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MrDave's picture
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Alessa wrote:
What kind of system starts at 32º, come on! :roll: 0 is the freezing point for water and 100 is the boiling one, it cant get more logical than that, right?)

The one that was around longer than the metric system. The Celsius temperature scale is named for the Swedish astronomer and physicist Anders Celsius (1701-1744), who used a similar scale - but he didn't INVENT the scale.

Farenheit is a unit of temperature still used in the United States. The unit was defined by the German physicist Daniel G. Fahrenheit (1686-1736), who also invented the mercury thermometer. Fahrenheit set 0 degrees at the coldest temperature he could conveniently achieve using an ice and salt mixture, and he intended to set 100 degrees at the temperature of the human body. (He was off a little there; normal temperature for humans is between 98 degrees fahrenheit and 99 degrees Fahrenheit.) On this scale, the freezing point of water (at normal sea level atmospheric pressure) turned out to be about 32 degrees Fahrenheit and the boiling point about 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Eventually the scale was precisely defined by these two temperatures. Only Americans need to remember these formulas. And most of us do it pretty well considering the alternative.

I've tried to explain this to Heather and I'll reiterate it here for the rest of you. Yes, it is illogical. yeas it isn't the same as everywhere else, and yes, some of us do understand that the rest of the world uses a different system and convert for them.

In the 70's they started to teach the metric system to us in school. The plan was to completely replace the old "imperial" system within 10 years so that by the 1980's we'd be the same as the rest of the world. But it never happened.

People complained and - as the great unwashed masses are fond of thwarting those of us that beleive that a government can indeed make decisions without waiting for everyone to agree upon it - they managed to convince the established order to postpone it...and eventually drop it. Because it was "too hard to understand"

Personally, I don't see what is so hard to understand about a system where 10 things make a bigger thing and 1000 things make a benchmark thing. A system, I might add that that is internally consistent that means that a cubic cm of water weighs a gram at sea level and 10 units is a Milliliter of volume. Even if they do insist on inverting the RE at the end of the damn word in England.

So make fun all of you clones. See if you can do base 12 mathemetics (like most of the US can do if you tell them it is in inches - it's pretty amazing to watch). See if you can remember vastly unrelated measurements like 3 teaspoons to a Tablespoon, 32 Tablespoons to a cup, 2 cups to a pint, 2 pints to a quart, 4 quarts to a gallon.
1 fl oz of water weighs 1 dry ounce.
16 dry ounces weighs 1 pound (abbreviated Lb.)
2000 lbs = 1 US ton.
We use Miles Per Gallon not (Litres per Km) (so BIG number are GOOD people)
We like to muse about how much we weigh in POUNDS (I lost 10 lbs since I married Heather! Woo!)
And above all (yes, it is that important) we know that water freezes at 32 and boils at 212.

oh yes - I don't care how you say it it is kill-AH-mehter.

Call us silly, but thats the way it is. And it won't change in our lifetimes. An entire generation is out there in the public schools learning that "Intelligent Design" (aka Creationism) is a valid scientific theory and that the Metric system is something that other countries use and that they don't need to know it.

My generation was briefly taught that Metric was to be a reality by the time we had our own children. And it didn't happen. Like flying cars and a Moon Base by 1999 (remember that show) or Jupiter in 2001 it was another fantasy that the public didn't rally behind.

Oh they'll rally behind "War is Bad" ("Two legs bad, four legs good") but tell them that they have to do math in their brain for a few years and they'll write a letter to congress. Tell them that I don't care what they read in the Bible, it didn't happen in seven literal days - its a stinking metaphor! and they'll get downright violent. Heck, they might even burn down an abortion clinic.

Americans are illogical, emotional, stupid en masse and violently ignorant of anything that could force them to lose their cable TV for a day. If they can't get a 12 Fluid Ounce Beer in a can they won't buy a 350 ml can instead. They want a "12-fucking ounce beer!"

Yep, thats the way they are. All of em. Including those of us that know better. But guess what, you are ALL like that.

Anytime humans run up agasint an inconvenience we do one of two things...we get upset or we accept it. I am telling you all (okay I am screaming at you all in a humorous and hopefully education manner) to get over it. It ain't gonna change, so stop pointing at the funny american and just take a picture., it'll last longer.

Okay I am ranted out. You can take over from here.

Get over it.

Firefly's picture

OMG...Dave...you are so totally awe inspiring sometimes that it's actually frightening. I would just like to say to all the rest of you out there in the wide world....

"Yeah, what he said..."

Get over it.

Meredith Bell's picture

Okay so... what's that whole 'driving on the wrong side of the road' deal all about? ;)

Get over it.

Kaarin's picture

As the one who probably invited this, I should say that I'm actualy highly amused at the "ha ha, illogical American" sentiment because I find the whole debate to be little more than amusing. But I do really find it amusing.

And the reason for that is simple: none of the objections against how "impracticle" the imperial system is ever seem to arise for me. We know the temperature for freezing and water; long experience tells us at what temperature you need a jacket.

You have - much like metric - little need to convert anything. You just learn things relatively, and this is the most that the vast majority of us need to function in everyday life. We know that you drink a cup of something, that a pint is a smaller container, and a quart is a fair amount, while gallons are those big jugs. Feet is what I measure a short distance in; a mile is a longer trip.

I find the "Oh crap, it's so illogical" so amusing because of the simple fact that, had most people who laugh at us been raised using the imperial system, using it for practicle purposes would be second nature. We just don't stop to think about the various conversions everyone complains about.

Kind of like how I doubt people who use metric to measure go, "Let's see, I need 20 mililiters of this for baking. Gee, I wonder how many liters that is?" we don't go, "I need 5 tablespoons - gee, wonder how many cups that is?"

Get over it.

Parasol's picture

Damn! Dave! My hero.

And our money isn't different colors because we can read the numbers!

Get over it.

Evalyn Toussaint's picture

*quirks eyebrow, shakes head* Americans *sigh* always have to be right :wink:

Re: Get over it.

Heather's picture

Ozimandius wrote:
Americans are illogical, emotional, stupid en masse and violently ignorant of anything that could force them to lose their cable TV for a day.

Yep, can't argue with that. :wink:

Get over it.

Blackthorn's picture

Seems to me the real problem is just the fact that there are 2 systems, not really that one system is any better than than the other.

Anyhow, my money is purdee and I like it!

Get over it.

Meredith Bell's picture

Parasol wrote:
And our money isn't different colors because we can read the numbers!

So what do blind people do? I wondered about this cos when I went to America all the bills were exactly the same size (£££'s are all different sizes so you can tell the difference between a £5, £10, £20 etc.. note) and I didn't notice any kind of difference in texture either - is there some other kind of method blind people in America use to tell their money apart? Except for relying on the kindness of strangers that is ;)

BTW - just for the record, I actually liked American money having single dollar bills made me feel V.rich having so much notage in my purse. I wish the UK would have pound notes again, I hate all that jingly change clattering around and weighing down my bag.

Get over it.

Firefly's picture

Actually, blind people use a system of folding their money in such a way that they can distinguish each note. It's rather ingenious really.

Also, American money is becoming more distinctive every year, to counteract counterfeiting actually. Just so you know...

Get over it.

Kaarin's picture

I've never understood some of the logic in the anti-counterfeiting measures - at least in how they start to apply it. They always begin with $50 and $100 notes, when it's the $20 that's the most highly counterfeited.

Nobody bats an eye if I hand them 3 $20s for a $45 purchase, after all, but they go through this whole rigamorole when they get a $50. So, the $20 is large enough to be usefull, small enough not to draw attention.

Of course, as with the money, this is another thing that I think long habituation acustoms us to. I was with dad the first time they gave him a $50 with the blown up face. He handed it back to the teller and said, "Cute, but I would like this in real money instead of monopoloy money."

Get over it.

MrDave's picture

Again, the classic missed opportunity. Australia has plastic money. A lot of countries do. It is cheap, more durable than paper, and tougher to counterfeit.

Paper bills don't last as long, cost more, are NOT ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY, and they are cut to the same size and dimensions as each other. Why hang on to that one, you may ask? Manufacturers of wallets, purses, and vending machines. Yes, the vending machine manufacturers are designing US money. The Mint has tried TWICE to issue $1.00 coins and they have ended the mint run twice becasue no-one wants to use them.

Here's a hint - STOP PRINTING $1.00 bills! Don't issue a coin. Don't print $2.00 bills. Stop issuing new $1.00 bills. Soon, people will be so deperate for singles they will gladly take $1.00 coins - say 4-5 years later. Heck the strippers alone will love you becasue it means that the smallest bill that you can stuff in a garter is a $5.

As for the blind people, most of them request singles for all change. And many of them have a little scanner-thing that when waived over a bill will make a tone that they can identify for each denomination.

Here's an idea. Eliminate pennies. They are a waste of time. Lots oc countries have removed them and they haven't had any problems. Read this. then this from a year later and now this from a year ago. See a pattern? 60%-65% americans want to keep the penny. Then it languished in a committee for year. Now a PAC (Political Action Committee) gets formed. This is a pattern of effort wasted on trivialities. Stop holding on to the past.

But it is yet-another-case where American's would rather spend more money to keep things the same rather than face a change in how things have always been done. At one time the US was an innovator in the world. Now we desperately cling to our cash and quaint measurement systems and rail at the rest of the world for being different. In another 20 years and we'll sound like the French. "We were once a great nation, how dare you insult us like this!"

Feh. Every time someone in this country says "But we've always done it that way" a freedom is mugged and left in an alleyway to die.

WAKE UP AMERICA! It isn't about YOU it is about U.S.

Get over it.

Meredith Bell's picture

Ozimandius wrote:
Manufacturers of wallets, purses, and vending machines. Yes, the vending machine manufacturers are designing US money.

Well, not to disagree but I don't see why that should make a whole lot of difference to the way things are. We live in a world where technology is constantly changing and everyone has to keep updating their 'stuff' to keep up. Changing the size of money would just mean that the manufacturers of wallets, purses, vending machines etc have just been given the perfect opportunity to update all their products meaning EVERYONE HAS TO BUY NEW! (= more money for their company!)

I know I have an attic full of defunct electronics, VCR's, games consoles, record turntables... Blaaargh!

Get over it.

MrDave's picture

Well, I have to answer that question in a left-handed manner.

Electronics, TVs and stuff like that are "luxuries" we buy them if we have cash. Clothing, food, wallets, shoes, etc are neccessities regardless if we buy them from K-mart or Dior.

So the average single male adult tech-nerd who has "more income than hobbies" gladly updates all the tech in his home every three years (give or take) while the average single mother with 2.4 children can't afford to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe every three years just to keep up.

Nor should she have to. Unless something changes so that an adaptation must be made. Wear and tear, fire and theft, or changing fashion. I wouldn't dare dress my children in the dreck that I wore as a child.

But the perception to the American public is that they should never have to change. That is just plain unrealistic.

Let us take a "for instance":
All banks, vending machines, etc accomodate our present currency measuring 2.61 inches wide by 6.14 inches long, and the thickness is 0.0043 inches. Larger sized notes in circulation before 1929 measured 3.125 inches by 7.4218 inches and it accomodates them to (mostly). [SIDENOTE the use of inches - this from the US Mint site. No Metric anywhere in there is there?]

If we changed the length (only) of the US bills by denomination by subtle changes. Say the $1.00 is 6.14 long and the $5 is 6.29 and the $10 is 6.54 and so on...0.25 inches (about a cm) difference between each bill. That subtle change would make them easier to identify for the blind, all the machines could handle them, and only the mint (which presumeably has a budget to cover these things) would have to adapt.

Has anyone suggested this? Nope. Why? "The Economy"

Here's where this gets left handed...

The media claims "the economy is bad" which may or may not be true, depnds on which indicators you are looking at. But if they say it enough, then the public believes it must be true. So they stop buying things. Even new TVs and DVD players. Or they only buy a small sample.

Introduce a bill that changes the size of the money, and WHOA NELLY you have to buy a whole new set of wallets and purses Why it's unthinkable! Don't they know the economy is bad?

Yep, thats how most American's think. If the Economy is bad, that means save don't spend. Its like saying, "I have a knife in my back!" and having the Doctor say "Don't take it out, it'll get worse!"

When in fact taking it out is what the Doctor is supposed to do. When the economy is bad ... SPEND MONEY. It will jump start some kind of industry and things will start to roll. Try explaining that to some yokel who can't pay his bills and it gets tougher. Some instincts are hard to overcome, but essentially it means that if you have disposable income, use it when the economy is bad. When the economy is "good" then your money will earn more in savings.

Low interest rates are bad unless you are BORROWING (ie spending) money and high interest rates are good if you are lending (i.e. saving) money.

Pretty simple. but - and this is yet another bone - American's aren't taught this. We have to figure it out for ourselves or have very astute parents who relay it to us.

So, to answer your question, no we can't "just change it" becasue the "Economy is bad".

Get over it.

Kaarin's picture

Actually the main impetus you always have to overcome is this:

The current system has served us well for so long, why bother?

Yes, it's an appeal to tradition. Yes, it's technically an invalid argument. However, it's still at least an emotionally strong one. Pick whatever rationalisation you like, that will be the reason. And then, most people will be bothered only by practicle concerns.

That's the real reason the money won't change. The current system works, and changing it would cause too much disruption. It's also why lots of stuff doesn't change. Pick whatever issue you like and, for the masses, if the issue doesn't touch them, they won't care.

Get over it.

Meredith Bell's picture

Of course twelve major European countries did entirely change their currency to the Euro (Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Finland) - some even without severe disruption to their economy! :lol:

(And yes I do realise this will be of little interest to the vast number of Americans who couldn't give a rats arse about Europe or in fact anything outside of America but it's just an example hehe.)

Get over it.

Blackthorn's picture

Wow im kinda suprised that only Canada does this, but all our money has brail on it so that the blind people can just touch the money to figure out how much they have. I just seems so simple that its strange that no one else does it.

Get over it.

Evalyn Toussaint's picture

*shakes head* an this has even carried onto a SECOND page now, hehe. ah well...

OUR MONEY'S REALLY WATERPROOF :d hehehe... ahem... sorry about that. i didn't mean to get involved, and i hope i didn't just repeat something someone else has already said and i just skimmed right over it *whistles innocently*

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