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Measuring up




Evening Times Editor

I saw a news item the other day that said, “Sinkhole the size of five washing machines opens up on California highway. Kind of weird, I suppose, but what really struck me was in the comments section where someone had posted a responxe that said, “Americans will use any kind of measurement but the Metric System.”

I thought it was funny. It’s also true…

I wonder why, at this point, we have stubbornly refused to join literally the rest of the world. No, really. There are exactly three countries in the entire world that do not use the Metric System.

One of them is the U.S. One of them is Liberia, a nation founded by the U.S. made up of the descendants of former slaves. The other is… Myanmar. I don’t know what their opposition to the Metric System is, but they, like us here in the U.S.,


From page A4

still use the Imperial System, which gets its name from the British Empire and the system of measuring weight, distance and volume that developed from the Middle Ages into the 1700s, when the Metric System began to become more and more commonly used.

There was probably a time when it made sense but the Imperial System is just weird. What is an inch, anyway?

And why do 12 of them make a foot? And 36 of them make a yard while5,280 of them make a mile. And of course there’s ounces and cups and pints and quarts and gallons.

Oh, and pounds and tons and… it’s all a bunch of random numbers. Quick, how many ounces in a pint? How many cups in a quart? The fact that 16 ounces is a pint and 16 ounces in a pound and a pint and a pound are two completely different things is beyound confusing. But the Metric System is so much easier. It’s all based on units of 10. 1000 milligrams is a gram. 1000 grams is a kilogram. 1000 kilograms is a metric ton. Same with millimeters and meters and kilometers. Look, we tried it in the 1970s and it didn’t take.

Maybe it’s time we tried it again. We have 2 liter bottles of Coke. Maybe next we try milk? Or maybe it’s like a thing I saw on Facebook that suggested, “Once all the Boomers are gone, you guys want to switch to the Metric System, or nah?”

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