Americans and the Metric System

But selling drinks in UK bars in ‘pints’ etc has been allowed ‘forever’…
The change the UK Gov has made / will make is that loose goods - like apples in the market - can be sold in lbs OR kg - if the customer asks for a quantity in either units it’s allowable - under EU rules the seller had to convert what they sold into kg. This is all pedantic rubbish - when I buy 2 pound or 1 kg of apples I expect an approximation in either case so it doesn’t matter much ! Indeed older people in France might ask for 1 livre [old ‘pound’] expecting about 1/2 kg !

I have been taught that no one calls oneself that.

I would bet my life savings that there is no threat to selling proper pints of beer, and that it is not an actual issue at hand. Not in the UK or the US on the matter considering pints are standard in all bars on both shores and are here to stay, regardless of politics or national systems.

I don’t think it’s willful as much as basic ignorance in general. Unlike other countries that have it so much easier, Math is really tough to learn in America (just ask Barbie). Percents and compound interest are no more understood than integrals and differential equations. It’s been bad before now, but the advent of smartphones has made it worse. Need to balance your checkbook? There’s an app for that. Need to figure a 15% tip? There’s an app for that. How often do you hear Americans say, “What’s the point in learning Math? No one really needs it for anything.” I would beg to differ, but then again, I’m in the minority here.

On a cheerio note, here’s a British comment on science in general:

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Well, it’s not exactly brain surgery is it? More like rocket science imo


I doubt that most of my “very vocal minority” has ever even thought about metric vs imperial! I brought up that minority as a superset of people who, if I had to guess, would claim that 1 KM is LONGER than 1 Mile (as per the screen capture) - and would deny their error even in the face of overwhelming evidence.

As I recall the debate (which is a hazy recollection as I was in my early teens at the time), the “winning” argument for not going metric was the cost of new tooling for US based manufacturers - many of which have subsequently gone metric!

Okay. So you’re just using this to build on the stereotype that modern day US conservatives, or trump supporters, are willfully ignorant and peddle alternative facts. But the debate is nothing to do with them, it was decades ago among manufacturers. Got it.

My mistake, yes a pint is a pint here in the UK.

I was confused - it’s that Boris wants to allow our pint glasses to have the Crown imprint on them again now that we have banished the dastardly EU.

That, and we will be legally able to sell things in imperial measures which the EU banned us from doing!


But in the end we the dastardly EU-ers are making the Brits to make their things to double standards, one for the UK and the other for export…The choice is to follow the EU or to have two product lines. I like British ales but I prefer to know how much the can contains in measures I can understand. 1 pint can be 0,568 261 or 0,473 176 liters. I want to know which.

Us aussies went the whole hog when we converted… no miles, yards, lbs to be seen anywhere thank god!

1kg of water = 1 litre of water = 100mm x 100mm x100mm volume of water or
1 mt of water = 1m3 of water = 1000 litres of water

Sorry Aaron, bored waiting in a doctors clinic :slight_smile:



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It’s all Greek to me.

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Pretty sure all products sold in the US have metric measurements on them in addition to imperial. We use it for nearly all of our science too, with exceptions. It’s not a total mystery to us, it’s just not what we use for everything.

No, we should follow the rest of Europe that sells beer by the litre. After all a litre is bigger than a pint!

I wish we were metric here in the USA. The imperial system is so nonsensical. 12” in a foot, 3 feet in a yard, 5280 feet in a mile, 43560 sq feet in an acre? Painful!


As a physics major in college, everything was metric, plus radians for angles a lot of the time. As an architecture student in grad school, we needed to learn all the intricacies of the imperial system in construction. That means memorizing the real dimensions of common lumber, the square footage of an acre, modular masonry and lumber systems, etc. It just shear momentum and resistance to change at this point. No body wants to go through what it would take to change.

One thing that hit me following international cycling sports: the relationship between kilometers and miles is very close to, but not exactly the golden proportion, at least to the first two significant digits, so all you need is the 6/10ths: One is .6 times the other, and the other is .6 times it plus the original added back in.

(*) Don’t forget the fathom, ftm, =6 feet.
(**) And then besides the statute mile there’s also the nautical mile which equals 6,076 feet. (length of one minute at the equator).

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Am I the only one who thinks the comment in the second panel is a joke? After all, he spelled it “kilometre”.

The correct word [internationally] is kilometre
Only an American spells it kilometer

And of course metre/meter, litre/liter etc etc

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My point is that if it had been an “ignorant American” making that post, they would have likely spelled it “kilometer”. While I could easily be wrong, it strikes me as far less likely that someone outside the US (probably using the metric system) would make that error. That’s why I think it’s dry wit.