The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'metric'
American web comic author Brian McFadden takes his country to task for not going metric:
Anyone with even a tiny math and science background will tell you that the metric system kicks the shit out of our current system, which is a bastard cousin of the long-gone British Imperial system. Dumb America’s stubborn refusal to adopt it is almost as embarrassing as their opposition to health insurance reform.
Only the United States, Burma, and Liberia aren’t on board. Antarctica is also gray, but only scientists are down there, and I’m sure they aren’t using pounds and ounces to weigh penguin shit.Once health care is sorted, could the next front line for America's progressives be adopting the metric system? Will we see teabaggers and right-wing talk-radio blowhards declaiming the Satanic nature of the metric system and spouting non-sequiturs about the Biblical foundations of pints and pounds (to paraphrase a Texas congressman, "if English measurements were good enough for Jesus, they're good enough for me!")?
Good news for British traditionalists today; the EU has abandoned its effort to make Britain go metric. Britain had been given an exemption from the requirement to standardise on metric measurements in 1995, though this was due to expire this year, with miles and pints to be banished from view. Though, with a fierce display of tutting, the Daily Mail-reading little-Englanders gave Johnny Foreigner what for, and he fled with his tail between his legs, leaving Britain to its ancient systems of measurement in perpetuity.
Those aghast at the surrender of modernity to tradition for its own sake, though, need not despair; the law still requires metric measurements to be displayed alongside the traditional ones, and the traditional measurements are defined in terms of the metric ones (a pint, for example, is legally set at 568ml; cursory inspection of a pint glass at any pub will demonstrate this).
Another British tradition, however, was not so lucky; the EU has voted to abolish Britain's right to opt out of the EU's maximum working-hour limits. The Tories, employer groups and the New Labour nomenklatura are, of course, outraged (though the Labour rank and file are, by all accounts, quite pleased), predicting a collapse of productivity and the surrender of the Calvinist work ethic that made Britain great. However, given that the maximum EU working limits prescribe a 48-hour week, averaged over some nine weeks, this doesn't hold water, unless one is running a Dickensian sweatshop.
Finally, the pound's value has recently plummeted, to the point where a pound is rapidly approaching one euro. Which has caused some commentators to suggest that maybe Britain joining the euro is not such a bad idea. Which may be the case; certainly, the traditionalist argument for retaining the pound doesn't hold much water, given that the modern decimal pound is a dollar/euro-style decimal currency which replaced the ancient pound in 1971; the difference between it and, say, the Australian dollar (another currency hewn from pounds, shillings and pence at about the same time) is that Britain decided to name its new currency after the old one. Britain joining the euro would make things easier for those travelling to/from or trading with continental Europe (or, indeed, Ireland). The question which has most bearing on the pros and cons of the euro is whether Britain's monetary policy being fixed to the Eurozone would help or harm the British economy; this is a question I'm not qualified to answer.
After decades of attempting to drag the UK, kicking and screaming, into the metric world, the EU has given up, conceding that the UK may use its peculiar imperial system of measurement indefinitely:
"I want to bring to an end a bitter, bitter battle that has lasted for decades and which in my view is completely pointless. We're bringing this battle to an end."Metric remains an official system of measurement in the UK, much as it is in the US.