A Metric World


To those who are not aware, today, October 10, is Metric Day. Happy Metric Day to all of those who care (and those who don’t as well). Though I suspect that many of you don’t give a hoot about this celebration. I even heard someone saying that he won’t touch it with a 3.05-meter pole.

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My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is edmarklaw@learnfunfacts.com

40 thoughts on “A Metric World

  1. You know, as an American who has lived in several “metric” countries, I still confess to my addiction to feet and yards. American football is founded on it and my wife loves the sport. That being said, I’d love it if the United States would go metric. It will never happen, though.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s understandable since you grew up using imperial units. In Hong Kong, many are still using feet and yard (especially in clothing industry in the case of yard).

      As I have mentioned in one of the comments here, metrification requires a lot of work. It’s not feasible to just force it on people’s throats. Several industries and groups will stop at nothing to oppose it. Once those politicians realized that they actually have to work, they will regret their decision of even considering the idea of metrification then just abandon it.

      In France, it took many decades of active government persuasion before they were able to completely convert to the metric system. In the US where the government does not really do much to promote the metric system, I indeed don’t see the US would go metric anytime soon.

      However, as I see it, the imperial system and the metric system are in akin to a war of attrition and the imperial system is slowly losing. Even if the US does not officially use the metric system, you can see it steadily creeping in various places (e.g. the use of liter, ml, gram, kilowatt/h, etc). The electronics industry generally use SI units now and in scientific fields, metric system is the standard.

      As history had proven, nothing lasts forever. Eventually, the imperial units will become obsolete like all those obsolete measurement units people used before. Well, given enough time, the metric system will also become obsolete if people in the far future could come up with a more superior system. There’s really no telling when it would occur. 200 years later? In 500 years? Or more? But as Victor Hugo stated, “No army can stop an idea whose time has come.”

      Sorry for the length of the comment, I just find this topic interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. In Hong Kong, we use inches, feet, meters, miles and km for distance, cm for height (human), yard for cloth, square feet for area, cc (or liter) for volume, kwh for energy, pounds, catty (Chinese measurement unit) and ounce for weight (especially in markets) and gram for jewelry.

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      1. We do use cm for height but feet and inches make us understand faster. Square feet is used for flats and apartments but if we are buying land then it’s acres in parts away from the city. Here ounce and pounds are not used. I remember my grandmother using ounces, this was during the time when we were ruled by British and she followed it. But now it’s litres. Rest are quite same as yours.
        Thank you for the knowledge

        Liked by 2 people

      2. The average cost of land here is HKD 13500 per sq. ft. So, a hectare of land costs around HKD 1.4 billion. Even in HK, not that many people can afford to buy several hectares of land. And even if they can, finding someone who would sell large portions of land is almost impossible. After all, it would be foolish to sell off a large portion of your land considering that you can lease them at very high prices. Also, after a few years, its market value would just increase more…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I prefer the schizophrenic US system. Now off to buy a pint of milk with 2.5g fat per serving and 2 liters of soda, but first I need to put 10 gallons gasoline in my car so I can drive 10 miles to the 10k I am running tomorrow.

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    1. The problem with those who propose changing to metric system is that they don’t realize how much work it requires for it to succeed. You can’t just make a “law” to force it as history has shown again and again. There are just too many things that have to be changed which can’t be accomplished with a wave of a wave. Industries and many groups will agressively oppose it and the proponents of metric system will be constantly under fire by critics.

      Once they realized they they actually have to work for it, they would eventually abandon it.

      The transision should be gradual, that is, one inch at a time (or 2.54 cm at a time :)).

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Well, having grown up with metric measure and with Celsius I do struggle with the complicated Imperial measurements…….England is metric but the older generation still hang on to feet, inches and what nots. 😊 .
    Decimal system is so much easier. Metric is used in the whole of Europe except England.
    Miriam….hunkering down as all they inches start flying..🦋 .

    Liked by 3 people

    1. As an avid reader of old books, I have no choice but to become familiar with imperial measurements and measurement units that are already obsolete like peck, stadion and pennyweight. :D

      In Hong Kong, we partially use the metric system. Our government had tried to abolish the imperial measurements but they failed. During the 70’s, my father told me that there was a government ad with a catchy song about converting to the metric system. His generation even still remember the song lyrics today. But in the end people still prefer pound and catty (a Chinese measurement unit) over kg and inch over cm. However, they prefer to use km and liter.

      Then you also have to consider industry standards. For example, the oil industry still use barrel and the textile industry still use yards.(though in this case, some countries don’t use yard anymore but it’s still prevalent as a whole).

      Also, in sports, we still see pounds in boxing, yards in cricket, etc.

      As for Farenheit, I think that it’s only used in less than 5 countries, including the US.

      Liked by 3 people

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