Imperial vs. Metric

Today’s noun: Fahrenheit

I’m going to give a little background first, then I will tell you why Fahrenheit is stupid.

First of all, Fahrenheit is a temperature scale created by Daniel Fahrenheit in the early 1700’s. The scale defines the freezing point of water at 32 degrees, and the boiling point at 212 degrees. The Fahrenheit scale is used today in only five countries: The United States (and it’s territories), Belize, The Cayman Islands, The Bahamas, and Palau.

Okay, so that’s Fahrenheit. You get it, right? Good. Now I’ll tell you why I hate it.

Generally temperature scales are based off of the freezing and boiling point of water. On the Celsius scale, that’s 0 and 100 degrees. That makes sense. That can be easily divided. at 50 degrees,  water is half way between freezing and boiling. But in Fahrenheit? What’s half way between 32 and 212? It takes a minute to do the math there. It’s 122, by the way. What an arbitrary number. Not to mention, converting Fahrenheit to Celsius is a real pain. You’ve got to add numbers and multiply by fractions. We all hate fractions; they just make everything so much more difficult.

And it doesn’t end with temperature. Look at the metric system of measurement versus the imperial system. What a mess that is. The metric system makes sense; you just add or subtract a 0 from the end of the number (or the beginning if you’re working with very small numbers). There are 100 centimeters in a meter, 1000 meters in a kilometer. The conversions are easy. Then we have the imperial system. 12 inched in a foot, 3 feet in a yard, 5280 feet in a mile. What? Why? Who came up with these numbers? No one can easily convert any of that in their head. And when it comes to measuring ingredients while I’m cooking, I don;t even know how many cups are in a quart or gallon or whatever. It’s just a bunch of random numbers.

It might not have been as bad if the American education system didn’t decide that they were going to try to convert us to the metric system, but still put all measurements in the imperial system. I remember briefly being taught the Imperial system in 5th grade. Then in middle and high school, all we learned was the metric system. But then, out in the real world, everything was imperial. Street signs are in miles per hour. Food packaging is in ounces, pints, and gallons. But no one ever learned any of that in school. But everyone knows what a gallon of milk looks like. We just don’t know how many ounces or pints it is. No one can convert. Do you see the problem?

I would love to see America switch to the metric system. It’s easier and makes more sense. I’m not just going to complain and then tell others to fix the problem. I hate when people do that. So, I will propose a method of switching that won’t confuse Americans. First, I will quickly explain how this was previously handled. When it was first proposed that America switch systems, food labels still put measurements on the labels using Imperial units, but in small print under it, they put the metric conversion. They still do this, by the way. Btu clearly that isn’t working (Probably because people see the measurement they are familiar with and don’t bother reading the small print, as usual). so, I propose that we switch them, put the metric units in the larger print, and the imperial units in the smaller print. That way, people will first see the metric units, then be forced to read the smaller print. This way they will associate a 4 liter jug of milk with being slightly over the gallon they are used to. After a while, they will remember that 4 liters is about a gallon and they won;t need to read the smaller print. We can eventually stop printing the imperial system on food labels. At this point, we will be mostly converted to the metric system.

Yes, I am aware that Americans spell things funny. Sorry.

So, that was my rant, and proposal about systems of measurement. Now, what are the chances that someone important will read this, use my method, and give me a prize after its success? Hm?

Again, sorry for typos and such. You all know I’m too lazy to revise. Have a fantastic day, and I’ll see you all tomorrow!

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