JUN 09, 2017 8:11 AM PDT

Should we switch to the metric system?


Back in the day when we were developing a measurement system, we used whatever was closest, and what was closest was our bodies. We had actual measurements such as "an arm's length," "a foot," and an acre, which was the amount of land that a person could work in one day. But all the while as we in the United States were developing our own unique system, France was disseminating their system, based on the number 10. Called the metric system, it spread and took hold throughout much of Europe, creating a fundamental divide between Europe and the US that impeded trade. So what did the US do?

In order to rectify this divide, in 1866 Congress signed an act agreeing to recognize the metric system as the global authority on all units. So why are we still not using the metric system? Turns out we actually are, it's just disguised by our own unique vocabulary. The governmental definitions for all of our units are actually defined by their equivalents in the metric system; i.e. 1 mile = 1.609344 kilometers, not the other way around! In 1975, President Gerald Ford signed the Metric Conversion Act to try to get the US to fully adopt the metric system, but because the act was made optional, it essentially failed. Turns out here in the US we're really stuck to our ways!
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
JUL 02, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Carbon Nanolattices: Lighter Than (Atomic) Feathers, Tougher Than Diamonds
JUL 02, 2020
Carbon Nanolattices: Lighter Than (Atomic) Feathers, Tougher Than Diamonds
Carbon is known for its plentiful allotropes, such as the naturally existing graphite and diamond, as well as synthetic ...
JUL 22, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Scientists Obtained Clues on the Mysteriously Fast Movement of Earth's Magnetic Poles
JUL 22, 2020
Scientists Obtained Clues on the Mysteriously Fast Movement of Earth's Magnetic Poles
Earth's magnetic poles have been on a hasty move in the last two decades. Recently, the geoscientists at Leeds Unive ...
AUG 06, 2020
Plants & Animals
Swine Fever Threatens Critically Endangered Indian Hogs
AUG 06, 2020
Swine Fever Threatens Critically Endangered Indian Hogs
The Associated Press reports that the world's smallest and rarest wild pig species is undergoing its own virus lockd ...
AUG 10, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Researchers Debunk Cannabis Growing Myths
AUG 10, 2020
Researchers Debunk Cannabis Growing Myths
Researchers at Utah State University grew cannabis to study until the Controlled Substances Act came into force in 1970. ...
SEP 08, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Reusable Chinese Space Craft Lands Returns Earth
SEP 08, 2020
Reusable Chinese Space Craft Lands Returns Earth
The Chinese government has announced the safe return of a reusable spacecraft, called Chongfu Shiyong Shiyan Hangtian Qi ...
NOV 06, 2020
Space & Astronomy
300 Million Planets in the Milky Way May Be Habitable
NOV 06, 2020
300 Million Planets in the Milky Way May Be Habitable
Researchers have found that there could be at least 300 million habitable worlds in the Milky Way galaxy. This could mea ...
Loading Comments...