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Time for America to go Metric? Youbecha!

By       Message Gene Messick     Permalink
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According to the 2006 Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook, the International System of Units (Metric System) is the primary or sole system of measurement for all nations around the World EXCEPT: 1) Myanmar,  2) Liberia, and 3) the United States.

One of the quickest and -- in the long term -- most useful new deal New Deal projects President Obama could get under way as soon as he's Inaugurated is to have Legislation introduced in Congress to take the United States to Metric Standards of Weights and Measures.

We're the only significant nation which does not measure everything in liters, meters, kilometers, etc. Even in the U. S., 2 liter soft drinks and 750 ml bottles of wine have jumped the great divide. Why not everything else?

The infrastructure is already in place: every State has Agencies to check weighing scales used in commerce, and gasoline pumps.  Giving them Grants to help convert would put a lot of folks to work, quickly. While it's slightly technical regarding some machinery re-calibration, most of the conversion would be more like a giant Spring House Cleaning, requiring lots of help, but not highly skilled labor. It's not like sending a rocket to the moon. It's just changing the numbers.

Still, in manufacturing it would take a few years to changeover. Such a program would keep a lot of folks employed for a while. Some sort of tax credit or deduction would be encouraging.

With simple digital calculators for us mathematically challenged, who would even need a conversion chart during the changeover?  

As it is, everyone around the World who manufactures to sell in America must build to U. S. Standards on Metric machinery.  Lots of foreign made cars are metric, and any mechanic worth is salt has a dual set of tools.  All this wasted 2-step fiddle-faddle can come to a screeching halt.

School kids will suddenly discover the amazing ease to do conversions by simply moving a decimal point, instead of dividing or multiplying by weird numbers like 12, 2000 or 5,280.

Metric is simple, because we use a 10 based number system. We have ten "digits" on our hands, and that's still how many ordinary folks around the world do their arithmetic.

Why not use this simple BAILOUT measure to not only improve our Economy with jobs, but also to create a Marker in Time, a milepost in our history, between old systems which are being antiquated by our new digital future?

President Obama, here's a true win-win-win situation, one that future generations will look back upon and wonder why it took us so long to get here. You can start building your positive legacy with Metric Conversion on your first day in Office.  

And future grampas can say, "When I was a kid, young feller, 8 oz was a cup, 32 a quart, and 128 a gallon. Until that Obama guy came along. You don't know how lucky you are!"

OBTW, while you're at it, Mr. President, how about getting rid of that .9 cents per gallon nonsense?  Think how much can be saved in producing new gas pumps if gas is 2.53 instead of 2.529. What's so wrong with $1.999 just being $2?


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For 17 years Gene Messick studied and taught Design at NC State University and Cornell. Co-founding the Visual Design Program at NCSU, he established the Photography Program at Cornell, where he taught in the Architecture Department, most interested (more...)

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