back to article Britannia triumphs over Johnny Metric

The EU will abandon all pretentions to enforce its filthy metric system on Britain, thereby guaranteeing once-and-for-all an Englishman's right to sup ale in pints, buy spuds by the pound, and measure the distance between the greengrocer and the boozer in miles. That's according to the BBC, which says the European Commission …

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  1. Karl Lattimer

    Actually...

    The distance between the green grocer and the boozer is measured in perches a perch being 5.5yd which is generally half a burgage plot in width. Shops are generally aligned to burgage plots you see. Well unless the streets have been completely rebuilt, after annihilation.

    Long live the imperial system!

  2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    It shouldn't have anything to do with the EU anyway

    The UK's decision to go metric was taken over thirty years ago by parliament and should be enforced by UK bodies. It is stupid to describe as Verheugen as humiliated as he really doesn't give a toss about the matter. Much better to harp on about his extramarital love affair with his assistant!

    All we need is for official weights and measures to be metric. No need to do away with pounds and pints at the point of sale but nothing wrong with modernising them either. I frequently by "pounds" of stuff at the market knowing I'm getting 500g and I'd be happy to get 0.5l when asking for a pint, although even there there is no real need to change. As for being "overcharged": point me to city centre boozer that doesn't take the piss.

    Of course, El Reg's proposal for a whole new weights and measure gets my whole hearted support!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will there be rules on clarity though

    Typical of someone my age I mix and match imperial and metrix quite happily so I had no strong feeling whatever the outcome was going to be (Typically I'll make somthing which is 12 inches deep by 480 mm wide)

    But will there be strict enforcable rules about ensureing labelling is clear so that when fish/meat/veg/stuff etc. is priced up, it is clear that is is per lb or per kg? It is pretty obvious for inches v mm, but since there are about 2.2lbs per kg I can imagine some unscrupulous sellers putting what seems a £2 per kg price and actually selling at £2 per lb.

  4. min

    so what are the coppers gonna do?

    The poor buggers might have to actually chase other 'real' criminals like motorists for example. i feel for their bosses though; they would have preened endlessly at the thought of being able to give every green-grocer and market stallsman an arrest and conviction. so i gues the only real loss, besides the massive waste of money trying to fix something that 'aint broke', would be the govrnment's police performance statistics. i bet that manky marijuana dealer stood outside my local market is quaking in his Nikes right about now..

    How on earth can you give a bloke a conviction for selling bananas by the pound anyhow?

  5. Greg

    Idiots

    What kind of eejit can't get their head around the metric system? It's about a thousand times easier to understand than the old Imperial crap, and this is a sad case of old men and grumpy, pointlessly nationalist Daily Mail readers being listened to above common sense. Banging on and on about the evils of Europe won't stop Imperial being a stupid system of measurement.

  6. John Latham

    Bi-numeral

    If it's good for kids' brains to grow up bilingual, then surely it's also good to have several systems of measurement.

    Make the world simpler, and people will just become (even) more stupid.

    Perhaps I'll teach my toddler to count in octal like the Yuki, just to be sure he gets the best start in life (and give him a couple of spare digits in case of household accidents).

    John

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Metric?

    2997.5 km/sec...?

    Shouldn't that be 1862.6 MILES/sec?

  8. Madge Silver badge

    Inches

    But the USA inch etc is based on the old British Imperial system and the British Inch is now defined as 25.4mm, so they are different. Though Wikipedia has an alternate story on the Inch, so don't trust inches.

    Except US liquid measure is based on not Imperial but "Wine Gallon" so hasn't been the same as UK for 100s of years.

    The UK pint is no longer imperial but defined as 568.26125ml, so it's all smoke and mirrors. The UK is "really" running on Metric and the USA running on obsolete 18th and 20th Century UK standards.

  9. Julian Cook

    Alas the decline of the register has begun

    "its filthy metric system" is quite simply wrong as it is our filthy metric system, after all we created it.

  10. Charlie

    Gah

    The EU have come out of this looking by far the most sensible of the two parties. I have no problems using either system, but Imperial is illoigcal and there's no good reason to keep it imo. As Greg says above, it's a 'victory' for pointless nationalists whove ended up making the whole country look silly and backwards

  11. Andy Worth

    Let me guess....

    "Greg", are you in your very early twenties perhaps? I just wonder. I learnt both imperial and metric measures at school so I couldn't really care less about the decision. I do find it easier to work in metric with everything aside from height and weight oddly enough.

    I'm surprised people are still moaning about it, although I still prefer the phrase, "You don't get many of them to the pound" rather than "You don't get many of those to the 0.454 Kilograms".

  12. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

    @Greg

    The metric system, as said above, is helping to dumb down the population.

    I have grown up with a mixture of imperial and metric measurements. I normaly use metric, as that is what school taught. But I weigh myself in stones, measure distances in miles etc.

    However, the one thing the Imperial system did was ensure that people could multiply, divide, and cope with fractions. These are fundamental skills, which are sadly lacking by many youths today (like being able to read and write in non-text speak - on a side note did you know that you can score 97% on an English Language GCSE if you write everything in txt? They can only knock off 3% for spelling punctuation and grammar.)

    If you have to deal with irregular multiples in the measurement system you are using, it will force you to learn it. If you can just add or remove zeros from a number, you dont need to know what you are doing, so you dont bother. The imperial system is good. Complicated but good.

    On another breif tangent, the old Imperial nuts & bolts (thread sizes) were MUCH better than the metric ones, as you had both UNC and UNF, Coarse and Fine threads, suitable for different purposes, and more flexible. When one car manufacturer moved over to metric (cant remember which), they were replacing UNC bolts with the nearest metric equivalent. They forgot that the UNC bolts coarser thread was stronger, had problems, and ended up having to redo tooling and use bigger bolts. A costly mistake.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: so what are the coppers gonna do?

    min said

    ...so i gues the only real loss, besides the massive waste of money trying to fix something that 'aint broke', would be the govrnment's police performance statistics. i bet that manky marijuana dealer stood outside my local market is quaking in his Nikes right about now..

    Only if he sold his 'goods' by the ounce.

  14. Stuart Elliott

    @Greg

    It's not a case of not being able to get their head around metric, it's our intrinsic right to choose for ourselves, and not have some politically correct, namby pambies on the continent making the decisions for us.

    And like the comment a couple of lines above, I too work in both at the same time, my desk is 2 metres long, and 3 feet wide.

  15. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    @idiots

    Agreed - apparently said idiots also prefer commenting endlessly on extramarital affairs instead of wrapping their neurons around issues that actually concern them, such as immigration issues, electronic (mis)voting, or the fact that heating fuel can still not be bought across borders.

  16. MrWeeble

    The misinformation on this subject could fill the valles marineris...

    "How on earth can you give a bloke a conviction for selling bananas by the pound anyhow?"

    You can't, and he wasn't. What you can do (and what that bloke was) is convict someone for using scales that were not correctly calibrated to required standards (ie calibrated in kilograms) and therefore potentially inaccurate. The fact is, when I ask for a pound of bananas (which I can still do), I would be shocked to get exactly a pound, it is always a little over, or a little under (let's be honest, usually a little over), the important thing is I get charged for what I end up getting, and the law has specified that so everyone gets the same deal that amount needs to be calculated from the mass of the good in a standard unit - in this case the kilogram. This man wasn't playing by the rules; people need standard measures, it doesn't matter what it is, but society needs it to be able to compare prices fairly. Quite simply the man should have got a new set of scales in the hundred and twenty odd years since decimalisation was first recommended by parliament.

    I'd also like to point out the deafening silence of these campaigners for peoples-rights-to-sell-in-whatever-measures-they-please when a bar was censured for selling beers by the half-litre.

    Anyway, that's my 2p (or slightly more than 19 farthings for anyone keeping count) on the subject.

  17. Albert Stienstra

    Title

    How ridiculously archaic! Exactly Asterix and the British...

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An all the other nonsense

    One can only hope that the EU will stop trying to foist all the other 'issues which don't really matter' on us?

  19. Kim Rasmussen

    Resistance is futile...

    Go on you lot. Embrace the one good thing to ever come out of France (apart from the bikini).

    And if you're one of Greg's grumpy old men, just think how much more impressive a certain part of your anatomy sounds when measured in centimetres. o:-)

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thank god we still got pints.

    I for one am happy we can stick with pints, I could not go into the boozer and ask for a half (litre) as it sound gay so I would have to start drinking by the litre i.e. 2 pints of grog.

  21. Nev Silver badge

    No one on "the continent" give a toss about what people in the UK use...

    This is just a typical non-issue stirred up by a

    Murdoch lead media to try and force

    the UK away from Europe. (And toward the

    no-regulations US.)

    "It's not a case of not being able to get their head around metric, it's our intrinsic right to choose for ourselves, and not have some politically correct, namby pambies on the continent making the decisions for us. " -Stuart Elliott

    "politically correct", "namby pambies", "the continent"

    Do you read The Daily Mail, then?

  22. Steve Evans

    Ahhh...

    "The European Commission will, in future, leave all decisions regarding weights and measures to the British Government"

    Except the UK government is just about to sign a bit of paper which is the political equiv to dropping their trousers, bending over, and shouting "take me Jean-Paul and Fritz".

  23. Ash

    My own little war

    I have been known on occasion, when the chap or chappess behind the counter seems a little curt, to ask for sausages by the pound.

    The dialogue typically ends my side with "Well, you can either give me roughly 1lb of Thins, or you can give me EXACTLY 500g of Thins. I will wait while you cut them to the right length, bearing in mind EU legislation for the sale of Regular Produce, like the straight banana, and the uniform length cucumber."

    Typically I get the former.

  24. Jim Middleton

    Careful what you wish for.

    Here in Canada we have been suffering the consequences of a partial conversion from Imperial to metric for 30 years. One idiocy is the practice of advertising meat in $/pound while the packages are stickered in $/kg. We've gotten used to it - as a "multicultural" society maybe we even prefer it this way but, if you have a choice, I recommend picking one system or the other and stick to it!

  25. mad clarinet

    phew

    I was taught the 'metric' system at school but my parents always used imperial measurments (as a lot of others did). When asked to estimate weights at school I couldn't estimate in 'grams' but when I estimated in the imperial 'oz' and converted (in my head) it to grams I was always very close to the actual weight.

    I'm happy that I can still use the pounds etc - I can work in metric but I find it hard to work out how far/heavy something is in metric - convert it to imperial and I'm fine.

    For the record - I'm in my early to mid thirties and I'm glad the UK can still keep some of its charm.

  26. chris

    Not of concern?

    "NASA is reporting that they've found the likely cause for last week's loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter. It seems one of the engineering teams was using English units of measurement while another team was using Metric units. Getting this straight is rather important when designing navigation sytems for interplanetary spacecraft, one would think." (from slashdot)

  27. James Anderson Silver badge

    Max Velociry of Sheep in a Vaccuum

    Was this determined experimentaly, and if so, is the Video available on YouTube?

    I suspect its just a theoretical calculation extrapolation of max velocity of a sheep at sea level escaping a randy Welshman.

  28. Hans

    I utterly despair of this rotten country

    Joking apart, I think Britain deserves itself.

    I don't know a single person who doesn't recognise the instant benefits of the metric system as "invented" by John Wilkins, in England back in the 17th century and since adopted the whole world over.

    This reminds me, yet again, of a great cartoon I saw depicting the EU, represented by a large oval conference table with 14 chairs facing inwards, and one chair, UK facing outwards.

    How the hell did we ever progress out of daub and wattle huts I'll never know.

  29. John Young

    Re: "I'd be happy to get 0.5l when asking for a pint"

    I wouldn't. I get through a lot of 500ml bottles, usually poured into pint glasses - they're what I would call an unacceptably short measure if it were served in a pub.

    (Current UK legislation deems less than 539.6 ml as an offence)

    "I'd walk a million miles for one of your smiles my Mammy!"

  30. Dave

    Machines Don't Care

    You only have to look at some items such as frozen peas, formerly available in a bag prominently labelled 4lb, then they added 1.81kg below it, then swapped the font sizes so that the 1.81kg is bigger than the 4lb. Still the same bag size though. Plenty of items still have both Imperial and metric measures on them, those of us who grew up with both just use whichever is most convenient at the time.

  31. Chris Cheale

    Welcome to the...

    ... XXI Century

  32. Costa Mihalidis

    RE Thank god we still got pints

    i'm at the other side of the pond

    we don't have pints here - we just have "normal" beers and a "large" beers

    if somebody tries to order 0,5 liters of beer, i'm pretty sure that'll make headline news in the pub :D

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Misinformation

    MrWeeble

    You are spreading misinformation yourself. The traders were convicted of selling goods in pounds, not of having uncalibrated scales.

    The British Weights and Measures Association backed the traders appeal which they would not have done if the offense was for using uncalibrated scales.

  34. breakfast

    Heterometric

    I have a curious thing where I cook weighing things in pounds and ounces and measuring fluids using metric, or sometimes doing it the other way round. Somehow mixed metraphors makes the quantities easier to conceptualise after being educated in metric and having various old cookery books.

  35. Ian Ferguson

    Oh for goodness' sake

    So I have to continue trying to work out how many feet are in a mile, poles in a hectare or whatever ridiculous godforsaken out-of-date imperial measurement appears on road signs. I can quite understand having both old and new on greengrocer's labels, at least until the older generation die off; and beer in pints is equally acceptable as there's no need to convert it (at least you know exactly how much you're getting, as opposed to Belgian beers which come in different measures); but road signs continuing to be in miles only is frankly ridiculous.

    Can't we at least have both miles and kilometres on road signs?

  36. Anarchy

    Hourses for courses

    When I'm on my bike I prefer miles, as I have no idea if 25km/hr is fast or slow, but I know 18m/hr is quite fast on the flat.

    If I'm measuring something small, cm/mm is much easier than inches. 10 and 13/16th inches is MUCH harder to work with than 265mm, and metres & yards are abou the same.

    When I'm walking up a hill I like to use km & metres, i.e. 4km along, 1000 metres up, makes working out how steep it is easy. Try that with 2.5 miles and 1,100 yards.

    1kg = 2lbs ish. Couldn't be easier

    Metric is much easier all round, but it's hard to stop your heading working in imperial , as I have been since I was born

  37. Ross

    @Hans

    "How the hell did we ever progress out of daub and wattle huts I'll never know"

    We got invaded and had progress forced upon us, in a similar fashion to the EU "forcing" metric measurements on us (but without the needless deaths)

    Frankly anyone not following the very simple and easy to abide by rules is a 'tard. If you want to sell in lbs/ozs you can do just that. Go to your local supermarket - they show everything in both £/kg and £/lb. As long as the £/kg is in bigger text they're fine.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Change the record

    Yet again, it's those damned EU bureaucrats trying to force their system on us.

    Oh, hang on, didn't we begin metrication several years before we joined the EU/EEC?

    I'm tired of hearing this blamed on the EU. Still, never let the facts get in the way of some gold old EU-bashing!

    (As long as I can still buy a pint of beer, the rest can go metric as far as I'm concerned.)

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sheer metricity

    If we were to be fully metricised then surely we would have to metricise time - i.e. we'd have to switch to 100 seconds/minute - 100 minutes an hour - 100 hour days and we'd have to alter our soalr orbit to fit either 100 or 1000 days/ year, thus increasing the effective workload of the average brit! Whilst we are at it we could dump the 360 degree circle in favour of 100 degrees and that goes for latitude/longditude too!

  40. Peter

    Just a waiting game...

    Just wait for the old foges to die off then metric will take over.

    Who (appart from a few old coffin dodgers) today talks in Sixpences and shillings etc ?

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the point of imperial measures...

    ...is that they are easier to calculate mentally by people with limited numeracy skills, having base units with a greater range of factors than base10 does. Fair enough that argument would make more sense if all imperial measures actually had the same base, rather than 12 for ft and £, 16 for lb, 14 for st, etc. but each of those units has a unique and interesting history attached to their proliferation and weren't designed as part of a universal system.

    Machines are much better at decimal calculations than people are. I used to be a croupier so had to do a lot of mental cenversions between chip values, stacks of chips, cash values etc. and there are a whole host of tricks you can use to make you a Countdown champion but you really have to use them on a daily basis or they go stale - believe me Baccarat was a lot easier to deal in the old money.

  42. Andrew Kelly

    If we have a common measuring system...

    ...is the next step a common language?

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sat Nav

    As someone in his late 20s I too use both systems but not as effectively as people a few years older than me.

    The only time that this becomes a pain is with Sat Nav as it cannot handle people like me who mix everything up. Why don't they have a setting for miles and metres? I don't understand these yard things as I never learnt them!

    My system is simple really - if it is small it is metric (ie metres, grams) and if it is large it is imperial (ie miles and stone). At the in betweens everything is interchangeable so you can use kilograms and pounds and still be understood.

    Surely the simplicity of this system means that it should adopted as an alternative to El Reg's perfectly good system?

  44. DrXym Silver badge

    I don't see what there is to be proud about

    There is absolutely no sense in keeping imperial measurements beyond some tokenism such as pints. I really don't understand why anyone is making such a fuss at all at preserving an outdated and confusing set of weights and measurements. Especially since the UK is mostly metric anyway. At the end of the day it just means that it will be easier for French, German, Italian, Polish etc. companies to do business with each other than bother with the hassle of the UK.

    Ireland managed to convert to metric in less time than the UK and civilization did not collapse. The process was relatively straightforward certainly not worth fighting over. I'd also point out that Ireland managed to switch to Euros with barely any trouble at all.

  45. Kim Hancock

    Great

    So I can continue to measure speed in furlongs per fortnight then. Righto!

  46. Law

    omg

    I wish we would just go fully metric - it annoys the hell out of me when I get "Oh, arn't you dumb, you don't know how many *insert imp' unit* are in a *insert met' unit".

    I grew up with metric... I don't know imperial very well, and it is confusing to try and learn it from a logical system. Why should I learn an imperial unit system just because some guy who's gonna be dead in 15 years can't be arsed changing his banana signs out of spite.

    Sadly... old people messing up the rest of the UK because they cant be arsed learning the future standard, instead forcing people to learn 2 systems and then calling them stupid and blaming metric because they arn't quite sure about either.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Metric is coming, anyway.

    As a young person, I don't care what you lot say about Imperial. We have been brought up on Metric now, so basically, when you old, moaning, miserable and nostalgic lot finally die, or just get to the old age where your opinion doesn't count anymore, we can finally get on and use SI units.

    Why should be continue using Imperial, just 'cause "You" want to. And let's be totally honest, the ONLY reason you want to, is because you believe it's your "right".

    Can't wait till your generation moves disappears! It's just a shame we have to wait at least 25 years for it to happen.

  48. Luke Wells

    Lets use both

    I'm in my mid-twenties, so I seem to be of an age where both metric and imperial was taught at school. I'm quite happy to use which ever unit fits the job best, so there is no need to force either unit apon us.

    If I am measuring a cut of wood for example, and it happens to fall exactly on 9inches on the tape measure, then I will measure the rest to 9 inches. No point in converting it into 22.86 centimetres.

    If I am working out how far a car journey is going to be, then I want to do it in miles, because after a few years of driving, you get used to how far a mile is an how fast x miles per hour is. I cannot visualise how far away a kilometer is.

    As for pints, that is something you can't ever take away from us. I can't imagine people going up to bars and asking for 568mls of larger or whatever it is.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: No one on "the continent" give a toss about what people in the UK use...

    I'd argue that....

    I work on "the continent" and every time I use an imperial measure (more and more these days (just like I use more of my native accent and dialect as I'd noticed I'd been losing a lot of it over the time I've been here)) I get at least one sometimes three or four asking why we have to use imperial in the UK as its silly and metric makes so much more sense. As I dislike most of my co-workers I am perfectly happy to annoy them more and more.

    I do agree though metric is simple to use and work with, however I always find imperial measures easier to visualise, its hard to picture in my mind a Kilowatt (over horsepower) or a meter (over feet and yards (obviously (really that was obvious))). Maybe that's why the most pervasive imperial measures are ones that visualisation is very useful, like distance, speed, volume and power.

    On the point of .5l over a pint, I'm not too fond of it, here you get a bottle poured into a pint glass, and it looks like its already had a sip taken (if they use those .33l bottles it looks like its been spilled while you were walking from the bar)

    In general I prefer my mixed usage, I don't want to not have the imperial ways, but I do enjoy working in metric for certain things, in the end, whatever is best will prevail, over time and more inane political discussion.

    Blah

  50. Richard Mason

    @Chris

    "NASA is reporting that they've found the likely cause for last week's loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter. It seems one of the engineering teams was using English units of measurement while another team was using Metric units. Getting this straight is rather important when designing navigation sytems for interplanetary spacecraft, one would think." (from slashdot)

    I used to work for BAe at Hatfield where they designed the wings for the early Airbus aircraft. All the design at Hatfield was done in imperial, the drawings were then converted to metric to be sent to Airbus in Toulouse. The imperial drawings were used by the CNC mills in Hatfield which worked in inches to machine the main spars. The spars were then sent to Manhester where the wings were built, again in Imperial. Finally the wings were sent to Toulouse where they were mated with fuselage sections which had been manufactured in metric in France, Spain & Germany. It's a wonder any of the aircraft ever got off the ground.

  51. Sean Healey

    RE: Thank god we still got pints

    "I for one am happy we can stick with pints, I could not go into the boozer and ask for a half (litre) as it sound gay so I would have to start drinking by the litre i.e. 2 pints of grog."

    Mate - I suggest you head 'down under', and try swilling your lager 1L jug at a time alongside the real drinking men ...

    ... asking for a 'half' is pretty camp no matter what unit its in.

  52. Richard Mason

    @Ian Ferguson

    "Can't we at least have both miles and kilometres on road signs?"

    What's the point, it's an offence to take your driving test in a vehicle which doesn't have MPH as the primary speed indication and also not having MPH as the primary on the speedo is an MOT failure.

  53. Ex-Pat Aus

    Some of

    Having had to explain the concept of a dozen to a girl in a bakery in London some years ago, I don't think the self congratulation on the Imperial system is warranted (and I didn't even want to start trying to explain to her the concept of a Baker's Dozen).

    But Britain was supposed to go metric 120 odd years ago in return for making Greenwich the Prime Meridian. I know the British Civil Service can be slow but that's really pushing new boundaries.

  54. Marvin the Martian

    Confused bunnies

    As a continental, I cannot get my head around the confusion a lot of posters exhibit. Namely, how can you work happily with centimeters to build stuff, but have to judge height [of a person] in feet? Or be comfortable with meters, but large distances have to be miles? Or measure volume metrically but weight imperially?

    It's like knowing the route between any neighbourhoods in london but having no idea whether a trip from norwich to leeds will take minutes, hours or days. As long as you cannot treat all sizes [from cupboard to holiday trip] etc in one unit system, then you are failing to grasp how stuff works.

  55. Mago Mgi

    Difficult system

    Imperial measurements are awkward to use. I'm forty-five but find Metric units easier to use and more logical. I never used imperial measurements at work or my personal life (OK miles in the car- but the speedo on my bike was in Km/h), there is no need for Roman standards. it's not like anything gets produced specifically for the UK any more.

    The UK has really lost the plot- the longer it is left the more painful it will be and it is disruptive to kids learning. Fortunately I managed to leave to live on the Eurasian Peninsula, since moving here I have also found the joys of the Euro.

    I guess that this whole thing shows why America's largest aircraft carrier is going down the pan.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Sun has done its work well

    This Straight banana/cucumber stuff from the EU is a lie. A lie invented by anti-EU newspapers

    And the, allegedly, intelligent readers of El Reg include some that still parrot this stuff that have been known to be untrue years ago.

    I despair sometimes. For crying out loud many bits of imperial measurement were imported, at least Metric was first proposed by an Englishman (the Parliaments still being separate at that point)

    I ask for 227g of meat when I head for the butchers, or the half pound as I feel like. Sticking up for a dodgy trader who would probably have been doone under weights and measures under either system is mad.

    Euromyths detailed at the Beeb

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/6481969.stm

    (Do some people really report a Yes Minister episode as fact. Gawd!

  57. Matthew

    Tyres (or tires for the Yanks)

    Tyres provide another classic example of 'measure stupidity'. I'm pretty sure that all tyres are measured in inches (for the diameter) and millimetres (for the width of tread). And I'm sure I've read that the French order 'le four-by-two' in a timber yard...

    I also grew up using metric at school and imperial at home - I add my voice to the clamour to use whatever makes sense at the time. Do any of the British metric evangelists *really* describe their height in metres?

  58. Erlang Lacod

    @'Metric is coming anyway'

    "Can't wait till your generation moves disappears! It's just a shame we have to wait at least 25 years for it to happen"

    Ha, well look which generation lives in proper houses and look which one cant get on the housing ladder though irrespective of whether they are measured in yards or metres. With luck on your sideyou might just graduate to your very own sofa in a bedsit in 25 years, who knows. Cash has been calculatred in base 10 for a while but lets face it kid you just aren't making enough of it yet to bother counting.

  59. John Young

    Re: "Who (appart from a few old coffin dodgers) today talks in Sixpences and shillings etc ?"

    I think of 20p coin as being a four bob bit. I usually keep this to myself though.

    I was 7 1/2 when we changed. It was a rip-off, one day you could get 48 mojos or 12 penny arrow bars for a shilling, next day you could only get 40/10 for 5 new pence.

  60. Matthew Smith

    Re: Shouldn't that be 1862.6 MILES/sec?

    No. The speed of light is only of interest to engineers and scientists, who have been co-operating globally for at least a century. If on the other hand, you are only concerned with beer and bananas in your flange's locale, then you can continue using the ug and the oogah.

  61. Richard Jalbert

    That won't work...

    Just wait for the old foges to die off then metric will take over.

    Who (appart from a few old coffin dodgers) today talks in Sixpences and shillings etc ?

    Here in Canada we have gone metric and have been waiting for the old foggies to die off.

    ===========================================

    Doesn't work.

    They are training us in Imperial and once one learns it, it's IN to stay.

    That is why we still have apple 'manne' (basket) per tree above 6" diameter and 'chains' (66') and perches (don' know) and 'slugs' (pounds/g (don't ask)).

    I think there is place in one's mind only for one system and one language for arithmetics.

    As proof, for those of you who learned a second language late in life (after the 4th level), try doint arithmetics in that language instead of your native one. See ?

  62. Hans

    @ Ross

    Quote: "We got invaded and had progress forced upon us, in a similar fashion to the EU "forcing" metric measurements on us (but without the needless deaths)"

    Ah, was that the invading force that "progressed" us from caves to those wattle and daub huts?

    With their CENTurians (dammit, sounds so-o-o metric, doesn't it?)

    they taught us how to build bridges (hey that must have been a novelty met with opposition),

    build sewers (yet 1600 years later we were still throwing it out on the street with a cry of "Gardyloo", from French "Regardez l'eau", funny how we adopted things Francais much easier back then)

    and also how to build straight roads (an idea we still haven't adopted to this day)

    Sadly, we Brits even exasperated this invading force and with a smartish "Sinistra - Dextra" they hopped it back home to preserve their sanity (and sanitary)

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Metric = bad maths?

    What kind of backward, blame-something-else-but-not-the-real-problem idiot would suggest that using a Metric system would equate to bad maths?

    The bad maths are down to bad courses (note, I'm careful not to blame the teachers, they're forced to teach in set ways using set courses targeting set exams) - not knowing what %, 2/3, 11/8, 15/16, etc is not down to using a metric system or would you suggest switching to a counting system other than decimal?

    The antiquated Imperial systems do have a few advantages (i.e., thirds) however are awkward to use accurately, inconsistent and don't fit in with any form of unified measurement system, which is the foundation of modern science. All this, of course, doesn't stop me measuring anything under a few metres in metres, distances from one town to another in miles, my height in feet and inches and my weight is in stone (not that I actually know how many pounds there are in a stone, let alone ounces in a pound - just 1/2, 1/4, etc stone). I will, of course, buy drinks by the pint.

  64. Groz Bat

    Bob a job

    In the light of this victory against the EU, let's start a campaign to go back to shillings and pence :).

    Or even better, let's have the guineau as the official unit of currency.

  65. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
    Anonymous Coward

    A kilo of garlic?

    I like it as well as the next guy, but come on.

    And as Flann O'Brien's poet wrote "A pint of plain is your only man."

  66. A. Merkin

    Penny-Wise, Kilogram-Foolish (sic)

    Thank goodness for the reprieve; forced metrification would surely have ended in tears. Think of all the mixed-metaphores in a globally-enforced metric Imperium:

    Merkins would be "Kilogramming Beers" on the weekend.

    Punters would be watching "MeterBall" on the telly. (Good luck getting that in the goal).

    Big W's 10 Gallon Hat would shrink to a puny 0.03785 cubic meter beret.

    At least the bug situation would improve, what with InchWorms downsized to CentimeterWorms.

  67. William Towle

    Re "0.454 Kilograms"

    Andy Worth: "

    I still prefer the phrase, "You don't get many of them to the pound" rather than "You don't get many of those to the 0.454 Kilograms".

    "

    This reminds me of listening to my father's old Barron Knights songs. "...they've changed the rhythm of words. That lovely song 'Inchworm' becomes 'two-point-five-four centimetres worm'..." :-D

    (from "I Remember (Decimalisation)", on the 40th anniversary album amongst others)

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why...

    ...oh why is the UK so arrogant and stubborn?

    That "Britain was supposed to go metric 120 odd years ago in return for making Greenwich the Prime Meridian" but hasn't, pretty much sums it up.

    Britain is ridiculously backward in so many ways due to former "glories". It's been fortunate enough to ride on the coat tails of the US for long enough due to it's use of the English language. Britain (England) seems to look at the rest of the English speaking world and congratulate itself on some misguided notion that it created vast swathes of the rest of the world, whilst assuming some sort of superiority as the de facto #1 in Europe.

    The reality is that the rest of the world has moved on, and embraced modernity whilst Britain stubbornly opposes change and couldn't organise the proverbial. It's best talents simply bugger off to somewhere where they'll be appreciated.

    The US aside, what other country has such a warped, self-indignant sense of nationality to the point where it is so resistant to agreement and co-operation on an international level? The rest of the world must surely on with a mixture of pity and confusion.

  69. James Pickett

    Re. Murdoch

    "This is just a typical non-issue stirred up by a Murdoch lead media to try and force the UK away from Europe."

    And the less well-known reason for that is because the EU wants to harmonise tax law, and the Dirty Digger currently avoids paying most of it...

    Oh, and I approve of miles (as on UK roadsigns) and pints (as in every pub). It works and it doesn't need fixing. Even the French sell stuff in livres.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Imperial Units are human, Metric is for machines!

    The advantage to Imperial units is they are based on human measurements (inch=roughly the size of a thumb, foot is obvious, yard is the length of an arm) and are therefore easy to visualize. Thats the magic with Imperial, they allow you to instantly understand them, wheras Metic, while great for calculations is much more impersonal and distant. Speaking as a Physicist, I always use metic in calculations, but in real life I think in Imperial.

  71. David Miller

    what a waste of money

    There really is no excuse for continuing with a mixture of systems. The cost to the country must be huge. To follow on Luke's example of wood: loft floorboards are still sold in 4 foot lengths. Modern houses have rafters at 600mm, so ~20cm has to be cut from every board. OK - they may be fine in older houses but the point is that the situation will never improve unless we go forward with a single system.

    Honestly, who here aged under 40 can REALLY calculate accurately with imperial measurements?

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unpopular?

    'The surrender was offered by European Commission's industry commissioner Gunter Verheugen, who admited to the Beeb "the EU had been making itself unpopular on an issue that didn't really matter".'

    No mate, you were already unpopular, it just took you this long to figure it out.

  73. Peter Mc Aulay

    Pshaw

    I live on the Continent and was educated in metric, but I also learned the various Imperial and derivative measurements in order to understand people in the UK and USA (who grok even less metric than the British). It's not rocket science people, get over it. Time is not metric either and nobody complains about that, do they!

  74. Barry

    Imperial is just easier

    A Drachm is 1/8 Ounce and a Dram is half of that. So 16 Drams in an Ounce and 16 Ounces in a Pound. So obviously a Pound is 1/14 of a Stone. 14 Stone is half a Quarter and a hundred weight is, wait for it, 112 Pounds. Finally a Ton is 2240 Pounds. And those bast**ds want us to count in 10's and confuse us!!!

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Imperial System is Silly and Outdated

    It is suprising to see such fervor for it from a bunch of supposedly technical people. This pretty much kills any hope for America ever coming to its senses :-(

  76. Chris Miller

    Meanwhile, sewer le continong

    The metric system has been universally adopted. Except, ...

    If I buy produce in a French marché, I can ask for une livre (pound) and get 500g. In Germany I can ask for ein pfund (pound again). Computer screens and TVs in France are usually measured in pouces (inches - I think this is supposed to be the distance a flea can jump).

    Most building and plumbing materials are still imperial, though described as metric. So you can buy a 5x10 (cm) length of wood, but if you measure it carefully, it's actually 2x4 (inches). Go figure, as they say on the other side of the pond ...

  77. Jack Simon

    A good step

    Way i see it, besides historical reasons, theres no benifits to a Imperial system. In the long run its better for us to change to metric, and like with alot of things, theres going to be alot of people who dissagree. Although once its done its going to be alot more helpful.

    Although i still think a Pint should be refered to as a "Pint", i doubt it would change anyway.

  78. D Johnson

    Good grief!

    The British Parliament legalised the metric system for use in the UK in 1897.

    Harold Wilson's government announced plans for the whole of British industry to convert to the metric system within ten years. That was in 1965.

    More than forty years later, we are one of only four countries on the planet who have not completely moved to the metric system, along with the USA, Liberia and Myanmar (formerly Burma). And I'm led to believe that America is making slow progress to metrification.

    Meanwhile, good old Britain stands still because successive governments haven't had the balls to stand up to the reactionaries that plague this country's media and public life.

    The EU aren't trying to force us to do this, they're just pleading with us to make life easier for ourselves instead of having this crazy mixed system of weights and measurements where (for example) we're happy to buy crates of lager in 330ml bottles from a supermarket, but insist on pints of the stuff when we go into a pub.

  79. Marco

    The UK is a museum

    A queen, no Euro and no metric system, is that what pushes you forward?

  80. Nathanael Bastone

    As someone with strong opinions [and aged 17, with respect to the above poster]...

    I think it is only right that we British be allowed to measure things in Imperial if we so desire. I quite happily use both sets of measurements and have no trouble understanding either of them. I tend to use metric for things such as building something, which requires precision, and would never dream of travelling anywhere using KM, only Miles for me. I feel similarly for the Pound Sterling, I would not mind harmonising the exchange rates of sterling to euros, so that I could change my money on a one to one basis when I left the country, but it is totally out of the question to change the design of our currency. and yes, boards should be sold in metric and imperial to suit both types of houses, as should many types of materials.

  81. William Bronze badge

    What a bunch of idiots

    So many people are worried about being taken over by Europe no-one is bothering to lock the back door and prevent us becoming the 51st state.

    I would rather be a European than a damn Yank. Do you think they give a shit about us? Well, ask yourself when an American company gave you the chance of installing in English(UK) rather than English(US).

    The only reason America wants to keep its 'special' relationship with the UK is to divide and conquer Europe and prevent it being a united force to challenge its supremacy. And you all buy into it with your Sky News and Daily Mail and fucking American sitcoms.

    Metric is a far easier system to use. By all means claim you appreciate Imperial measurements but you need to be aware those will become American Imperial measurements. Just wait to you start getting fined for Jaywalking...

  82. E.

    Amateurs, all of you...

    ...talking about a _pint_ (or any other quantity) of anything in the pub. You're just not doing it right unless you can slur to the barmaid (are they getting younger or is it just me?) "the usual" and get the right measure of the right substance.

  83. Mark Scorah

    Imperial vs Metric

    I work in the offshore oil industry so we use a hodgepodge of measurements. Currently I'm mostly using mostly metric, but I mostly have used Imperial. Mostly irrelevant to most people but I can visualise what a psi looks like while I haven't got the foggiest idea what a Pascale looks like, let alone milliPascales. I use Barrels as opposed to Cubic metres, though the thing most people think of as a barrel is not a barrel it's a 50 gallon drum, a barrel is 42 US Gallons or approx 160litres.

    In real life I use a mixture of both. Distances go millimetres, centimetres, inches, feet, yards/metres, miles.

    Ounces have always confused me though.

  84. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Metric easier??

    The hordes of schoolchildren, college students, and even Uni students using calculators for metric calculations suggests it isn't!

  85. Hans

    @ William

    How can we possibly become the 51st state?

    Isn't that Iraq?

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A museum full of idiots.

    @ Marco & William

    Agreed! The UK is a a museum full of idiots. A monolingual museum that will not provide. The entry fee is one pint. It opens at mile am o'clock and closes at 1/16th past mile pm.

    Decimal time might not be on the cards, but as usual, the UK treats the 24 hour clock with suspicion while the rest of Europe makes good use of it.

    The sentimental attachment to pints is an utter nonsense. My favourite bar in Glasgow serves in 500ml glasses and 1L steins. Pints are an option, but why would I buy 568ml of beer?

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Naa, naa, nope, never... too many Europhiles...

    The problem with being forced to use the metric system is not who invented it or if it is easy to use or if it is silly to have two different kinds of measuremnts but acutally whether or not we are able to mantain control over our own lives. People who can't control themselves are committed to an instution where they are fed, bathed, drugged and generally looked after so they are neither a danger to themselves or to society. To put it crudely, you can say they are a bit simple. So they need constant looking after, they need their decisions made for them by people who know better than they do. Personally, I want to make my own decisions in life and I want all the choices so I can decide how I want to do it. Then I will live with the concequences - be they good or bad. Many people don't see the 'EU or not' arguement from this perspective and this is a bit dangerous. Politicians cause wars and deaths on a grand scale. Their power should be limited, not increased and 'the people' should have the final say on the major issues. But back to the point, like the man of Europe said, metric or imperial is a not a big issue and I agree with him when he says it needn't be forced on us. Can you imagine how much of our money would be wasted going around changing all the motorway signs and everything else.

  88. miika

    I guess it's my turn ...

    Much as I hate to interject into this wonderful discussion, I noticed one glaring omission from the conversation, and felt it my solemn duty as one of those "old fogies" some commentators are gleefully waiting to die off (at 39!!!) to ask

    Where's the IT angle?

    *fetches her coat and runs from the horde of protractors about to be launched her way*

  89. SImon Hobson Silver badge

    @ Dr. Mouse

    >> On another breif tangent, the old Imperial nuts & bolts (thread sizes) were MUCH better than the metric ones, as you had both UNC and UNF, Coarse and Fine threads, suitable for different purposes, and more flexible.

    Metric comes in both coarse and fine - the 'normal' ones are coarse. In fact I believe that for most sizes there are 4 'standard' threads - though one is the 'norm', another is optional, and the other two are rarely used at all.

    Doesn't Australia still use Whitworth ?

    And someone asked if he's still have to learn things like the number of feet in a mile ? Well of course, doesn't everyone know that there are 1760 yd's in an imperial mile, making 5280 feet ? More fun is to learn to fly, then you have another set of units (and conversions) to learn. Distance could be in kilometres, statute miles, or nautical miles - or for shorter distances in feet, yards, or metres. Volumes could be imperial gallons, US gallons (many of the aircraft came from teh US) or litres - or fuel could also be measured in pounds or kilos. Height in feet or metres, but using pressures in mmHg or inHg (mm or inches of mercury) depending on which side of the atlantic you are on.

    And, for good measure, you are expected to at least be able to do a very approximate conversion in your head so as to be able to spot errors when using a calculator. You are carrying 40 US gallons of fuel at 0.72 kg/l, what weight in pounds is that and what allowance does it leave for passengers and baggage is a common and very real calculation - which fortunately can be done very easily with a slide rule with the right markings.

  90. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Mark Scorah

    So what exactly _does_ a psi look like? Squarish, with a bit of poundiness in it?

  91. miika

    Re: @ Mark Scorah

    "So what exactly _does_ a psi look like?"

    A little like Walter Koenig ... "The Corps is Mother, The Corps is Father ..."

    *forgot her hat*

  92. Jim

    @SImon Hobson

    If you are only carrying 40 US gallons of fuel then you either aren't going very far, flying in a very small plane or both. The calculation can be that hard ;-)

  93. Mark Scorah

    @ anon @ me

    Pretty much

    Simon that'll be approx 240 pounds of fuel.

    Here's one for the metric people what is the difference between something that has the density of 1 gram per cubic centimetre, 1 Kilogram per litre and 1 Specific Gravity?

  94. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: @ Mark Scorah

    PSI is a measure of wealth density. It looks like money in your wallet.

  95. Ron Eve

    What does it matter?

    Teasing out the salient p(o)ints here (sorry)... It really doesn't matter what units are used as long as we all know what units you're using in a given situation.

    So a 'pint of beer' is a recognised and legal (in the UK at least) measure, so when Lazlo the barkeep at my local, slaps down a pint, with a half-inch of foaming head on the bar, I complain about short measure. If you're feeling brave try this exchange when served with a 'short' pint:

    "Excuse me barman/miss."

    "Yes?"

    "Do you reckon you could fit a double scotch in there?" (pointing to pint)

    "Why yes I can."

    "Well fill the f*cker up then!"

    Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner, that I get 'shorted' all the time...

  96. John A Blackley

    Misdirection

    Hurrah! The battle's over and those nasty European types have slunk off in defeat! We can continue using units of measurement based on the weight of some dead Tudor king's nipple and how much gruel will fit in a marmoset!

    Meanwhile, Britain can't deport illegal-alien convicted criminals for fear that their tender Human Rights will be jeopardised. Britain's foreign policy may well be overruled by an EU 'foreign office'. But never mind, we can take comfort from being able to be swindled in units of measure appropriate to our feudal past.

    BTW, I couldn't care less what measure they sell the beer in. Just so long as they don't run out.

  97. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re:Amateurs, all of you...

    "You're just not doing it right unless you can slur to the barmaid (are they getting younger or is it just me?) "the usual" and get the right measure of the right substance."

    No, this is still being an amateur - you haven't really made it until the barmaid automatically starts pouring said pint when you walk in the door and a new one turns up as you finish the current one. No money changes hands during this process, such sordid details being sorted at the end.

    One of the few places you still hear imperial measures in NZ is in the pub - you can ask for a pint, but what you'll actually get is some metric "close enough", like 660mls.

    For any poms thinking of comming here on holiday - forget your imperial measures, you won't see them on road signs, on car speedos, in shops or on packaging - my 23 year old son wasn't even taught imperial measures at school and actually asked me "So what are these pint things anyway?" when we were in the pub one afternoon - he was about 14 at the time, so imperial measures were obviously never even touched on for historical purposes at school.

    Mike.

  98. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Eurodrivel

    Sadly... old people messing up the rest of the UK because they cant be arsed learning the future standard, instead forcing people to learn 2 systems and then calling them stupid and blaming metric because they arn't quite sure about either. ENDQUOTE. Well, Mr Law, those same old people stopped,many at the cost of their lives, the same snotbags, albeit of earlier generations, in the wonderful EU which you seem to love so much, ,messing this country up on a permanent basis. It's just as well they had the time to be arsed to go and fight and in many cases die,so you can sit there and waffle drivel. Oh,and if God meant us to go metric, why give Christ twelve disciples? Just because Eire gets on well with metricity(?) don't mean didly squat, they get on pretty good with the IRA too!

  99. Nick

    Human measurements

    Re earlier post: The advantage to Imperial units is they are based on human measurements (inch=roughly the size of a thumb, foot is obvious, yard is the length of an arm) and are therefore easy to visualize.

    I don't know what size your body is, but my thumbs are definitely over 2 inches long, and my arms are about 5-6 inches shorter than 1 yard, hand and fingers included. Only the foot seems reasonably accurate, but only if you have big feet.

  100. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pathetic

    Well I left the UK 37 years ago and I thought tha teverything would be metric now.

    I learnt both but have for years used metric as it makes so much sense. I can easily visualise metric sizes.

    I cant believe how pathetic some of you are, poor didum's can't visualise in metric,

    Bloody hell you're supposed to be tech people with brains. Oh I forgot, most of the people with brains left by about 20 years ago. The remainder seem to comment on el reg.

    If you werent so incedibly sad arse, it would be funny.

  101. Stephen Jenner

    For the anon writer who suggested that the Sun had done its work........

    This is what the EU has to say about bananas........

    Commission Regulation Number 2257/94 section III has the following to say about bananas:

    “SIZING

    Sizing is determined by:

    - the length of the edible pulp of the fruit, expressed in centimetres and measured along the convex face from the blossom end to the base of the peduncle,

    - the grade, i.e. the measurement, in millimetres, of the thickness of a transverse section of the fruit between the lateral faces and the middle, perpendicularly to the longitudinal axis.

    The reference fruit for measurement of the length and grade is:

    - the median finger on the outer row of the hand,

    - the finger next to the cut sectioning the hand, on the outer row of the cluster.

    The minimum length permitted is 14 cm and the minimum grade permitted is 27 mm.

    As an exception to the last paragraph, bananas produced in Madeira, the Azores, the Algarve, Crete and Lakonia which are less than 14 cm in length may be marketed in the Community but must be classified in Class II. “

    Forget the BBC and EU Euromyth propaganda, you can find the above on the Europa website.

    So Verheugen is being a little bit mealy mouthed when he says that this does "not matter"......

    To the bureaucrats of the EU, every single little minor detail matters!

  102. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its Logical (Captain)

    Like many people posting above, I am comfortable using both systems, and don't really fancy the idea of buying anything other than a pint at my local (OK, here in Spain, its usually 'un cerveza grande' but I still think of it as a pint).

    One thing I cannot argue with though, is the logic behind the metric system; 1 Litre of water has a volume of 10^3cm (1000 cubic cm) and weighs 1 kilogram.

    Unfortunately, my UK schools did not feel the need to enlighten me to this fact when they taught us weights & measures...

  103. alistair millington

    @WHY?

    "The US aside, what other country has such a warped, self-indignant sense of nationality to the point where it is so resistant to agreement and co-operation on an international level? The rest of the world must surely on with a mixture of pity and confusion."

    France - Take your pick of world issues where they sit on a fence. Farmer strikes at changes to the Common Agricultural Policy that is bankrupting the EU. "Block Calais that will get what we want." Immigration camps at the entrance to the tunnel, aiding them on their journey here. I am only just warming up.

    Spain - Gibraltor, They want to remain British, 98% democratic vote but Spain won't give up. (Remember goat island off the coast of morocco for double standards) The EU law that says you can carry wine and spirits in any amount for personal use. You try that on the gibraltor border where they confiscate over a litre.

    China - Tibet and Taiwan issues, Tibet was invaded you know. The american 3rd fleet guards Taiwan from invasion andthe constant missile "tests".

    Russia - Chechnya being independent.

    Austrailia - Building the first concrete runway in Antarctica for tourism. Bet you didn't know that.

    Israel and Palestine.

    I am not even listing rogue states. Pick a country and you can find something to blow your agument out the water.

    Hans,

    We adopted a lot from France because we owned half of it hundreds of years ago before Joan of Arc. Let's not go down the road of words in France they got from us. We wouldn't be us if it wasn't for some French invading in 1066 and France wouldn't be French if it wasn't for us in the world wars etc etc. The list goes on back and forth with various countries playing a part. Lighten up.

    Who cares about pints and measurements, the EU spent 25 years in legal battles trying to stop Cadbury selling there because they didn't think it was chocolate. It is now called Family chocolate. So this is small fry in cash and time wasted.

    Let's concentrate on better things that actually matter in life, like our army under equipped, the climate, the madman in the white house,

  104. David Cantrell

    Imperialist!

    I was going to celebrate by drinking a bottle of Old Imperialist ale, but then I noticed that it came in a half litre bottle.

  105. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Human Measurements

    quote

    Re earlier post: The advantage to Imperial units is they are based on human measurements (inch=roughly the size of a thumb, foot is obvious, yard is the length of an arm) and are therefore easy to visualize.

    I don't know what size your body is, but my thumbs are definitely over 2 inches long, and my arms are about 5-6 inches shorter than 1 yard, hand and fingers included. Only the foot seems reasonably accurate, but only if you have big feet.

    /quote

    An inch is roughly the WIDTH of your thumb, not the length, a yard is the length of an outstretched arm to your nose (when looking straight ahead); although a meter just involves turning your head away from said arm.

    Now, I think we should bring back the cubit... defined as the length from elbow to fingertips but those french 'standardised' it to 18 inches.

    By the way, 12 inches in a foot is easy - the word inch comes from the latin uncae meaning 'a twelfth'

    Also, some primary schools are starting to teach kids both systems. I was only ever taught metric, but still use imperial where it is good - if you want an approximate length, inches are perfect - 10 inches vs 250mm.

    And there is nothing wrong with having something 1 meter 3 inches long.

    Let me also point out that cm is not an SI unit - only 10^3 is included so it goes mm -> m, the cm was only devised for teaching because the young can't come with the huge gap... you don't get that problem with imperial.

    Now, what's wrong with awg for measuring wire thicknesses?

    And why do we have to measure frequency in Hertz? Cycles per second tells you exactly what is happening!

    The comment about KW vs BHP - KW is only for use in electrical situations, the metric for BHP (ie engines) is the PS (or Pferdestärke - german for horse strength) - 1.013PS=1BHP - british horses are stronger than german ones, so lets keep the british horse power!!!

    Lets have imperial for where it relates to the body (esp pints), metric where it relates to the french - 9mm pistols and 200mm cannons spring to mind.

    For the record, I'm 24 cycles round the sun old.

  106. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Erlang Lacod

    With respect old sir with a very big house. You are an idiot.

  107. WAYNE SCHARF

    What's really wrong with metric...

    What's really wrong with metric is that the units are all of an inconvenient size...if you were to fabricate something to within a thousandth of an inch, that is readily achievable...but the metric equivalent is a rudely ungainly quantity that you will probably not get "right on..." even if you can remember it...

  108. John Renouf

    Unsuccessful vs successful metric

    For a moment take away the argument of whether metric/SI is good or bad ....... In Australia and New Zealand beginnning in 1966 and ending in late 1970s, currency was changed (1966), then temperature (1969), ALL road signs changed (1973) in NZ in conjunction with the Oil shock which meant 60 mph was temporarily replaced by 80 km/h (50 mph) which we had to put up with for many years afterwards until in the late 80s when we finally got 100 km/h as a max. speed limit. Metric weights and measures were phased in for a few years only from 1974 to 1977/78 and absolute compliance was expected after that. Builders changed to metric, land has been measured in metric since 1975 or so ..... Holy smoke, was it popular? Not always probably, but it was done successfully with no double-up mess like you have in the UK. Since the late 70s the Imperial system has faded out in various spheres, stones are forgotten forever, miles are units used elsewhere (in the USA/UK), pounds are gone .... the fade out has been gradual. In the 90s a rugby player's vital stats read: Jim Honey - 6'2'' (188 cm), 105 kg - whereas now the even the feet and inches have gone. What the UK needs to do is complete the changeover and allow the Imperial 'fade out' to happen naturally as it does and has done here.

  109. oldfartuk

    its to do with culture

    thats why e have a different measurement system. Its the same reason why a lot of things english are different from Europe, mainly because we invented it first.......personally, i like being different to Europe, because being the same is just one more nail the coffin of national identity....

  110. David Paul Morgan

    I don't think this is right...

    "The sentimental attachment to pints is an utter nonsense. My favourite bar in Glasgow serves in 500ml glasses and 1L steins. Pints are an option, but why would I buy 568ml of beer?"

    It's illegal in britain to sell (loose!) beer in anything other than the imperial pint or half-pint. Hence the closure of the Australian bar that tried to sell in half-litre glasses.

    I quite like the Cologne "Koelsch" which they serve in a 200ml glass - but with enough space to allow for the head - unlike bloody britain with its undersize 568ml glasses!

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