9 comments on “Horrors!

  1. Over here, John we can use whichever we please (though at one time there were vociferous proponents of legally forcing conversion to metric). I’ve supposed (wrongly?) the situation was similar in the UK. Different industries tend to one or the other. Chemists are all on the metric system (but the processing industries in which they tend to be involved still use tanks measured in gallons and piping measured in feet). No one ever talks about property or housing in square meters (but we do have plenty of 5, 10, and 15-kilometer races). And I guess the auto mechanics have, by now, gotten used to needing two complete sets of wrenches (It gets complicated here. Toyotas Tundra trucks are made here, have more American content than the competitive offerings from either GM or Ford but are metric. The latter two, though American, utilize almost 50% more foreign-made components (which are probably made in metric countries to “English” dimensional standards). Sounds awfully complicated but it hardly seems to cause any problem at all.

  2. One other note, John. I’d suppose that, over there, your petrol stations get their deliveries from the same 8000-gallon tank trucks as over here. But, at the pump, you probably buy yours in liters (sounds less expensive that way).

  3. In UK industry, engineering and construction, more or less everything is metric these days, in form if not spirit (4x2s and so on still exist, but are referred to in mm in plans and formal documents). 30,000 litres is standard for a UK fuel tanker.

    While imperial measures are still used colloquially here, the only ‘official’ uses for imperial I can think of are on road signs (miles, yards and feet – although for road signage purposes, a mile is 1600m and a yard is 1m) and on-trade beer and cider sales.

  4. You bring up an interesting point, John. When you refer to a “4 X 2,” do you mean the board we call a ” 2 by 4?” Because, if you do, the measurements of a standard 2 by 4 are actually 1-1/2 by 3-1/2 inches, So–do you metricize them literally (51 by 102 or 50 by 100mm) or actually
    (38 by 89 or rounded to 40 by 90mm)? It gets “curiouser and curiouser,” as Alice put it.

    How about retail sales of fabrics or rope? Yards or meters? Do you get meters even though you say “Gimme five yards o’ that one?”

    Of course, it only stands to reason that certain measurements (penises, erections) will be properly expressed in mm or cm, while others
    (cocks, boners) will call forth their English equivalents.

  5. Surely the point here is that when you bid for a project you try to do whatever the client wants? It suggests a lack of seriousness.

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