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US going metric?



 
 
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  #1  
Old January 5th, 2004, 12:04 AM
jj
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Default US going metric?

I'm curious, has there ever been an attempt at going metric in the US? e.g.
using Celsius? How do people feel about it?

jj


  #2  
Old January 5th, 2004, 12:12 AM
fishman
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Default US going metric?


"jj" wrote in message
...
I'm curious, has there ever been an attempt at going metric in the US?

e.g.
using Celsius? How do people feel about it?

jj



Astronomer Carl Sagan (billions upon billions of stars in the cosmos....)
was one of the biggest proponents in the 70's and 80's but it never took
off. It's rather a non-issue among the general population. Metric and
metric conversion are taught in public schools, for what it's worth.

Chris


  #3  
Old January 5th, 2004, 12:29 AM
JamesStep
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Default US going metric?

I'm curious, has there ever been an attempt
at going metric in the US? e.g. using Celsius?
How do people feel about it?


Metric is widely used in scientific and engineering
situations, in manufacturing, etc., but for everyday
uses (such as temperature) most folks stick with
the system they grew up with.

Often there is dual labelling. For example, a can of
Pepsi will list both ounces and mL; car speedometers
give both miles per hour and kilometers per hour
(although miles is in much bigger type).

I doubt if we'll see much of a push from politicians to
mandate metric for everyday use, as it woulnd't be
popular with the general public. But I think folks are
gradually becoming more comfortable with metric
and we'll see a gradual changeover, although it may
take decades.

James

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  #4  
Old January 5th, 2004, 12:36 AM
Dan Foster
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Default US going metric?

In article , jj wrote:
I'm curious, has there ever been an attempt at going metric in the US? e.g.
using Celsius? How do people feel about it?


Well, there was an aborted attempt in the late 1980s/early 1990s for the
highway signs; what killed it was a lack of funding to do the conversion
fully due to some political lobbying by well heeled folks. The complaint
from businesses can be generally summarised as being 'it's going to be
prohibitively expensive'... well, the Canadians seemed to do ok on the
whole with their own conversion not too long before that...

I believe there's been several other attempts to convert the country into
the metric system over the years, but significant opposition in the right
spots managed to kill that idea completely.

Some industries may already be using partial or completely metric
measurements; U.S. aviation is used to some aspects of the metric system.

For instance, all aviation weather reports are given out in degrees
Celsius, and most folks are used to barometric pressure in either inches of
mercury or millibars. For instance, a barometric altimeter pressure setting
of 29.92 inches of mercury is equivalent to 1013 millibars. Then there's
science, which commonly deals with metric units.

In my high school honor physics course (years ago), the first day was an
immediate introduction (or review, for the experienced) of the metric
system which was firmly adhered to for the entire year of class.

To this day, I still remember the gravitational "constant" 'g' was 9.80465
m/s^2 at the precise location where the high school was. Since the textbook
assumed 9.81 m/s^2 for 'g', we went by that for the textbook exercises.

I can't speak for others, but it wouldn't really bother me a whole lot; I'm
already used to dealing with metric units with others such as Canadians,
Europeans, etc... and regularly visit Canada and other spots in the world.

I'd guess the split between acceptance and rejection would probably lie
partially on age grounds; young(er) people seems to be more flexible in way
of thinking whereas someone older (like the folks passing the laws or
budget) might be less so inclined. And in this country, if you have
sufficient amount of money, you can usually get favo(u)rable laws passed
(or shot down)...

In my case, there'd be a slight adjustment since I'm a little shaky with
metric conversion at the really small level because I don't yet easily
visualise the magnitude, but a little time and practice usually takes care
of that.

-Dan
  #5  
Old January 5th, 2004, 01:01 AM
Henry
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Default US going metric?

jj wrote:

I'm curious, has there ever been an attempt at going metric in the US? e.g.
using Celsius? How do people feel about it?


In the early '70s, there were some Joint Resolutions which said,
basically, that the US should begin thinking about getting ready to
prepare for the possibility of considering a change to the metric
system. In the mid '70s I worked a job in a place that had international
sales and in light of the supposed atmosphere of metrification that was
spreading across the land I made a remark one day about the firm's units
of measurement. The foreman just about jumped down my throat. 'Why
should WE change?!?' he demanded. 'We're number one! Let the rest of
those countries [sic] change to OUR way!'

And in my firm, as in America generally, that was that.

cheers,

Henry
  #6  
Old January 5th, 2004, 01:33 AM
RJ
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Default US going metric?

Dan Foster wrote:

Well, there was an aborted attempt in the late 1980s/early 1990s for the
highway signs; what killed it was a lack of funding to do the conversion
fully due to some political lobbying by well heeled folks.


Why would anybody lobby on either side of the issue of road signs?

Road signs would have to be the least important aspect of using metric
measurement in any case.
  #7  
Old January 5th, 2004, 02:39 AM
iaink
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Default US going metric?


Originally posted by Rj





Why would anybody lobby on either side of the issue of road signs?




Road signs would have to be the least important aspect of using metric


measurement in any case.




Erm, not if you are driving along and you see a sign for "60", but dont
see the small print at the bottom as you whizz by.



In this hypothetical example, some of the signs across the nation have
been changed to kmh, some are still mph, how fast should you be going?



Changing all the signs at once would cost a lot of $$$, and requires a
lot of political will, not to mention the logistical issues, so on a
practical level, road signs would be a big issue. Not that there is a
hope in hell of the US adopting the metric system anyway.



my 2c



Iain


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  #8  
Old January 5th, 2004, 03:37 AM
Me
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Default US going metric?

In article ,
"jj" wrote:

I'm curious, has there ever been an attempt at going metric in the US? e.g.
using Celsius? How do people feel about it?


I believe there was a half-hearted attempt to go metric in the '70's.
Other than for scientific purposes, I don't ever expect the United
States to officially adopt the metric system, although it would
definitely benefit from doing so.
  #9  
Old January 5th, 2004, 05:07 AM
Bill
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Default US going metric?


"jj" wrote in message
...
I'm curious, has there ever been an attempt at going metric in the US?

e.g.
using Celsius? How do people feel about it?

jj

Back in the 70's they took some early steps with some highway signs in KM's.
That didn't last. Basically Americans like what's familiar.

To me it would make sense for weights and distances. But, sorry, but for
air temperature, Fahrenheit makes so much more sense, with zero to 100 being
about the range of temps we see in a the northern US. Yeah, some places go
below zero, and some go above 100. But it is so much more informative than
the much more limited range on the Celsius scale. Celsius makes more sense
for scientific work though.

Scientists in the US do use only metric.


  #10  
Old January 5th, 2004, 06:16 AM
alohacyberian
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Default US going metric?

"RJ" wrote in message
...
Dan Foster wrote:
Well, there was an aborted attempt in the late 1980s/early 1990s for the
highway signs; what killed it was a lack of funding to do the conversion
fully due to some political lobbying by well heeled folks.


Why would anybody lobby on either side of the issue of road signs?

Road signs would have to be the least important aspect of using metric
measurement in any case.

Well, if a road sign were to read "Gotham 167 kilometers" and American
speedometers, odometers, fuel consumption computers and trip computers are
all in miles, some people might feel more comfortable with the old system. KM
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