Britain’s metrication fiasco

Britain has made a complete hash of metrication whilst failing to teach its young the basic numeracy skills to deal with the ridiculous anomalies that have arisen as a result. E.g…

  • People who think 7.5 lbs is the same as 7 lb 5 oz.
  • People who think of 0 as freezing 0 as boiling and yet think room temperature as 70.
  • Local authorities such as Southampton City Council that insists building plans be submitted in metres but continue to rent allotments in rods!
  • People who weigh themselves in stone or weigh cement etc. in hundredweight but have no idea of the value of either in pounds, let alone kilograms.
  • We buy petrol in litres but our road signs are still in miles – thus making fuel economy calculations almost impossible for the majority of the population. And this is a time when we are told we need to reduce our carbon footprint!

Metric measures were legalised in the UK in 1863, yes, 150 years ago! Since then we have endured three failed attempts at metrication. Can’t really blame Brits for being a bit muddled when it comes to measuring things, can you?

I am a great admirer of Markus Kuhn’s and his writings on the metrication and general standards compliance. Nice guy and very approachable…

I have written a publicly accessible, multi-function units converter over at GarfNet Projects. Hardly rocket science but I find it handy. I plan to release the source code under a GPL later this year but it’s free to use now:-

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