Talk:Metrication in the United States/Archive 2

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3

Phasing out of bushels

The bushel article says "Government policy in both the United States and the United Kingdom is to phase out units such as the bushel and replace them with the metric system." What government policies, exactly, are being referred to? Is bushel explicitly named in some piece of legislation as a unit that is being phased out? What is the timetable for this? I am thinking the statement might really just be an overly broad assessment of the situation and is just using bushel as an example, but I want to be sure. — mjb 7 July 2005 06:33 (UTC)

In the United States, it isn't "legislation" at least dealing specifically with bushels. Rather, it is administrative rules or policy, whether or not it made it into the Code of Federal Regulations. Several decades ago (in the 1970s, I'm pretty sure), the USDA stopped using bushels for international production figures and most international trade. If you check newspaper and magazine reports, as well as publications and web pages of the USDA, these figures are now reported in tons (always metric tons, whether identified as such or not, and only rarely with bushels conversions). Unfortunately, the phaseout hasn't gone much further than that, and USDA still routinely uses bushels only for domestic production and regulations affecting farmers.
As far as legislation goes, in more general terms the 1988 amendments (part of Public Law 100-418) to the Metric Conversion Act of 1975, which is still in effect, of course, did say:
  • Sec. 3. It is therefore the declared policy of the United States --
  • (1) to designate the metric system of measurement as the preferred system of weights and measures for United States trade and commerce.
Note that this doesn't apply just to international trade. Gene Nygaard 17:07, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

The UK stopped using the bushel years ago (I'm too young to remember when it was in common use). The legislation removing it ƕ (talk) 12:37, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

Sports?

How about the influence of statistics in sports? If the US tried to switch to the metric system, can you imagine the effect on football? Do you now gain 10 meters for a first down, or do you gain the metric equivalent of 10 yards ("First and 9.144")? How would you compare the career rushing leader, Emmitt Smith, to a player 20 years from now who has gained 10,000 meters rushing, as opposed to Emmitt's 16,000-odd yards?

Would we need to change it? We still use archaic units in other sports (when was the last time a furlong mattered outside of horse racing). We could certainly still use yards for football (This was what I thought a rather ridiculous anti-metric argument back in the '70s. There is no compelling reason to use meters over yards in football, even if we used them nowhere else. Even here on Wikipedia football articles are the only ones where we don't give metric equivalents to yards. There's no need to.
Note that the CFL still uses yards despite metric having been far more successful in Canada. Daniel Case 17:32, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

I also don't know how international basketball rules have been altered by the metric system. I assume the basket is still 10 feet off the floor...is that just converted to meters?

Finally, baseball. It has often been remarked that 90 feet between bases is the perfect distance; a grounder hit to an infielder must be fielded cleanly and thrown on target to (usually) just beat the runner to the base. Upset the delicate distance, and the whole dynamic of the game changes. Are Americans really willing to start referring to this distance in some odd number of meters? Or would such severe opposition to this be met by the average ticket-buying fan that the professional leagues would never give in to using metric measurement? How do the Latin American countries handle this? How does Japan handle this? These are all questions I have about the total conversion to metric units. --BucInExile 15:05, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

I am sure there are those who would maintain that 440 yards is the perfect distance length for a running track and that changing to 400 meters has ruined track and field...
As you observe, baseball relies on a precisely standardized playing field. If there were any difference in the distance between the left field wall and home plate at different stadiums, it would completely change fielding strategy from one stadium to another and would mean that home runs would be easier to get in some stadiums than in others. Oh, wait...
Steroid injections, of course, are always measured in drams. Dpbsmith (talk) 13:17, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Intersting questions. I've been doing some digging. It seems that for basketball, international regulations differ from US rules: International rules courts are about one metre shorter than US courts. I can't find anything about internatioal rules for American football or baseball. Its intersting that the US is one of the few countries in the world that plays field games different from any other country (except where it has be introduced, like baseball to Japan). Are US sports popular in Latin America? I thought they were all soccar fans there? Seabhcán 19:56, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

Is baseball popular in Latin America? Absolutely not. Cuba didn't finish second in the WBC, and the Dominican Republic has never produced any good players. Venezuela isn't renound for its pitchers. R'son-W 08:59, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
This comment sounds like sarcasm, but as an ignorant old-worlder, I have no idea if its true or not. Seabhcán 09:08, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

With regard to baseball, the only measured values regularly mentioned are pitch speeds and home run distance. I seem to recall the Canadian fields have metric distances on the outfield walls. No reason you couldn't leave the bases at 90 feet and just call it 27.432m. --Boone 20:51, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

Uh, the bases are 90 feet 9 inches apart, for a slightly better 27.66 m (The pitcher's mound is 60 feet 6 inches from the plate, for that matter ... 15.39 m) Daniel Case 17:33, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
Uhh..no they're not. The bases are 90 feet apartMarkieAA (talk) 15:04, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Our Spanish, German and Polish articles on baseball refer to 90 pies, Fuß and stóp, respectively. The German and Polish articles give approximate equivalents in meters. Baseball is very popular in parts of Latin America and is the national sport of Cuba and the Dominican Republic. The rules page on the National Football League's Mexican website gives measurements in "yardas." As far as switching to metric: Saying "The winning run is just 27.432 meters away!" just doesn't have the same ring to it. (Nor does "2.7432 meters and a cloud of dust.") -- Mwalcoff 04:40, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Rugby League and Rugby Union both survived metrification throughout the world - for example the 25 yard line became the 22 metre line. --Parasite 04:10, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

As an Australian who went through this decades ago can I say one thing. Do not worry! The Cricket pitch is 1 chain long. The length of the pitch is absolutely critical to the game and the slightest change simply could not occur. So the Cricket pitch is exactly 20.1168m long when the greenkeeper goes out to mark the lines each day - but for general commentary we say 20m.

In Australian Rules Football the 15 yard penalty became the 15m penalty. No big deal there for those of you who know the game. Golf holes are all in metres and it's fine. American Football would be an interesting one. Whilst I understand (and enjoy) the game I would not know if changing it from yards to metres would actually affect the game. If it wouldn't make much difference - then you change. If it would then you leave it. And still call it yards too. There is no big deal here.

Metric is about using a consistant system for measurement that is easy to use commercially and where accuracy is important. For that to happen everyone has to use it every day. But it is still ok to use old terms from a historic perspective. Phrases like "Give them an inch and they take a mile" do not get converted. I still order a pint of beer. I get 500ml. I know that. The bartender knows it. It's not a problem. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 202.12.144.21 (talkcontribs) .

Look at (real) football, nobody cares that the penalty point at eleven metres originally is 12 yards away, but that is probably due to the little difference (less than 3 cm) between these values. (What are the original measures of the 5- and 16-metre areas again?) Field sizes may, unlike in most other team sports, vary considerably and many probably have round metric values—in traditional stadiums they are fit into the oval 400-metre running tracks so there is not much of flexibility. Likewise many basketball baskets are probably mounted at exactly 3 m, not 4.8 cm higher. (Who would notice, who would remeasure, who would care?) OTOH the football itself, the goal and the minimum opponent distance at free shots (equal to the diameter of the center circle) etc. are actually defined in round English values, but learned in their odd metric conversion by (continental European) referees and green keepers. —Christoph Päper

Anyone playing basket would mind :o) The basket is - and shoud be - mounted 3.05 meters above the floor: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basketball#Equipment (RipRapRob 13:00, 10 September 2007 (UTC))

As another stats data-point, at least the 2000 and 2004 Olympic tv coverage was using imperial units, poorly converted from metric, when giving commentary and captions for at least the long and high jump. The opening comment to the sports section, which talks about US citizens being exposed to metric in events such as the Olympics may want to be clarified; while yes they will hear of the 100m dash, they are informed that a jump was 196 and 3/4 inches. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.233.85.43 (talk) 16:55, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

USA a founding state of the metre convention???

The United States joined the metre convention in 1878, full three years after the foundation of the metre convention. "In 1875, the United States solidified their commitment to the development of the internationally recognized metric system by becoming one of the original seventeen signatory nations to the Convention du Mètre." That sentence needs to be changed. source: BIPM States

Basically, hairs have been split here. The Grant Administration signed the treaty in 1875 (as presented to the Senate), but it wasn't ratified by the Senate until 1878 (during the Hayes Administration). You'll note that the BIPM site mentions it was "signed by seventeen nations," but only 11 modern states (successors to 10 signatories) have an "1875" date in the list you gave, for similar reasons.
Unsurprisingly, other than France and Switzerland, the only ones that got marked as "1875" were monarchies at the time. Guppy313 (talk) 03:59, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Cost to conversion

Anyone know, or know where to find info, about the cost of the USA converting to metric? Should probably be included in the article, considering that's one of the reason people don't want to convert(aside from learning a new system). Thanks Thmars10 06:02, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

I dont know about the US, but the conversion costs are a big ussue in the Uk. No-one seems to be able to come up with an honest figure - opponents say billions, proponents say it can be done for free. Its a very hard thing to accurately estimate. Seabhcán 09:49, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
There will be ways to count to even propose that it will be a cost benefit. As a start, you could stretch it to say that the Mars Climate Orbiter project's cost of $327.6 million should be drawn from the Imperial Unit account. (The project failed due to units mixup). Sverdrup❞ 21:52, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

Screens

TV and computer screens are measured in inches in the USA and elsewhere.

And resolution is in DPI. It is unfortunate that such outdated non-metric units wind up getting adopted by the rest of the world just because one country is too lazy or believes it's too important to conform. 85.177.197.109 13:14, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
Dot pitch however is more commonly measured in millimetre and is inversely proportional to DPI. You can think of this as being like fuel economy in l/100km as opposed to MPG. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 83.231.208.161 (talk) 23:02, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

Blood pressure

A recent edit indicated (correctly) that blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg), and described this as a non-metric unit. One problem with the edit was that it was under the Star Trek heading, but there are more substantial problems. First, one could argue that mmHg is metric, although certainly not SI. Second, this article is about metrication in the U.S., so this fact does not belong in the article unless U.S. practice is different from other countries. Do other countries also measure blood pressure in mmHg? --Gerry Ashton 18:53, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

The Blood pressure article says that it's universally recorded in mmHg. No source for it, but I'm pretty sure it would say otherwise if it weren't. I trust it. Either way, it wouldn't belong in this article. --MPD T / C 19:02, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
In my experience in Cardiology mmHg is used almost universally in all countries I've worked in. Interestingly some equipment I've worked with reports mHg in certain circumstances when the software gets the wrong magnitude of the unit and that has caused complaints from clinical staff of the measurements being wrong when in fact it's just using a different, though unconventional weird unit. 83.231.208.161 (talk) 23:05, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

US-American

What's this American/US-American argument? I read the article on United States and it is quite clear that "American" means someone from the United States of America. Is every copy of the word "American" in Wikipedia going to be changed to "US-American"? I don't think so. I think it should be reverted back and will do so unless I get "enlightened". Jim77742 12:55, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

  • Not much. The user was being hyper-sensitive. Technically American could be applied to all people from North and South America. But nobody is going to be confused by using "American". -Fnlayson 13:00, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
    • This is a clear point of US centrism and should not be in an international encyclopedia. @ Jim, what you should read is American, to look up the meaning of the word "American" in the article "United States" is one more indicator of US-centrism. NoGringo 13:03, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
      • OK I've done some reading and I can see your point. And to be honest I'm in sympathy. However, I have to wear the NPOV hat. I'm from the other side of the world and "US-American" to me is a tautology. "American" means a person from the United States. Not from South America or any other parts of the "Americas". US-American doesn't even have a Wikipedia entry. So again with the Wikipedia NPOV hat on it - it has to go back to American. Get the style guide changed and you'll be right. Me - I'd like to delete every single imperial unit in all general Wikipedia articles (not specific ones on say the foot) and have metric as the only unit. After all, only 4% of the population are not metric so that's a minority. Do we quote cubits in brackets after all length measurements? But I can't because the style guide says so. Jim77742 13:19, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
Why not just use "US"? That is unambiguous. ... Seabhcan 14:21, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
For the same reason that we call you Irish and not Republican or R.o.I. Rmhermen 14:54, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
"US" is used as an adjective all the time, eg "US Government", "US President", "US Army", etc. ... Seabhcan 16:34, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
This debate is silly. The United States of America is the only nation that has the word "America" as part of its title, and it is very clear that "Americans" refers to citizens of that country. Who refers to Canadians as "Americans"? Jkp1187 (talk) 19:44, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. "American" is short for "United States of American" -- but that's too long. We could use "United Statesian" (or "Statesian" or "USian" for short), but those sound ridiculous. The sticklers need to get over it. This would only be an issue if, for example, Canada were "The Canadian Provinces of America," but as it stands the US is the only "America in America," if you will.
This has to be the single stupidest argument I've ever seen on Wikipedia. I'm not attacking anyone, just the argument. This is an argument right out of a Spanish class, which, if you learn European Spanish, teaches "Estadounidense" as someone from the United States. But this isn't Spanish; it's an English-language encyclopaedia. That said, the official U.S. Government style guide allows "U.S." as an adjective (see 9.9 and 9.10). There's also a thing from the Department of State that's given to their "correspondences"[1]. Take what you will, but this argument is incredibly pointless, and using anything other than "American" or "U.S." would be incredibly OR, IMO. --MPD T / C 04:58, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

Saturday Night Live

The April 24, 1976 episode of Saturday Night Live did a sketch on the metric system, extending it to the alphabet, creating the “Decabet”. ShermansPlanet (talk) 22:30, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Metricanmc.jpg

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Fair use rationale for Image:Metrication-US-logo.gif

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Image:Metrication-US-logo.gif is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to ensure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images lacking such an explanation can be deleted one week after being tagged, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you. BetacommandBot (talk) 16:21, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Highway signs shot up?

I seem to recall stories about metric highway signs getting shot up in the 1970s when the first push toward metrication was made. Anyone have a source for these stories? I was surprised that it wasn't mentioned in the main article at all, seems that it should be... Jkp1187 (talk) 11:52, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

Shooting up highway signs is pretty common in parts of the U.S. See [2] for some recent examples. I think we'd need a basis for saying shooting up metric signs was even more common, not just some newspaper report observing shot up metric signs at the time.--agr (talk) 00:27, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Audio Plugs

I've observed since moving to the US a few months ago that audio plugs here are sold as 3.5mm plugs. At home in Canada, they're always 1/8inch. I don't know if there's a good way to incorporate that into the article without it being trivia. jbailey (talk) 07:08, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

Tire Sizing

I revised the sentance about tires in the "Consumer and retail" to indicate only that tread width is specified in milimeters and rim diameter in inches. The formerly, this sentance additionally indicated that tire diameter and tire width were specified in inches, when in fact neither measurement appears in tire size codes. I added a citation regarding tire sizing. (Bdentremont (talk) 04:29, 31 May 2008 (UTC))

Military use of SI

An anonymous editor correctly edited the article to reflect that the military's use of SI units was due to the system's general superiority for military and scientific uses. Although this is most certainly accurate, no citation was provided, and the edit was correctly reverted. However, it was reverted to an earlier version which was equally POV and also not cited - not to mention blatantly incorrect. It is unfair to revert the anonymous editor's contribution as being uncited POV while leaving the "interoperability" wording intact. It fails the same ineligibility requirements. Simply requesting cites for this blatantly false wording is not sufficient. I am following WP:V and boldly removing this false statement. Bulbous (talk) 02:17, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Either you have your statement backwards here - or you are claiming that calling the metric system superior is not POV. I am sorry but that is clearly POV and it is a bit odd to revert "interoperability" as blatantly false. If I run out of bullets on a NATO mission I would clearly want my European ally to hand me some that will work in my gun. So clearly not "blatantly false". Do you have any sources to support your claim that the U.S. discontinued all traditional sized weapons for a reason other than interoperability? Rmhermen (talk) 03:27, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
I am claiming that both statements are equally unsupported and POV. There is no justification for reverting one and retaining the other. I am in no way suggesting that the US has adjusted bore sizes in favour of SI - that allegation is ridiculous. They could simply have matched the bores/ammunition without measuring it in SI units. This in no way explains how the army measure distances in Kilometres, for example. Bulbous (talk) 03:40, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
"SI units was due to the system's general superiority for military and scientific uses. Although this is most certainly accurate," Your words-your POV, I think. Rmhermen (talk) 03:42, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
" This in no way explains how the army measure distances in Kilometres, for example." Yo, Dutch soldier move 1/4 mile forward. Response - huh? I think it does explain interoperability. Rmhermen (talk) 03:43, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
That explains it... but in no way defends the uncited statement. What you are proposing is WP:OR and you should know better. In addition, your "hand me some that will work in my gun" argument is absurd when you consider that the US had switched to 5.56mm when the rest of NATO was using 7.62mm. Do some research. Bulbous (talk) 03:55, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Ref added. And the small arms issue is not as clear cut as you claim see both catridges articles. Rmhermen (talk) 04:08, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

With all sincerity, thank you for investing your valuable time into doing some research. I have read the document that you provided several times. I fail to see where it is mentioned that the US military has adopted SI units for the purposes of interoperability. Can you please point this out? Bulbous (talk) 04:22, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
Page 3: "Since the purpose of metric is usually to achieve international standardization or interoperability, rather than metrication per se..." Rmhermen (talk) 04:33, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
Hahaha... you've left out the last part of the sentence: "in these areas". You've taken one single sentence, which applies to a very specific circumstance, of a large off-topic document and applied it completely out of context. Nice try. Bulbous (talk) 16:52, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Federal highways?

Some members of Congress attempted to ban use of the metric system on federal highways in 1992 and 1993.[8][9]

What exactly is this supposed to mean? The vast majority of the highways in the U.S. (including Interstates and U.S. Routes) are owned and maintained by the state governments. I think the only roads actually maintained by the federal government are those in national parks and military bases. Surely they didn't write a bill to ban the National Parks Service from using metric?—Scott5114 [EXACT CHANGE ONLY] 05:17, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

The constitution gives Congress the authority to establish post roads. Using that and other authority, Congress gives massive amounts of aid to states to build and maintain major roads. Congress from time to time makes the states fulfill certain conditions in order to receive this aid, such as establishing a 55 MPH speed limit, making 21 the minimum age to drink alcoholic beverages, etc. I believe the restriction mentioned was along the line that the aid from the federal government to the state governments could not be used to erect signs with metric units. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 12:40, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
Well, it says later on in the article that the 1992 ban on use of the metric system was rejected, but the NHS Designation Act banned money from the federal-aid trust fund from being used on metric signage. Was the proposed 1992 ban intended to block the agency from drawing any money from the trust fund (as the National Maximum Speed Limit and drinking age did)? In any case, the article needs to be reworded, since there's not really anything called a "federal highway". —Scott5114 [EXACT CHANGE ONLY] 18:53, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

Articles if the US goes metric?

What happens if (more like when?) the United States goes completely metric? Let's just say that tomorrow they pass a bunch of laws that would eventually make the country metric. Would someone have to create a new project to change all of the units in nearly every article to metric units or would Wikipedia still use the English units? Totakeke423 (talk) 10:07, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

As per WP:UNITS, the Metric system is already in standard use for most English Wikipedia articles. The only articles that should be using American customary units now are articles that discuss American topics. (And, as for the US going completely metric, I would say, don't hold your breath.) - Nellis 12:37, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
That is not what unit says at all. In fact it says: "Conversions to and from metric units and US or imperial units should generally be provided." Rmhermen (talk) 13:45, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
Here are two direct quotations from WP:UNITS: (1) "International scope: Wikipedia is not country-specific; unless tackling region-specific topics, use international units." (2) "In general, the primary units are SI (37 kilometres (23 mi)); however, US customary units are the primary units in US-related topics, and it is permissible to have imperial units as primary units in UK-related topics." SI is the metric system. That unit conversions should be provided is irrelevant to my point. To say that what I wrote was "not … at all" the policy is simply untrue. - Nellis 21:14, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
No, you stated "The only articles that should be using American customary units now are articles that discuss American topics". This is not correct. "Conversions to and from metric units and US or imperial units should generally be provided." is the actual policy. Rmhermen (talk) 01:09, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

Money

There is mention of the US using decimalized money, but that's not the same as metric. Decimal and metric are disctinct (albeit related) things. There is no metric unit of currency; the fact that the US dollar has decimal subdivisions is unrelated to metrication. The mention of the dollar should be deleted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 139.68.134.1 (talk) 18:03, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Decimalization of currency, in which the United States was a leader, was historically related to the early metrication movement, in that there was a push to have all units divisible by powers of ten. Jonathunder (talk) 15:01, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

Inappropriate Tone

The tone of this article is fully biased against US customary units. The introduction states that the US has "been able to hold back," from metrication. This statement assumes that metrication is the goal of the US and ought to be the goal of the US. This assumption betrays a contempt for US measures and is absolutely unsuitable for any encyclopedia or any academic work or any text meant to give any amount of education whatsoever. Metric units are not better than any other kind of unit in the world, just like French is not superior to English or to Swahili or Yi or any other language. Metrication accomplishes the goal of a unified system of measures so that people in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France (all very close to each other) can trade and communicate in the same units. Unification is the goal; whichever system is used is arbitrary. US measures have some advantages and metric measures have some. One foot can be divided by 3 into 4 inches, giving a whole (and easy to remember) number. A meter on the other hand divides into 33 and one third centimeters, which is the same as writing 3s for eternity. Conversely, one kilometer is halved into 500 meters whereas one mile is halved into some number of feet virtually nobody bothers herself to remember. Because there is nothing innately better about metric units, the only issue left is unification. From coast to coast, the US is fully unified in its use of miles on road signs (as is the use of other US measures all over). The biased tone of this article makes it negligently unintelligent in regards to the reality of today's society. In reality, the people of the US have been populous enough and over large enough of an area to leave no advantage to metrication. In reality, this is the 21st century and units can be converted online in a blink of an eye. In reality, even in the 20th century folders and other stationery in the US had a list of conversions, solving all problems of having two systems in a neat little area of printed ink. In reality, metrication was crucial for areas with many small countries such as western and central Europe, and was merely unnecessary in the US. We shouldn't be surprised that metrication failed and is now a dead issue in the US. What we should do is admit that this article is Eurocentric and posits metric superiority. This article is huge and needs to be reworded and rewritten from start to finish. Until that happens, the article is unethical, anti-American, and of low value to anyone trying to inform himself. Ejoty (talk) 03:15, 08 June 2009 (UTC)

Less than 10% of the world's population uses US measures. So there seems to be a point in unification. −Woodstone (talk) 16:39, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

You are claiming that there seems to be a point, but are neglecting to name that point. According to the logic of your statement, since less than 10 percent of the world's population speaks Japanese, there is a point to stopping use of the Japanese language. Also by the logic of your statement, since less than 10 percent of the world's population is newscasters, all newscasters have a reason to quit their jobs. Being in a minority is no grounds for converting. If you see a point in unification, please name it. (Ejoty (talk) 10:26, 9 June 2009 (UTC))

There are many different customary units, with difficult-to-remember conversion factors. Different fields use different subsets of customary units. This makes it difficult for people from different fields to communicate. The advantage of SI is that all fields use the same units, which fosters interdisciplinary communication.
Furthermore, SI is a coherent system, while customary units are not. An example of this is that Einstein's famous equation E=mc2 is only so simple when E is energy in joules, m is mass in kilograms, and c is the speed of light in meters per second. If instead we measure energy in British Thermal Units, mass in pounds, and speed in feet per second, the equation becomes approximately
E = 3.99411 × 10-5mc2.
--Jc3s5h (talk) 12:31, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
Just for the record, E=mc2 works out just fine --with no constant-- if you use consistent customary units, eg slugs for mass, feet per second for speed and foot-pounds for energy. Furthermore, it doesn't work out with metric units widely used in Europe, such as kilometers per hour for speed or kilowatt-hours for energy. Oh, and Einstein used grams, centimeters and ergs (cgs system) when he published the equation. I like SI too, but Wikipedia is still NPOV.--agr (talk) 16:50, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

Jc3s5h, I appreciate your well articulated point backed up with an example. You are completely correct that SI should be used in the sciences and technical fields to use E = mc2 and other similar formulas. Now please remember that SI is used in the sciences and science and math classes in the US from the very moment calculating in units of measure is introduced in the classroom. This makes the work of US physicists already in SI units and ready for all others around the world to view in the SI units they are used to seeing. So the US is already doing exactly what you want to it to do. Of course, I wasn't arguing against using SI units in contexts of sciences and international exchange; I was saying that the tone of this article is derogatory toward US measures in the same way that bigots speak about minority languages in order to make those languages look like they have less merit. It doesn't make a difference to this point how many benefits can be had from metric units. It doesn't matter how much you love metric units. It doesn't matter how many people in the US might suddenly be overcome with adoration for metric units and fall down on their knees proclaiming, "EU and Canada. We love you! We want to be like you! Please let us spend gigantic sums of money, and man-hours, and go through a logistical nightmare to use your meter sticks!" It doesn't matter what happens from now on anywhere in the universe. A derogatory tone is a derogatory tone. It's a tone that is prejudiced against the users of US measures, so it is a tone that is unethical and hence too low in quality to be in Wikipedia. Please address the topic of "tone" so we can move forward in forming a consensus and make this a better article. (Ejoty (talk) 08:58, 23 June 2009 (UTC))

Rather than debate the issue here, please be bold and make such improvements to the tone as you find appropriate in the article itself. Jonathunder (talk) 15:39, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
This article covers the Metrication process in the US. In general the tone seems to fit with that position/purpose. If there are specific sentences that are too biased then bring it here or reword/rework as suggested above. -Fnlayson (talk) 15:46, 23 June 2009 (UTC)


Will do. Thanks. (Ejoty (talk) 14:59, 24 June 2009 (UTC))

Alright. Try to provide an edit summary with your edits. Thanks. -Fnlayson (talk) 15:51, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

Insulting secton

I'll leave the fate of the insulting section and the user who posted it to the administrators. See Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard#Insult-only account: User:UKisTheBest --Jc3s5h (talk) 12:18, 27 June 2009 (UTC)
I hadn't noticed that the insults had been left here. They were obviously not aimed at improving the article but simply at attacking a group of people, so I've removed them. If the editor continues to post such comments, a block will be in order. Dougweller (talk) 15:52, 27 June 2009 (UTC)
A look at his brand-new user page may also be instructive. --Calton | Talk 17:36, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

encyclopedic, public domain source(s) (please assimilate content ...)

I'm putting hyperlinks to relevant, encyclopedic, public domain sources on a lot of talk pages, since you can just copy-and-cite the content. (In a few days I will list all such talk pages on my User Page; until then, if you'd like to help assimilate the content, you can find these pages at my contribs page.)

here's yours, please pillage:

PS if you know of a better talk page for this material, please move it there. I am doing this work en masse and may make mistakes Agradman talk/contribs 16:47, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
Get CRS reports directly from their web site (opencrs.com), not somebody else's which could be an old version. -Fnlayson (talk) 17:05, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Excerpt:

What is Open CRS?
Open CRS is a project of the Center for Democracy & Technology that serves as a centralized location to learn about the Congressional Research Service and search for CRS reports that have been released to the public by members of Congress
Why doesn't the Congressional Research Service make its reports available to the public on the web?
The Congressional Research Service strongly believes that its sole purpose is to directly serve Congress and not the public. CRS views attempts to make available to the public reports that it creates as something other than its statutory authority to communicate with and for Congress. We disagree. We are not asking CRS to disclose anything, we only seek to have Congress disclose (at the discretion on individual representatives) communications between CRS and Congress that are not classified or confidential in nature. This should not create any more work for CRS or force employees of CRS to communicate with anyone other than Congress. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Agradman (talkcontribs)
  • Still, one is sure to find the latest version through CRS's site. -Fnlayson (talk) 20:02, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm sorry, I was unclear. CRS is a branch of Congress -- "Congressional Research Service". Open CRS is a nonprofit run by the Center for Democracy and Technology that publishes reports that CRS wrote, and that's all they do. They're exactly like wikilinks, they just have a more legitimate-sounding name. Agradman talk/contribs 04:45, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Well, that's not a helpful attitude -- I've already put links to these reports on 118 pages and I plan to do more, so if this is important to you, you should explain why. Let's not make this personal -- let's assume for the sake of argument that I'm really stupid. Walk me through your argument. Agradman talk/contribs 13:18, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
OK. In general the best place to get a report, document, etc is directly from its publisher. For the CRS reports that is opencrs.com. The site lists the latest and older versions of each report there so one can be sure to find the latest version. That is all I've been trying to say. Copies of the reports are actually on sites like digital.library.unt.edu, wikileaks.org, fas.org, and probably others. -Fnlayson (talk) 14:23, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Wikileaks.org is not a reliable source because it is a wiki. Alleged CRS reports posted on that site may or may not be authentic. --Jc3s5h (talk) 13:41, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

US Customs

Their department responsible for importation (AMS) wants you to file with customary units. I learned this when one of their officers unprofessionally said "WTF is this? We're in America!" and proceeded to throw (yes, throw) the paperwork back at me. Strange, you'd think they would know metric considering their department deals with goods from countries that use SI. Jigen III (talk) 01:04, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

Metrication in the USA

How about adding a new section to the article: Reasons why the US has not adjusted to Metrication

And adding in reasons why the US has not adopted the Metric measurement system, one that 200 other countries use.

There are only 3 countries in the world that still officially use the imperial measurement system: Burma, Liberia and the US. Burma and Liberia are two of the least advanced nations and this could explain their sticking to the old, outdated measurement system; but what about the US? This is especially puzzling when you consider that the US have hosted a number of Olympic Games, and all the events use Metric measurement.

Despite the huge national debt that the US economy has, and the recession it currently is in, the US is still one of the richer countries in the world today and surely can afford the economic cost of changing systems. There must be valid reasons why the US refuses to or cannot convert? If you can think of any, add them in. It will make the article more complete. PomsWin (talk) 02:23, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

How about the reason: the US doesn't care? There is no significant advantage to going metric other than everybody in the US knowing metric. Anything that has to be in metric already is, but it doesn't impact everyday life. One of the biggest thing- transportation- is easily understood when speedometers are dual metric-imperial, and then the rest is just math (120 miles, 60mph = 2 hours). As for sports, the major things- swimming, track, etc- are metric and it's understood by people who follow those sports. (Football, both American and Canadian, are measured in yards. The pool I manage is 50m x 25yd). (Disclaimer: I support Metrication and am "bilingual" in everyday common units, but am also realistic). And you should know we can't just "add in" things we think of, as they would have to be sourced. My point: it's been beaten to death. There are no real "valid" reasons because Americans don't really care. It's not broken, why fix it? --MPD T / C 04:34, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
You care only about yourselves? How very unusual! Looking at the article itself I notice in the first paragraph it says "...there has been little political will to continue conversion." This statement helps to provide one explanation: Switching to Metric could cost many votes, and very few politicians are willing to risk that! PomsWin (talk) 06:42, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

I would say that the usual question, "Why won't the U.S. do things the way the rest of the world does?" contains its own answer. The U.S. has never been interested in doing something just because "the rest of the world" does it. In fact, the U.S. often considers that argument to be a good reason not to. We like feet and yards. They are "human" measurements. Also, just try dividing a meter by 3. With feet, yards and miles, it's no problem. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 18:19, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

I would suggest that gradually the USA is beginning to care about what the rest of the world does and thinks. President Obama has made it clear that he cares. His recent speech outlining the merits of Chicago's (unfortunately failed) bid for the 2016 Olympics spoke of rebuilding America's image elsewhere in the world. He is a politician. He knows that many Americans will hear and read his speech. Some may even agree with him.

Mind you, I don't expect a rushed change to the metric system in the USA any time soon.HiLo48 (talk) 06:10, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

So you're suggesting that because Obama's trying to appear humble in the hearts and minds of others whose opinions obviously matter more than Americans'-because, of course, they've just always known what's best-that suddenly we'll all agree? Or that before we elected him we didn't know what was going on in the world? Not repeating the same mistakes as those who came before us is one of the reasons we are so successful now, a fact that apparently we've begun to lose our handle upon. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rodiggidy (talkcontribs) 02:08, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

Let's not get into an argument here on the merits of the metric system, which is outside the parameters of an article talk page. Let's focus on the core to PomsWin's comment: Why has the U.S. been more resistant to metrication than other countries?
I can think of plenty of answers to that question, but they would all be "original research" according to Wikipedia policy. I suggest doing some research into the subject; I'm sure there has been some scholarly literature published on the matter.
One thing we can say for sure is there has been less forceful imposition of metric in the U.S. than there has been in other countries. (Remember, the U.S. government has officially "gone metric," as the article makes clear.) For example, in Canada, they took down all the old MPH speed-limit signs and tried forcing gas-station owners to mark prices in liters. (By the time the gas stations got a court order blocking the regulation, consumers were already used to seeing prices in liters, and the gas stations didn't want to multiply their prices by four to go back to Imperial gallons.) The U.S., on the other hand, tried dual-signage of speed limits (which generated a huge backlash from drivers who considered the metric signs a waste of taxpayer money) and, while requiring consumer products to include metric as well as traditional quantity measurements, has never tried to force businesses that sell to consumers to use metric exclusively. We could ruminate on why that is -- it might have something to do with a political culture that is more populist-democratic and places a greater value on economic freedom -- but again, that would be "WP:OS." -- Mwalcoff (talk) 04:21, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
We won't change unless someone comes up with a valid, practical reason to change. So far, no one has. →Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 11:20, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
Hmmm. As Mwalcoff suggests, let's avoid trying to debate the merits or otherwise of metrication here. It's not the place. But Baseball Bugs' position is useful to read when trying to understand why the USA behaves like it does on issues like metrication, and in trying to guess when, if ever, it will change its position. ----HiLo48 (talk) 06:02, 6 October 2009 (UTC)
I can debate the merits all day long, and I'm sure you can debate the merits of the metric system. But until there's some proven advantage to switching, a "what's in it for me" that every citizen can grab onto, it won't happen. →Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 06:13, 6 October 2009 (UTC)
You could well be right. Though realistically it probably doesn't have to please "every citizen", just those whose views are significant politically. My personal, admittedly selfish perspective is that, as an enthusiastic follower of the US Space Program, I do wish they had got the measurements right for the Mars Climate Orbiter, so it hadn't crashed.---- HiLo48 (talk) 06:24, 6 October 2009 (UTC)
That's where you're wrong. As Mwalcoff already explained a plan for metrication will have to appeal to the many and the common man. I share your sentiments about that last part however. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rodiggidy (talkcontribs) 02:08, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
I would also be quite interested in a section explaining why americans really stick to customary units. There should be sources somewhere, and it's probably better if someone who actually understands it can tell.

As i see it now, i have to take a calculator and half a dozen conversion tables to the supermarket if i want to compare prices in order to buy something. The metric system should bring the customer some direct advantage by reducing time in the shop. That i can't see any advantage compared to the huge disadvantages already shows i'm not qualified to write anything.75.119.253.10 (talk) 23:52, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

Why not list the unconverted countries to create stability in the lead?

The following is a closed discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was to include the words.


There have been a few edits lately around the part of the lead that currently says "(the metrication process) has been largely completed in most other nations of the world". The word "most" has been played around with several times.

In the latest (quite justified) edit by Fnlayson, the edit comment says "US is one of 3 non-metric nations in 2007". On the discussion page we have "There are only 3 countries in the world that still officially use the imperial measurement system: Burma, Liberia and the US."

So, why don't we avoid further argument and edit skirmishes by simply listing that last fact? HiLo48 (talk) 02:34, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

Why list them? What does that add? They have nothing to do with this article. One could just check the reference if curious. -Fnlayson (talk) 02:44, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
Hmmmm. It's a bit frustrating getting questions asking why when I've explained why (at least from my perspective) in my proposal. It wasn't a proposal in a vacuum. I gave reasons. A discussion would mean you respond to those reasons. (The last line especially, I guess.) HiLo48 (talk) 02:52, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
My comment was the last 2 sentence in my previous post. The other countries are not relevant to this article. -Fnlayson (talk) 02:59, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
OK. I think I see your perspective, but you still haven't addressed my reason. You asked "Why...?" and "What does it add?" My reason (already given before you asked those questions) answered them both.
Comparing one of the the very few countries that haven't converted with others seems a valid exercise to me. HiLo48 (talk) 03:07, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

An alternative suggestion - clarify the word "most" with a sentence that simply says "The USA is one of three countries that does not officially use the metric system". A minor rewording may be required to fit it in, but it would avoid naming the other countries. HiLo48 (talk) 03:38, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

That's fine. No problem. -Fnlayson (talk) 04:20, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
I have a problem with not adding Liberia and Burma. It's part of an argument frequently encountered in metrication discussions, which in itself should assert its notability on this page, secondly the links should allow further exploration of the metrication process in Libera and Burma and the reasons it is incomplete there, which has relevance on the US process. You're assuming the only people who will read this are people with an acute interest in the US metrication process and the US process only, that is not true. I came upon this page when browsing through the metrication worldwide set as I'm sure did others, the details of the worldwide process are relevant here. There is no reason not to list the nations, and the sentence as is seems incomplete. If you leave "one of three countries" up you can expect a new editor coming by every week and correcting it to list the countries, like I did, having been uninvolved and unaware of any such discussion. —what a crazy random happenstance 08:49, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
OK, let's tackle the tough aspect. I have just a suspicion that the reason some US citizens may not want the other countries listed is that they see it as embarrassing to be in a category with Burma and Liberia. And I'll say right now that I'm simply speculating. I have no idea if anyone feels that way. If it is the case I can understand that perspective, but inquisitive readers will find out anyway. HiLo48 (talk) 09:16, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
By the same token it could also be argued that omitting Liberia and Burma is a very soft POV towards the pro-Imperial side. —what a crazy random happenstance 09:42, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
This is in the Lead and should be a summary. It is not the place for details, seemingly unneeded ones. If this were somewhere else in the article, it would be less of an issue. -Fnlayson (talk) 12:54, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
Is it an issue? If so, why? HiLo48 (talk) 14:12, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
"Three nations" is not a summary, it's an incomplete sentence. —what a crazy random happenstance 11:51, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
Sure it's a summary and that's part of a sentence. WP:LEAD and to some extant WP:Summary style apply. -Fnlayson (talk) 15:42, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

Why not add a footnote that says "The other two are..."? That way the names of the countries won't clutter up the lede, but readers who want to know who they are can still find out.-agr (talk) 20:38, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

Not sure it makes all that much clutter, but I would be happy with that approach. HiLo48 (talk) 23:48, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
Either a footnote like that or quote text in the reference are fine. -Fnlayson (talk) 00:10, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
I don't think this is acceptable. Two words in brackets never killed anyone. I would understand why you would wish to keep them out were the article lead, say, a sentence long, but it's not. Reading WP:LEAD I fail to see the problem with this, it's a fact which establishes the content of the article (as per MOS:BEGIN). 'Three countries' is far too vague. Were those three 'countries' Canada and the European Union, a wholly different context would be established than were they (as they are), Liberia and Burma. I can't shake the feeling this is an attempt at whitewashing and hence bias. —what a crazy random happenstance 03:22, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
Metrication or lack thereof of those two countries has nothing to do with metrication in the US (the title of this article). It is not relevant to the article and that information can be found in the Metric System article, which deals with the topic from a broader, worldwide perspective. If some specific trade agreement were propagating the nonmetric usage amongst the three countries or if they were influencing the US usage, then there would be something to include. Otherwise, this is just anecdotal information, not pertinent. Also, I must say I'm disappointed by what was written previously. The US has nothing to be embarassed about with regards to metrication. There are many obstacles to overcome - political, social and economic to name a few. The US has converted to metric in many aspects, just not enough for some. Why should we be embarassed to be mentioned with Liberia and Burma? I can't wait for that explanation. JackOL31 (talk) 23:54, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
Unless they are US citizens, the readers of this article will almost all come from countries using the metric system, as I do. When we discover that the US still uses imperial and other non-metric measures, we wonder why. We ask ourselves, how many other countries are like mine and how many other countries are like the USA. People are like that. they are interested in where they stand in the world spectrum. OK. Next discovery... Only three countries haven't metricated. Righto. Inevitable next question. Which ones? Liberia and Burma! Hmmmmm. Well, they're nothing like the USA, so what is it about the USA that's stopped it metricating?
See the logic? The two other countries' names are essential to this article. No, they are not like the USA, and that's the point. Without stating who they are, the article is very incomplete. HiLo48 (talk) 00:23, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

I have to first say that the US doesn't use the Imperial system. It uses a combination of the US Customary and Metric systems. (Yes, contrary to popular belief, the US uses the metric system!) If you want to know how many other countries are metric or nonmetric, go to the Metric System article which discusses the concept from a "world spectrum" perspective. If you go to that site, you'll see the countries in question mentioned three times before you even have a chance to scroll. First, you will see a map with US-L-B shown and captioned, and then you'll find them mentioned twice in the second paragraph. If you scroll down, you'll see another map, with US-L-B clearly shown again! On another note, If I follow your line of reasoning, then I must conclude that I will find the other metric countries listed in the Metrication in the United Kingdom article. However, that's not the case (and rightly so!). But there is no need to despair. The "Metrication in the UK" article managed to find a way to include US, Liberia and Burma in its content! JackOL31 (talk) 03:27, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

Gee JackOL31, you may not be embarrassed for your country, but you're certainly angry. Calm it down. You won't convince anyone of anything with that tone. The UK IS irrelevant to this discussion because it has officially converted. The discussion is about those countries that haven't officially converted. And please try to politely address the actual points made by others about THIS article. HiLo48 (talk) 03:37, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
A poor argument indeed. Were there an uproar on non-compliance with council regulations, and 3000 pubs complied and two didn't, you can almost certainly bet that the latter would be listed on the page of the former and vice versa. Sentences in the style of "X is one of two countries to do Y. Z is the other." are commonplace on Wikipedia, and rightfully so. Also, yes, I'm familiar with the silly argument that the US doesn't use the Imperial system, but 'US customary units'. Hmm, and my local policeman is a 'citizen-crime interface consultant'. Even most Americans will tell you they use the Imperial system. Cue the references to 19th century British legislation which is almost entirely irrelevant. But this bickering won't get us anywhere, and the more you insist the three countries aren't listed, the more curious I become to see why you're so committed to keep them out. —what a crazy random happenstance 03:54, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm not angry and my tone is just fine. I'm cool and collected. I'm thinking you need to chill. I must also respectfully note that you have misstated again, the article is not about those countries not officially converted to metric, but rather about metrication in the US. Similarly, that is why I wouldn't expect to find a list of converted countries in the Metrication in the UK article. Indeed, I am addressing this article, but you're all over the board with statements regarding "US using Imperial", "the article being about nonconverted countries", and "embarassment to be seen with Liberia and Burma". Please consider taking your own advice. (I still am eagerly awaiting your explanation why the US should be embarassed to be seen with Liberia and Burma.) JackOL31 (talk) 04:16, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
Regarding "happenstance", I stand by what I said earlier. If you don't agree, then we'll have to agree to disagree. "Even most Americans will tell you they use the Imperial system", please cite your proof. I'm not bickering, I'm just don't agree with your position. Also, very interesting that somebody states their position and you reply with innuendo. There is nothing more to discover, despite your curiosity. JackOL31 (talk) 04:16, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
Both happenstance and I have given reasons for the inclusion of the other two countries. You haven't discussed those reasons at all. Just said that you disagree. One of the wisest comments I read in a discussion on Wikipedia is that it's very difficult to reason someone out of a position they haven't reasoned themselves into. Your inability to provide and discuss reasons suggests we might have that kind of situation here. PS: The Imperial / US Customary discussion is a red herring. Totally irrelevant to this discussion. HiLo48 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 04:22, 10 January 2010 (UTC).
I broke out into a grin when you called my remarks innuendo, but I agree with HiLo48, it's a rather irrelevant distinction to this debate. I too would like to hear reasons why the nations oughtn't be included, as per MOS:BEGIN I'm fairly sure they should be, and I've yet to hear a well-formulated argument to the contrary. —what a crazy random happenstance 04:54, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
I've already explained why I believe it should not be included. I stand by what I said in my first post. Your statements keep revolving around me being offtrack and that's getting tiresome. P.S. The Imperial/US Customary was not a red herring. You were either wrong in your understanding or misstated. My intent was to set the record straight. Feel free to not recognize nor acknowledge your error. By the way, I'm still eagerly awaiting your explanation why the US should be embarassed to be seen with Liberia and Burma.
Another word for innuendo is insinuation. To wit, "...the more you insist the three countries aren't listed, the more curious I become to see why you're so committed to keep them out." You are insinuating that I have other reasons other than what I had previously stated. This violates Wiki's policy of personal attacks and assuming good faith. My only response to your innuendo is that there is nothing more to discover, which is more than what I should have said. If you'd like to see my well-formulated argument, I would ask that you please reread my first post. Also, I am eagerly awaiting your citation regarding, "Even most Americans will tell you they use the Imperial system". JackOL31 (talk) 06:03, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
OK, I just went back to your first post to try to find reasons. All I can really find is "It is not relevant...". The problem we have is that many people think it is. The reason I started this discussion was because an edit war was underway, with the other countries' names being added then deleted in turn several times. The more the discussion progressed the more I became convinced it was relevant, proven alone by the fact that this discussion exists. I gave reasons why I thought it was relevant. So have others. You really haven't discussed those reasons. At this stage many people seem to think it's a good idea. I've seen no posts that actually point out that it will do any harm. So, an addition wanted by some, and that will do no harm. Might as well be there. HiLo48 (talk) 06:31, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

Well first off, I'm going to let you off the hook regarding the "embarassment" statement. However, you should consider how that appears to others.

Secondly, at least in the discussion, I don't see the many people that you mention. It's just you and happenstance, so it appears that you are overstating the situation. Anyway, I see Fnlayson opposes it and so do I, in some cases for the same reasons he indicated. I think he's stated his reasons quite well and they have just been ignored in the enthusiasm of the opposing view. Basically, the position you support boils down to the idea that the US is one of three, therefore the article should enumerate all three (to do otherwise is to only present a partial picture, etc...). So, I'll explain my reasons once more why I don't believe that position is valid after I make a couple observations. A) You can't assert your position is relevant by the mere fact that the discussion exists. Especially in light of the fact that the opposing view purports that the proposed content should be left out because it's irrelevant. B) Saying something won't do any harm is also not a good reason for inclusion.

Lastly, to restate and paraphrase my objections regarding inclusion:

  • The article is about metrication taking place in the US (its process, progress, status, ...). The countries of Liberia and Burma have nothing to do with this. There is no connection between metrication in the US and the nonmetric countries of Liberia & Burma. If you view other articles regarding a countries' metrication process, you cannot find similar treatment of enumerating other countries in the article.
  • The list of "which country is on which list" is found in the Metric System article, the appropriate place for the topic. It is covered fully and anyone interested can go to that page.
  • The information is repetitive and adds no value to the topic of metrication's progress, status, etc. in the US.

The bottom line is this, "Do the countries of Liberia and Burma have any direct or indirect effect on the ongoing metrication in the US?" The answer to that question is no. The proposed information is not germane to this topic. JackOL31 (talk) 02:18, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

NB: The above was greatly amended after the following reply and discussion. —what a crazy random happenstance 17:15, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
I did not personally attack you. AGF is a guideline, not a policy. I did not use innuendo, but sarcasm - the highest form of wit. And the nomenclature is irrelevant, that was a side-note to a side-argument. How about you enlighten us in your infinite wisdom and repost your brilliantly argued argument? We appear to be far too stupid to be able to find it ourselves. —what a crazy random happenstance 06:39, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
Actually, you did personally attack me and it was not sarcasm. You called into question my veracity and you out-and-out stated that you wondered about my other than stated reasons. Now your last two lines are sarcasm, but sarcasm is not the polite (guidelines) way to discuss a disagreement. It may interest you to know that the correct saying is, "Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit", since it is easy to do and unkind to the other person. You can find it documented in the Cambridge Idioms Dictionary, 2nd ed. or the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Since you continue to be sarcastic and confrontational, I think it best that I decline any further discussion with you on this topic. JackOL31 (talk) 01:49, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Oh, that's brilliant, so rather than provide an argument, you conclude that you won't even dignify us with such an answer. If that is the case, please excuse us and leave, this section is for debating the article, not imaginary accusations or a tantrum. Saying you lack an argument is not an attack on your veracity, it's a fact, which you have now so kindly definitively proven by refusing to provide one. I would suggest you read What is considered to be a personal attack?, since you don't appear to be familiar with it. Please don't reply to any of this, at least on this page. Provide an argument or please stop wasting our time, since we're actually interested in getting somewhere with this debate. —what a crazy random happenstance 04:19, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

I just reread the lead as it currently stands. The sentence in question says "The USA is one of three countries that do not officially use the metric system." I can assure you that when I read a statement like that I inevitably want to know who the other two are. I reckon there will be many other readers like me. Sure, a keen reader can look it up, but why should they have to. This is where my point of "does no harm" applies. The information (a handful of words) would add considerably to the smooth readability of the article, and would do no harm. It seems to me that you want the article to be incomplete. The names of the other two become relevant as soon as the "one of three" expression is used. They are no more important than completing the train of thought put in place by that statement, but they are needed to complete that train of thought. It is better writing than asking readers to leap off to references for information that would so easily (and harmlessly) be put in the article. HiLo48 (talk) 02:29, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

Exactly, it's an incomplete sentence. There is no conceivable harm and every benefit. —what a crazy random happenstance 04:19, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
(HiLo48) I just can't agree with your assessment. I keep coming back to the same point, Liberia/Burma have nothing to do with metrication in the US and therefore, not relevant to the article. I believe putting irrelevant information in the article is harmful. I am not an advocate of everything but the kitchen sink. Even so, I don't find the argument "does no harm" as a compelling one. I think we are beginning to repeat ourselves and I would like suggest we suspend this discussion and move on for now. JackOL31 (talk) 22:50, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
Is that really a viable course though? The second that bit is modified, we'd be right back here again continuing where we left off. —what a crazy random happenstance 03:38, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
You're reason for changing was inaccurate. The last this discussion was left at was no consensus to change. I'll go for mediation if you'd like to, but for now it should remain as it was until a consensus to change has occurred. JackOL31 (talk) 16:24, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

Again, I would suggest a footnote as a reasonable compromise here. The information in question is impeccably sourced and comes from an official US government publication, so the claim that it somehow is intended to embarrass the United States is a bit far fetched. I only count one editor who objects to including the information in any form. Consensus does not mean unanimity.--agr (talk) 16:47, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

Since there's been nothing resembling a proper debate I'm going to compromise and agree to it being included as a footnote, with a reservation that if this is raised again, it be discussed in full and not just flat out rejected with a pointer to this 'discussion' as some sort of precedent. I would also suggest it not be included as a simple numbered ref, which everyone tends to ignore, but as a proper explanatory note. —what a crazy random happenstance 17:09, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
I prefer no change that includes the irrelevant information. Mediation if you wish. I prefer no changes until I can discuss further. This is not my timeframe when I can devote to discussion. There is no emergency to change now. JackOL31 (talk) 17:28, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
I understand your preference, but I think this discussion has reached agreement on a compromise, with yours the only dissent as far as I can tell. I think it's time to move on. Wikipedia will not be harmed by the footnote mention of the other two countries pending any mediation and the average American can continue to drive down the road at 55 miles per hour in a metric-threaded Chevrolet with half a dozen 2-liter bottles of Diet Coke (unit price $1.19/quart) in the trunk, bought to help shed a few pounds before the 5 K road race.--agr (talk) 20:11, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
A footnote would be great for the purpose of including the information, but would that not be even more disruptive to the flow of the article? It's not as if a footnote is required to house a lengthy explanation of the footnoted sentence. I agree with HiLo48 that readers encountering the phrase "one of three countries," will of course be curious what the other two countries are. I don't believe that anybody is out to embarass the United States in this article, to assert such would be to attack a straw man. Were there more than just a few nations that did not officially use the metric system, it might be too much burden to list the "important" nations among them, but this is not the case here. A quick half-sentence in the article lead would allow the article to be more complete, include relevant (and interesting) information, and satisfy readers' curiosity on the topic. –ArmadniGeneral (talkcontribs) 20:27, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

JackOL31 insists that the other two countries are irrelevant. Irrelevant is an absolute state, and as soon as someone says it IS relevant, JackOL31 has been proven wrong. While it may be irrelevant to him, it is relevant to someone else. The audience here is everybody, so it IS relevant. HiLo48 (talk) 21:53, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

We've established a majority 4 to 1 for including it in the lead. I'd call that a consensus. —what a crazy random happenstance 03:42, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

All in favor of just putting "along with Burma (Myanmar) and Liberia." in the sentence?

  1. ArmadniGeneral (talkcontribs) 06:34, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
  2. what a crazy random happenstance 07:46, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
  3. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 12:51, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
  4. I'm confused. How do I add myself to this list? HiLo48 (talk) 21:07, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
    As shown. :) ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 23:53, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
  5. I'd prefer a footnote, but I would not object to this.--agr (talk) 20:52, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

All opposed?


The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Construction - NOT similar to Japan

The article tells us that in the construction industry the USA is similar to Japan in using old customary units. I submit that it is very different. The Japanese, being a demographically stable country, are using units which evolved in that country, whereas in the USA, just like its people, units were imported from various parts of Europe up to a particular point in its history, when it decided to stop doing so. A completely different situation.

That statement needs to be removed.

HiLo48 (talk) 23:18, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Supplement vs. Replace

If there's any intention to do away with the American System, it's moving slow as molasses in mid-winter. Currently Metric supplements American in general. It's been at a steady-state for a long time. It's best to say it supplements with the potential to replace. Because at the moment, "potential" is all it is. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 11:50, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

Two editors have now insisted in three changes that the article about metrication in the US must be different from those for other countries, They are blatantly pushing wording that says that metric units will supplement rather than replace traditional units. This is pure POV. I cannot change it again without breaching 3RR. I have asked for discussion, but nothing. So we have POV pushing plus refusing to discuss. Totally unacceptable behaviour. HiLo48 (talk) 11:51, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

OK, we had an almost edit conflict there, so we overlapped, but I think a simple read of that post from BB above will demonstrate the obvious POV being pushed onto this article. Have we heard of WP:RS? HiLo48 (talk) 11:54, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
Where's the evidence that the US intends to do away with the American System anytime soon? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 11:55, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
If that's the official intention, the article should say so. But if it's going nowhere, there's no point in pretending it's going to replace it. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 11:58, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
Where is the evidence Wikipedia requires to change the article today? WP:OR? Why should we write about the USA differently from other countries? HiLo48 (talk) 12:01, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
Because we don't use the metric system as our primary system, nor are we likely to anytime soon. To claim that there's an active movement to replace the American system with the metric system, you've got to cite some evidence in support of that claim. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 12:30, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
HiLo, since you're a foreign national, I'm going to assume you've never been in the US for more than a few weeks on vacation (holiday) and therefore don't know our stance on going metric; it basically sums up to four points:
  • Replacing the traffic signs in every city, county, and state will not be cheap; it's been tried before and that didn't end too well. The Canadians and Australians got away with it due to having smaller populations, and therefore smaller cities. We have a highly urbanized population of approximately 300 million, while Canada and Australia combined make up just short of 20% of that.
  • It doesn't benefit us in any way (measurements are just that; it's not like we're changing to driving on the other side of the road). The way most Americans see it, the idea of the federal government spending billions of dollars just to change road signs sounds like a waste of time, which it is. It's not like using inches and pounds keeps us living in the Dark Ages, even though that's where the system's predecessor originated from. Sure, its easy to learn and convert to, but is the juice really worth the squeeze?
  • Anyone born after the late-1980's was most likely taught the metric system in primary school, and therefore has a basic grasp of the system.
  • The federal government requires consumer products to be labeled with metric units anyway, so we are a metric nation to some extent. - 71.22.151.202 (talk) 12:53, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
We used strictly metrics in our science classes in school. The user's page has a statement that implies Americans don't understand the metric units: "...cannot figure out why Americans have such a hard time with them." We understand the metric system fine. We just have no use for it, except where required by law. The bottom line is that the average American would likely ask, "What's in it for me?" and the answer is: Nothing. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 13:24, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

I disagree with the phrase "to supplement and potentially replace". The movement that initiated the metrication process and drove it forward clearly intended to replace the customary units in trade and commerce. The language of the various metric conversion acts makes that clear. So rather than retroactively changing the goal of metrication, the ideal article would describe it as a movement that was not fully successful.

As to how successful it was, there are many ways to access that. First, you have to decide if you want to include non-SI metric measurements, such as millimeters of mercury for blood pressure. Then you have to decide if you want to include the electric industry, since there are no customary units for electricity. Once you have decided which units to count, then you have to decide how to do the counting.

In principle (although I know of no study that has done this) you could have observers listen to what units the proverbial man-on-the-street uses in unforced situations. Another approach would be to examine whether metric or customary are the primary consumer-facing unit in various product categories (bicycles are metric, beer is customary) and weight the result by the sales volume of the various product categories. Or, you could examine whether the engineers who designed the various product categories worked in metric or customary, and again weight the results by the sales volume of the various product categories.

As far as I know, there are no studies that would allow us to make a sound assessment of the degree of adoption of metric units in the USA. Jc3s5h (talk) 15:38, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

So, what do we have here? Two paranoid Americans pushing a change of definition onto this article, making it different from that for other countries, writing illogical essays (all those arguments were presented before other countries metricated), and providing no sources, for what is a fundamental change to an article. Our IP editor has even placed a version of his (her?) essay on my talk page. A real waste, since as an IP editor there is little point in me attempting to reply on his Talk page. My advice to that person. If you want to get this involved in Wikipedia discussions, please register and log on. then we can talk to you as a person, not kust a number. You will have your own Talk page. Much nicer.
I am not here to debate the merits of metrication. That's not what this page and this encyclopaedia are here for. I am here to create better articles, based on reliable sources, and not original research. The edits imposed on the article by our IP editor and supported by Baseball Bugas use neither. They are a classic, tunnel-visioned, US centric attempt to dominate an article in a global encyclopaedia. HiLo48 (talk) 21:15, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
I could just as easily turn your personal attacks back at you if I wanted to. :) ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:19, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
(ec) I understand what Jc3s5h is saying now. The problem I have with the original wording is that it makes it sound as if there's a major ongoing, continuous effort, with an inevitable conclusion - which there isn't. It got to a certain point and then stalled, for the reasons laid out well by 71.22.151.202 above. You could change "is" to "was" and it would be more accurate. Putting it in the past tense, you could then say "replace" instead of "supplement and potentially replace". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:17, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
You could simply try to think about why you aggressively broke Wikipedia's rules, and then called "Personal Attack!" when called on it. WHERE ARE THE SOURCES? HiLo48 (talk) 21:28, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
I've seen your anti-American comments on other pages, so get off your high kangaroo for awhile here. I'd like to see some evidence that there is any kind of productive, ongoing effort in the USA. Can you present such evidence? If not, then change the "is" to a "was" and we're good. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:31, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
HiLo48, calling the IP editor and Baseball Bugs two paranoid Americans doesn't help you at all; projecting your elitist attitude will cause you to lose any support you may have had. This is an article related to the United States, its logical that this page is being edited by a group of Americans. You don't know what goes on in this country since you don't live here. KentuckyFriedRamen (talk) 01:01, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
This conversation could potentially include people who originally know absolutely nothing about America, but who are capable of transferring information from reliable sources. That's what we do in Wikipedia. When some Americans here feel it necessary to impose their own observations and beliefs on an article it is a breach of WP:OR and WP:NPOV. I called those doing so paranoid Americans, perhaps a little rudely, but while trying to work out why they felt so strongly that they ignored the rules here. HiLo48 (talk) 01:38, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
If you find a reputable source that indicates the metric system will replace the American system, then by all means, insert the reference. - KentuckyFriedRamen (talk) 02:15, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
You have missed the point. My concern here is that less than 24 hours ago an IP editor chose to alter the article to change Replace to Supplement, with no new sources or references added to the article. That was not an acceptable change. I reverted it, and then Baseball Bugs reverted my change, still with no new references or sources. Both editors had, by then, broken two Wikipedia guidelines. I reverted twice, with an explanation, but then stopped reverting because I didn't want to breach guidelines myself. So, we have had a change imposed on the article through rule breaking, and now you're asking me to justify changing the article back to what it was before the rules were broken! All of you may have a point in your views about the difficulties of the US making a change to metric, but the approach used here on this article will never work to convince others that your position is a rational one. HiLo48 (talk) 02:44, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
No, what I'm asking for is proof that the metric system will replace the customary system. The word "replace" is what caused the issue in the first place. Perhaps it is best that the article is reworded. But anyways, metrication was attempted in the 1970's and the transition was hardly successful; there is currently no ongoing process to make a full change, let alone an official discussion of doing so. This may be taking it a bit far, but renaming the article to Metric System in the United States is possibly the best way to go. I'm a new editor and I don't want to be at the center of controversy in this discussion; a more experienced editor or an administrator should make the decision to rename the article. The facts within the article may justify renaming it. KentuckyFriedRamen (talk) 03:22, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
It probably would have been better to get consensus before renaming the article. However, it's clear that the USA is in no hurry to "metricate", and HiLo's complaint was that the other articles all read a particular way. So with a different name, it won't have to conform to a standard for the other articles. We'll see what others think, though. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 04:23, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
Yep, that lasted all of 23 minutes. But it wasn't a total waste of effort, as now you know the process for renaming a page. :) ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 04:28, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
You're onto it. If this article had been written 4 decades ago, "replace" might have worked. Generally speaking, the metric system in the US is an "oh by the way" on commodity goods, and is ignored for traditional measurements. It's used within isolated communities, such as scientific projects. But it's nowhere close to being mainstream, 40 years after "metrication" was attempted. So to imply the American System is going to be replaced, as the article was doing previously, is hopelessly optimistic (as well as POV-pushing, which is against the rules), and also crystal-balling (which is also against the rules). If there were evidence to support the notion that inches, feet, yards, miles, gallons, bushels, acres, etc., are going to be replaced within our lifetime, I would be fine with the previous wording. There is no such evidence that I'm seeing, and the fact that misleading word was there for so long I would say is due to a lack of vigilance on the part of editors watching the page (me included). ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 03:42, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
At least the intro was kept; but anyways, a discussion on renaming the article should be made. Hopefully, there won't be any metric bias coming out of HiLo; it's very obvious that he is biased against customary units for some reason. Measurements exist for one reason: measuring stuff. So what if we use a different system? It gets the job done anyway, and look where we are now. - KentuckyFriedRamen (talk) 04:40, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
My bias here is against rule breaking and poor logic. Any bias here has surely been demonstrated by those who feel it is OK to change and move the article without following due process. Found any sources yet? HiLo48 (talk) 04:49, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
Sources for what? I don't have to prove a negative. You need to find sources that there is still an active program to continue converting the US to metric. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 05:24, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
There isn't a single reputable source that indicates the US is making a full transition to the metric system. All I found were articles that discussed the system. The process is going no faster than this. - KentuckyFriedRamen (talk) 05:43, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

Ok, folks. Not having read all this first, I edited the article because it clearly had some structural issues particularly at the beginning. The debate about replace or supplement is really unnecessary and the demand for citations of either one or the other is mood. It should be obvious to all that such a process would take a long time longer than it already has in the many attempts, and any process of adoption of a metric system would be a process of parallel usage for a generation or three. You can't change the language and habits of the people in their daily lives by a law in short order. But let's also be clear, that a process of official metrication (from top down) would never be undertaken if the customary units were intended to stay around for ever. There is a reason why only 3 countries remain. But in many of those that have adopted SI, people still use old measures occasionally. This process always has the ultimate goal of replacement, otherwise it doesn't make much sense. What appears to be happening is a slow process of metrication from the bottom up in the US, trade and science organization start using it, partially or fully, it shows up more frequently in the media, as the news is word-wide now and people get exposed to foreign ways, etc, it starts percolating society. The dispute over replace/supplement is not worthwhile, it's both as a process, so it's best to avoid the language that leads to such discontent and rewrite poor prose. Kbrose (talk) 06:55, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

I like your rewritten lead, especially as the previous version still had the tone of "why won't the US get with the program?" The answer to that question is simple: "Because we don't need to." Your "bottom up" or "grassroots" reference has merit. I might make a comparison with English vs. Spanish. A lot of folks resist Spanish becoming a major second language. However, reality dictates the need for knowledge of Spanish. Likewise, eventually need may override the resistance to metrics in this country. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 07:06, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
As long as a football field is still 100 yards rather than 91.4 meters, gorillas are still 800 lbs rather than 362.8 kilos, and the Quarter Pounder doesn't get replaced by the Royale with Cheese, I'm fine with the metric system. - KentuckyFriedRamen (talk) 07:46, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
Well, to allay your fears somewhat, in Australia, the Quarter Pounder is still on the menu at MacDonalds. Popular sports here with obvious Imperial measure include cricket and tennis. The dimensions haven't changed. And just about everybody knows exactly is meant by an 800 lb gorilla. While most things are automatically spoken of in metric terms now, newborn babies' weights are still announced in pounds. But within weeks they turn metric and are described in kgs. Some land sale advertisements still speak of acres. I reckon that's just because they're smaller than hectares, so the properties sound bigger. We still have a Ninety Mile Beach, but it's 250km from here. HiLo48 (talk) 08:05, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
Aside from the ubiquitous two-liter bottle, I've come to the conclusion that most Americans are just turned off by the names of metric units simply because there's more syllables. I know it sounds ridiculous, but there may be some truth in it; the most commonly used customary units have one or two syllables: the pound, ounce, gallon, quart, pint, cups, mile, yard, feet, etc. It explains why the military truncates the names of metric units to klicks, kilos, and mils. KentuckyFriedRamen (talk) 08:43, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
Mils? In the US, the widespread use of the mils means thousandths of an inch, not a millimeter, and the military use mils as a measure of angle (1/1000 of 90 degrees). Kbrose (talk) 14:53, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I was going to comment on that. "Mil" means 1/1000th of an inch. I recall ads for trash bags bragging that they were "3 mils thick" or some such. There is also "mill", which is used to designate 1/1000th of a dollar, as opposed to cent, which is 1/100th. Obviously those terms come from "centi" and "milli". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 15:00, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
Hmmm, I guess I just learned something new today. :) 71.22.151.202 (talk) 22:02, 20 August 2010 (UTC)


Most of the longer words become abbreviated pretty quickly when conversion occurs. It's human nature. In Australia, it's quite common to be told that something is 20 k down the road. Can't abbreviate much more than that. It could be encyclopaedic to look at these abbreviations, if someone has done a decent study. HiLo48 (talk) 08:51, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
"K" is in common usage in America in reference to kilometers, typically in describing a foot race that's lengthy but well short of a marathon.. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:14, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
And does anyone remember that "mile" actually means 1000 (just like "k")? It is a short derivation from "mille passuum": a thousand steps. −Woodstone (talk) 06:32, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
If I remember correctly, the mille passus is just short of 1,500 meters. KentuckyFriedRamen (talk) 07:13, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
According to this,[3] the original Roman mile was 1,000 "double paces". They're saying this equates to 4,860 feet (i.e. just short of 1,500 meters). Not sure where they get that number from, but if you take a pace as 2 1/2 feet and a double pace as 5, then you arrive at 5,000 feet per mile. I'm sure the story of how it ended up at 5,280 feet (implying a double-pace length of 5.28 feet) is amusing, but that particular number is divisible by lots of other numbers, so it works out. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 07:23, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
I was only trying to say that short forms develop naturally and the origin may be even forgotten and totally obscure. Although the word "mile" means originally just "1000", the thing a mile is a thousand of (a pace) is not even in use any more. −Woodstone (talk) 08:06, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
Not formally, anyway, although it's still taken to be reasonably close to a yard. The original baseball rules in the 1840s specified the diamond be laid out out from home to second and first to third as "42 paces, equidistant". That's a different way of saying "126 feet", which results in base-to-base distance of 90 feet (or very close). ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 10:38, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

This isn't supposed to be taken seriously, and I highly doubt it will ever be implemented, but I've come up with a revised version of our current system. Its not exactly a base 10 system, but it's more consistent with regards to the breaking down of units and metric users can comprehend it more easily.

  • Length
  • 1 inch - 2.54 cm
  • 1 foot: 10 inches - 25.4 cm
  • 1 yard: 5 feet - 1.27 m
  • 1 mile: 1000 yards - 1.27 km
  • Mass
  • 1 ounce - 28.3 grams
  • 1 lb: 20 ounces - 0.56 kgs
  • 1 stone: 20 lbs - 11.3 kgs
  • 1 ton: 2,000 lbs - 1.13 metric tons (tonnes)
  • Volume
  • I still need to work on this and units for Area, but I'm basically dropping the hogshead simply because I highly doubt anyone uses it and I don't like the name. Dry units are gonna be a pain. KentuckyFriedRamen (talk) 21:55, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Cute, but there's a reason why our measurements are what they are. For example, land is measured in acres. An acre is 160 square rods, or 43,560 square feet, a rod being 16 1/2 feet. Another way of thinking of an acre is that it's a rectangle whose longer side is 1 furlong (660 feet or 220 yards or 40 rods... or 1/8 mile, which is how horse races are measured) and whose shorter side is 1/10th of a furlong (66 feet or 22 yards or 4 rods or 1 chain - and also the distance between the wickets on a cricket pitch). A mile being 5,280 feet, there are 640 acres in a square mile. I'm sure this all drives metric enthusiasts nuts because not only is it not based on 10s, it's also largely based on rectangles instead of squares. But it's how the entire midwest was divided up for farming allocation back in the 1830s or so, and to convert all that to multiple decimal point hectares would provide no apparent added value. When comparing yield (bushels per acre) with the yields of our overseas partners (quintals per hectare), it's no problem to simply multiply by a constant in order to convert. Those are just numbers on a spreadsheet. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:24, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
  • I love hearing metric fanatics whine about fractions, and I just tell them to work on their arithmetic; converting between the two is second nature if you do it frequently; I do it out of necessity since I fly out to Japan at least twice a year. America and the British Empire were built on customary units; nothing wrong with keeping a system that worked for them. KentuckyFriedRamen (talk) 23:12, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
  • It's not difficult to convert if necessary. The one I have in my head is .3048, which is the factor for converting feet to meters (and vice versa, by dividing). For temperatures I have a thermometer with both Celcius and Fahrenheit, just for reference as Celcius as a scale is inferior to Fahrenheit. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 23:20, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
  • I hate Celsius; its good for chemistry, but for everyday use, its just useless. Fahrenheit was developed around comfortable temperatures for humans. You can walk around in your boxers when its 32 °F (not that I've tried, nor would I advise doing so) but not 0 °F. KentuckyFriedRamen (talk) 23:40, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
  • That's an excellent point. 50 is kind of the dividing line between OK and not-so-OK. 100 is really warm and 0 is about as cold as you want to get. This highlights the basic problem with metrics (which of course is touted as if it were a virtue), that it's not based on "human" measurements. I like to say that, like the old saying about how a camel is "a horse designed by a committee", the meter likewise is "a yard designed by a committee". "Hey, we could use the standard yard, but instead let's make it 39.37 inches. That won't be too tough to remember." ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 01:11, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
Another complaint: If you take away the hogshead, how will that benefit Mr. Kite? :) ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:16, 22 August 2010 (UTC)