Our Measurement System

By: Andrew McCoy

Many Many moons ago, a hand full of countries used to occupy and control a barrel full of other countries around the world. Great Britain used to be the biggest and the “baddest” among all the occupying countries. Because the British colonies were all over the world,   it’s been said that the sun will never set on Great Britain, meaning that if the sun sets on one or more countries under the English control, it will rise on others.

When a country occupies another country, they impose on them their language, religion, habits and yes the measurement system.

In 1670 a French clergy by the name of Gabriel Mouton suggested the metric system of measurements, but the system was not developed until 1795. The metric system is very easy to use, and to convert from smaller to larger units and vise verse. It’s easy because it’s based on the decimal system. All unites have zeros in relation to each other.

1 Kilometer (KM) = 1000 Meter (M)

1 Meter (M) = 100 Centimeter (CM)

1 Centimeter (CM) = 10 Millimeter (MM)

So, if you want to convert from a large unit to a smaller one, all you have to do is move the decimal point to the right, and if you want to convert from a small unit to a larger one, you just move the decimal point to the left. How many spaces to the right or left you move the decimal point? That depends on the number of zeros in the unit.

Example: How many meters in 6.253 kilometer? Since 1 kilometer = 1000 meters (3 zeros), you just move the decimal point 3 places to the right, which makes it 6253 meters. And, if you want to find out how many meters in 8463 centimeter, you move the decimal point 2 places to the left, which makes the answer 84.63 meters. It’s so simple you don’t need a calculator to figure out the conversions. These are the measurements of length. The measurement of temperature is just as easy. The freezing temperature of water is zero (0) degrees Celsius and the boiling temperature of water is 100 degrees. The volume units are just as easy to learn.

The English system, on the other hand, was a combination of the Anglo-Saxon and Roman system of unites. It’s very complicated and unless you are a genius in math, or one of those Autistic people, like “the rain man”, it’s impossible to convert from larger units to smaller ones and vise verse without a calculator. It uses the units of miles, yards and feet for length. You can only multiply and divide to do the conversions.

1 Mile = 5280 feet (FT)

1 FT = 12 inches (IN)

1 Pound (lb) = 16 Ounces (OZ)

The freezing temperature for water is 32 degrees, and the boiling temperature is 212.

As we all know, The United States was occupied by England, thus we inherited their language and measuring system among other things, which was expected. When the English left and no longer in control of our country, we kept and held on tight to almost everything they passed on to us, among which is the measurement system.

The English system was abandoned by all countries in the world except three. Even England realized the obsolesce of their own system, so they stopped using it and now are using the Metric System. The 3 countries that are still using the English system are The United States, Liberia, and Myanmar (formally known as Burma).

While he was a President of the United States, Jimmy Carter started to switch to the metric system so we can catch up with the rest of the world. When driving on the interstate, you would see the signs in both miles and kilometers, and when you stop by the gas station to fill your car with gas you would see gallons and liters on the pump. Unfortunately, he lost the election for a second term, and when Regan became a President, he reversed everything that Carter did, and went back to the old obsolete system that he was used to.

Why should we convert to the metric system?? One might say: we’ve been using the English system all our lives, why change now? The reasons are many, but here’s a few:

1) The metric system is much much easier to use.

2) The whole world is using the metric system, why not us? Do we just want to be different? Different is not always better. Certainly not in this case.

3) The metric system is much more accurate and very easy to get used to. That’s why it’s always used in chemistry labs around the country.

4) If we start using the metric system now, our children and grandchildren will learn in school, which will make their life easier. Don’t we want what’s best for them?

What we need in this county is a President who is intelligent enough and cares about this country’s future to bring us to the same level of other countries.

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