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The metric system in the United States

joepbr
Posts: 128
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3/30/2014 10:23:43 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I have recently finished my first debate in DDO, about whether or not the United States should finally adopt the metric system like most other countries did (http://www.debate.org...).
Sensing that many aspects of this subject were left undiscussed in the debate (I think I should have included more rounds), and an overall lack of discussion on the matter in the site, I decided to invite the DDO community to have an open debate on in.

So, what do you think, should the US follow the steps of the other countries or become the last country on Earth without the metric system.
My alternative to the Political Compass: http://www.debate.org...
TN05
Posts: 4,492
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3/30/2014 10:52:42 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I prefer American units simply because its easy to apply them - a foot is roughly one actual foot, an inch is roughly the length of a thumb. It's simy and easy to get a (very) rough measurement. Metric lengths on the other hand are based on an arbitrary length irrelevent to any body part and not nearly as easy to estimate. I do prefer metric volume units, though.
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,280
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3/30/2014 11:26:45 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/30/2014 10:52:42 PM, TN05 wrote:
I prefer American units simply because its easy to apply them - a foot is roughly one actual foot, an inch is roughly the length of a thumb. It's simy and easy to get a (very) rough measurement. Metric lengths on the other hand are based on an arbitrary length irrelevent to any body part and not nearly as easy to estimate. I do prefer metric volume units, though.

You don't do many unit conversions, do you?
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
Enji
Posts: 1,022
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3/30/2014 11:35:35 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Metric units are already used universally in science. Where they're a bit behind in taking hold (but definitely should be) is engineering; for some reason many American engineering firms and several of my engineering classes use Imperial units when doing the same calculations and unit conversions with metric units would be much simpler. In day-to-day use, I don't think they're necessary enough to warrant change.
donald.keller
Posts: 3,709
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3/31/2014 2:06:03 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/30/2014 10:23:43 PM, joepbr wrote:
I have recently finished my first debate in DDO, about whether or not the United States should finally adopt the metric system like most other countries did (http://www.debate.org...).
Sensing that many aspects of this subject were left undiscussed in the debate (I think I should have included more rounds), and an overall lack of discussion on the matter in the site, I decided to invite the DDO community to have an open debate on in.

So, what do you think, should the US follow the steps of the other countries or become the last country on Earth without the metric system.

We use both fluently. We don't have an official because:

1) We let people use which ever one they like (like how we don't have an official language.)
2) Because who cares about it... Why would we really waste time on a law like that?
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ADreamOfLiberty
Posts: 1,570
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3/31/2014 2:20:07 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/30/2014 10:23:43 PM, joepbr wrote:
I have recently finished my first debate in DDO, about whether or not the United States should finally adopt the metric system like most other countries did (http://www.debate.org...).
Sensing that many aspects of this subject were left undiscussed in the debate (I think I should have included more rounds), and an overall lack of discussion on the matter in the site, I decided to invite the DDO community to have an open debate on in.

So, what do you think, should the US follow the steps of the other countries or become the last country on Earth without the metric system.

UP WITH THE METRIC SYSTEM! WE HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT ANNOYING CONVERSIONS AND NOT HAVING A FEEL FOR THE UNITS THE REST OF THE WORLD USES.
LOL, yeah, it's pretty amazing how they think they can "reason" with you. - Sidewalker, speaking of advocates for sexual deviancy.

So, my advice, Liberty, is to go somewhere else. Leave, and never come back. - YYW

And that's what I did. Contact me at http://www.edeb8.com... by the same user name if you have anything you'd like to say.
joepbr
Posts: 128
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3/31/2014 2:55:02 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/31/2014 2:06:03 AM, donald.keller wrote:
At 3/30/2014 10:23:43 PM, joepbr wrote:
I have recently finished my first debate in DDO, about whether or not the United States should finally adopt the metric system like most other countries did (http://www.debate.org...).
Sensing that many aspects of this subject were left undiscussed in the debate (I think I should have included more rounds), and an overall lack of discussion on the matter in the site, I decided to invite the DDO community to have an open debate on in.

So, what do you think, should the US follow the steps of the other countries or become the last country on Earth without the metric system.

We use both fluently. We don't have an official because:

1) We let people use which ever one they like (like how we don't have an official language.)

Measurement systems aren't simply a matter of personal choice. You can't unilaterally decide to buy gas by the liter or fruits by the kilogram.

2) Because who cares about it... Why would we really waste time on a law like that?

You already did it. The metric system is legally the main system of measurement in the US, it's just that the government do everything it can to prevent it from being properly enforced.
My alternative to the Political Compass: http://www.debate.org...
donald.keller
Posts: 3,709
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3/31/2014 3:03:08 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/31/2014 2:55:02 AM, joepbr wrote:
At 3/31/2014 2:06:03 AM, donald.keller wrote:
At 3/30/2014 10:23:43 PM, joepbr wrote:
I have recently finished my first debate in DDO, about whether or not the United States should finally adopt the metric system like most other countries did (http://www.debate.org...).
Sensing that many aspects of this subject were left undiscussed in the debate (I think I should have included more rounds), and an overall lack of discussion on the matter in the site, I decided to invite the DDO community to have an open debate on in.

So, what do you think, should the US follow the steps of the other countries or become the last country on Earth without the metric system.

We use both fluently. We don't have an official because:

1) We let people use which ever one they like (like how we don't have an official language.)

Measurement systems aren't simply a matter of personal choice. You can't unilaterally decide to buy gas by the liter or fruits by the kilogram.

I can use both, I can convert both, and I choose Imperial... So you know. I have the right to which one I want. Why should I change over? If you're an American and you like Metric more, than go right ahead and use it.

2) Because who cares about it... Why would we really waste time on a law like that?

You already did it. The metric system is legally the main system of measurement in the US, it's just that the government do everything it can to prevent it from being properly enforced.

Who told you that? The closest we have to an official system is the US Customary System (which is basically Imperial.) But even that isn't an officially enforced system. The US has no official system, because who the hell cares.
-- Don't forget to submit your unvoted debates to the Voter's Union --

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joepbr
Posts: 128
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3/31/2014 9:10:19 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/31/2014 3:03:08 AM, donald.keller wrote:
At 3/31/2014 2:55:02 AM, joepbr wrote:
At 3/31/2014 2:06:03 AM, donald.keller wrote:
At 3/30/2014 10:23:43 PM, joepbr wrote:
I have recently finished my first debate in DDO, about whether or not the United States should finally adopt the metric system like most other countries did (http://www.debate.org...).
Sensing that many aspects of this subject were left undiscussed in the debate (I think I should have included more rounds), and an overall lack of discussion on the matter in the site, I decided to invite the DDO community to have an open debate on in.

So, what do you think, should the US follow the steps of the other countries or become the last country on Earth without the metric system.

We use both fluently. We don't have an official because:

1) We let people use which ever one they like (like how we don't have an official language.)

Measurement systems aren't simply a matter of personal choice. You can't unilaterally decide to buy gas by the liter or fruits by the kilogram.

I can use both, I can convert both, and I choose Imperial... So you know. I have the right to which one I want. Why should I change over? If you're an American and you like Metric more, than go right ahead and use it.

2) Because who cares about it... Why would we really waste time on a law like that?

You already did it. The metric system is legally the main system of measurement in the US, it's just that the government do everything it can to prevent it from being properly enforced.

Who told you that? The closest we have to an official system is the US Customary System (which is basically Imperial.) But even that isn't an officially enforced system. The US has no official system, because who the hell cares.

As you said, the metric system isn't official just like the English language, however, the fact that there isn't an official language in the US doesn't mean I can just speak any language I want and expect to be understood. Whether you want it or not, there must be a standard, being official is a mere formality.
Even though not official, the metric system is defined by American legislation as the preferred system, which means, in theory, that the government should support it's use, by teaching it as the primary system in public schools, using it in its official publications, agencies, and anywhere that's officially under the government's administration, besides promoting its use throughout the society. But we all know that, except for some scientific agencies like NASA (and even there, quite chaotically mixed with English unities), the government doesn't enforce the use of the metric system. So that's why the US Customary system is the de facto measurement system in the US, or as you say: "the closest we have to an official system".
My alternative to the Political Compass: http://www.debate.org...
TN05
Posts: 4,492
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3/31/2014 10:01:06 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/30/2014 11:26:45 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 3/30/2014 10:52:42 PM, TN05 wrote:
I prefer American units simply because its easy to apply them - a foot is roughly one actual foot, an inch is roughly the length of a thumb. It's simy and easy to get a (very) rough measurement. Metric lengths on the other hand are based on an arbitrary length irrelevent to any body part and not nearly as easy to estimate. I do prefer metric volume units, though.

You don't do many unit conversions, do you?

It's not like its that hard to find a calculator.
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,280
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3/31/2014 6:22:11 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/31/2014 10:01:06 AM, TN05 wrote:
At 3/30/2014 11:26:45 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 3/30/2014 10:52:42 PM, TN05 wrote:
I prefer American units simply because its easy to apply them - a foot is roughly one actual foot, an inch is roughly the length of a thumb. It's simy and easy to get a (very) rough measurement. Metric lengths on the other hand are based on an arbitrary length irrelevent to any body part and not nearly as easy to estimate. I do prefer metric volume units, though.

You don't do many unit conversions, do you?

It's not like its that hard to find a calculator.

It's hard to remember that there are 128 ounces in a gallon, 5,280 feet in a mile, 16 ounces in a pint, 8 pints in a gallon. Not to mention the fact that there are other, similar forms of measurement which employ units of the same name but slightly different values.

Know how many meters are in a kilometer? 1,000!

Know how many milliliters are in a liter? 1,000!

Know how many grams are in kilogram? 1,000!

Then there's Celsius, based on the properties of water. It freezes at 0, boils at 100 (at sea level). 30 is warm, 20 is nice, 10 is cold, 0 is ice.

Compare that to Fahrenheit, where zero is the freezing point of brine, 100 is a botched human body temperature reading, and water freezes at 32 and boils at 212. What was Mr. Fahrenheit smoking when he came up with this?
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
TN05
Posts: 4,492
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3/31/2014 6:44:23 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/31/2014 6:22:11 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 3/31/2014 10:01:06 AM, TN05 wrote:
At 3/30/2014 11:26:45 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 3/30/2014 10:52:42 PM, TN05 wrote:
I prefer American units simply because its easy to apply them - a foot is roughly one actual foot, an inch is roughly the length of a thumb. It's simy and easy to get a (very) rough measurement. Metric lengths on the other hand are based on an arbitrary length irrelevent to any body part and not nearly as easy to estimate. I do prefer metric volume units, though.

You don't do many unit conversions, do you?

It's not like its that hard to find a calculator.

It's hard to remember that there are 128 ounces in a gallon, 5,280 feet in a mile, 16 ounces in a pint, 8 pints in a gallon. Not to mention the fact that there are other, similar forms of measurement which employ units of the same name but slightly different values.

Aside from the fact I've already stated metric volume units are superior to American units, not really, no. Most of these numbers are distinct enough that you can recall them easily. For example, the ounce-pint-quart-gallon progression is base 16, which is really easy to remember. 16 ounces are a pint, 2 pints are a quart, and 4 quarts are a gallon. You don't need to go directly from ounces to gallons. And if you do have a problem, guess what? Use google. They have the conversions right there. The idea there is some magical conversion issue is silly - maybe 50 years ago, but not now.

Know how many meters are in a kilometer? 1,000!

What real-life counterpart does a meter relate to? Is it easy to estimate the length of a meter in comparison to feet or inches?

Know how many milliliters are in a liter? 1,000!

I like metric volume units.

Know how many grams are in kilogram? 1,000!

US units aren't that confusing here either. 1 pound is 16 ounce, and 1 ton is 2,000 pounds. Not too hard to remember.

Then there's Celsius, based on the properties of water. It freezes at 0, boils at 100 (at sea level). 30 is warm, 20 is nice, 10 is cold, 0 is ice.

And that is frigging stupid. That's blunt, but how on earth is 20 'nice', and there is so much wasted room between 0 and 100 - for example, how often are you going to use, say, 50? As someone who has growth up without these units, it makes no sense there is no scale of 100. And why is the freezing point of water not the base? If we're going to use a system like that, I prefer to use Kelvin, which is the same thing as Celsius but sets 0 as absolute zero.

Compare that to Fahrenheit, where zero is the freezing point of brine, 100 is a botched human body temperature reading, and water freezes at 32 and boils at 212. What was Mr. Fahrenheit smoking when he came up with this?

Fahrenheit units are so much more better because they are better on a scale of 100, with 100 being 'really hot' (or 'body temperature') and 0 being 'really cold', although anything below 40 is pretty cold. It is so much easier (to me, at least) because 100 sounds much better as 'hot' than 40 does. That may sound silly, but I think this is a basic practical benefit that SI units overlook. Metric might look better on paper, but customary units are far more practical.