More imperial units

A wooden ruler, made in US with both cm and inches

Imperial units are one of these things I would have expected to disappear in the last century, yet they are still around. One of the few metric units used in the US is the ton. Except it is not: the US uses the short ton, which is 2000 pounds, so roughly 907 kilograms. There is also a long ton of 2240 pounds (15×12×12 pounds).

The main complaint of people who oppose moving to the metric system is that they have no clue what units are equivalent to and conversion is hard. So I propose to add the following units to make the transition easier. This approach has the following advantages:

  • The units convert easily to imperial units
  • They are roughly equivalent to metric units
  • They are complicated enough to satisfy the Anglo-Saxon mind-set

Once people are using these units, shifting to the real metric units is just a bit of fudging…

Unit Imperial Value Metric value
Short meter 1 yard 0.9144 metres
Long meter 40 inches 1.016 metres
Short kilo 2 pounds 0.907185 kilograms
Long kilo 36 ounces 1.02058 kilograms
Short kilometre 1024 yards 0.9363456 kilometers
Long kilometre 2 / π miles 1.024540210941133 kilometers

The last one might seem overly complicated, but I assure you, this is very logical: if you have a circle of one mile of circumference, then the radius is half a long kilometre.

2 thoughts on “More imperial units”

  1. On the contrary, it is expanding: we have 3″5 disks or 27″ monitors, even 43″ TVs. Many Asian manufacturers use US units as easily as SI and I don’t see this changing before long.

    This is laziness, and this not only American. In 2000 you could still find French people mentally using the old Francs from before 1960. I suppose the conversion to € with a 6,55957 conversion rate made the conversion EASIER on the long term. You HAVE to switch completely. But I still have a “Francs” column on my bank reports.

    And the British seem to still use °F occasionally, 50 years after switching.

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