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Question on the metric system

  • 13-03-2015 5:42am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 519 ✭✭✭ carlowplayer


    Which countries use metric and which ones imperial?
    Would it be expensive to switch all imperial countries to metric?


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Comments

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 61,057 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011


    Everywhere bar the USA, Burma and Liberia legally uses metric. Some, like the UK, don't do it very well.

    It is both expensive and complicated to change over, although the biggest hurdle is ridiculous conservatives usually


  • Registered Users Posts: 29,295 ✭✭✭✭ Mint Sauce


    They call it a Royal with Cheese.

    ;)


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,153 ✭✭✭ lottpaul


    From a quick google the only ones still using the Imperial system are the USA, Liberia and Myanmar. There are a few like the UK that are officially metric but still legally use a lot of Imperial measurements (miles being the most obvious) and then there are countries like ourselves where everything is officially metric but many "older" people use varying levels of Imperial units, but as generations progress that will fade away I suppose.

    As for cost of change? I'd imagine the USA would be astronomical but I don't thing it's even being considered.


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 61,057 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011


    lottpaul wrote: »
    As for cost of change? I'd imagine the USA would be astronomical but I don't thing it's even being considered.

    It was: http://lamar.colostate.edu/~hillger/laws/metric-conv.html

    Its unlikely to ever happen now - computerisation has ensured that conversions can be made quickly and accurately / error-checked and most modern industrial activities use metric anyway; so its really just the public facing stuff that's stuck on their antique units.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,164 ✭✭✭ pg633


    L1011 wrote: »
    It was: http://lamar.colostate.edu/~hillger/laws/metric-conv.html

    Its unlikely to ever happen now - computerisation has ensured that conversions can be made quickly and accurately / error-checked and most modern industrial activities use metric anyway; so its really just the public facing stuff that's stuck on their antique units.
    Public facing stuff and satellites http://www.wired.com/2010/11/1110mars-climate-observer-report/

    Also there is a difference between some US imperial units and their British counterparts.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,153 ✭✭✭ lottpaul


    L1011 wrote: »
    It was: http://lamar.colostate.edu/~hillger/laws/metric-conv.html

    Its unlikely to ever happen now - computerisation has ensured that conversions can be made quickly and accurately / error-checked and most modern industrial activities use metric anyway; so its really just the public facing stuff that's stuck on their antique units.


    That's very interesting. Thanks for the link. Not often you see President Ford mentioned for signing innovative laws :)


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 20,995 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk


    Interestingly the US military uses the metric system!

    In US war movies you will often hearing things like "we are 10 klicks south of your position", a "klick" is one kilometer.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,133 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    There is a lot of confusion between what is metric and what is imperial.

    1. Paper - A0 A1 A2 A3 A4 are all metric and are used throughout Europe, but USA use imperial sizes - letter, legal (foolscap) etc.

    2. Plumbing. Ireland uses Imperial pipe sizes (1/2 inch) while UK uses 15mm. Universally BSP (British Standard Pipe) is used for the likes of threads on taps etc. So if you buy plumbing bits from the UK, they will not fit Irish pipes - not because the UK uses imperial but because we do.

    3. Distance - UK still uses miles as does the USA, but Canada Australia, etc use Km.

    4. Volume - most use Litres (liters in USA) for petrol but USA use US gallons. They also have 16 oz pints where our pints are 20 oz. What are barrels used to measure oil?

    5. Area - metric area measure is the hectare which is about 2.5 acres. It is meant to be used here together with the square metre, but most use the imperial units. I think that legally, property is supposed to be metric but in practice it is not.

    Various industries have gone metric worldwide. Electronics is metric (except for the use of 0.1 inch spacings that exist nearly everywhere. Motor industry is largely metric, but some US companies are still imperial.

    Tyres are quaint. The size of a typical tyre - say 185/70 16 tyre size is 185 mm wide with a 70% profile ratio to fit on a 16 inch wheel. Now you cannot get more mixed up than that.

    It is a mess worldwide. Did the US not lose a Mars mission because of a mix-up between contractors - some using metric and others using imperial?

    We still use a typewriter keyboard designed to slow the typist down because the mechanism could not keep up. We still use Etruscan periods for time. (60 second, 60 minutes, etc.)

    There will be use of imperial mixed with metric for generations.

    Anyone going for a pint?


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,229 ✭✭✭ LeinsterDub


    Metric system is the tool of the devil! My car gets forty rods to the hogs-head and that’s the way I likes it!


  • Registered Users Posts: 931 ✭✭✭ Brian CivilEng


    We drink beer in pints in the pub but 500ml at home. Weird.

    I find that a lot of people use imperial conversationally but don't actually know how big the measurement is. 40 years of metric being taught in schools means that most of the population had no grounding in what imperial measurements actually mean.

    I wish we would just go that extra kilometer and use metric for everything, including colloquialisms ;)


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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,464 ✭✭✭ munchkin_utd


    <snip>
    I wish we would just go that extra kilometer and use metric for everything, including colloquialisms ;)
    strangely.... in Germany which is all very scientific and proper and metric, theres turns of phrase which still mention the likes of miles or pounds (weight).

    its hard to get rid of imperial completely it seems, even when its never used to measure anything!


  • Moderators, Education Moderators Posts: 26,320 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Peregrine


    There is almost an irrational fear of the metric system among some Americans. I don't know if they'll ever switch over. The UK might eventually be fully metric.
    Metric system is the tool of the devil! My car gets forty rods to the hogs-head and that’s the way I likes it!

    Who keeps the metric system down? We do, we doo!


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,133 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    The first question on the Voxpop when metrication is mntioned is 'How many xxx to the yyy are there?' This is a nonsense question because once changeover has occured, it does not matter.

    When is the last time you heard - 'How many Irish Pounds is that?' The normal question you get now at the butchers is 'How much is that in money?' when someone is buying meat.

    I still do not know how many litres there are in a barrel (used for measuring oil prices) or how much an ounce of gold is - is it avois du pois or Troy by the way? Or is it so many penny-weights? Or carats, or grains? Or grammes, or even grams?

    How confusing.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,781 ✭✭✭ Carawaystick


    I still do not know how much an ounce of gold is - is it avois du pois or Troy by the way?
    apparently a pound of gold weighs different to a pound of feathers for that reason....

    French property uses ares ( one hundredth of a hectare) to size them.

    when the lpt came in here, only the first acre or so was counted for your valuation, which seemed odd, to use an imperial measurement.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,181 ✭✭✭✭ Geuze


    T

    I still do not know how many litres there are in a barrel (used for measuring oil prices)

    42 US gallons, or about 159 litres in a barrel.


  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators, Regional North Mods, Regional West Moderators Posts: 81,470 Mod ✭✭✭✭ biko


    Most countries use metric even though some old ways still linger.

    Miles per gallon, 6 feet tall, weighs 10 stone etc..


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,661 ✭✭✭ Markcheese


    Mint Sauce wrote: »
    They call it a Royal with Cheese.

    ;)

    What do they call a big king ?

    Slava ukraini 🇺🇦



  • Registered Users Posts: 18,889 ✭✭✭✭ murphaph


    L1011 wrote: »
    It was: http://lamar.colostate.edu/~hillger/laws/metric-conv.html

    Its unlikely to ever happen now - computerisation has ensured that conversions can be made quickly and accurately / error-checked and most modern industrial activities use metric anyway; so its really just the public facing stuff that's stuck on their antique units.
    I'd say it's much more ingrained than that in the US-it's not like the UK where "behind the scenes" it really is all metric, even their roads of course are designed in metric, but in the US the drawings for those roads, bridges, buildings etc. really are all in imperial. It actually affects Canada too...when Canada went metric they soon realised that it wasn't too great in the building industry, where nearly everything comes from south of the border. I think they more or less gave up on metric in the building sector in Canada to avoid the headaches.

    American made machinery will generally be imperial, except for the sub assemblies that may come from elsewhere (I've seen and worked on such equipment...silly stuff really)

    I never did get my head around quickly visualising how big a 7/32" Allen key actually is!


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,133 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    when the lpt came in here, only the first acre or so was counted for your valuation, which seemed odd, to use an imperial measurement.

    That relates to capital gains tax. If you value your 'bog standard house' standing on 3 acres at €2 million, and sell it for €5 million, then you will be liable for capital gains tax on the €3 million, as any principal private residence is exempt only up to the first acre.

    That would soften your cough if you lived in a bog standard house.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,047 ✭✭✭ AugustusMinimus


    Interesting fact.

    NASA uses the metric system for all aeronautical and guidance data.

    However, the Space Shuttle was designed using US customary units and believe it or not, all of the new launch architecture being designed at the moment is being done using US customary units. The cost of converting design software etc is put at 300m dollars and so to save money, they haven't changed.


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  • Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 10,537 Mod ✭✭✭✭ icdg


    Remember the U.S. system is not the imperial system. The units are named similarly but the measures are different (a pint for example is a lot smaller than 568ml, unless its Guinness you're ordering for some reason).

    Nor are we 100% metric here either. The pint is the obvious one, but as someone mentioned earlier fast food chains like McDonald's and Subway cling to their Quarter Pounders and foot longs rather than rename them as Royals with Cheese and, er, whatever subway do. The rail network still uses mileposts. We still have plenty of imperial low bridge signs (the metric only one having only been provided for in 2010).


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 12,395 ✭✭✭✭ mikemac1


    I've never seen a TV advertised by anything other then inches

    Some tile shops sell by the square yard and some by the square metre. The shop assistant will work it out for you if ask

    Your sausages are sold in Spar, Centra, wherever are sold in lbs and half lbs but I don't think they show this. It's 454g and 227g on the label. Works just fine :)

    Do US athletes train for the 100 metres in college or are they running 100 yds :confused: American footballers all test themselves for 40 yds, they don't test at metres


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,133 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    I think butter must be sold here in pounds. It is to stop retailers reducing pack size but keeping the price the same. [This is quite common with bars of chocolate].


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,905 ✭✭✭ Aard


    Whatever about regular joes using square foot / acre etc, I wish journalists would stick to metric. As said before, all property and planning permissions need to be in metric. Then you have the Irish Times flitting between metric and imperial in the one article, making the reader convert in his head. Land prices are usually quoted in €/acre while rents will be in €/sqm. Just stick with metric - it's so much easier to scale up or down.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,968 ✭✭✭ hardCopy


    Aard wrote: »
    Whatever about regular joes using square foot / acre etc, I wish journalists would stick to metric. As said before, all property and planning permissions need to be in metric. Then you have the Irish Times flitting between metric and imperial in the one article, making the reader convert in his head. Land prices are usually quoted in €/acre while rents will be in €/sqm. Just stick with metric - it's so much easier to scale up or down.

    The decimal acre is quite a popular one daft

    "Beautifully appointed family home on 1.16 acres"


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,133 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    The Americans do not use stones (14 lbs) but they use bushels, barrels, long tons, short tons and quite a few more quaint ones - not to mention degrees Fahrenheit.

    We used to have Irish miles and Irish acres, which were much bigger than their imperial equivalent. Many a cow was fed on the long acre.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,905 ✭✭✭ Aard


    hardCopy wrote: »
    The decimal acre is quite a popular one daft

    "Beautifully appointed family home on 1.16 acres"

    Even more so when it's clearly "meant" to be quoted in hectares: 0.247 acre site :confused:


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,235 ✭✭✭ D.L.R.


    Remember when our route confirmation signs were in km, but our speed limits were still in miles :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,394 Sheldons Brain


    I think butter must be sold here in pounds. It is to stop retailers reducing pack size but keeping the price the same. [This is quite common with bars of chocolate].

    Butter is sold in "pounds" while in NI it is 500g, while cheese is the opposite. This nonsense dates back to the butter smuggling of the 1980s.


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  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,133 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    Butter is sold in "pounds" while in NI it is 500g, while cheese is the opposite. This nonsense dates back to the butter smuggling of the 1980s 1930-1950s.

    FYP

    I think it was more to do with short measure.


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