# How do you feel about converting to the Metric system?

Yup. I don’t care that much my self.

Out of curiosity, what do metric countries call a 4x8 piece of plywood? Is the sizing different? That would be a huge change to building codes. Even if it’s just a cm wider or something.

We now measure plywood thickness by the 32nd of an inch. So 15/32 is considered 1/2 inch. It’s not. Just a tiny bit thinner. Kind of pisses me off.

They don’t in the UK. Outside temperatures are so variable that the size of the scale unit matters little. Ask anyone in the UK and they will tell you that 20 is okay, 25 is hot and 30+ is too darn hot. My fridge runs at 4 and the freezer at -18.

We don’t expect to have a body temperature of 98.6 instead of 37. I do, however, set my house thermostat at 21½, so we do sometimes use fractions.

I was in grade school (probably 5th to 7th grade) during the metric push in the 1970s, and I remember this, as well.

I also remember a lot of time being spent on making us memorize the various subdivision units (milli-, centi-, deci-, deca-, hecto-, kilo-, etc.), and making us use them in exercises in ways that aren’t actually commonly used – for instance, a “decameter” or a “decimeter” just aren’t things that get used by most people who use metric.

An excellent question.
I recall in of the Len Deighton films the Russian bad guy raps a coffin and proudly announces, “20 millimeter lumber!”
From Wiki: " Plywood in Europe can be 4’x8’ as well, but the majority is 125x250 cm. There is also 150x300 cm from Eastern European sources. Thickness is always metrical, starting at 3 mm."

What is so evil about the current system? There are still a lot of things in our world that work just fine with the standard system. Commercial airplanes, both Boeing and Airbus are built using standard measurements. The wheels and tires on motor vehicles world wide. Toyota says the wheel bolt pattern on my wife’s Rav4 is 114.3 mm which is exactly 4½ inches. I’m old and it still works fine for me.

Celsius barely counts as metric anyway.

The value of metric isn’t in the fact that a meter is bigger than a foot, or a kilogram is heavier than a pound, or a liter is slightly different than a quart. It’s in the fact that these measurements are scalable and interrelated.

Celsius isn’t scalable, isn’t related to any other measurements in any uniquely useful way, it’s just a scale that’s different than Fahrenheit.

It just doesn’t make sense. The conversions between units in the metric system are much more streamlined and make much more sense. The conversions between units in the imperial system feel like a drunk mathematician rolling dice.

It’s kinda dumb because it’s not base 10. But works just fine for me.

If we switch to metric, there will be a metric shit kilogram of new phone apps out there to make conversions. Pun intended.

Right, never improve things if it might inconvenience the older generation.

Engineering is far easier and less prone to error using metric.

Also the bulk of the world now uses the Metric system, we use one from the time of the King’s arm and foot being a standard.

How is 12 inches to a foot, 3 to a yard, 5280 feet to a mile good for anyone? You’re just use to it. Why not make things better going forward?

Does our antiquated system work, of course it works, but is it best? Hell no!

I would think Art I, section 8 would suffice:

Now, as you comment later, that doesn’t address the political issue.

Oh God. But maybe we could get them squabbling about measurements and leave people alone.

I understand the logic of the metric system, with everything connected to by powers of ten, but I’m still more comfortable with the Old Ways.

Is it so bad that people in one country do things differently from the rest of the world ? Think of it as a win for cultural diversity.

I too remember the push in the 70s, and one thing against conversion (could be taken as a joke, but then again, not really) was “We’d have to change (American) football to meterball!” “The ball’s on the 30-meter line…” “He threw the ball 20 meters and the wide receiver ran for another 50 meters!” That sounds odd.

On the other hand, we’ve transitioned very well in track from the 100-yard dash to the 100m. I looked it up to make sure, and they don’t even use the word “dash” anymore (that’s how old I am–to me, it was the 100-yard dash). It’s the 100m; 400m, etc.

It seems the US is about half metric anyway. We drink 2L sodas, booze is in 750mL bottles, car engines are 1.3L or 2.2L or 6.6L, etc., so it’s not as though we’re completely in the dark as to metric vs. imperial.

In Canada, we call it a “4’x8’ piece of plywood”. Building materials are one of those odd items that did not convert from metric for the most part, so our dimensional lumber is still sold in inches and feet.

For what it’s worth, there is such a thing as the United States Metric Association, doing what they can to encourage more full use of the metric system – which really is not much beyond advocating for it and providing educational materials where they can.

Um, technically, the US is on the metric system; all of the ‘normal’ US measures are legally defined in metric units.

As far as the wood sizes are concerned, I asked on this board a while back what the Canadian practice was. One or two Canucks said that the plywood sheathing they use is indeed 4 foot by 8 foot: it’s not like they themselves can hope to overcome the inertia of that great big lumber market to the south. Frankly, I expect that many lumber sizes will remain the same for a long time, no matter what they’re labeled.

But I think the US is making slow progress in greater metric usage. Oh, here’s a slightly confusing one; I’ve seen that diving tank pressures are typically shown as ‘bars’. Well, that’s metric, sort of, but not official. One bar is 100 kPa, and coincidentally, pretty close to one standard atmosphere of pressure.

Anyhow, no cite available, but I’ve seen a few news reports that casually use some metric units without trying to back-convert them.

The military is metric, mostly, I believe. International sports are metric, of course, as well as a lot of sports equipment. Hair care products are metric, as is medicine, of course.

I expect that the US will continue to slowly bring in more metric usage without officially abandoning the traditional units. Hey, if we can deal with the mess that is English, what’s a few extra measurement units?

FWIW, Canadian football still uses yards, though, to American ears, “the ball is on the 53-yard-line” does sound odd.

I think that’s part of it, though. The people who need it already use it. Engineers use it, doctors measure out doses in milligrams or cubic centimeters, etc. For an average person on the street though, it feels like a pain in the ass for the negligible benefit of my bathroom scale saying kg instead of lbs. But it’s not as though Bob America is stopping Intel from measuring chip dies in nanometers and slowing progress by demanding that they use inches.

We are a metric country with exceptions. Every metric country has exceptions. We just have the most.

Every country likely does some things differently from other countries.

Sticking with the Imperial system does lead to complications when U.S. companies and individuals interact with other countries (and vice-versa); companies have generally figured out work-arounds (and, as has been pointed out, many U.S. companies have quietly switched to using metric anyway), but there is still that level of complication. Even beyond a business standpoint, many Americans likely get flummoxed if they go to another country (“How long will it take me to drive 100 kilometers? It’s 22 degrees Celsius – does that mean it’s warm, or not?”), and the reverse is probably true, too.

It’s metric, but is not an SI Unit:

International System of Units - Wikipedia