I Can't Drive 88.51392 Kilometers Per Hour!

Adrian Imonti
by Adrian Imonti

Have yourself a pint and celebrate, it’s almost time for National Metric Week! The Charlotte (FL) Sun Herald reports that Florida Gulf Coast University kicked off this year’s festivities a bit early by becoming the state’s first university to introduce metric speed limits along its campus roadways. Tony Planas, a FGCU math instructor and advocate of the much-maligned-in-America base-ten measuring system, paid for the recently installed signage. But Mr. Planas may have many miles to go before his metric dreams are realized. Since Congress passed the Metric Conversion Act of 1975, the US has only inched forward with its metrication efforts. Despite the proliferation of two-liter soda bottles and 5.7-liter engines from sea to shining sea, the US remains the only nation in the industrialized world, aside from the UK, that still uses traditional English measurements for its speed limits.

Adrian Imonti
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  • ChuckR ChuckR on Sep 20, 2007

    As an engineer, I am reconciled to the metric system. One of my customers still requires information in (his term) "Christian" units, not the units of those devilish Frenchies. I'm happy to oblige. Most of what he requires is psi. The handy conversion is 1 MegaPascal = 145 psi or close enough given all the other uncertainties in his particular product. Other "useful" conversions: 2 cubits = 1 meter and 1 barn-parsec = 1 tsp. Getting serious again for a moment, its heat transfer where British units truly stink and thats what eventually won me over to using SI.

  • Brettc Brettc on Sep 20, 2007

    I personally like metric. Since I was born in Canada in 1977, I learned metric the entire time I was in school. I now live in the US, and wish they'd get with it over here and force a switch to metric, but I know that won't happen. When I do construction around the house, I typically use centimetres on the tape measure. I don't understand all the fractions in imperial, it's way too confusing. Cutting a piece of wood to 97.2 cm is much easier to me than its imperial equivalent. Imperial just makes no sense since it was never taught in school to me. I can understand it, but I don't like it. Which I guess is better than most Americans that don't like and don't understand metric. My wife has no clue what I'm talking about sometimes since she learned imperial. Yay Metric!

  • Benders Benders on Sep 20, 2007
    Getting serious again for a moment, its heat transfer where British units truly stink and thats what eventually won me over to using SI. Give me a BTU over a J any day of the week.
  • Dynamic88 Dynamic88 on Sep 21, 2007

    "I understand your thoughts, Adrian. People will use the measurement that they are comfortable using. But you can’t just say “let the scientists use metric”. Those scientists will have been brought up using imperial measures, and metric will not be a comfortable way to conduct their work." It's really frightening to think that our engineers might be having trouble with base 10. Is that why the D3 are in so much trouble :-) The only other thing I'll say about metric is this - A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.