Author Topic: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?  (Read 38381 times)

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Offline Untidy Shop

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Re: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #90 on: June 07, 2015, 06:39 AM »
Oh Kev, yes three glasses of wine, in my 60s, using metric most of my adult life, what other excuses do you want!   [smile] I have made the correction. And my error probably more than any other comment here emphasis how ridiculous the Imperial system is (particularly after dinner on a Sunday night!). [eek]

And no, I did not teach the cigar smoker.  [eek] My most troublesome student in 30 years now drives, and can certainly afford, a Porshe 911.  [eek] [big grin]

 @Kev

Edit. I could have left the fractions as they were, just to further make the point!  [big grin]
« Last Edit: June 07, 2015, 07:27 AM by Untidy Shop »
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Offline Holmz

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Re: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #91 on: June 07, 2015, 06:54 AM »
... A bit like 2/32 being equal to 4/64th of an inch.  [big grin]
...

Well you divide 32 by 2, and then slide the decimal point over... and you get 1.6-mm.
Which it is! [eek]

Offline Untidy Shop

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Re: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #92 on: June 07, 2015, 07:22 AM »
... A bit like 2/32 being equal to 4/64th of an inch.  [big grin]
...

Well you divide 32 by 2, and then slide the decimal point over... and you get 1.6-mm.
Which it is! [eek]

"Isn't Maths Fun!"  [big grin]

@Holmz  @Kev
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Offline Sparktrician

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Re: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #93 on: June 07, 2015, 08:04 AM »
There's an interesting comment on the subject of converting to metric on CNN's web site today.  I noted one comment in specific: "The main resistance -- aside from everyday citizens -- came from the unions, who feared that a switch to an international system of measurement would make it easier for big corporations to ship jobs offshore."  Well, guess what happened in spite of union resistance!!!  DUH!!! 
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Offline Brent Taylor

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Re: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #94 on: June 07, 2015, 08:21 AM »
I really think that the rest of the planet should bend to the will of the US on this matter, if not we will do as we always do.  Tanks please, but on a real note, I feel the reason we are trapped in this mire is we are bullheaded, lazy and to dumb to change, plus it would take an act of God to get it through our political system,  remember we have to be the world's police force,  so we don't have any time to think or use common sense.  Paranoia is a wonderful thing,  especially when it's real.

Offline Paul G

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Re: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #95 on: June 07, 2015, 09:25 AM »

I do calcs in decimel inches just fine.

[thumbs up] Same here, coming from an engineering background, the manufacturing world revolves around decimal numbers, (except for plant & office layout). Take a look at your machine tools like lathes, milling machines and surface grinders. The feed wheels are all in .001" or in .0005" graduations, not mm and certainly not 1/64 ths.

So, if I have to work in a fraction like 19/64", I just convert it to .2969" and move forward. I can add or subtract easily and if I need to place it back into imperial fractions because I'm using a tape measure, I can do that also. Easy Peasy

This stainless scale works sweet...used in the majority of engineering design firms. 1/32" & 1/64" markings on the front, .10" & .100" on the back, fully flexible and can be bent around a corner.

(Attachment Link)

(Attachment Link)

(Attachment Link)
Great ruler, used one many times.
+1

Offline Paul G

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Re: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #96 on: June 07, 2015, 09:27 AM »
I really think that the rest of the planet should bend to the will of the US on this matter, if not we will do as we always do.  Tanks please, but on a real note, I feel the reason we are trapped in this mire is we are bullheaded, lazy and to dumb to change, plus it would take an act of God to get it through our political system,  remember we have to be the world's police force,  so we don't have any time to think or use common sense.  Paranoia is a wonderful thing,  especially when it's real.

It's ironic to say we're too dumb to change because we successfully use a system deemed more difficult.
+1

Offline Mort

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Re: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #97 on: June 07, 2015, 10:11 AM »
I find it disturbing that this thread has veered back on topic.
I hate signatures.

Offline Kev

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Re: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #98 on: June 07, 2015, 10:20 AM »
I really think that the rest of the planet should bend to the will of the US on this matter, if not we will do as we always do.  Tanks please, but on a real note, I feel the reason we are trapped in this mire is we are bullheaded, lazy and to dumb to change, plus it would take an act of God to get it through our political system,  remember we have to be the world's police force,  so we don't have any time to think or use common sense.  Paranoia is a wonderful thing,  especially when it's real.

It's ironic to say we're too dumb to change because we successfully use a system deemed more difficult.

"obstinate" is certainly a much better description than "lazy and too dumb" ... though "bull headed" was on the money! [big grin]

Offline Paul G

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Re: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #99 on: June 07, 2015, 11:25 AM »
I really think that the rest of the planet should bend to the will of the US on this matter, if not we will do as we always do.  Tanks please, but on a real note, I feel the reason we are trapped in this mire is we are bullheaded, lazy and to dumb to change, plus it would take an act of God to get it through our political system,  remember we have to be the world's police force,  so we don't have any time to think or use common sense.  Paranoia is a wonderful thing,  especially when it's real.

It's ironic to say we're too dumb to change because we successfully use a system deemed more difficult.

"obstinate" is certainly a much better description than "lazy and too dumb" ... though "bull headed" was on the money! [big grin]

It's more like too busy earning a living to worry about fixing something that works.
+1

Offline Rick Christopherson

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Re: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #100 on: June 07, 2015, 11:36 AM »

Alex I generally agree with your last point, but audiences are a key factor here. Mention 4x8, 8x4 to someone who works/sells wood and they know it is a wood, plaster or cement based sheet product, even in a metric country where it is 2400mm x1200mm.

However mention 8x4 to a photographer and they may know it is a 8X4 inch sheet of photographic paper or plate film.

I am talking in general here, please don't go splitting it out how every individual's situation is different. My example is perfectly valid in Rick's case.

Just like @Paul G I understand using metric is not practical for you if you're the only one using it.

A conversion from one system to another is not something a country does overnight, it takes at least 2 generations. Your generation will not be the one to do it. But your kids or grand children will get better used to it because thanks to internet exposure, they will grow up with it.

Actually Alex, it's not valid. You are confusing a "Name" with a "Dimension". It may be called 4x8, but when working out dimensions it is typically inches. What makes it worse is Untidy's example of 2400x1200, because that one implies dimensions, but the actual size is not 2400x1200.

Yesterday there was a comment about how products would have to be redesigned for different units of measure. This is a major misconception, which is quite evident in the 2400x1200 example. You don't design something based on its units, and you don't change the design if you change units. The plywood is still the same size, but we/they put different numbers to it. The only exception to this non-conversion is with machine screws, where diameters and pitches differ between the two.

Offline Paul G

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Re: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #101 on: June 07, 2015, 12:14 PM »
Actually Alex, it's not valid. You are confusing a "Name" with a "Dimension". It may be called 4x8, but when working out dimensions it is typically inches. What makes it worse is Untidy's example of 2400x1200, because that one implies dimensions, but the actual size is not 2400x1200.

Yesterday there was a comment about how products would have to be redesigned for different units of measure. This is a major misconception, which is quite evident in the 2400x1200 example. You don't design something based on its units, and you don't change the design if you change units. The plywood is still the same size, but we/they put different numbers to it. The only exception to this non-conversion is with machine screws, where diameters and pitches differ between the two.

Unfortunately there comes a point where the naming then becomes bizarre in order to be accurate. For example in flexographic printing we use print cylinder sizes based on 1/8 inch tooth gear increments. As customers order different sized labels we use different sized print cylinders to reduce waste material between labels. Point being is the cylinders are described by either their tooth count or their repeat size, ie a 80 tooth cylinder is a 10" repeat size, 82 tooth is 10.25", etc. Now if we convert to metric in name only and keep all our existing equipment as is, we now have to understand that each tooth gear increment is 3.175 mm and a 80 tooth cylinder has a 254mm repeat, an 82 tooth is 260.35, etc. Good luck with that.

In EU their presses are typically built with a 5 or 10mm tooth gear increment and work in those whole numbers to stay sane.  (and incidentally our presses come from Europe, they make things in 1/8" increment so they can actually successfully sell product here in the US).

For us to truly convert to metric, we'd need to fork out several million USD for all new tooling, and in some cases it would be cheaper to buy a new press instead, but would still be spending $xxx,xxx in print cylinder sets to cover the spectrum of needs for our customers.

So when I hear someone call for some law to force us to 'go metric' and we must shell out the money to convert, I'm thinking they should go xxxx up a rope.
+1

Offline Alex

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Re: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #102 on: June 07, 2015, 12:52 PM »
Actually Alex, it's not valid. You are confusing a "Name" with a "Dimension". It may be called 4x8, but when working out dimensions it is typically inches. What makes it worse is Untidy's example of 2400x1200, because that one implies dimensions, but the actual size is not 2400x1200.

Actually Rick, it is perfectly valid and what you say now is nonsense because I'm not confusing anything. 4x8 is not a name, it is the exact size of the international standard for sheet material. Even here in metricland the boards we buy are often 1220 x 2440 mm, which is exactly 4x8 feet.

Please quit nitpicking, it was an example of how different units are used side by side constantly, and when you use different units side by side you're also very often converting them from one to another. Trying to deny that is simply nuts.
 

Offline Rick Christopherson

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Re: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #103 on: June 07, 2015, 01:23 PM »
Actually Rick, it is perfectly valid and what you say now is nonsense because I'm not confusing anything. 4x8 is not a name, it is the exact size of the international standard for sheet material. Even here in metricland the boards we buy are often 1220 x 2440 mm, which is exactly 4x8 feet.

Please quit nitpicking, it was an example of how different units are used side by side constantly, and when you use different units side by side you're also very often converting them from one to another. Trying to deny that is simply nuts.

Did you know that melamine sheets are typically 49"x97"?  [big grin] [big grin]

Have you not heard about the silly lawsuit against lumber dealers (California of course) claiming selling 2x4's was deceptive?  [scared]

But your example is spot-on to the difference between a name and a dimension. You call it 1200x2400, yet you/we know it is actually 1220x1440mm

But you apparently missed the original comment that mixing feet and inches is common because it has been done that way for so long by architects.

The average person does not need to make conversions on a regular basis. And as long as you are not making conversions, there is no benefit for one system over the other. That's exactly why it failed to catch on here.

Offline rst

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Re: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #104 on: June 07, 2015, 01:33 PM »
The melamine example is common in the plastics industry.  The more expensive the plastic, the more overage the actual size.  4 X 8 acrylic are typically 48 X 96, however 4 X 8 polycarbonates, the more expensive, is often 1/4" - 3/8" oversize so there is less waste for kerfs.  Also, despite the imperial length and width dimensions, the thickness' are metric.

Offline Steve Rowe

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Re: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #105 on: June 07, 2015, 01:37 PM »
Today's Dilbert seems quite appropriate for this thread now:

That Guy from the Internet

Offline Alex

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Re: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #106 on: June 07, 2015, 01:44 PM »
You call it 1200x2400, yet you/we know it is actually 1220x1440mm

I never said I called it like that, because I don't. If it's 1220x2440 mm then I call it 1220x2440, or better, 122x244 because I convert it to centimeters. Or perhaps even go wild and say it in meters 1,22 x 2,44. Without getting a seizure. [tongue]

The average person does not need to make conversions on a regular basis. And as long as you are not making conversions, there is no benefit for one system over the other. That's exactly why it failed to catch on here.

Everybody constantly does conversions. It's futile and silly to deny that. And the only reason metric didn't catch on in the USA was because there was no will to go through the complicated process of change. And that's your good right, it is natural to object to change. Metric was not introduced here without a hiccup. It took generations to be accepted, but because it was done before 1800 already, we're fully adapted now.

America will be adapted once too, in the not too distant future. You've been living on your own island for centuries, but now there's the internet and there's no escaping other cultures anymore, not even for you superpower guys. Eventually, peer pressure will get you, as it always does.

Online Cheese

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Re: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #107 on: June 07, 2015, 02:15 PM »
Today's Dilbert seems quite appropriate for this thread now:

That Guy from the Internet

 [thumbs up] [thumbs up]

Who me?...I'm just passing time.   [popcorn] [popcorn] [popcorn]

Offline Rick Christopherson

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Re: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #108 on: June 07, 2015, 02:29 PM »
America will be adapted once too, in the not too distant future. You've been living on your own island for centuries, but now there's the internet and there's no escaping other cultures anymore, not even for you superpower guys. Eventually, peer pressure will get you, as it always does.

But the bigger question that is often overlooked, is why is it such an important thing for you...on a personal level? Why should it matter so much to you that the general public here chooses one system over the other?

It comes down to screws, and specifically wrenches. That's the only difference the average person encounters. But screws aren't designed by the general public. They are designed by industry.

You're fooling yourself if you think you've converted to metric, and this is especially evident in your example of 1220 by 1440 mm plywood. They are just numbers. You haven't changed the standard, just the number that is attached to it. The product isn't specifically metric nor imperial. Which of these two numbers is more accurate, 127mm versus 5 inches? Neither. They are both the same, and carry the same level of accuracy or inaccuracy. They are just numbers. People get hung up on numbers.

Offline RL

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Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #109 on: June 07, 2015, 02:58 PM »
Why do some people feel the need to force a minority to change? We don't ask Belgians to quit speaking Belgian because virtually nobody else does. I'm quite happy working in metric and imperial and easily convert between the two. I use what makes most sense at the time.

When cooking we say a tablespoon of this, a pinch of that, a teaspoon of the other etc. we all know instantly what that means. We can visualize it straight away. I don't need some euro technocrat in Brussels to tell me I have to convert everything into grams and conform with people in another country! This is why so many people in the UK and elsewhere are fed up with the EU. (I'm making a general point, not directing it to Alex.).

I was brought up in metric but imperial has a feel to it that seems right. 1/4" tenon, 3/8" hole, 1/8" reveal, 3/4" rebate.

Actually it's amazing how little I use a ruler to be honest. When I make furniture I size pieces according to what looks right.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2015, 03:00 PM by RL »

Offline sae

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Re: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #110 on: June 07, 2015, 03:07 PM »
Why do some people feel the need to force a minority to change? We don't ask Belgians to quit speaking Belgian because virtually nobody else does. I'm quite happy working in metric and imperial and easily convert between the two. I use what makes most sense at the time.

When cooking we say a tablespoon of this, a pinch of that, a teaspoon of the other etc. we all know instantly what that means. We can visualize it straight away. I don't need some euro technocrat in Brussels to tell me I have to convert everything into grams and conform with people in another country! This is why so many people in the UK and elsewhere are fed up with the EU. (I'm making a general point, not directing it to Alex.).

I was brought up in metric but imperial has a feel to it that seems right. 1/4" tenon, 3/8" hole, 1/8" reveal, 3/4" rebate.

Actually it's amazing how little I use a ruler to be honest. When I make furniture I size pieces according to what looks right.

P.S. it's Flemish.  [tongue]

Offline Rip Van Winkle

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Re: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #111 on: June 07, 2015, 03:30 PM »

Alex I generally agree with your last point, but audiences are a key factor here. Mention 4x8, 8x4 to someone who works/sells wood and they know it is a wood, plaster or cement based sheet product, even in a metric country where it is 2400mm x1200mm.

However mention 8x4 to a photographer and they may know it is a 8X4 inch sheet of photographic paper or plate film.

I am talking in general here, please don't go splitting it out how every individual's situation is different. My example is perfectly valid in Rick's case.

Just like @Paul G I understand using metric is not practical for you if you're the only one using it.

A conversion from one system to another is not something a country does overnight, it takes at least 2 generations. Your generation will not be the one to do it. But your kids or grand children will get better used to it because thanks to internet exposure, they will grow up with it.

Alex I regret you missed my point, and as to Australia, my generation was the one to do it. In 1970, when the introduction of Metric measurement was passed by legislation through the Australian Parliament, I was 20.  [eek]
-------
And despite the derogatory comments by some here on th FOG, but not you Alex, I am proud of the 30 years I spent in education teaching our young citizens the benifits and understandings of the metric system. But I do agree with those who state that MMs are more significant for woodworkers than CMs. But the foundations of the Metric system with regard to measurement of length are MMs, CMs, Metres and Kilometres.

I never emphasised Decimetres in the classroom; that was just too confusing. A bit like 2/32 being equal to 4/64th of an inch.  [big grin]

LOL

@Alex


This is one of the problems with the campaign to force the USA to switch to Metric.

Decimeters, and Deciliters for that matter, are actually reasonable measurements to use in daily life.

A decimeter is just under 4 inches. A rough conversion from feet to decimeters is easy since you just multiply by three.

A two by four would simply become a one by half, or a half by one.

The Festool tracks would be the 8, 14, 19, 27, 30, 50, and the just under 11, and holey 24.


Offline Reiska

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Re: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #112 on: June 07, 2015, 03:31 PM »
Starbucks is world wide? Who'da thunk it?  [tongue]    Just running with the cup vs cup vs tea vs coffee idea. I agree, over roasted.

I am curious though ......... in the US every gas station and just about every other business has coffee available. Even if there wasn't a Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts on every corner it would be pretty easy to get coffee almost anytime anywhere. How universal is that?  At least in countries where coffee drinking is prevalent.

Seth

Well at least here in the land of most coffee consumed per capita in the world you cannot find a restaurant/workplace without a hot coffee pot on the table. (What the world drinks)

It's actually sometimes so standard that finding a tea bag and hot water is almost impossible.

And as far as the cup size goes it's fair game to drink it directly out of the pot or any other large vessel of your choice, the bigger the better.
The sky's the limit in my workshop, literally. [big grin]

Offline Reiska

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Re: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #113 on: June 07, 2015, 03:54 PM »
Decimeters, and Deciliters for that matter, are actually reasonable measurements to use in daily life.

I agree with the decilitre, but I have never ever used decimetre in anything outside of theoretical math class when we were though the different 10 power increments of the metric system. And I've grown-up in a fully metric country. Neither do we use stuff like decametres as that would just sound silly - just say 10m and be done with it.
The sky's the limit in my workshop, literally. [big grin]

Offline Tom Bellemare

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Re: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #114 on: June 07, 2015, 03:54 PM »
I'm surprised at those statistics, Reiska.

I spent some time with a few Finns and they were experts at drinking beer and throwing darts. They explained it as, "What would you do if it's dark all the time?".

I spent a lot of time with Italians and they drank coffee all day and all night. Never a cappuccino past 9:00 AM. Espresso every hour or so the rest of the day and into the evening.


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Offline RL

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Re: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #115 on: June 07, 2015, 04:05 PM »
Why do some people feel the need to force a minority to change? We don't ask Belgians to quit speaking Belgian because virtually nobody else does. I'm quite happy working in metric and imperial and easily convert between the two. I use what makes most sense at the time.

When cooking we say a tablespoon of this, a pinch of that, a teaspoon of the other etc. we all know instantly what that means. We can visualize it straight away. I don't need some euro technocrat in Brussels to tell me I have to convert everything into grams and conform with people in another country! This is why so many people in the UK and elsewhere are fed up with the EU. (I'm making a general point, not directing it to Alex.).

I was brought up in metric but imperial has a feel to it that seems right. 1/4" tenon, 3/8" hole, 1/8" reveal, 3/4" rebate.

Actually it's amazing how little I use a ruler to be honest. When I make furniture I size pieces according to what looks right.

P.S. it's Flemish.  [tongue]

Yes, I know (!) I was just trying to come up with a small country with a language spoken by only a few. I didn't want to get into the whole Walloon/ Flemish/ Dutch/ French debate! Maybe I should have said Denmark instead.

Offline Phil Beckley

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Re: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #116 on: June 07, 2015, 04:08 PM »

Actually Rick, it is perfectly valid and what you say now is nonsense because I'm not confusing anything. 4x8 is not a name, it is the exact size of the international standard for sheet material. Even here in metricland the boards we buy are often 1220 x 2440 mm, which is exactly 4x8 feet.

.....in the U.K 8x4 is used [smile]
rg
Phil
Festool U.K Employee | Festool UK Website


Offline joiner1970

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Re: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #117 on: June 07, 2015, 05:15 PM »
Notice how us Yanks never try to get everyone else to use miles and feet and Fahrenheit?

By the way, you're welcome for the internet :-)

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Berners-Lee

Offline Wuffles

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Re: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #118 on: June 07, 2015, 05:39 PM »
Notice how us Yanks never try to get everyone else to use miles and feet and Fahrenheit?

By the way, you're welcome for the internet :-)

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Berners-Lee

I know it's all in the wording, but Tim Berners-Lee "invented" the World Wide Web really, the Internet (yes it's capitalised as it's generally classed as a place) was US based and stemmed from the ARPANET.

Don't hate me, just getting my geek on.

http://searchnetworking.techtarget.com/definition/ARPANET
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Offline Alex

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Re: Isn't it about time U.S. went metric?
« Reply #119 on: June 07, 2015, 05:41 PM »
But the bigger question that is often overlooked, is why is it such an important thing for you...on a personal level? Why should it matter so much to you that the general public here chooses one system over the other?

Because though we live in metricland we're constantly confronted with imperial measurements everywhere. Thanks to the industrial revolution which started in England when they still used imperial, lots and lots of technical things like for instance valves and tires (just 2 examples of many) are in imperial. The wood market is totally imperial because America, Canada and Brasil are huge wood exporters.

Whenever we go on the internet we read imperial stuff everywhere. And it's incredibly irritating.

Here on the forum somebody complains the scale on his saw is in metric, but it is really nothing compared to the amount of imperial the metric world is subjected to.

You're fooling yourself if you think you've converted to metric, and this is especially evident in your example of 1220 by 1440 mm plywood. They are just numbers. You haven't changed the standard, just the number that is attached to it. The product isn't specifically metric nor imperial. Which of these two numbers is more accurate, 127mm versus 5 inches? Neither. They are both the same, and carry the same level of accuracy or inaccuracy. They are just numbers. People get hung up on numbers.

Metric is not numbers, metric is a system that defines how different units of measurements are related to eachother. Using easy to understand steps of 10. Not 12, 3, 1760 like in Imperial.

« Last Edit: June 07, 2015, 05:44 PM by Alex »