A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Brad Morris
Date: 2009 Oct 23, 10:25 -0400
Peter, you wrote:
Perhaps one of the greatest disadvantages to the introduction of new systems is that they rarely effectively or entirely supplant the old. More typically use of the new gets added to use of the old almost indefinitely into the future, to the confusion and thus frustration of many ... as yet unborn generations.
Now that is exactly the right observation regarding the metric system. For generations here in the US, we have used the imperial mile, yard, foot inch system. It is engrained in how we do business and is fundamentally everywhere. The metric system was added to the educational syllabus of our children. But now we have a mélange of systems, wherein instead of a substitution, we have yet another set of units. For the metric system to really take hold, we would have to stop teaching the imperial system (mile, yard, foot, inch) and then wait about 3 to 4 generations as those educated with the imperial units age out of the system (which wouldn’t be a bad thing IMHO)
By the way, this is exactly what I found in the UK. I have spent months there over the last few years. There is a great deal of comfort there with the imperial units. I could flip between inches and centimeters as could they. As far as imperial hardware, they knew what it was but just didn’t carry it, hence the laughter. Machine shops accepted drawings in inches and created parts that way. Normal folks in the UK calculate miles to the gallon for fuel mileage but the pumps dispense liters. It’s a mix of systems, not an exclusive metric system.
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