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

#### PatrickXD

##### New member
Metric is great for when I'm in a class room, but despite being raised on metric I still understand inches and pounds more readily than centimetres and kilograms.

#### Archon

##### New member
For day to day use, I prefer the Imperial System because it is related to human, rather than scientific, scales. An inch is about the length of a thumb-joint. A hand (4") is about the size of a hand. A foot is about the length of a foot. A yard is about the span of a man's arm to his chest. A league is the distance a man can walk in an hour. 100F is about the temperature of a human body. All of these are practical units that are easy to understand and estimate.

In contrast, metric units are (purposefully) arbitrary. They were designed for the convenience of scientists and engineers, not for the convenience of every day life. They are unquestionably better for science... but that doesn't mean they are better for day to day life.

As far as praising the metric system for using base 10, why is base 10 a good thing? There's nothing particular amazing about base 10, unless you are doing engineering and science and need to easily scale up and down between large numbers within a base 10 math system.

For many purposes, base 12 is superior because of its divisibility. For example, the fact that a foot is 12" means you can easily measure 1/12, 1/6, 1/4, 1/3, and 1/2 a foot. What's 1/3 of a meter? 33.3333cm? Why is that better than 4"? It's not. Historically, the Romans - no slouches when it comes to efficiency and engineering - preferred base 12 measurements for lots of things for this reason.

And note also that practically no one believes we should switch over to metric time (10 hour days). Why not? Time is measured in intervals of 60 seconds to 1 minute, 60 minutes to 1 hour, 24 hours to 1 day. OMG SO ARBITRARY! No, they're not arbitrary. These are all divisible by base 12, and designed to flow perfectly so that our solar day scales up from our basic unit of measuring time - the second. And the second is non-arbitrary in length - it's about the length of the resting human heart rate of a fit adult. Would it be better for our basic unit of time were 2.73 heartbeats? Or 0.114 heartbeats? If that would let us have "clean" 10 hour days? No, obviously not.

#### pearcinator

##### New member
Quaxar said:
No no no, regular human body temperature is 98.6 F. Which really is an ugly number.

When the scale was developed 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.
Well then I take that back...The Imperial system is stupid.

#### mrdude2010

##### New member
We don't have to print as many characters on our speed limit signs. That's something, I guess. Also, Farenheit is more intuitive for everyday weather. Other than that, I much prefer the metric system. Physics uses it essentially exclusively.

#### Crazie_Guy

##### New member
Speaking as a writer, the imperial system shows its advantage in language. Imperial units tend to have fewer syllables, and are much punchier and easier to work with, while metric units, kilometer in particular, can be extremely awkward or cumbersome to use in a lot of situations. And then there are the many common phrases based on imperial units. "Give them a centimeter, and they'll take a kilometer" is comparatively not a pleasant phrase to read, write, or say, and even one as simple as "inching along" is valuable for building good sentences.

#### Quiet Stranger

##### New member
I prefer the metric system for most things, I rarely ever use the Imperial system, I have a learning disability in mathematics so doing measurements with the imperial system is really hard for me.

#### Fearzone

##### Boyz! Boyz! Boyz!
It is always so cold when people use metric, and everything is so far away.

Only thing good is that cars go a lot faster.

=D

#### thanatopsis112

##### New member
The Imperial System was brought over to the States with the colonists and we have kept it because it costs real money to switch over to metric measurements mainly because of reprinting books and getting people to adopt something new that will not feel as intuitive because they did not grow up with it. Along with re-education we have lots of manufacturing applications where we would have to redo/make new marking dies for tools along with cross reference items to do quick conversions between legacy Imperial System and the modern Mettric system. As such its generally been treated as to much of a hassle to switch over just for the sake of switching over.