Metric System

Today, instead of Linux, I’m going to talk about the metric system.

Though my field of study in college was physics, I ended up working as an electrical engineer during my professional life. Both fields are heavy users of metric measurements, so using the metric system was pretty natural for me. It helps also, that I had the joy of living in Japan for 3 years in the early 70s, which is a metric country, even back the

I’m no artist, so I’ll let our friends at the fabulous XKCD web comic explain it better:

How to use the metric system

Courtesy: xkcd – Metric Conversion
Click to make it big!

It’s currently 28°C here on the farm. Yes, my computers are all set to the metric system (and for that matter, UTC time, but that’s a whole other story!) If it’s 5°C outside, I wear my coat, if it’s 10°C I wear my sweater and once the temp hits 20°C, I’m quite comfortable. I weigh 100 kilos, but I’m working on fixing that a bit, and I’m 1.8 meters tall.

Back in the late 60s, through to about 1977 or so, we as a nation started the conversion to the metric system. They taught it to us in grade school and college, the powers that be started putting up dual signage on all the roadways, featuring both English and Metric measurements.

My cars back then came with metric as well as English speedometers, and it really looked like we were going to grow up and join the coming 21st century.

Then, in the early 80s, the metric road signs started coming down, never to return to the roadway.

Americans seem happy with themselves because we use liters for our soda bottles, and cubic centimeters for our motorcycle engines, but it isn’t enough!

It is completely nuts that our great country can’t join the 21st century, and the rest of the world, and embrace the metric system.