In Common

by PapaScott on 24 August 2007

Quiz question for the day: what do the United States, Liberia and Myanmar have in common? No, it has nothing to do with human rights (but Daring Fireball readers already know the answer).

Armin August 24, 2007 at 23:40

Well, yes and no.

While the UK in theory has implemented a metric system (apart from travel distances, speed and the pint) in practice most of daily life still happens in the imperial system.

The weather forecast still frequently mentions “that’s 85 degrees Fahrenheit”, almost everyone uses stones and pounds, feet and inches etc pp.

Adam August 25, 2007 at 02:20

I popped on to argue what Armin pointed out: The UK seems to be somewhere in the middle.

ann August 25, 2007 at 08:59

Ditto. I also wanted to add “Define don’t use.” Or better that define use. In the sciences, we use it all the times in the States, or switch back and forth. In Europe computer screens and bike frames are still in inches and oil production still involves complex units.

My favorite example was a case where a German colleague and I had to estimate a distance. Guess who was right. I could use my feet and divide by three. These older units spring from things on a human scale and still have their place. I would be sad to see them disappear entirely.

PapaScott August 25, 2007 at 10:14

Hmm, the UK seems to be in the wishy-washy middle on just about everything, it seems…

Before my Dad retired from the highway engineering field in Minnesota, he told me they were now doing all their surveying in “decimal feet” instead of feet and inches. That made it easier to work with CAD programs.

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