—according to this 1893 decision!
On this date in 1893, the word came down to the American people from the Superintendent of Weights and Measures: the international meter and kilogram will be the fundamental standards of length and weight (mass) in the United States.
And 119 years later, Americans are still dragging their feet on this one!!!
Luckily, the metric system isn't very hard to learn. After all, that's why it was created—based on tens, the conversion math (such as centimeters to meters) is super simple! Another good thing: a lot of Americans already know the metric system, because they work in science or medicine, or they work with people in another country, perhaps in international trade, or they work in another field in which the metric system is used.
Still, why is the U.S. one of only a few countries in the world that has not adopted the metric system? (Some other holdouts are Liberia and Myanmar, also known as Burma.)
Why does the U.S. cling to a system in which computations based on 12 inches, 8 liquid ounces, and 16 weight ounces are much more difficult and confusing?
Since it was decided in 1893 that America would make the switch, and since a 1988 U.S. law dictates that trade and commerce uses the metric system...why don't we Americans get with the system?
Here is a simple primer on the metric system.
I tried to find some great websites to gain experience with the metric system, but most seem to concentrate on conversions between the system currently used in the U.S. (which is called the imperial system) and the metric system. Who cares about conversions? It's like trying to learn to speak or understand Spanish by constantly translating from English. I think maybe we should just start noticing what five and ten centimeters look like, whether a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius means a cold or a hot day (answer: a really hot day!), how tiring a 5 K (kilometer) race is, and how lightweight a 1.4 kilogram laptop is (answer: really lightweight!).
I'm hoping that Think Metric will be useful to anyone trying to learn the metric system. It is one of the few that doesn't emphasize conversion, conversion, conversion!
Also on this date:
Plan ahead for International Pillow Fight Day on Saturday, April 7!
There are plans for a huge pillow fight near me. Maybe there will be one near you, too! Check it out here.