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Ahh, Fred's been on Bored Panda, I see. 

30+ Engineers Who Totally Fixed Things

There's a whole bunch of great "Kinchie rigged" fixes there.  S22
Useful Tattoo

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Millimeters?   Or is that how some fishermen like to measure their catches and then tell others about what they caught?  "Hey, it was this big."   S16
It here in the Great White North it is.
(04-11-2016, 07:37 AM)WarBicycle Wrote: [ -> ]It here in the Great White North it is.

Sigh, for the older days.........................  When I was growing up in the Great White North, i.e. Alaska, there was only one system: the English system.  Even having traveled up the Alcan Highway twice, the metric system wasn't there.  Why do things have to keep getting screwed up, so as to mess with the brains of we older codgers?  S18

Say it ain't so Joe?!
You must have used the metric system while serving in the army.
(04-11-2016, 02:26 PM)WarBicycle Wrote: [ -> ]You must have used the metric system while serving in the army.

For distances, you're correct: meters and kilometers(klicks).  Its very easy to fold one system into the other when using that because a yard(36") and a meter(39") is almost the exact same.  A kilometer is right at 5/8 mile.  When giving someone directions, I almost always use meters.

But grams and liters?  No, I like to be up to date on most things, but its just too much trouble to convert at this point in time.  I understand the plus value in decimal points, but I'll just stick with distance and stop there.   Spiteful
It's a weird world sometimes. I understand the historical aspect of feet and yards, length of a foot, length of a stride - but ounces, pounds, stone, acres, and such all seem a little arbitrary. I think a league might be close to the distance you can see a ship on the water, but much of distance measurement is all about how far one can walk in a certain length of time.

There's really two systems that evolved worldwide: metric or British Imperial. One is the historical one based on guesswork and approximation, because in olden times, one didn't carry around tape measures - you just use a piece of anatomy for comparison. The other is the modern need for accuracy for interchangeable machined parts and scientific analysis.

We use what we are familiar with, because we now have modern apparatus for making sure everyone's inches and feet are the same. In Michigan, nothing but miles really makes sense, since roads are set a mile apart. We know how far away 15 Mile Road is from Sixteen Mile Road. The problem here is that roads names may change every so many miles. Within a few miles the street signs go from Quarton Road, to Big Beaver Road, to 16 Mile Road, and then to Metropolitan Parkway. Don't ask about Main Street. One thing we're sure of, the next big East-West highway is a mile away.

My biggest problem is figuring out ounces, whether they are wet or dry, volume or weight... Oh, and also making conversions when producing a building manual in multiple languages, learning when to use a comma for a decimal and other esoteric things. I'm all for using American for DIY construction in general. I've never yet met a person who can't read fractions as opposed to decimals - it's all about the ruler, and most scales have both.
The sole exception to the metric system in Canada is the construction industry and real estate, both still used the imperial system.
(04-12-2016, 11:08 AM)WarBicycle Wrote: [ -> ]The sole exception to the metric system in Canada is the construction industry and real estate, both still used the imperial system.

Yeah, it's just stupid trying to measure and cut a 121.92 x 243.84 instead of a 4 x 8 panel.
(04-12-2016, 03:54 PM)WmLambert Wrote: [ -> ]
(04-12-2016, 11:08 AM)WarBicycle Wrote: [ -> ]The sole exception to the metric system in Canada is the construction industry and real estate, both still used the imperial system.

Yeah, it's just stupid trying to measure and cut a 121.92 x 243.84 instead of a 4 x 8 panel.

Totally agree Bill.  The decimal system makes sense, but between everything else, its like something a typical EU bureaucrat would come up with, and call it simplification.  

The inch is the smallest whole number under the Imperial system, yet there are two classes of smaller metric measurements, the 'cm' and the 'mm'.  The inch also uses the decimal system in and even goes into the hundredths of an inch 3.50" versus  90mm.   the three and a half inches is just easier to wrap one's brain around than 90 millimeters.  The numbers are far higher than they need to be. 

There's something about the distance of that one foot length.   Or even changing the foot to just ten inches.  That distance is handy, easy to understand, and fits neatly into other distances.   But the meter is 39 inches, and it really lacks the simplicity of a foot.
(04-12-2016, 05:05 PM)John L Wrote: [ -> ]...There's something about the distance of that one foot length.   Or even changing the foot to just ten inches.  That distance is handy, easy to understand, and fits neatly into other distances.   But the meter is 39 inches, and it really lacks the simplicity of a foot.

The more useful metric measurement is the decimeter - but it is rarely used.
The meter is similar to a human step (slightly longer then normal steps). It's easy to measure the size of room by walking it down. Now try to do the same by puting one foot after the other... LOL!

WmL Wrote:The more useful metric measurement is the decimeter - but it is rarely used.
I'd say it's the only metric measurement which is never used. The industry uses the mm, the poeple and construction workers the cm, sportsmen and poeple the meter, drivers the km. But I'v never met anyone who once told me a measure in dm (decimeter).
Sometimes we use inches for pipe diameters.

The liter is 1 dm³ (one cube decimeter) of water and is equal to 1kg (one kilogram), it boils at 100C° and freezes at 0C°. It's all logic...

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WmL Wrote:Yeah, it's just stupid trying to measure and cut a 121.92 x 243.84 instead of a 4 x 8 panel.
Don't import panels from Europe because here they are 125 x 250 (or 120 x 200 or 150 x 3000 etc) and good luck to translate that in inches. S5

But our standard A4 paper format is an odd 297 x 210 mm. It drove me nut so many times! Try to find the middle of the page when the height is 297!
It's wierd because it's also an odd number in inches. Must be alien units...
The Metric System's main drawback is that it was a Frog system, and we know about Frogs and their mixed up minds.  

Had they taken the imperial system, and modified it into a true decimal system, it would have been an almost instant winner.  

A basic unit of length which is about 12 inches, or 30 cms, is something anyone can wrap their brain around.   They could have taken that and just called it a meter as the base.  But today's meter, like the yard, is a secondary thing, and its not 'personal' like the shorter measurement.

Incidentally Fred, what is the basic ruler length in Europe?  And is that length divisible?
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Foldable rulers are 2 meters. I don't know what you mean by "divisible". If you fold it, you divide its lenght, I think...

Roll rulers come as 3, 5, 8, 10 and 15 meters.

School rulers as 20, 30, 50 and 100 cm.
(for the most common ones.)

2 meters is a bit more than the size of an adult person, and one meter about the size of a walking step. I don't know what's not natural about this.

But I admit that the decimeter, the cm and the mm have no human biology equivalent.

If we had to take a foot and divided by 10, it would give 3cm, re-dividing it by ten would give 3mm. Until there it's ok, but if you divide it again by 10 you reach 0.3mm which is too small a unit to be usable without magnifying instruments.
1mm is just small enough to be precise and still visible without glasses for most poeple. It's also the precision limit of a pen. When you are careful you can go down to half a millimeter but you would need to be a skilled craftman to cut a wood desk with that precision.
Lower than half a millimeter is irrealistic without computer monitored tools.

That means that cutting by ten British units would give us a large 3mm unit at the most precise one, which is obviousely too large to work with. The we would have to use half of tenth and quarter of tenth, but that would drives us out of the metric system. Why have a metric system if it's to divide by 2 and 4 anyway?
We do divide the mm by 2, sometimes, but as I said, it's on the limit of feasability with hand tools so we don't use it very often. I have a millimetred ruler with half-milllimeters marked on the first 10cm, and it's more annoying than useful. The bars are realy too close to each others. If you want half a millimeter, you do it by eyes.

And one tenth of a foot wouldn't give you an inch. That would be confusing.

The problem when moving from one country to another with different system is not much that you can't fathom the size of the thing but that making price comparisons is mathematicaly very difficult. When I was in the US I had no idea whether things were expensive or not because everything was in floz and gal... S5
Even the coins didn't have a metric system...
Field tests are vital for any production, mechanical as well as construction. You cam measure right angles without any measurements. If you have a foot, you can fold it up to get a half and then a quarter-foot, so maybe Octal-based would work best. Ten or Twelve are harder to figure out.

For economics, isn't a loaf of bread equal to a bottle of wine?
Fred, what I really mean is this.  The basic unit of measurement needs to be a handy size that one can use regularly in order to create or draw things.  With the Imperial system the basic unit is the foot.  With the Metric system the basic unit is the meter.  Neither of these two is the best thing available, but the foot is much easier to hold, carry, or use as a unit of measurement.  The meter is just too long.  

Now, imagine a perfect ruler for doing detail work on an office desk, or drafting table.  The ideal measuring unit for the foot would be ten inches, not twelve.  That way, the basic unit is divisible in tenths.   The ruler would still be small enough to carry, or use in practical applications.  But the meter is just too long for personal measurement and drafting purposes.  

Let's look at a personal measurement of each: 

The Foot Measurement:

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Its basically as close to ideal as you can get, because it is not too long, or too short to be used practically, and in the end it is the base unit of measurement: the foot.  

Now, granted, its not perfect, because it is made up of an odd number of inches, 12 inches.  That doesn't divide evenly as one that was in tenths.  So, to make the ruler more ideal, the best setup would be 10 inches instead.  Just stretch the inches out a little bit and make each inch a tiny bit longer, OR shorten the ruler to one that is 10 inches, and call it a foot.  Either way, it is easy to hold, easy to apply on a desktop, drafting table, or anywhere a person wants to measure and draw something.  

You cannot do that with a meter ruler: its too long and takes up too much space.  Try drafting anything with a one meter ruler.  Its not easy is it?  Consequently, the practical metric ruler has to be broken down into something smaller.

Now, I've looked all over the place, looking for the most useful metric ruler, for personal use,  that is practical and highly usable, easy to handle, carry, and even store sideways in one's desk drawer.  And this is pretty much it. 

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But it doesn't make the basic unit of metric measurement.  Its only three tenths of a meter.   So, what we are left with, in order to have the best all-round measuring stick is either of the two.  Or better yet,  a combination of the two:

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So, what we end up with is the perfect length for basic measurement.  It fits the hand perfectly, is practical, and usable in almost every application.  But its graduations/increments are screwy in BOTH systems.  The Imperial system is right in that they have tailored their basic measurement into this length, but everything else is screwed up, because it is not divided up into tenths, as our numeral system happens to be.   And the metric system has fouled up by making their basic unit far larger than this ideal length.  

The main reason for all this, to my thinking, is the basic underlying cultural conflict between the British and the French way of doing things.  The foot is a basic British system, and the meter is a French system.   The Brits really don't give a damn in the end what they use, just as long as it works well.  The French don't give a damn whether it works best, as long as it is French.  So in order to be different and gain control, they intelligently went to the decimal system, but were unable to make it practical in a down to earth, personal way.  And that way is a length that the average person can take in with one quick glimpse,  hold in one hand, carry around effortlessly, and use practically.  

But the truth is that the French are anything but practical.  They have been highly incensed for decades now because English, not French, is the world universal language.  French is highly flowery, easy on the ear, and relegated to the back of the world bus.  Horrors!  

The Stars & Stripes in Europe, had an article in the mid 60s when I was living in Baumholder, Germany.  The article compared countries with their attitude toward things.   Germans are highly competitive, Brits are boring, Spanish are obsessed with death, Italians are crazy and love every minute of it.  And the French are also crazy, but indignant about it.  The French are highly indignant about practically anything that is not French.  I personally observed this on my trips to other countries with my German-American friends.  The urban French were rude, indignant, and had not time for anyone, even customers.  Of all the people I liked the least, it was the urban French.  The Rural French were far nicer to others, but still French. 

I suspect this is why the metric system is less than ideal, because the French made it.  Here's a great example of the French idea of beauty in automobiles:

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My German American friends(sons of widows who married GIs) would howl with laughter every time they saw one of the above Citrons.  I think I can only remember one GI who owned one of them, my entire time in Germany.  

My point is that the metric system is the Citron of measurement systems.  Its ugly as hell, but works.  Also, the Imperial system has one thing going, which is the foot.  Otherwise, it too is impractical.   The best thing for everyone would be to use the foot as the basic unit of measurement, and then build on to that, so as to replace both systems.   And call it what you may.  If the French yell to loudly about the use of "foot", call it something entirely differently.  

Anyway, that is my overall point, and I'm sorry for the round-about post.  But clearly we deserve far better than either systems, if we are going to be as efficient as we can be.  And the reason why Americans dislike the metric system is because it doesn't click with the brain, and is confusing from a practical POV.
Why not have a 10 hour day, ten day week and ten-month year?
I think the French Citroën automobile is a great automobile, maybe the best technologically in the world (even if viewed from the front at the right angle they may look a little like frogs--a result of their wind-tunnel designed aerodynamics). Their hydropneumatic suspension has long been by far the best in the world (making the roughest terrain seem like smooth pavement), and they had front-wheel drive before any American car makers had them. They got better than 30 miles per gallon when Detroit was still making gas-guzzling dinosaurs. They also included as standard equipment Michelin steel-belted radial tires decades before any American tire manufacturers made steel-belted tires. I had some friends years ago who had over 300,000 miles on their Citroëns (and over 100,000 miles on their tires--which still had tread), and they could drive all day long without having to stop at a gas station.

One of the neat things about the hydropneumatic suspension (where the shock absorbing was actually done by a sphere filled with compressed nitrogen) is that by flipping a switch you could raise or lower the body of the car by several inches--often enough to get you out of a rut you might have gotten stuck in.