canada Central America Chechnya Chile China Colombia Costa Rica Croatia Cuba Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark East Europe East Timor Ecuador Egypt El Salvador England Estonia Ethiopia Europe European Union Finland France French Guiana Germany Greece Guatemala Haiti Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran (Persia) Iraq Ireland Israel/Palestine Italy Japan Jordan Kenya Korea Kosovo Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Latin America Liberia Libya Mali Mexico Middle East Mongolia Morocco Namibia Nations Compared Netherlands New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria North America Norway Pacific Islands Pakistan Palestine Paraguay Peru Philippines Poland Polombia Portugal Romania Saudi Arabia Scandinavia Scotland Serbia Singapore Slovakia South Africa South America Southeast Asia Spain Sudan Sweden Switzerland Syria Thailand The Pacific Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan UK (United Kingdom) Ukraine USA (America) USSR/Russia Uzbekistan Venezuela Vietnam West Europe Yemen Yugoslavia Zaire


Balkanization Communism Constitutions Democracy Dictators Diplomacy Floism Global Issues Hegemony Homeland Security Human Rights Immigration International Events Law Nationalism NATO Organizations Peace Politics Terrorism United Nations US Elections 2008 US Elections 2012 US Elections 2016 US Elections 2020 Violence War War Crimes Within the US


Christianity Hinduism Islam Judaism Liberation Theology Religion

Science & Technology

Alcohol Anthropology Automotives Biological Weapons Design and Architecture Drugs Energy Environment Internet Landmines Mathematics Medicine Natural Disasters Psychology Recycling Research Science and Humanities Sexuality Space Technology World Wide Web (Internet)


Geography Maps Tourism Transportation


1-TRIBUTES TO PROFESSOR HILTON 2001 Conference on Globalizations Academic WAR Forums Ask WAIS Experts Benefactors Chairman General News Member Information Member Nomination PAIS Research News Ronald Hilton Quotes Seasonal Messages Tributes to Prof. Hilton Varia Various Topics WAIS WAIS 2006 Conference WAIS Board Members WAIS History WAIS Interviews WAIS NEWS waisworld.org launch WAR Forums on Media & Research Who's Who