I may be American, but I'm not stupid (daft).

I get the idea of converting kilometers and other metrics measures into imperial units, but this is ridiculous:

[T]he crew… observed two large objects… spread across several square kilometers (miles).

I’m somewhat surprised they didn’t parenthetically dumb down ‘several’ as (a lot).

“Can the big men find the bye-bye plane? Nooo! No, they cannot! Bye-bye plane is hiding. Yes it is. Hiding in very big water; yes it is.”

Well, it IS Yahoo.

How many severals is that in metric?

I think there are 4 bunches in a lot, and 3 a lots (2.72 loads) in a several.

You might not be, but those other guys :eek:

The article provides rough conversions throughout so that Americans who may not be familiar with the system used by most of the rest of the world can easily grasp the various distances cited in the article. It’s just plain courtesy to provide conversions when much of the audience does not use the SI.

I think you’d have to go ask Phillip Jose Farmer.

(Some may remember the middle Riverworld novels, written in the METRIC! 70s, in which he translated every measurement, no matter how approximate, into absurdly exact metric equivalents.)

I understand that and said as much in the OP. But there’s no NUMBER to convert!

Don’t you just multiply “several” by 1.61?

A broad approximation for kilometers is miles (as opposed to yards, etc.), thus the inclusion.

I’ve come across quite a few Americans who do not know this.

You don’t say! Is there a website where I could find that type of information?

What would be really nice is if there were some type of website that would allow you to enter a metric value and, within a day or so, return the Imperial equivalent.

It might also be nice if one could enter a value, specify the metric used and request any arbitrary metric as the return value. Of course, something like that would likely take several weeks to calculate and return, so maybe it’s just a fantasy.

I looked up and saw CNN with a graphic earlier today showing the distance from Perth to the search area. It had some absurdly exact number such as 1552 miles.

If we knew with that specificity where to search we wouldn’t still be looking for the plane.

I don’t mind the conversion to our ‘English’ units so much. Most Americans really don’t know how kilometers convert to miles, in my experience. Or is it milliletres? Who can say?

The trend I hate is when they convert everything to ‘football fields’ for us Americans. Can we convert the ‘several square miles’ in this case to a ‘shitpile of football fields’ or maybe a ‘metric buttload’ of football fields?

It’s on the ocean, so it’s a nautical buttload.

Square…I’m trying to picture this in terms I can understand…that’s like a four-sided circle, right?

I remember seeing a map of the world showing countries that DO and countries that DO NOT use the metric system.

and this is it!

http://www . realclearscience . com/blog/map%20metric%20jpg

The way you broke the link I was hoping it was prøn. (Measurement and porn go so well together you know.)

I might need some help interpreting that map though. I’m red-green colorblind, so to me, it looks like it’s just the U.S. and Burma. (I’ll wear mom-jeans and a fanny pack before I’m calling it Myanmar!)

When the execrable Louis Mercier/Mercier Lewis translated Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea into English, he translated a pressure of “ tons per square centimeter” into “ tons per square 3/8 of an inch.” Talk about not understanding the point!

He also translated “The Badlands of South Dakota” as “The Disagreeable Country of South Dakota”.

Right, it should have been Nautical tons per 3/8". Why do people not understand that when it’s in the ocean, it’s NAUTICAL!? Jeezum pleezum.

Sounds to me like he got that one right.

Associated Press stories are written with all kinds of extras thrown in so that each organization can determine what it wants to keep. If you’re a big national paper, you might retain the imperial-to-metric conversions, the dollar-to-euro conversions, the pronunciations of exotic surnames, etc. If you’re a tiny paper, you might strip all that out. So, why put in “kilometers (miles)” when there’s no number to convert? I think it’s so that if you are going to strip out all of the references to kilometers, you’ll remember to do it there, too. Otherwise, you’ll have a story with X miles here, X miles there, and one totally random reference to kilometers that got left in because the editor skimmed over it by accident.