Thursday 20 May 2010

Give Them An Inch...

...and they will probably metricate it!

Today is World Metrology Day. According to the Website

"During World Metrology Day more than eighty States celebrate the impact of measurement on our daily life, no part of which is untouched by this essential, and largely hidden, aspect of modern society. Previous themes have included topics such as measurements in sport, the environment, medicine, and trade. The 2010 theme concentrates on how measurement influences science and stimulates innovation. As the world strives to move on from its recent financial problems, and as Governments work to regenerate economies, we shall find that science and technology are the engines of economic growth and prosperity. These, in turn, rely on being able to measure correctly and to refer measurements to the same international reference standards. A world without accurate measurement is a world where science, technology, trade and society can’t communicate and where error and uncertainty would reign supreme."

world metrology day

I freely admit to being an utter Luddite about measurements- to the despair of my physicist spouse!

  • Measuring children for play costumes, I use inches
  • Attempting to lose weight, the scales are set to pounds
  • When cooking I use ounces
  • I buy milk and beer in pints
  • I drive miles to see my children

I love the poetry of the names of the old Imperial measurements - all those deci/milli/centi units just cannot compare with

the ell, the fathom, the cubit, the pennyweight, the bushel

not to mention rod, pole and perch, as well as carats and grains

Can you imagine John Wayne putting on a 37.85 litre hat

Or the Proclaimers declaring they would "Walk 804.7 km"

Let's hear Doris Day singing a song from Guys and Dolls


I love you 25 kg and 8810 cc -

25 kg and 8810 cc -

      and a hug around ...the knee?

[OK, maybe for a short wife with a tall husband that is feasible]

The biblical instructions for the Ark and the Temple were all in cubits

... and Jesus said

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give you  For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again

...that doesn't sound much like SI Units to me!


  1. I always thought furlongs and chains sounded interesting!
    Hope you have had a blessed day.

  2. At least you're consistent! I do people in stones and ounces, feet and inches. Long distances in miles. Small distances in mm or cm. In-between distances as time (5 minutes away). How come I understand feet as a vertical measure, but not as a horizontal one???
    Temperature in centigrade.
    I buy milk in pints, fruit in pounds. But I cook in metric....
    I buy petrol in litres, but fuel consumption is measured in miles per gallon

  3. I do weight in pounds and ounces and stones. I do long distance in miles - km means nothing to me. But I do shorter measurements in cm and metres - I measure my height in feet and inches though. My milk and beer is in pints. Weather temps I do in Fahrenheit - can't get my head around Celsius.


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