To continue my war on people who pretend to know Science, I have to attack a growing group of people whose lips have a very special place on my ass: people who think the metric system is fundamentally perfect as a system of measurement.
If you feel like this, you probably think that the meter (metre) is somehow holier than the foot because you think the meter is based on some beautiful complex calculation involving the speed of light and the foot is based on the foot of some ancient King. Well you’re fucking wrong, Shiloh. The meter was initially set as one ten-millionth of the length of the Earth’s meridian along a quadrant. Of course, when they measured it in the late 1700s they got it wrong, but they just ‘went with it.’ Then 100 years later they made a rod that was the ‘meter rod’. Then a bunch of people got together and decided they would replace the rod with some length in terms of the speed of light in a vaccum. Seems logical enough, right? So they ended up with this nice, easy-to-remember definition:
The metre is the length of the path travelled by light in vacuum during a time interval of 1/299 792 458 of a second.
Are you fucking kidding me? Why not just simplify things and make it 1/300,000,000? Just to fuck with people? And who the hell defines a second anyway? You metric assholes decide to change the rulers but not the clocks?
So if we’re all honest here, the meter is just as arbitrary as the foot. Now, metric-mongers have their arguments about why the metric system is better which can be broken down into 4 categories:
- There’s 1 unit of measurement for each physical quantity (length, volume, mass, force, etc.)
- Scalability with prefixes (milli, kilo, etc.)
- Decimal system (no fractions)
- Everyone else uses it
#1 and #2 are really the same thing. There’s no reason we can’t have kilo-foot or mega-foot instead of using miles. We can thow out inches and use millifeet, there’s nothing stopping us from doing that. For volume, I’m sure everybody could use a good deci-gallon of beer. And wait a second, #3 follows directly from #1 and #2. In fact, they’re all saying the same thing.
So, friends, what is this whole Metric nonsense really about? It’s not about one system being more ‘right’ or being ‘easier to use’. It’s not ’embarrassing’ that we don’t use the Metric system either. If every self-hating 17 year old American could stop saying these things, it would really start to clarify things: the ONLY advantage the metric system has is #4: Everyone else uses it. Well, that and the fact you don’t have to remember conversion factors when converting units, but we could fix this by metrifying our system to base everything on the foot the same way everything in the metric system is based on the meter.
So it begs the question: Why invent the meter in the first place? Why not just keep the foot and standardize it’s size? And did it really have to be THREE TIMES larger? I mean, Cubits had a pretty good run, and they were around 18 inches long. Did it really have to be based on the meridian of the Earth? Was that really necessary?
Oh, some other things to keep in mind are how the inch is defined as 25.4mm (wait, so we are on the metric system…) and that my Japanese car has rims specified in inches and tires inflated in psi. Nobody is fully on or off the metric system. And another thing: anyone who thinks it’s ok to have 30 degrees of separation for describing the current temperature is retarted. Celsius is a joke. Temperatures specified in Farenheit are clearly superior in quickly communicating the level of temperature with their finer degree of precision and more variable significant digit.