# Whatever happened to myriameters?

It would be kinda useful to have a widely-recognized unit between the rather small kilometer and the ungodly huge megameter. The myriameter, being 10 km, seems to fit the bill nicely. So why isn’t anyone using it?

Well, we don’t really have anything for 10,000 miles. Or 1,000 miles, for that matter. And how useful would it be? ‘How far is it from L.A. to New York?’ ‘About a quarter myriamile.’

Because we generally just say 10 km.

Not meaning to be snarky, but I’d say because hardly anyone but you thinks it would be particularly useful. The factor of ten just doesn’t make that much difference in real-world applications.

It would help bring highway speeds down to the single digits and highway distances down to the double digits. Those numbers can generally be said in fewer syllables.

In order to have a practical degree of precision, those distances would have decimals, as would speeds that end with a “5.” More complicated numbers and more syllables, more often than not.

A Swedish mile is 10 kilometers.
`myriameter’ is a bit of a clumsy term, I propose the SMile instead.

What would you measure with this?

In practical terms we use Km for distances between nearby cities. It works pretty well- we pretty much all know our distance to nearby cities. As mentioned before, in this situation myriameters would call for decimal points, which would be needlessly complicated.

We rarely use measurements for the distances between far-flung cities. Think about it. How often do you refer to the distance between two cities that are more than a few hundred miles away? How many long distances can you name offhand? I can think of only a few. It’s just something that never really comes up. No need to make sense of a whole new unit of measure to measure something we almost never measure.

As is the Norwegian. They’re both* metric adaptions of the old Swedish and Norwegian land miles.

*actually there’s no both, since they’re the same

Well it isn’t a whole new unit, it’s an old one that didn’t spread. And I routinely speak of distances in 10s of kms. (6 mil to where I grew up, 50 mil to Trondheim) But you’re right that it doesn’t make much sense to try to introduce it at this point somewhere where it isn’t used. Although, if one is going metric anyway, it’d be a good way of making the shift more obvious…

Well, not “new” as in new to the world, but new for people to grok. Outside of science, measures only work if you have an automatic and instinctual feel for what they mean.

I’ve been living in metric countries for two and a half years. I’ve slowly been getting a sense of kilometers, but I’m still just as likely to think about things in miles. I will probably never get a real sense of temperature in Celsius. I’ve got money down pat since I buy stuff every day, but I will probably always have to convert large amounts to dollars to make sense of it.

In other words, making sense of measures is a lot of work, and takes a lot of reinforcement. People will probably not change unless they have some compelling reason to.

What are you talking about? Clearly, 1000 milli-iles is one ile. What do you think that ‘m’ at the beginning of “mile” stands for? I routinely tell people that I live about two iles from where I grew up.