Re: Metric Time (was Re: Why not 13 months? (Was La Systeme Metrique))

DaveHatunen (
Thu, 12 Oct 1995 14:09:49 GMT

In article <45hpma$>,
Michael Kagalenko <> wrote:
>In article <45fd6h$>, Whittet <> wrote:
>]Because metric intervals require steps of ten times the previous value,
>]whereas English measures allow a choice of proportions, the English measures
>]are actually much easier to use in practical reckonings.
> "much easier to use in practical reckonings" ? Then, I expect,
> you'll have no trouble telling me how many pints are in one
> cubic foot ?

One should keep in mind the distinction between the ordinary units used
day-to-day by ordinary people, and those units used for more
sophisticated reasons. The simple fact is that some very archaic units
are still in use in everyday life in regions nominally on the metric
system, such as (I undertand) parts of France. Once learned, the
pint-quart system is pretty easy to use. And the learning usually
occurs in childhood when these things are picked up fairly easily.

The point is that, despite its obviousness, the cubic foot never really
was much of an everyday unit. That is to say, Joe Yeoman never had any
occasion to know anything about a cubic foot. None of his household
commodities ever came in cubic feet. Even today, the pint-quart system
is used in different contexts from the contexts that units like the
cubic foot appear. So, in a sense, your question is synthetic.

OTOH, in contexts where international standardization is desirable, the
USA has already quietly gone metric, and this should be the priciple
concern of those in other countries. It's really no one but the
American's business what units he/she uses in everyday life, nor is it
anyone else's business if the averge American doesn't mind dealing with
two systems of units.

If one wants to argue the merits of the metric system, one would have a
better argument by coming up with current specific international problems
caused by America's nominal use of its version of the British Imperial

Trivia: European automobile tire rims are measured in inches.


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