Tuesday, February 3, 2009

oh, metrology

The US is hanging tough with Liberia and Myanmar as the three pillars of darkness, only countries not to have not formally adopted the International System of Units (metric) as their official systems of weights and measures.

Liberia folks.

Hopefully the graph is not too hard to read; click and make larger.
above graph and cartoon from USMA

road sign from Averill Hecht
I find this pretty interesting and want to learn more about the metrication push from 1975 to 1982 that I can't remember (and I know L &J can't either). It was largely resisted and ineffective and finally done away with by Reagan in March 1982 to "reduce government spending and its streamline operations." Stop you're killing me.

Later in grade school, I remember a perceptibly half-hearted effort to teach the metric system; it was pretty crude and as inexact as possible: a meter is like a yard, a kilometer is about 200 school buses holding hands, you are not a litre- and other equally useless equivalents. C'mon you gotta know this stuff.



Jessica said...

i just don't know why the US insists on sticking to our weird system. I have to use the metric system every day since all science measurements are conducted in it and i can vouch that its WAY easier. I can do conversions in my head! 1000 nanometers = 1 micrometer = 0.001 millimeter. Genius!

smear said...

...cause we're special? keeping good company in Myanmar and Liberia? I once had to be physically restrained (well, no) from a writer who kept using micron and millimeter interchangeably… now that's special. k