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

#### clayschuldt

##### New member
Why do some nations drive on the left side of the road? Weird custom that no longer makes sense. I suspect, the metric system will be dropped once enough of the people clinging to it expire.

#### aceman67

##### New member
My Girlfriend is moving in with me from the US (moving to Canada, and I told her that sometimes we get cold snaps (that last a day or two) where it can sometimes get down to -30-40C.

She asked me what that was in Fahrenheit, and I said "Minus 40 Celsius is Minus 40 in Fahrenheit".

All I got back from here "You gotta be sh--ing me."

I just said "Bring a good Jacking" and winked at her.

#### Moderated

##### New member
The fact that we use it.
Seriously, that is the only reason we use it. Because we do. It's too late to change. It would cost a lot of money and have no benefit.

#### clippen05

##### New member
It's not great, it's just there's not that great a reason to change it. Sure, the metric system is better, but it would cost a lot and take a lot of time to change everything.

#### Moderated

##### New member
Smilomaniac said:
The benefit would be to teach people a more efficient system as well as being able to relate to almost all other countries in the world.
So, for the millions, maybe billions of dollars we are spending to convert, the benefit is it's easier to do math? You realize scientists and such already use the metric system, and thus the only difference would be home normal people do measurements?

#### ScorpionPrince

##### New member
ungothicdove said:
I'm down for switching. Except for distances. I'm driving a hundred miles dammit, not 160 km. And maybe height too because saying I'm 5'8" sounds better than 1.7018 meters.
No one actually says meters. That part is assumed. You would just say "I'm one-seventy." Doesn't sound so bad, right?

#### Proverbial Jon

##### Not evil, just mildly malevolent
I live in the UK. I was taught the metric system. My parents use the Imperial system.

I bounce between the two although I can recognise feet and inches far easier than centimetres or metres.

Then again this country makes no sense. We still have MPH speed limit signs and all our destination boards give distance in miles. It's just as well; I can't get my head around kilometres.

clayschuldt said:
Why do some nations drive on the left side of the road? Weird custom that no longer makes sense. I suspect, the metric system will be dropped once enough of the people clinging to it expire.
Why does it make no sense? If the car is specifically designed for driving on the left then I don't see how it makes any difference.

If anything driving on the right is the more out of place method. We do everything left to right; it's the most logical and natural movement. Unless you're left handed maybe. We read and write left to right for example.

#### jklinders

##### New member
I'm not American but I'm gonna respond to this because I am in a weird place when it comes to these systems. We were converting from Imperial to metric in the first few years i went to school. In normal conversation I see distance in meters, but refer to my height in feet. Temperate for weather I read out in Celsius but body temperature I see in F. I'm even more badly stuck in the middle as I am also a cook by trade. I cannot cook using metric measurements. No kitchen I have ever worked in used metric measurements and I refuse to learn how until I am forced to.

So in cooking it's all F, ounces, cups, pounds, metric style decimal points of ounces (figure that one out guys). Metric, just doesn't feel organic enough for me to cook with. But in all other practical ways I consider it the superior system.

#### Naeo

##### New member
Nothing, really. It's an odd system without consistent conversion factors. I much prefer the Metric's use of ten for everything. Celsius, I could take or leave--it seems that the Farenheit scale having more precision if you're just using integer values might be better for reporting temperatures to a general populace, but it's really not a significant effect.

I just use the imperial system because it's what I grew up using--even though all throughout school we learned and used metric, culturally I grew up in the imperial system, and so I'm always thinking about how many miles/pounds/etc rather than kilometers/kilograms/etc (yes, I know pounds are technically a unit of force, but day-to-day, they're used like a unit of mass). It's not a better system or anything--it's probably worse, purely on the basis of weird conversion factors (like inches to feet and so on)--but it's just what I've been using forever, so it's what I'm comfortable with.

#### Vegosiux

##### New member
Moderated said:
Smilomaniac said:
The benefit would be to teach people a more efficient system as well as being able to relate to almost all other countries in the world.
So, for the millions, maybe billions of dollars we are spending to convert
As long as you keep it at home, some of your businesses could make some real profits, actually. That money wouldn't be going down a black hole. Not saying you should use this as an economic incentive, but being smart about it can be good for your economy if you ever get to the point where you make the change.

#### Samuki Elm

##### New member
We'll switch to metric when the British stop using "pint" for drinks, "miles" for distance, and "stone" for weight. Also, when the British stop driving on the left, dismantle the monarchy, use the rhotic R, start playing by gridiron rules instead of association, and admit that Morris dancing is really goddamned silly.

Until then, we'll stick to the ingrained cultural norm and practice that is difficult to break out of when it requires changing the fundamental mindset and tradition of an entire population, especially when that population is over 300 million people and spans 3.8 million square miles or 9.8 million square kilometers or 2.4 billion acres or 98,000 tetrads or 1.4 billion manzana, etc., etc.

Not to mention the economic cost of having to replace every road sign, every mile marker, every map, every scale, every measuring stick, and every copy of Robert Frost's poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening", which includes the unfortunately obsolete line, "Miles to go before I sleep."

Yes, the crude Imperial system is the default for this side of the pond, but it's no big deal, because every US scientist and technician is capable of measuring in both SI and Imperial and converting between the two, having dealt with it their entire lives. And we all have calculators. And computers. So .... maybe it's not really that important? Unless you're a tourist in the US and then it's mildly annoying?

Or unless you're just practicing casual cultural chauvinism, and you don't really care about the fairly simple conversion of basic measurements and just want to use this as a platform to further push the impression that Americans are all big ol' dumbheads compared to your massive European intellect - the same reason why Brits always complain about the term "soccer" and about "Americanisms" seeping into their pure English speech (ironic as many of the common "Americanisms" that Brits harp on about are actually British in origin - "soccer" is one of them).

If it's really that big an inconvenience, you can just get a calculator. They're quite affordable, you know - at least here in the Stone Age wasteland that is America. And even over there, a decent one should cost more than 15 Euros. Or, if you use one of those barbaric, backwards, non-international currencies, it's about 12 pounds sterling.

//will preempt any response of "gridiron isn't football, it's hand-egg hurr hurr" by pointing out that the game of cricket doesn't at all resemble an omnivorous insect known for its unique stridulatory organs located in each wing

#### Eggsnham

##### New member
Having not read the first post and not knowing what the OP is actually getting at:

Nothing. Nothing is great about the Imperial system. Though all of our measurements have been done in the Imperial system for so long that it would be chaos to change it. Plus I'm sure we'd get all sorts of angry rednecks vomiting nonsense about Communism if we tried it.

#### Wolfenbarg

##### Terrible Person
Nothing. It's a bad habit that we're too slow to correct. It isn't even used in scientific applications, but it's still used in engineering (if you hate converting units from English to metric and back again, never study engineering). I'm sure that eventually the US will swap out to metric in an official capacity, but a lot of people will still use feet, miles, gallons etc as shorthand since it's what people know.

#### TheCommanders

##### ohmygodimonfire
Absolutely nothing. I have no idea why we refuse to change it. For what it's worth, I would vote to change it if it were ever up to me. I prefer the metric system (base 10 ftw!).

#### pearcinator

##### New member
I'm not American and I think the metric system is by far superior.

BUT (now I might be wrong here) isn't the Fahrenheit temperature based off regular human body temp? Like humans should have a body temperature of (I think) about 37 degrees Celsius which is a rather odd number and that a couple of degrees either side of that is not good...(like deathly ill)

So is like 100 degrees Fahrenheit equal to regular human body temp of 37 degrees Celsius? Cos then that would kinda make sense. Anything over 100 is 'hot' for us and anything under is 'cold' for us.

In the metric system, 35-40 degrees C is really hot temperatures while 10 degrees C is really cold (for the Gold Coast, Australia anyway). It would make more sense to me to measure temperatures in Fahrenheit...but it still makes sense with the metric system where everything is based off water.

For water:

0 degrees C = ice
100 degrees C = boil
1 millilitre = 1 gram = 1 cubic centimetre

Metric just makes more sense to have a single standard to base everything off.

#### Redingold

##### AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
pearcinator said:
I'm not American and I think the metric system is by far superior.

BUT (now I might be wrong here) isn't the Fahrenheit temperature based off regular human body temp? Like humans should have a body temperature of (I think) about 37 degrees Celsius which is a rather odd number and that a couple of degrees either side of that is not good...(like deathly ill)

So is like 100 degrees Fahrenheit equal to regular human body temp of 37 degrees Celsius? Cos then that would kinda make sense. Anything over 100 is 'hot' for us and anything under is 'cold' for us.

In the metric system, 35-40 degrees C is really hot temperatures while 10 degrees C is really cold (for the Gold Coast, Australia anyway). It would make more sense to me to measure temperatures in Fahrenheit...but it still makes sense with the metric system where everything is based off water.

For water:

0 degrees C = ice
100 degrees C = boil
1 millilitre = 1 gram = 1 cubic centimetre

Metric just makes more sense to have a single standard to base everything off.
Fahrenheit's foundations are kinda weird. Originally, 0 was defined as the freezing point of a 2:1 mix of water and ammonium chloride, and human body temperature was about 96 Fahrenheit, and 32 was the freezing point of water. The reason for this was so that 64 intervals lay between the freezing point of water and body temperature, so it would be easy to mark 64 gradations on any instrument, as it only requires you to bisect the interval 6 times. Later it was redefined so that 32 was the freezing point of water, and 212 was the boiling point, so like Celsius, Fahrenheit is defined in terms of water, it just has weird numbers at those points. Body temperature is about 98 on this scale.

#### Quaxar

##### New member
pearcinator said:
I'm not American and I think the metric system is by far superior.

BUT (now I might be wrong here) isn't the Fahrenheit temperature based off regular human body temp? Like humans should have a body temperature of (I think) about 37 degrees Celsius which is a rather odd number and that a couple of degrees either side of that is not good...(like deathly ill)

So is like 100 degrees Fahrenheit equal to regular human body temp of 37 degrees Celsius? Cos then that would kinda make sense. Anything over 100 is 'hot' for us and anything under is 'cold' for us.
No no no, regular human body temperature is 98.6 F. Which really is an ugly number.

When the scale was developed by Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit the template for 0 was based on brine, basically salt water ice. Then of course he revised it to make 32F the freezing point of water, thereby screwing over thousands of brine scientists in the world, a branch of science that still hasn't recovered from the hit of losing such a valuably simple scale point.