Thursday, February 11, 2010

How many feet in a mile, again?

We all know that the United States doesn't use the metric system.  I'm 5 feet 11 inches tall, weigh 185 pounds, and my normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.  I drive 75 miles per hour on the highway, live about 3 miles from work, buy milk and gasoline by the gallon, and buy beer in 12 fluid ounce bottles. 

I know what most of that means.  But it's also one of the stupidest ways of dividing units, using some odd combination of threes, eights, twelves, and who knows what else.  12 inches in a foot.  3 feet in a yard.  5,280 feet in a mile. 43,560 square feet in an acre.  8 oz. in a cup. 4 cups in a quart.  4 quarts in a gallon, which ends up being 128 oz.  And those are fluid ounces, measuring volume... not regular ounces which measure weight.  There are 16 ounces in a pound.  And 2000 pounds in a ton.  And don't forget that water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit and boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit.  Who came up with this crap?

 Then there's the metric system.  Everything is based on tens, and hundreds, and thousands (and tenths, and hundredths, and thousandths, etc.)  Centimeters in a meter?  100.  Meters in a kilometer?  1000.  Grams in a kilogram?  1000.  Kilograms in a metric ton?  1000.  Milliliters in a liter?  1000.  Water freezes at 0 and boils at 100 on the Celsius scale.  It's insanely easy. 

And it would make you feel better about yourself!  Your fat ass weighs 250 pounds?  Not anymore!  You're just 113 kilograms!  It's only 30 degrees outside?  Well strip down to your bikinis ladies, because 30 Celsius is what used to be 86 Fahrenheit.  Can't drive 55mph?  Well now you're driving 88kph... and when this baby hits 88kph, you're going to see some serious sh....

But you're saying, "Elwood, I don't understand the U.S. system any more than you.  But we must not be alone in the world.  I know some countries in Europe use the metric system... but we don't want to be like those cheese-eating surrender monkeys in France, do we?"

To which I respond firstly with this link explaining why France is a bigger bad ass country when it comes to fighting wars than you ever realized.

Secondly, I will respond by admitting that, no, we are not the only country in the world that hasn't adopted the metric system yet.  Here's the list of all the others:
  • Burma
  • Liberia
That's it.  And just to help illustrate the point further... a map.
For once, it is easier being green.

Yep.  We're almost all alone in the world.  And it just makes us look stubborn for not changing.  And stupid every time an American tourist goes anywhere in the world and can't figure out an item's size, how much it weighs, the next day's weather forecast, the distance to their next location, and what speed to drive to get there. 

Unless you're traveling to Liberia or Burma.  In which case you'll be just fine.

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