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Metric or Inches? WHY??


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I’m probably the last one to know all these facts but it was an interesting journey anyway.

 

I’m watching documentaries on ancient Babylon and Mesopotamia, the narrator uses the metric system of measurement and I try to calculate in my head how many feet/yards that would be. THEN I was wondering why we have to suffer with 2 sets of measurements. THEN I wondered where the system of inches/feet/yards came from anyway.

I started out with the first one to need to measure that I could think of, Noah, he had to have a known system of measuring. Since the article says Egypt is credited for it I gather it’s because Noah was from Mesopotamia and that standard of measurement would start there after the flood.

Then another factoid showed itself to me- the name Egypt came from Noah’s grandson from Ham- Mizraim. After the incident at Bablel he and his clan moved to the Nile river, becoming Egypt. Thus from Noah came Egypt and a known system of measurement.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_measurement

 

The Egyptian cubit, the Indus Valley units of length referred to above and the Mesopotamian cubit were used in the 3rd millennium BC and are the earliest known units used by ancient peoples to measure length.

 

The inch, foot, and yard evolved from these units through a complicated transformation not yet fully understood. Some believe they evolved from cubic measures; others believe they were simple proportions or multiples of the cubit. (And now some dry reading just so we know) In whichever case, the Greeks and Romans inherited the foot from the Egyptians. The Roman foot (~296 mm) was divided into both 12 unciae (inches) (~24.7 mm) and 16 digits (~18.5 mm). The Romans also introduced the mille passus (1000 paces) or double steps, the pace being equal to five Roman feet (~1480 mm). The Roman mile of 5000 feet was introduced into England during the occupation. Queen Elizabeth I (reigned from 1558 to 1603) changed, by statute, the mile to 5280 feet.

The introduction of the yard (0.9144 m) as a unit of length came later, but its origin is not definitely known. Some believe the origin was the double cubit, others believe that it originated from cubic measure.

 

When it was necessary to compare the capacities of containers such as gourds or clay or metal vessels, they were filled with plant seeds which were then counted to measure the volumes. When means for weighing were invented, seeds and stones served as standards. For instance, the carat, still used as a unit for gems, was derived from the carob seed.

 

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When Australia converted to the metric system in 1970, I was in grade 1, and the teacher was saying "When we enter the metric system....".  I thought it was going to be an excursion where we "enter" some sort of building or park :confused:.

 

I get it now though.....

 

Multiples of 10 work better for me than 12ths, 16ths and other fractions.  It flows better with our decimal currencies.  When are you all going to take the journey and "enter the metric system"?

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Back when the US was going to "convert" to the metric system (back when I was in High School), they tried to teach it (at least where I lived - however, I heard that many others had my same experience) as a "comparison" to the inch system.

 

In other words, instead of teaching that a Meter is 100 cm - they taught it as "a little over a yard - about 39 inches" We were told that 13 mm was about 1/2 inch, etc, etc, etc ....

 

Well, needless to say, if we had to remember the "inches" of each of the metric equivalents, why bother ... so, we stayed with inches.

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23 hours ago, Qapla said:

Back when the US was going to "convert" to the metric system (back when I was in High School), they tried to teach it (at least where I lived - however, I heard that many others had my same experience) as a "comparison" to the inch system.

 

In other words, instead of teaching that a Meter is 100 cm - they taught it as "a little over a yard - about 39 inches" We were told that 13 mm was about 1/2 inch, etc, etc, etc ....

 

Well, needless to say, if we had to remember the "inches" of each of the metric equivalents, why bother ... so, we stayed with inches.

 

When you're learning another system of measurement, you need to drop the old one out of your thinking. Don't try to compare the two; you can't expect to put them beside each other and be able to understand it. It's like learning a new language. You can't be constantly be thinking of "What's that word in English again?", but you need to be able to think  in the new language so no translation is necessary.

 

Similarly, use the example of when you're learning temperatures (Celsius vs Fahrenheit). Don't try to compare. Set your own "benchmarks" in your head. For example: minus 10° is when you need a coat, 0° is the point where water freezes; you still need a coat, 10° is when you only need a light spring jacket, 20° is when you don't need any jacket, 30° is when you start removing clothing, 40° and you'd better have plenty of water on hand.

 

Oh well, you get the idea...

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On 2/23/2017 at 5:55 PM, hatcheckgirl said:

When Australia converted to the metric system in 1970, I was in grade 1, and the teacher was saying "When we enter the metric system....".  I thought it was going to be an excursion where we "enter" some sort of building or park :confused:.

 

I get it now though.....

 

Multiples of 10 work better for me than 12ths, 16ths and other fractions.  It flows better with our decimal currencies.  When are you all going to take the journey and "enter the metric system"?

 

It was in 1970 when we started learning metric in Canada. I was somewhat beyond grade 1 then; more like high school graduate. By 1975 labels with metric measurements started appearing on the grocery store shelves, radio stations began giving the temperature in Celsius, and we were on our way to a long and not very successful break-up with imperial measurement. Some wanted to cheat. They publicly said they were going metric, while secretly thinking imperial in their heads. I recall a prominent Toronto radio broadcaster saying the metric system was vastly superior to imperial, with, as you mentioned, multiples of ten. But that same radio station later rebelled and dropped Celsius from their weather reports entirely and stuck with Fahrenheit. It was some time they reluctantly went back to giving both temperature readings, not wanting to part with their beloved Fahrenheit. The public had a very hard time catching on and insisted on keeping the "old" way, thinking it was "better" simply because they understood it.

 

But those are the old days... ancient history. Now, I think the younger generation has never heard of Fahrenheit or "feet and inches," thinking those things must be some futuristic, sci-fi stuff. (Doesn't it make you feel old? :wheelchair:)

 

We didn't "enter the metric system," we metricated.

 

What does that mean? Look up the word metrication.

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9 hours ago, hatcheckgirl said:

Except when it is a "litre".....

 

You say potato, and I say potato.....

Was trying not to confuse:wacko: our poor American brothers. Proper spelling is not one of their strong points. :deadhorse:They couldn't even get Imperial measurements nor spelling of colour correct, so what do you expect?:blink:

Edited by pnutts
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I remember. 

 

A lot of engineering info is in metric. It makes being a Building Inspector an interesting job. You have to know both and how to quickly switch and judge between them - like talking 2 languages at the same time. 

 

It has to be interesting for those in other countries studying engineering - who want to work in or for US companies.

Edited by trottigy
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22 hours ago, tekmantwo said:

Yeah,  but that is the English term, how do you say it in 'Murican???

 

'Murican? I am presuming it's your 'murican way of saying American.

 

You can't get much more American than the American Heritage Dictionary. Here's what metrication means to them.

 

You see, they have  heard of it south of our border.

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49 minutes ago, Sheep said:

 

I wonder if we're going to metricate our clocks too.

 

Would that mean a day would be 10 hours long - or twenty :confused:

 

I guess an hour would become 100 minutes :eek:

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1 hour ago, Sheep said:

 

'Murican? I am presuming it's your 'murican way of saying American.

 

It's kind of a poke at the Southern boys, the redneck country boys..

Just imagine an old southern hick from the smoky mountains saying it and you'll probably be close. .

I'm native Southern Californian so I don't even say it right. .but I would bet Leslie Dean could. ..lol. (no offense Leslie,  jus playin)

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56 minutes ago, Qapla said:

Would that mean a day would be 10 hours long - or twenty :confused:

 

I guess an hour would become 100 minutes :eek:

That would be 20 hour days. Thus this hour has 72 minutes. Hmm maybe.  Sound like title for new TV series.:D

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                                               Image result for funny metric crescent wrench

 

 

 

Ironically In Canada you cannot buy a gallon of milk, sold by the liter... an American spelling versus Litres spelled Internationally.

And older Canadiens still refer to going to the hardware store to buy a "gallon of paint ". 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Precision said:

And older Canadiens 

:blink:You watch too much hockey, as in Montreal Canadiens. Tiz da French spelling. Canadians with 3 "a " is proper spelling. In "real older Canadians":indian: it was pronounced Kanata, but some British snob :tsk:er Military leader got it wrong, when told what it was, thus...

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