Monday, 21 January 2013

The Mostly International System of Units

Every now and then I get tired of talking in feet and inches for everyday things. We are an SI country here in Australia. We measure everything in (centi)metres and kilograms ... except for TVs and computer monitors, people's heights and newborn baby weights. Oh, and Subway sandwiches, too. Try telling people you saw a 180cm man go to Subway with his 3kg newborn, order a 30cm sub and sit down with his 25cm tablet computer. Everything about that sounds strange to me, and I was raised Metric Orthodox. I only give my height in centimetres, that's the easiest one of the lot, and I still get strange looks as people convert it back to the Middle Ages reference scheme they keep in their heads. I had to make a special effort to learn how big a "normal" newborn is in kg, because everyone always talks in pounds for that (it's about 3kg, for interest's sake). I want to measure my computer monitors and TVs in centimetres, too. It even sounds bigger that way, so I'm surprised nobody does so. I have not yet tried ordering in centimetres at Subway, though. Maybe someday.

My point is that these ancient, obtuse measurement scales have a lot of momentum, and it's going to be a long time before they are properly and rightfully put to rest, even in countries where they aren't the default. Thankfully, we're all okay with kilometres for long distance, Celsius for temperature and metric measurements for volumes and masses in the kitchen.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It would just be easier if we all used the same, standard measurements.
PPS - Of course, that's the point behind the SI standard in the first place.

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