Sunday, September 26, 2021

I Am Generally a Fan of Metric

But I saw this and had no choice:


  1. . . . those who have landed HUMANS on the moon.

    We're not the only country that has 'landed' spacecraft on the moon. That club includes the Soviet Union (who crashed there first), Japan, the European Space Agency, China, India, and Israel.

    I'm fully conversant in metric and use it all the time, but I get annoyed by advocates for the supposed superiority of metric.

    International standards are useful and important.

    I'm reminded of Chesterton's fence: Advocates for metric downplay the occasional real advantages of dozenal, octal, and hex calculation of units, insisting that decimal is always better. They also downplay the advantage of unit sizes honed by tradition, insisting without evidence that metric unit sizes are somehow superior, even in situations where it can be easily demonstrated that old ones have advantages.

  2. Metric is overrated. All it really had going for it was the powers-of-10 conversions, good for slide rule users, unimportant these days when Google will convert between miles per hour and furlongs per fortnight.

    My own modest proposal is to Follow The Science, and use an actual non-arbitrary measure for velocities: fractions of the Universal Speed Limit, c. For example, a 70mph speed limit is about 100 nanocees. This would make it easier to do special relativity calculations while driving.

  3. The funny thing is that the US is an original signatory to the treaty of the meter. We're as metric as can be. We maintain no independent measure of yard, pound, or gallon. It's all done with conversions from the ISO.

    What's got the metric brigade all butthurt is that we aren't forcing people to abandon their customary weights and measures. The US government isn't being bullying enough for them.

    That says a lot.