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    Re: At the centre of time
    From: Peter Hakel
    Date: 2009 Oct 22, 14:06 -0700
    Canada also largely switched to metric.

    It's amazing to me that in the 70s the Soyuz-Apollo mission was successful, the space shuttle could dock at Mir, and the International Space Station also seems to work OK.  And then there was the Mars orbiter:


    Besides that, for some reason the US pints and ounces are almost but not quite the same as their UK counterparts.

    Peter Hakel

    From: Peter Fogg <piterr11@gmail.com>
    To: navlist@fer3.com
    Sent: Thu, October 22, 2009 8:13:52 AM
    Subject: [NavList 10227] Re: At the centre of time

    I think the English speaking part of the world could take an example
    from that regarding the SI units.

    Getting back to the thrust of Maarten's observation, Australia and New Zealand went pretty-well entirely metric during the 1960s/1970s.  Over more recent years even the ever-recalcitrant Brits have largely achieved as much, despite enormous angst, moanings/groanings and the gnashing of teeth which I understand have far from subsided, although the advantages of using a European-wide common system, never mind about world-wide, has apparently proved an unstoppable force.  So significant parts of the "English speaking part of the world" have effectively taken Maarten's example to heart.

    "According to the US CIA World Factbook in 2006, the International System of Units is the official system of measurement for all nations except for Burma, Liberia, and the United States.[1] (Some sources identify Burma and/or Liberia as metric, however.[2][3][4])"

    Which leaves that little place in North America as the major feet-dragging nation, or insular wilful ignorer of these advantages.  The irony is that in 1790 Thomas Jefferson proposed a decimal-based measurement system for the USA, and a subsequent vote in the US congress to replace the still-current imperial (!) system by a metric system was lost by just one vote.

    Jefferson's enthusiasm, apart from being a chappie of scientific bent, may not have been entirely unrelated to a close relationship between the revolutionary American newly ex-colony and revolutionary France.  Then in 1866 Congress legalised the use of the metric system in the United States.

    And that is about where the metrification process halted, although in 1957 the US Army and Marine Corps adopted the metric system for use with their weapons, and in 1988 Congress passed the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act, calling for all federal government agencies to use the metric system by the end of 1992.  Has this Act achieved much change in the USA, I wonder?

    A little more time may be required.  There is no point in rushing into these things ...

    Actually, what I really think is that the USA is instinctively, and despite all current evidence to the contrary, a deeply insular nation which would really prefer to withdraw from the world into itself.  This has always been the broad brush of US foreign policy, even throughout much of the 20th century, as is witnessed by the US reluctance to become involved in either great world-wide conflict of that century.  If only it had (even more) fossil oil.  Sigh ...

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