# Why the heck does America still use outdated measurement and date units?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by garirry, May 7, 2016.

1. ### flat five macrumors 603

Joined:
Feb 6, 2007
Location:
newyorkcity
#501

except i didn't just randomly choose numbers that will work.. the most likely division we (humans) will do when measuring something is a half.. dividing by two works great in Imperial and pretty good in Metric.. the next most likely division we need is 1/3.. then 1/4.. then 1/5 etc..

i didn't just choose randomly... i chose numbers which are of significant importance.. the odds of someone needing to divide by 5 are far smaller than dividing by 2, 3, or 4.

for example-- if you're building a cabinet, the carcass will most likely be divided in half... (or one shelf)... next highest chance is that the designer puts 2 shelves (thirds).. then 3 shelves.. then fifths come after that..

yes, 5ths work well in Metric (decimal) but the amount of times you need to actually divide by 5 is very small... especially when compared to how often you would divide by 2 or 3 or 4

this is because the inch is in base-16.. the foot is base-12... base16 has some neat features (in fact, it's by far the most simple scale to make and use.. logically).

..but i think if i explained myself fully, you'd see i'm not necessarily championing Imperial.. or meaning to argue USA vs World.. i'm arguing for base-12..

a system that works almost exactly how Metric does except our counting system is base-12.. that's what should be the standard.. that's my argument.

1/3 works great in anything that's base-12..
a third of a foot is 4"... third of a yard is one foot.. in fact, since the root unit (1 foot) is base 12, any amount of feet is divisible by 3... 57 feet ÷ 3 = 19'.... 58' ÷ 3 = 19'4"..... 59' ÷ 3 = 19'8"... etc

the same can be said for 1/4 in base12 systems.

a similar example using something a lot more people are familiar with is the calendar... a third of a year is 4 months... a fourth of a year is 3 months..

any amount of years is divisible.. 57years ÷ 3 = 19 years... 58years÷3= 19yrs 4mth... 59yrs÷3 = 19yrs 8mth... etc..

another example is the clock.. it's base-60 but since 60 is divisible by 12, it works well..

1 hour ÷ 3 = 20minutes.. 2hours ÷ 3 = 40 minutes.. etc..

clocks/calenders are weird because we write them with decimal even though they aren't base10...

1 ÷ 2 = .6? what.. that can't be right?? but it is right if your scale is base12 such as a calendar.

1 ÷ 2 = .30? what? that's crazy looking.. but it's not. not if you're using a clock.

this happens a lot in Imperial... we say 1/2 inch instead of .8 inch... because everyone knows .5 is a half.. not .8...

even though .8 is actually 1/2 in base16 (inch)..

the math, the actual logic behind using the systems is better/cleaner in imperial/calender/clocks.. but using base10 to describe the logic is far from optimal.. we should be using base12

[snip]
this could go on for a long time.. i have some stuff to do today.. i'll pick up later.

2. ### Falhófnir macrumors 68040

Joined:
Aug 19, 2017
#502
Oddly Celsius is probably the only metric measurement I have a strong preference for, it's almost Imperial in it's ease of visualisation, with 0 being water's freezing point and 100 being it's boiling point. Fahrenheit has always seemed really odd and arbitrary to me by comparison, which is the inverse of how I feel about a lot of metric vs imperial measures.

3. ### jtara macrumors 68000

Joined:
Mar 23, 2009
#503
I think it's hilarious that so many see metric as so pure and scientific.

It is based on the fact that HUMANS HAVE TEN FINGERS!

Yes, it makes logical and scientific sense to base a whole system of measurement on the fact that we have 10 fingers that we employ to help us count - if we don't have a computer, calculator, or a first-grade education...

I am extremely skeptical that the fundamental design of the universe is predicated on the existence of a creature that has 10 fingers.

Decimal is a horrible number system made for the convenience of poorly-educated creatures that have 10 fingers. There are few (if any) engineering or scientific problems for which base-10 would be ideal to work in.

Yet we have based our system of scientific measurements on this inconvenient radix.

At this point in our evolution - that's just nuts!

Joined:
Jul 16, 2014
Location:
europe
5. ### Falhófnir macrumors 68040

Joined:
Aug 19, 2017
#505
By the same virtue, a metre being 1/10,000,000 of the distance from the equator to the poles (original definition) or the distance light travels in 1/~300,000,000 of a second is so amazingly simple and virtuous?

6. ### bambooshots macrumors 65816

Joined:
Jul 25, 2013
#506
America was built on those old units...hard to turn your back on something you know that lead to success.

7. ### Loge macrumors 68030

Joined:
Jun 24, 2004
Location:
England
#507
Pi day should be on 22 July (22/7). Approximate, but then so is 3.14.

8. ### justperry macrumors G3

Joined:
Aug 10, 2007
Location:
In the core of a black hole.
#508
I just discovered this old thread, bear with me, I didn't read all those 500+ posts.

Just wanted to add one more annoying standard, UL, I have to deal with this crap more and more, sometimes, actually a lot, it doesn't make any sense.
Examples
Some main switches in a cabinet, can't open them while it's live, yet on the outside there's a screw, put a screwdriver in it and it opens.
All those stickers, for what, here in Europe we know that if there's a lightning bolt sticker on it you are not allowed in it, if you do it's your own mistake/responsibility.
Open connection boxes with live wires in cabinets, no protection.
Way too thick wires for what it needs to deliver.

9. ### philpalmiero macrumors newbie

Joined:
Sep 28, 2018
Location:
NOVA
#509
Aussies are worse than Commies and Frogs this month.

USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!