Saturday, September 1, 2012

In Defense of Standard Measurement

Three-hundred and thirteen years after the nativity of the metric system in revolutionary France, only three nations stubbornly cling to the old standard system - Liberia, Myanmar, and the United States. Other nations agree to the (quite sensible) subdivision of the time and space into tens, hundredths, thousandths. But I love standard. It's annoying, hard to remember, and makes our tools not work on foreign cars but it is poetic.

It's precisely the precision of the metric system that turns me off. If Robert Frost had said I have promises to keep / and kilometers to go before I sleep / and kilometers to go before I sleep, it wouldn't have conveyed the roadweariness of miles. Kilometers are definite. Miles are indefinite. Poetry is what's lost in metrication. Some examples:
 

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! I laughed out loud. And seriously, you are so write about how 'miles' sounds indefinite as compared to 'kilometers.' Good show.

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