The Metric System and why I prefer it.

I’ll make no bones about it: I love the metric system.

As the French say “C’est simple, claire, et logique.” (and if you need that translated, you are a real no hoper).

The boiling point of water is 100 degrees and its freezing point 0. There are 1000 metres in a kilometre, and a shitload of centremetres in there as well (100,000 to be exact). The fact that you can easily figure out how many millimetres are in a kilometre (1,000,000) beats trying to figure out how many inches are in a mile.

There are 1000 grammes in a kilogramme, which beats ounces and pounds.

Not to mention that the metric measurements are scientifically precise.

We’ll try to forget that the French came up with it, but it’s not a bad idea. It beats a system that is based on the length of the kings arm. Henry I of England is reuted to have set the yard as being the distance between the tip of his nose and the end of his thumb. It was first defined in law by Edward I of England in 1305, and again by Edward III of England in 1353.

Nowadays, the official title is the International System of Units and it’s the official system of measurement for all nations in the world except for Burma, Liberia, and the United States. This is despite the fact US almost was one of the first countries to have adopted the system. The problem is that the US has flirted with the metric system, yet has failed to adopt it. This is one of the many things that hurt the US’s competitiveness in the world market (health care as well).

The US has managed to keep itself insulated from the rest of the world in more than one way, which is something that irritates me incredibly. We can argue whether the US is truly a superpower, or just the world’s bully, but that’s not my point. A country that is truly a world leader needs to consider itself in terms of leading rather than following. It needs to listen, not dictate.

The challenge that the United States faces today boils down to a choice. It can insist on its primacy as a superpower, or it can accept the universality of its values. If it chooses the former, it will heighten the resentment of foreigners and increase the likelihood of visiting disaster upon distant populations — and vice versa. If it chooses the latter, it will discover something it appears to have forgotten: that the world is full of potential allies.

There are many lessons which are offered by other cultures that the US needs to heed.

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Posted 27/09/2010 by lacithedog in internationalism, metric system

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