The Metric System

Topics: Imperial units, Metric system, Conversion of units Pages: 3 (1081 words) Published: December 11, 2012
The Metric system
Have you ever looked at the back of a food item or drink to check nutritional values? Everything on the label is measured in the metric system. Do you actually know how much sugar you are getting? Or how much of a certain medication you can safely take? Have you ever thought that there should be ten inches in a foot, ten feet in a yard? A system with a standard that makes sense. Well you’re in luck with the metric system.

The English Imperial system may be more familiar and comfortable for Americans, but it is still confusing to them because it has no standard. There are twelve inches in a foot, three feet in a yard, 5,280 feet in a mile. This is a system based on arbitrary rules, rules which make conversion of units clumsy and awkward for its users.

Have you ever had to Google how many fluid ounces are in a cup when cooking? Or stop to do math in your mind to determine how much you'll pay to put in new flooring in a room when you know its square footage but the materials are sold per square yard? I am sure that I'm not the only person that has a conversion app on their phone for just such occasions. As if our confusing system weren't enough on its own, we are surrounded by sort of a dual system. The metric system reigns in science, business (for international trade), and the military, because it is both more precise and necessary for our interactions with other industrialized nations. Besides international interaction, this dual system is also partially the result of a government push in 1975 to switch over to the metric system, as we are one of three countries (including Liberia and Myanmar) that do not use it officially. Originally intended to be a ten year effort to make the change, it was abandoned in 1982 when it was clear that Americans were apathetic and resistant to the change. We still see vestiges of this attempted change around us: one example being the speedometers in your cars which show both miles and kilometers per hour....
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