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

zarker

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Oct 14, 2012
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Heronblade said:
Yeah, not exactly true.

A very large portion of the people in this thread who support switching to Metric, myself included, are Americans who are badly affected by the Imperial system. This is not a foreign culture trying to shove this down your throat, this is your own people who have to use these measurements a hell of a lot more often than you do in your daily life asking everyone else to wake the fuck up and join the rest of the world in using a more efficient, more accurate, and easier to learn standard.
You still haven't given me a reason that I should want to switch. How is it more efficient, accurate, and easier to learn? Imperial is not complicated and relays to real life much better than metric, at least for someone who doesn't use it all that much. My foot is almost a foot long, the knuckle of my thumb is about an inch long. Extremely easy to visualize for me.

Then maybe, just maybe, we won't have to watch another space mission crash and burn just because someone used the imperial standard when they were not supposed to. All things considered, the only reason I am not surprised that there are not a hell of a lot more accidents like that is because of the extreme levels of safety checks we use. We waste a huge amount of time mediating between these two systems in order to avoid problems.
Why would anyone use Imperial in anything science related? Sounds like a bad idea to me considering it was created for guesstimating and not to be exact.
 

JWAN

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IceForce said:
JWAN said:
The US should spend billions of dollars to change our system to metric so you can watch the mythbusters?
If all you're going to do is strawman me, then you can't expect to receive any more replies from me.

Good day sir.
Hey, your the one who said it, not me.
In the short run all it will do is cost money and in the long run it isn't going to change much.
The US does 40% of its manufacturing in metric and the imperial system has been based on the metric system for 120 years already. The market is already moving towards the metric system slowly, but surely. Forcing the system through some ridiculous process when the free market is already doing the same thing for less money would be insane.

At the end of the day, as long as a person can move a decimal point they can work the metric system. If they already understand the imperial system then who does it hurt?
(other than the people who get mad at US television shows)
 

Heronblade

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zarker said:
Heronblade said:
Yeah, not exactly true.

A very large portion of the people in this thread who support switching to Metric, myself included, are Americans who are badly affected by the Imperial system. This is not a foreign culture trying to shove this down your throat, this is your own people who have to use these measurements a hell of a lot more often than you do in your daily life asking everyone else to wake the fuck up and join the rest of the world in using a more efficient, more accurate, and easier to learn standard.
You still haven't given me a reason that I should want to switch. How is it more efficient, accurate, and easier to learn? Imperial is not complicated and relays to real life much better than metric, at least for someone who doesn't use it all that much. My foot is almost a foot long, the knuckle of my thumb is about an inch long. Extremely easy to visualize for me.
you're right, I haven't, and for that matter, I won't be able to. For the people that don't really use the Imperial system for anything remotely serious, it works just fine. The rest of us however are more than a little tired of having this pain in the arse added to our workload. You'll just have to decide for yourself whether or not the minor and temporary inconvenience on your part in terms of finding a new body part to measure with is worth more than the huge amount of money and work wasted by keeping the status quo. I could also mention the blinding headaches dealing with this has given me from time to time, but if you cared you'd be the first.

P.S. width of smallest fingernail, width of hand with fingers pressed together including thumb, and armspan. 1 centimeter, 1 decimeter, and 1.5 meters respectively.
Then maybe, just maybe, we won't have to watch another space mission crash and burn just because someone used the imperial standard when they were not supposed to. All things considered, the only reason I am not surprised that there are not a hell of a lot more accidents like that is because of the extreme levels of safety checks we use. We waste a huge amount of time mediating between these two systems in order to avoid problems.
Why would anyone use Imperial in anything science related? Sounds like a bad idea to me considering it was created for guesstimating and not to be exact.
The software that caused the problem was leased out to Lockheed Martin, an American Aerospace company that, like many others, is forced to constantly switch between Metric and Imperial standards depending on their client. They should have caught the mistake, but ideally they shouldn't have had to worry about making the mistake in the first place.
 

Abomination

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IceForce said:
Abomination said:
IceForce said:
zarker said:
What's up with everyones' vitriolic hate for a system of measurement that doesn't even affect them?

Absolutely zero reason to change except to shut up the idiots complaining about it even though it'll never affect them.
Actually is does affect us.
I can't watch an episode of Mythbusters without imperial measurements being shoved down my fucking throat.

Speaking as someone who has absolutely zero understanding of any imperial measurements, I can say that it makes US television extremely annoying to watch.
I work for UPS, guess what packages are frequently measured in...

Weight and dimensions. Most shipments are actually measured in kilograms but we'll frequently get shipments out of the States that will be listed as pounds and inches.

Then since I deal with logistics I have to discuss distance travelled - miles or kilometers.

Calculating such figures in different scenarios isn't exactly crippling but it is pointless time consuming compared to if I didn't have to deal with imperial at all.
That's pretty much the point I was making.

Saying "Oh, you don't live in the US, so it imperial measurements don't affect you" is a complete bullshit argument.

Everything from TV shows, to working with international shipping, is affected.
I was agreeing with you :)

I also happen to live in New Zealand and we use metric exclusively here for everything we do. The only time we have to use imperial is when we're dealing with Americans - who aren't even our largest trading partner.
 

Ryotknife

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Heronblade said:
zarker said:
Nothing is great about it. Nothing wrong with it either. Works well for everyday life though which everyone seems to ignore. What's up with everyones' vitriolic hate for a system of measurement that doesn't even affect them?

Anyone that needs to know the metric system knows it, and everyone else uses the Imperial system for day to day life. Absolutely zero reason to change except to shut up the idiots complaining about it even though it'll never affect them.

The better question is why should we change to the Metric System? I grew up with the Imperial system so I visualize everything in it. What actual benefits would I receive by switching from it in my everyday life?
Yeah, not exactly true.

A very large portion of the people in this thread who support switching to Metric, myself included, are Americans who are badly affected by the Imperial system. This is not a foreign culture trying to shove this down your throat. This is your own people who have to use these measurements a hell of a lot more often than you do in your daily life asking everyone else to wake the fuck up and join the rest of the world in using a more efficient, more accurate, and easier to learn standard.

Then maybe, just maybe, we won't have to watch another space mission crash and burn just because someone used the imperial standard when they were not supposed to. All things considered, the only reason I am not surprised that there are not a hell of a lot more accidents like that is because of the extreme levels of safety checks we use. We waste a huge amount of time mediating between these two systems in order to avoid problems.
uh...no.

Its mostly foreign pressure. The vast majority of Americans don't give a hoot about metric because imperial works just as well for the average American. There is zero advantage to metric in the day to day usage. Hell, even some engineers don't care because some engineering companies use imperial exclusively. I worked as an Electrial Engineer on dams, and guess what? Everything was in Imperial.

Switching to metric would make SOME engineers/scientists life easier, but for the vast vast VAST majority (as in 99+%) it would be an inconvenience to try to do a non-gradual switch. Even NASA tried to switch and found out they could not. The only people who would really benefit from the US switching is Europe and a few engineers.

http://nasawatch.com/archives/2009/06/nasa-finds-the-metric-system-too-hard-to-implement-for-constellation.html

Don't get me wrong, I like metric, but there are very few benefits to switching nor is there an immediate need to. Gradually replacing signs and whatnot with both imperial and metric and gradually phasing out imperial over the course of 100 years or so is fine.
 

Feedmeketamine

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Im all for centimentres and metres but i just cant get my head around kilometres by hour, 90 miles an hour is where its at, if you translate it into km/h it just doesnt make any sense to me.
 

Patathatapon

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Being Canadian, I grew up with mostly metric and some imperial.

When it comes to baking, we usually measure in cups, teaspoons, etc. and sometimes we say Miles per hour, and other times we say Km per hour.

I find it's just a silly thing to argue over anyway. Metric is used by most places, so it's "International" and most people will understand you.
 

acturisme

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Its all about the divisors.
base 10 <--metric system: Divisors are 1, 2, 5 and 10
base 12 <--much of the imperial system: Divisors are 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 12.

By having 6 divisors instead of 4 a party can divide a whole into equal parts among a larger number of individuals.
This explanation is not perfect but it's the simplest I can make it. Also, history. Base 10 is the historical standard of much of the world. But who says we can't have a duodecimal (base 12) number system and merge the best of both systems?

Edit:

The imperial system is actually in base 10 also but uses 12 or one of its divisors as a number of sub units in a larger unit. 12 inches in a foot. 3 miles in a league. Oddly, units of weight in ounces are in base 16. But base 16 still has one more divisor than base 10. I like base 16 myself because it is a simple power of 2 and it's easy to do complex calculations in my head with it.
 

EvilRoy

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Ryotknife said:
Heronblade said:
zarker said:
Nothing is great about it. Nothing wrong with it either. Works well for everyday life though which everyone seems to ignore. What's up with everyones' vitriolic hate for a system of measurement that doesn't even affect them?

Anyone that needs to know the metric system knows it, and everyone else uses the Imperial system for day to day life. Absolutely zero reason to change except to shut up the idiots complaining about it even though it'll never affect them.

The better question is why should we change to the Metric System? I grew up with the Imperial system so I visualize everything in it. What actual benefits would I receive by switching from it in my everyday life?
Yeah, not exactly true.

A very large portion of the people in this thread who support switching to Metric, myself included, are Americans who are badly affected by the Imperial system. This is not a foreign culture trying to shove this down your throat. This is your own people who have to use these measurements a hell of a lot more often than you do in your daily life asking everyone else to wake the fuck up and join the rest of the world in using a more efficient, more accurate, and easier to learn standard.

Then maybe, just maybe, we won't have to watch another space mission crash and burn just because someone used the imperial standard when they were not supposed to. All things considered, the only reason I am not surprised that there are not a hell of a lot more accidents like that is because of the extreme levels of safety checks we use. We waste a huge amount of time mediating between these two systems in order to avoid problems.
uh...no.

Its mostly foreign pressure. The vast majority of Americans don't give a hoot about metric because imperial works just as well for the average American. There is zero advantage to metric in the day to day usage. Hell, even some engineers don't care because some engineering companies use imperial exclusively. I worked as an Electrial Engineer on dams, and guess what? Everything was in Imperial.

Switching to metric would make SOME engineers/scientists life easier, but for the vast vast VAST majority (as in 99+%) it would be an inconvenience to try to do a non-gradual switch. Even NASA tried to switch and found out they could not. The only people who would really benefit from the US switching is Europe and a few engineers.

http://nasawatch.com/archives/2009/06/nasa-finds-the-metric-system-too-hard-to-implement-for-constellation.html

Don't get me wrong, I like metric, but there are very few benefits to switching nor is there an immediate need to. Gradually replacing signs and whatnot with both imperial and metric and gradually phasing out imperial over the course of 100 years or so is fine.
Well the primary reason to switch to one uniform system of units everywhere is for the sake of international trade and scientific collaboration. Increases productivity and makes it easier to sell to foreign markets, something many countries depend on for the sake of their economies.

You can argue that switching is hard or expensive, but when it comes right down to it just about everybody else made the decision to bite the bullet and get it over with and none really suffered for it. According to zmescience the only countries that primarily use imperial are the US, Liberia and Burma. The UK and a few others use some still, but are considered to be nearly finished the change.

I suppose there is no reason for the US to make the change to metric right away, but if they leave it much longer they're going to have the dubious distinction of using a unit system nobody else on the planet deals with, and its going to make international trade with the US more difficult and less attractive.
 

Ryotknife

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EvilRoy said:
Ryotknife said:
Heronblade said:
zarker said:
Nothing is great about it. Nothing wrong with it either. Works well for everyday life though which everyone seems to ignore. What's up with everyones' vitriolic hate for a system of measurement that doesn't even affect them?

Anyone that needs to know the metric system knows it, and everyone else uses the Imperial system for day to day life. Absolutely zero reason to change except to shut up the idiots complaining about it even though it'll never affect them.

The better question is why should we change to the Metric System? I grew up with the Imperial system so I visualize everything in it. What actual benefits would I receive by switching from it in my everyday life?
Yeah, not exactly true.

A very large portion of the people in this thread who support switching to Metric, myself included, are Americans who are badly affected by the Imperial system. This is not a foreign culture trying to shove this down your throat. This is your own people who have to use these measurements a hell of a lot more often than you do in your daily life asking everyone else to wake the fuck up and join the rest of the world in using a more efficient, more accurate, and easier to learn standard.

Then maybe, just maybe, we won't have to watch another space mission crash and burn just because someone used the imperial standard when they were not supposed to. All things considered, the only reason I am not surprised that there are not a hell of a lot more accidents like that is because of the extreme levels of safety checks we use. We waste a huge amount of time mediating between these two systems in order to avoid problems.
uh...no.

Its mostly foreign pressure. The vast majority of Americans don't give a hoot about metric because imperial works just as well for the average American. There is zero advantage to metric in the day to day usage. Hell, even some engineers don't care because some engineering companies use imperial exclusively. I worked as an Electrial Engineer on dams, and guess what? Everything was in Imperial.

Switching to metric would make SOME engineers/scientists life easier, but for the vast vast VAST majority (as in 99+%) it would be an inconvenience to try to do a non-gradual switch. Even NASA tried to switch and found out they could not. The only people who would really benefit from the US switching is Europe and a few engineers.

http://nasawatch.com/archives/2009/06/nasa-finds-the-metric-system-too-hard-to-implement-for-constellation.html

Don't get me wrong, I like metric, but there are very few benefits to switching nor is there an immediate need to. Gradually replacing signs and whatnot with both imperial and metric and gradually phasing out imperial over the course of 100 years or so is fine.
Well the primary reason to switch to one uniform system of units everywhere is for the sake of international trade and scientific collaboration. Increases productivity and makes it easier to sell to foreign markets, something many countries depend on for the sake of their economies.

You can argue that switching is hard or expensive, but when it comes right down to it just about everybody else made the decision to bite the bullet and get it over with and none really suffered for it. According to zmescience the only countries that primarily use imperial are the US, Liberia and Burma. The UK and a few others use some still, but are considered to be nearly finished the change.

I suppose there is no reason for the US to make the change to metric right away, but if they leave it much longer they're going to have the dubious distinction of using a unit system nobody else on the planet deals with, and its going to make international trade with the US more difficult and less attractive.
yea, but any project the US government does is horrendously expensive. Imagine a project, guess how much you can reasonable expect it to cost, now multiple it by 3-5x to give you an idea how much it would cost the US government to do so. It would not surprise me in the least if switching costs close to a half a trillion, if not more (if we tried an immediate switch). The fact of the matter is we have a lot of problems that could use money to solve, and switching to metric is all the way on the bottom of the list. Now, this wont stop a gradual approach where things are slowly replaced with metric units, therefore eliminating most of the cost of converting as these things eventually need to be replaced anyways.

Like I said though, NASA tried to switch and they couldn't do it because of budget concerns.

If NASA had a hard time making the switch, it does not bode well for the rest of the country.
 

kurokotetsu

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Sep 17, 2008
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JWAN said:
It took those countries years to do it, NASA explained that if they changed everything on their schematics to metric it would cost 370 million dollars. Meaning they wouldn't be able to launch space shuttles for the first half of the year.
Yeah, Ip prettu sure NASA uses Metric already, at least for their missions. They are scientists, that work with ESA and Russians, and Metric is the standard for both scientists and the colaborating nations. Carl Sagan talks in kilometers and kilograms a lot in a Pale Blue Dot. And they were the ones that built the Mars Climate Orbiter, so that the software in the machine was in SI tells me that is was probably Lockheed which gave the non-SI units.

ardias014 said:
But knowing the safe temperature for your survival is better and metric sucks at that. With Fahrenheit, 1 - 100 is survivable human range, with Celsius it isn't. It is also not the best for science because of kelvin.
How often do you find 1°F? Or 100°F? Also, at 0°F you can survive for what I gather, almost 10 hours, which is more or less the same for 50% humidity and 100° F (and even more than an hour at 100% humidity) so in spite of what Farenheit wanted, his scale is terrible at determining the habitable range for humans, so it is not a good scale for that. Habitable temperatures are horrible emtric considering there is no standard meassure of that. Also, with Celsius you can determine those limits with the same certainty. Just because you are unused to them, doens't make Farenheit a better scale. Celsius is just as useful for cooking, room temperature and everything in the daily life, you are just not tha used to them. And Kelvin and Celsius are almost the same, just add or substract 273°, the change between degrees is the same, so it is still useful (not used, but the conversion is minimal).

Metric is just better and easier. Say, how many square feet are there in a square mile? And in half an square mile? In pi square miles? How many cubic inches are there in an ounce? In a gallon? Because those are easy conversions in Metric. Metric is easy all the time. You can change every unit by moving the decimal point. It is faster just to change the point than to write in a calculator the operetion to do it. You don't have to do anything. And even easier if you sue scientific notation. Need teh speed of ligh in meters per second and not kilometer becasue the rest of the equation is in meter? Just add three to that exponential.

The concertion isn't going to be immediate. Nobody would reasonably ask just to forget Imperial. But fase it out. Start using both, while making Imperial obsolete. It will take time, but believe me, the only thing standing between you and metric is inertia (things don't soudn better o worse in a system or another, you are only more used to one), and in a generation, that Imperial nosnsense can be over. Metric is more accurate since it is the base of both (an inch is defined as so many centimetres, not the other way round), it is easier to use and learn (anumeric people can do metric calculation with ease) and you could be part of a bigger world. Imperial needs to go. there is no reason to keep it and many to change.

EDit:
Ryotknife said:
uh...no.

Its mostly foreign pressure. The vast majority of Americans don't give a hoot about metric because imperial works just as well for the average American. There is zero advantage to metric in the day to day usage. Hell, even some engineers don't care because some engineering companies use imperial exclusively. I worked as an Electrial Engineer on dams, and guess what? Everything was in Imperial.

Switching to metric would make SOME engineers/scientists life easier, but for the vast vast VAST majority (as in 99+%) it would be an inconvenience to try to do a non-gradual switch. Even NASA tried to switch and found out they could not. The only people who would really benefit from the US switching is Europe and a few engineers.

http://nasawatch.com/archives/2009/06/nasa-finds-the-metric-system-too-hard-to-implement-for-constellation.html

Don't get me wrong, I like metric, but there are very few benefits to switching nor is there an immediate need to. Gradually replacing signs and whatnot with both imperial and metric and gradually phasing out imperial over the course of 100 years or so is fine.
Did you read the whole link? Because only the first paragraph talked about not implementing SI units. QUoting

"By law and policy, the metric system is the preferred system of measurement within NASA."

"ll new programs and projects covered by NPR 7120.5 shall use the SI system of measurement for design, development and operations, in preference to customary U.S. measurement units, for all internal activities, related NASA procurements, grants, and business activities."


So NASA would be happier if they switched to SI units. The problem with Imperial indeed caused problems, but NASA policy is SI units, and a discrepancy between hardware, being that Metric was used in design (in other words, what NASA did, not outside engineers). NASA is moslty metric. NASA doesn't have to change to metric. They already have. They already did. Please read the sources you are citing. ALL the scientific community uses SI, that includes NASA.
 

Korolev

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Argh, this again.

I've talked to Americans in my Medical class about this - and most of them that know about the Metric system agree that their system is worse. BUT - do you know how difficult it would be for them to change it quickly? Think of all the books that need to be rewritten. Think of all the informercials and pamphlets that would need to be distributed to inform people about the change. Think about all the speedometers in cars that would need to be replaced. Think about the packaging industry - it would be turned upside down with virtually every single label needing to be rewritten.

Americans are gradually latching onto the Metric system. Most Americans have a rough idea of Litres and Millilitres. Metres and Centimetres are gradually being used by Americans as well. It's a slow process, but I think American will transition to the Metric system gradually, over the course of many decades.
 

shootthebandit

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zarker said:
You still haven't given me a reason that I should want to switch. How is it more efficient, accurate, and easier to learn? Imperial is not complicated and relays to real life much better than metric, at least for someone who doesn't use it all that much. My foot is almost a foot long, the knuckle of my thumb is about an inch long. Extremely easy to visualize for me.
You have given me 3 reasons already:

1) you said "at for someone who doesnt use it that often" . So youre trying to say that you to use a system that easier for people that dont use it on a daily basis. That makes no sense to me, i work on a british aircraft which is all metric however we use some (not many) american part which are imperial and its incredibly awkward.

Heres a story that actually happened. When refueling an aircraft in the UK the fuel is supplied by the tanker in litres and measured by the aircraft in kilograms. Its hard enough to calculated this first thing in the morning when the rain is pouring down. There was an incident where a european aircraft landed in america (or vice versa) as the US tankers pump in gallons the mechanic refueling the aircraft had to convert from gallons to litres then litres to kilograms. This meant that the aircraft was improperly fuelled and fortunately the pilot was close to a small airfield when he realised he had insuffient fuel to go to the intended destination

2) you said "my foot is ABOUT a foot...". Theres no ABOUTs when measuring something. When measuring something you need a calibrated unit thats accurate 100% of the time. Your "about a foot" will be different to someone elses "about a foot" whereas a metre will always be a meter. I litre will always be 1000 cubic centimeters which is also 1kg of pure H20 which also means that volume, mass, and distance are all relatable

3) you said "its easier to visualise" when measuring something accurately you dont "visualise" it. You measure it, then measure it again to make sure its as accurate as possible

Im sure my arguements mean nothing to you because chances are you dont have to measure anything to any degree of accuracy or calculate the discrepancy between the volume of fuel and the mass of fuel
 

Saika Renegade

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It is -hilariously- easy to weed out wartime infiltrators who do not comprehend such labyrinthine measurements; the British actually got some mileage out of their Old Money system this way, finding spies who failed to calculate the Old Money breakdowns, something a native born into the system would know.

Other than that, you've got me.
 

Mersadeon

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ardias014 said:
Amaror said:
DANGER- MUST SILENCE said:
[...]
But knowing the safe temperature for your survival is better and metric sucks at that. With Fahrenheit, 1 - 100 is survivable human range, with Celsius it isn't. It is also not the best for science because of kelvin.
But when are you ever going to need that? When are you ever going to look at a thermometer to figure out if you could die of heat loss?

Well, sure, Kelvin is better, but shifting Celsius into Kelvin is trivial, while Fahrenheit is still a pain in the ass to convert. Kelvin is just Celsius with a different null-point.
 

Unsilenced

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As an engineering student: FUCKING NOTHING.

Profacts: There are poundal inches and inch-pounds. They both measure the same thing (moments), but are numerically different from one another.

1 pound foot = 32.174048734 poundal foot

So, a big shout out to my man the Imperial System:

 

Dense_Electric

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Who said all Americans think it's so great? I fucking hate the fact that my country is so ass-backwards and run by so many ultranationalist conservative types that anything any other country in the world uses is considered "communist" (because said ultranationalist conservative types have a very accurate understanding of what the word "communist" means, of course). That's pretty much the only reason this retarded country hasn't switched over to the OBVIOUSLY superior metric system - because if you support anything "them dang dirty Yuruhpeean liberals" use, you're some kind of "anti-American" traitor.

Of course that's a generalization, there are plenty of conservatives who *do* support using it, but the opposition from the type of people I'm talking about is strong nonetheless.
 

Cecilo

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I really don't know what you are all talking about. Most the schools I visited on the East Coast of the US were teaching Both Metric and Imperial. Maybe you just want the change to come quicker, I don't really know, but the change is coming, slowly but surely.

And as for the guys that use the stupid 'Murica meme, I would like you to point out one country that doesn't like things to be their way, or a country that doesn't have flaws, or problems. Can't find one? Good. Now please stop acting like America is the only one problems? Please?