me on metric

Do you remember your math teacher ever saying something about these lines:

“There are 5280 feet in a mile. You just have to memorize it. The English measuring system is bogus. If we just used metric, it would make a whole lot more sense. I don’t know why we don’t. It’s way easier. But, *sigh, we don’t, so let’s trudge through this.”

I remember hearing this sentiment from more than one teacher growing up. And, along with verbal platitudes like “perfect fifties family”, I’ve heard many other people give lip service to this idea.

I disagree.

Metric is way more confusing than the English system. And it’s not just ’cause I originally learned the English system and use it more often. The numbers and conversions are much easier to understand with the English system. Now, I will concede, I am number-impaired (self-diagnosis). This may be why I like the English system better. But in any case, listen to my argument.

In the English system 1 foot = 12 inches. 1 inch = 2.54 centimenters. and you know the rest.

In metric, 1 meter = 100 centimeters, 1 centimenter = 1,000 meters, 1 kilometer = 1000000000 meters (this part is exaggerated)

The reason metric is touted as being easier is because, “It’s just zeroes and ones. Just move the decimal back and forth.” That’s why it’s hard. It’s just zeroes and ones. The numbers have no personalities. And sure “centi” means hundred, but how do I know what it’s a hundred or hundredth of?

As I said, perhaps it’s the vice of people who can’t remember numbers. But this is how I do numbers: 12 equals a foot. I associate the numbers with something. The number 12 is “owned” by foot.

You can’t use that method with metric. It’s just a lone 1 and the occassional companion or gaggle of 0’s. It leaves the numbers much to abstract to comprehend.

And that’s why I don’t like metric.



Filed under Explaining things, Opinions

3 responses to “me on metric

  1. Bethany

    um, metric is way easier.

    how many cups in a gallon?
    -is there anything bigger than a gallon?
    how many ounces in a quart?
    how many ounces in a ton?
    how many yards in a mile?

    you have to for most of these go through 2-3 conversions to get to the answer (assuming you know the units in between)
    with metric you just add subtract the necessary amount of zeros.

    Also, Celsius is better for temperature.
    -0 degrees=freezing
    -100 degrees=boiling ( I don’t even know boiling for F)

  2. Yeah, but see, I don’t need to know those measurments. For what I do, metric’s more confusing.

  3. Tobias Karlemi

    Metric is way easier, better in all ways. 1 cubic meter is 1000 liters and if it is water it weights 1000 kg or 1 ton (metric ton, English ton is 2000 pounds if I’m not mistaking).

    What is the weight, in pounds, of 4,5 cubic feet of water? (Question in English system)
    What is the weight, in kg, of 45 cubic decimeter of water? (Question in metric system)

    One of the questions I just know the answer right away… and it is not the first question.

    When I studied chemistry at UCF I realized how simple and rational the metric system is!

    Rest my case.

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