Stupid thought: english vs. metric measures

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by wt21, Dec 2, 2013.

  1. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    Just realized a silly thing this morning:

    Due to photography, I know have a feel for grams. 100g differences. What 600g feels like vs. 300 vs. 1000, etc. All due to lens and camera weights. Though I've lived in the US, I never got a real feel for ounces.

    But, I do know the weight of pounds. I know what 1 pound feels like, or 5 or 10 or 25. But I have no feeling for Kg, unless I first convert it to pounds.

    Same thing with meters and miles. I know short distances in meters, due to focal distances, but I have a much better feel for miles and fractional miles than kilometers. Maybe the English have always felt this way -- residing as they do between their own system, but so near the Continent.

    For me, it's all due to my hobby as a photographer. Otherwise, I'd have no feel for metric measures at all.
     
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  2. RidgeRunner22

    RidgeRunner22 SC Regular

    65
    May 31, 2013
    Jackson, WY
    Sam
    For me the one metric I truly grasp is kilometers. My coach in college really liked running 1000m repeats all the time, and in races i would pace myself that way. To this day if im on foot Im thinking in kilometers
     
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  3. christilou

    christilou SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2010
    Sunny Frimley
    They began to teach our kids the metric system some years ago. Mine are 22. 28 and 30 years old and none of them have any idea about feet and inches!
     
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  4. Richard

    Richard SC Top Veteran

    564
    Feb 1, 2013
    Marlow, UK
    Growing up in the 1970s I lived through decimalisation (when we changed the currency from pounds, shillings and pence to just pounds and new pence), and then came metrification.

    This left my generation thoroughly confused, as we were taught in metres and litres and centigrade at school, and yet at home it was all inches and pints and Fahrenheit. To some extent this muddle has persisted to the present day, as I buy my beer and milk in pints and my fruit juice and petrol in litres. Similarly, I know what the price of petrol is per litre and my car's fuel consumption in miles per gallon, and I know my height in feet and inches and my weight in kilos.

    Does anyone else remember the rhymes that were supposed to help us learn the metric system?

    A litre of water's a pint and three quarters, two and a quarter pounds of jam weigh about a kilogram, a metre measures three foot three, it's longer than the yard you see ...

    -R
     
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  5. IVN

    IVN SC Veteran

    457
    Aug 27, 2013
    Where I come from, we only use metric, decimal and centigrade systems. To this day I'm puzzled with the awkward, illogical measurement systems in the US and UK.

    I mean, what's more logical?

    This

    1km = 1000m, 1m = 10dm, 1dm = 10cm, 1cm = 10mm

    or this?

    1 mile = 1760 yards, 1 yard = 3 feet, 1 foot = 12 inches

    Makes no sense to me.

    The only measurement system we use that I hate, is time measurement. Why use odd numbers for hours in a day, minutes in an hour and seconds in a minute, when you use the metric system for time shorter than a second and longer than a year? I get the year = 365,25 part, but the rest makes little sense.
     
  6. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    1 mile = 5,280 feet is how I remember it :)

    Of course the metric system is more logical. It was invented later to clean up the mess of former systems. The English measurement system organically grew over time, though it wasn't formalized until later (oddly enough -- AFTER the metric system was invented - maybe a Brit/French rivalry thing going on?). Same thing with height in hands or weight in stone. It seems that the old system went all the way back to Rome and the Anglo-Saxons http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_measurement_units
     
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  7. ReD

    ReD SC Hall of Famer

    Mar 27, 2013
    Yup still confused after all these years on long distances & I work in metric daily (I get confused with feet & inches)

    UK Road signs need to change to metric for me to get a grip on it

    Cannot visualise the American Person weight system - 200 lbs guy walks into a bar etc - I only relate to stones. Person weight in Kilos is totally lost on me
     
  8. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    olli
    My experience too. I was in school at the time the UK went decimal and have spent my entire life relating to certain things in imperial and certain things in metric.

    Like ReD I also can't get a grip on the US way of expressing things in pounds rather than stones. 210lbs means nothing to me; 15 stones tells me all I need to know. Over here in the US I also struggle with fahrenheit since I think of temperature in centigrade and I also feel short changed in the pubs over here since a US pint is smaller than a British pint.

    Sometimes, though, the consequences of confusion can be quite expensive.
     
  9. Ripleysbaby

    Ripleysbaby supernatural anesthetist

    Sep 9, 2011
    Cumbria UK
    Garry
    I was also brought up with metric and imperial . Thank goodness for metric I say. If we had to go back to the old ways , I'd run a mile !

    I'll never get over the fact that I was never told during school that 1lt of water weighs 1kg.
    I only found that out last year !


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  10. Yeats

    Yeats SC All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    Chris
    I'm pretty fine with both.

    About 30 years ago, the US gov't had an initiative to have some highway signs with both Metric and English measurements. That ran out of steam pretty quickly. All that remains is a sign on Route 80, giving the distance to the Delaware Water Gap in both formats.
     
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  11. Richard

    Richard SC Top Veteran

    564
    Feb 1, 2013
    Marlow, UK
    They should have told you that it fits in a cube with sides of 10cm, too. See how much fun you can have once you adopt the metric system!

    -R
     
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  12. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    I work in both, comfortably. but I have a preference for proper Imperial. Bizarrely, I think in Farenheit in the Summer (90 degrees SOUNDS hot) and in Centepedes in the Winter (-1 SOUNDS cold). I visualise in feet and inches and always set my camera to feet in the menu. My son, who is 20, will tell you his height in feet and inches, and his weight in stones and pounds - and that is none of my doing! I CANNOT visualise metres, or kilometres, although the latter is useful when overseas because if you are used to working in MPH you get everywhere quicker! :D
     
  13. Djarum

    Djarum SC All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
    Jason
    The one I have most trouble with is that some people incorrectly refer to millimeter as "mil" when "mil" is thousandth of an inch. The irony there is a 10 based division on a 12 based system, lol. Ounce comes from latin and is 1/12th of a Roman pound. For imperial, ounce is 1/16 of a pound. Then there is troy weight, which says a troy ounce is 1/12th of a troy pound.
     
  14. Ripleysbaby

    Ripleysbaby supernatural anesthetist

    Sep 9, 2011
    Cumbria UK
    Garry
    Incorrectly ? Mil has several official meanings


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  15. ReD

    ReD SC Hall of Famer

    Mar 27, 2013
    its miLL
     
  16. drd1135

    drd1135 SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    It's not the ease of use but the feel for the units. Many Americans know what a centimeter is but will make more accurate estimates of length using inches. To make this work we have to switch completely to metric and not use the imperial system so the kids will think in cm.
     
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  17. Yeats

    Yeats SC All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    Chris
    This certainly has become a run-of-the-mill conversation...
     
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  18. drd1135

    drd1135 SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    That was bound to happen sooner or liter.
     
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  19. Yeats

    Yeats SC All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    Chris
    Before folks start throwing tomatoes at us, I hope they take 'em out of the cans first.
     
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  20. TheRubySusan

    TheRubySusan SC Top Veteran

    646
    Sep 2, 2013
    Henry, IL
    Ruby
    I'm pretty inept with both. Somewhere I heard the phrase "A pint's a pound the world around," and used to think I knew how much water weighed, and then my second husband (the beer snob) confused me with the Imperial pint and introduced the possibility that "pound" referred to "pound sterling," and now I just try not to think about it.