# Americans, what's so great about the Imperial System?

#### Amaror

##### New member
First of all. I know this i probably going to be a pretty difficult discussion. Everyone here has grown up with one or the other measurement system, so nobody can be really objective about this.

Ok, then let's get this started. I read up a bit on the Imperial System and i just can't find any great benefits to it.
Let's start with the obvious advantage of the metric system, as that it is not only the international standard, but also the System of SCIENCE (Which kinda is an instant win right there).
It's easy to calculate with and is just perfect for Mathmatics, Physics and so on.
I heard from some people that the imperial system is easier to use in day to day life, but i can't see why.
It's obviously better in day to day life, if you have grown up with it and used it your entire life.
But if we look at both systems and how we would use them in day to day life, i still think the metric system to be far superiour.
First of all, you just have to learn 3 units of measurement. Meter, gramm and litre. Any larger or smaller units you might need, you just use the appropriate word before it. kilo for a thousand, mega for a million and so on.
In the imperial system you got yards, feet, miles, pinch, pounds, tons and so on, and so on.
It's just way more to memorize, for practically no benefit in day to day life.

#### Dirge Eterna

##### New member
Growing up we used the Imperial system and when I moved to Germany when I was 18 I found the metric system easier. I read a lot of books that use the Metric system and I end up having to roughly calculate how many pounds, miles etc. something is in my head to get an idea. Plus there are a lot of measurements that are regional in the US. Since we are so large a pinch, bit or whatever can mean different things in the South as opposed to the Northwest.

Some things are sold in Metric units like Soda is usually sold as a 2-liter while a 16oz bottle would be a pint. It can be confusing. Most people don't want to bother switching over.

#### Caiphus

##### Social Office Corridor
If you were going to build a society from scratch, you would want that society to use the Metric system. Purely because it uses standard form base 10 for all (?) of its measurements. Some maths student might come along and give me the proper definition but yeah.

However, if you are integrating yourself into a society (say, by being born and growing up in that society) which uses the Imperial system, then the Imperial system will be better for you on a day-to-day basis. Mostly because people will know what the fuck you are talking about when you say "My house is about 3 miles away" or "It's 50 degrees outside, bring a jacket". Which you alluded to in your post, so I'm not having a go at you or anything, OP.

So that's what is better about it.

Also, is ton not a Metric measurement?

Edit: Also, I'm not American. Nor do I use the Imperial system.

#### OneCatch

##### New member
Caiphus said:
Also, is ton not a Metric measurement?
A Metric Tonne is!
The older Long and Short Tons are not.
Short Tons are what is generally meant when Imperial users say ton, Metric Tonnes are common elsewhere and equal to 1000kg. No-one uses Long Tons any more.

OT; I'm British, meaning that I use metric for everything except measures of alcohol (pint), distance (in miles, when driving) and the weight of people (stone).
Measures of other liquids are metric, as are distances when not driving, and the weight of anything else. And yes, I'm aware it's utterly ridiculous.

#### shrekfan246

##### Not actually a Japanese pop star
I don't like the metric system purely because of how the British measure weight.

I mean, who thought "stone" was a good idea, especially at such a weird integer as 14 pounds?!

Mostly-joking aside (because I know "stone" isn't a metric measurement), I don't really care one way or the other. I use the imperial system because it's what I was taught. If I had been taught the metric system, I'd use that instead. I occasionally mix and match anyway; Meters make far more sense than yards and I've been drilling the conversions between Celsius and Fahrenheit into my head. Couldn't really give a toss about kilometers or kilograms though.

##### New member
Caiphus said:
Also, is ton not a Metric measurement?
Not exclusively

The ton as defined by the UK is defined as 1016 Kg, or about 2,240 pounds
The ton as defined in the US is defined as 2,000 pounds, or about 907 Kg
The metric ton is exactly 1000 Kg or about 2,204 pounds

To help with the confusion, the former have been called "short ton" and "long ton". Also, the metric version is sometimes spelled as tonne

In any event, American here. We've been stuck between the Imperial and Metric system for decades. The original plan was for a gradual shift, with many standards using both imperial and metric units. That kind of stalled out.

Speaking for the engineers that have to convert all this mess into a usable format, the vast majority of us loathe the imperial system from the bottom of our nerdy hearts. The reluctance of the American populace at large to switch to the more efficient and easier to learn ISU standard is incredibly annoying, and there is a very strong sentiment that we should simply swap over to doing everything in metric, to hell with anyone not prepared to finish switching with us.

Unfortunately that sentiment is not quite strong enough, its a bit like organizing a strike, either everyone's on board or the few involved just get screwed.

Ok, yes, there's more to it than that, it will take a lot of free capital to switch things over that no one wants to spend, and a lot of people don't have a clue how to deal with metric units.

#### Aedes

##### New member
It allows for other americans to make funny jokes about their system.

Since I'm not american, I can't really answer your question but I can think on some reasons as to why they keep using it.
It's historical, i.e., it's what they used from the very begining. The cost to change that might be too high and not justifiable at this point.
Also, it works. It's not what the world uses (and I really wish they just change it to metrics already so I don't get freaking confused whenever importing stuffs) but it works for them.

#### Amaror

##### New member
DANGER- MUST SILENCE said:
There is one and only one advantage: Degrees F constitutes a larger range of numbers than degrees C. So in the very specific instance of being in a climate-controlled room with a digital thermostat and the goal of maximizing the comfort level of the room, assuming typical designs which work in whole numbers, degrees F gives more selectable data points and therefore allows more fine-tuning of the temperature. Now that I'm in a country where everything is Celcius I'm constantly flipping my airconditioner between 23 and 24 degrees C (73.4 and 75.2 degrees F) because all I want is 74 degrees.

Of course, this could be solved by any vaguely competent engineer who knows how to use decimals, so really the only advantage of the Imperial system is it provides a way for Americans to pretend we are better than everyone else by how we're willing to inconvenience ourselves.
Ok, still i think it's way easier to learn a temperature system were one point is the freezing point of water and the other one is the boiling point of water, which are both things we use in our Day to Day live as opposed to Fahrenheit. Were the low point is that one winter were it was really cold in the inventors home town and the other one is the temperature of the human body. The first one is just hilarious and while i can understand the second one its not exactly something that you use in your day to day life.

##### New member
Amaror said:
Ok, still i think it's way easier to learn a temperature system were one point is the freezing point of water and the other one is the boiling point of water, which are both things we use in our Day to Day live as opposed to Fahrenheit. Were the low point is that one winter were it was really cold in the inventors home town and the other one is the temperature of the human body. The first one is just hilarious and while i can understand the second one its not exactly something that you use in your day to day life.
Its not quite that bad, zero on the Fahrenheit scale was originally defined by the freezing point of brine.

#### Caiphus

##### Social Office Corridor
OneCatch said:
Let me know I was wrong. Super friendly though.
Did the same thing. Hooray!
Well, shows what I know.

And my parents say I'm not doing anything productive on the Internet at 3 in the morning. Tsk. If only they knew.

#### Trek1701a

##### New member
There was a push in the, if I recall correctly, '80s to convert to the metric system here in the US. People couldn't get their head around the comparisons if the switch wasn't nearly identical. For example, we used to have half gallon bottles of soda before the switch, now we have 2 Liter bottles. The transition was accepted because the bottles didn't visually change much and the price stayed about the same. Whereas, if you took the transition with gasoline, that conversion went abyssmally. We pump and price by the gallon. However, when the switch was tried, it was done by liters, so for the savvy types, it was just basically times everything by 4, to get close to what it was. But leave it to Americans to hate to do math, plus it didn't help that the gas companies took the opportunity to raise the gas prices, so even the ones doing the math didn't like the results. In any event, the gas switchover never took and we are still using gallons.

Ultimately, the US is very mixed when it comes to the weights and measures used. Sometimes you will see grams be the unit, and sometimes you will see ounces. Same with pints/quarts/gallons and liters. Meters and feet are the same way. We have some races that are K races, 5Kilometer races for example, however we still have marathons which are in miles.

#### senordesol

##### New member
I don't think there's anything inherently 'great' about the Imperial system; it's just what we were raised on and, thus, how we're used to measuring things. It's a pretty easy system to translate physically, too.

I know I can easily lift a pound, not a thousand pounds though.

But I can easily lift a gram and a kilogram; so what's the point?

#### Comocat

##### New member
senordesol said:
I don't think there's anything inherently 'great' about the Imperial system; it's just what we were raised on and, thus, how we're used to measuring things. It's a pretty easy system to translate physically, too.

I know I can easily lift a pound, not a thousand pounds though.

But I can easily lift a gram and a kilogram; so what's the point?
I agree, it's just a system of measurements. Any organization where measurements matter probably already uses SI conventions and then who really cares if we measure a road trip in miles or km?

#### shootthebandit

##### New member
At least its not the UK where we are massively inconsistant with our use of imperial and metric

We still use miles and miles per hour for longer distances. However shorter distances tend to be metric
Weight of humans is in pounds and stones whereas every other weight is Kg
Height of humans is usually feet and inches whereas everything else is centimetres

Imperial in engineering is an absolute nightmare. When you have bolts that are 3/8s and stuff it just makes it so complicated as it doesnt go up in logical steps where as in metric its just in steps of 1mm (possibly 0.5 or even 0.1) but its still a logical increment

#### bearlotz

##### New member
Speaking for the engineers that have to convert all this mess into a usable format, the vast majority of us loathe the imperial system from the bottom of our nerdy hearts. The reluctance of the American populace at large to switch to the more efficient and easier to learn ISU standard is incredibly annoying, and there is a very strong sentiment that we should simply swap over to doing everything in metric, to hell with anyone not prepared to finish switching with us.
Hi-five. Also American, and also an engineer, and I agree with all of the above. Any time I'm doing anything for work that isn't staying domestic, I need to work with both systems on the same project. And it sucks. It sucks horribly. I would change over tomorrow if I could, but then it would be just me saying things that non-technical people wouldn't understand, and last time I did that a group of nice young men in clean white coats wanted to have a word with me. Everything gets kind of fuzzy after that...

#### Sir Thomas Sean Connery

##### New member
Absolutely none whatsoever.

The is no reason to use Imperial over Metric.

However, at this point it's completely and utterly impossible to ever make the switch. When 300+ million people are all committed to one system and their entire society is built around it, they can't change just because the other system makes a little more sense.

##### New member
There's nothing inherently great about the Imperial System. It's less "Americans refuse to change to Metric" and more "We're stuck in this perpetual clusterfuck where the guys who should have changed us to Metric long ago are either really stubborn about Imperial or interested in making half the things we use in Imperial and the other half in Metric, because fuck you."

For the most part, we are very familiar with the Metric System if it's used for things that aren't part of our day-to-day routine. The more accuracy is needed, the more we lean to Metric. But that Joe Schmo down the corner will still be pumping his gas and drinking his milk by the gallon.

#### Yopaz

##### Sarcastic overlord
Caiphus said:
OneCatch said:
Let me know I was wrong. Super friendly though.