Metric Pioneer

Embrace Measurement Harmony – Take the Terran System Exam –

Cognitive Dissonance in American Culture

Muhammad Ali – Greatest of All Time! The Legend! Come on. Give me a break. How is punching a guy in the face over and over a great thing? That sort of behavior is a felony outside the boxing ring. O! But Muhammad Ali embraced a great religion! Get a clue. Religion is not a great thing. In fact, religion is stupid and dangerous. Nonviolence is the most touted claim about the most fundamental principal of Islam, yet every time we see a suicide bombing, we know right away that the bomber kills in the name of Islam. Religion is a crime against reality and is actually the greatest form of cognitive dissonance and self-deception.
1 Cognitive DissonanceAmericans like to think of themselves as the greatest. Ethnocentrism is a powerful force; so is mendacity. Advocates of American Exceptionalism seem to take much pride in willful ignorance as though it is somehow a virtue. Willfully ignorant are we? How so?
Sure! We can clearly see (if we would only open our eyes of reason) very strong economic and scientific reasons for the United States to fully embrace the International System of Units, formerly known as the metric system. We know full well (if we would only do the math) that the cost of not using the International System is increasing with the trend toward globalization. It is abundantly obvious that failing to adopt the International System could result in the United States losing its competitive edge in science and technology and in continuing to create bilateral trade impediments with other countries.
At this point some of you may offer the excuse that going metric would cost too much or that it is too hard. Nations smaller than the United States (like Japan and Australia) have undergone metrication. Was it easy? No. Was it impossible? No. But the United States is too big to go metric, you might say. China and India are much bigger, yet they went metric in the face of much bigger obstacles. Are you saying that the United States is inferior to nations that have successfully undergone metrication? I hope not.
2 DenialWe feel psychologically uncomfortable every time a bout of cognitive dissonance pushes us to bury our heads in the sand when confronted with the reality that the dominance of United States companies is being challenged in the competitive atmosphere of globalization. Please consider the obvious economic benefits of global interoperability.
We complain about our sad lack of jobs, but we ignore an obvious remedy: Adopting the International System would likely result in the creation of many jobs and better prepare the current and future workforce of the United States to work in the international marketplace.
Cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort an individual experiences by simultaneously embracing two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. Cognitive dissonance happens when performing an action that is contradictory to one or more beliefs, ideas, or values. We feel stress when confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values.
3 Socialized Medicine and MedicareLeon Festinger has a theory of cognitive dissonance that focuses on how humans strive for internal consistency. An individual who experiences inconsistency (dissonance) tends to become psychologically uncomfortable, and is motivated to try to reduce this dissonance, as well as actively avoid situations and information likely to increase it. For example, the engine of your car starts to make an unusual noise, but rather than take it in to the mechanic, you just turn the music up so you cannot hear the evidence.
Grow up America! Swallow your pride, take it to professionals and crank down the façade of American Exceptionalism.4 Do no be a Dunce


Iceland – A Century of Metric-Only Measurement

Many moons ago, Icelanders used an Old Norse calendar, streamlining a year down to just Winter and Summer. Icelanders reckon Sumardagurinn Fyrsti (First Day of Summer) a public holiday celebrated on the first Thursday after 18 April, so I specifically plan our trip to coincide. I find metric-only instructional signage very refreshing at a spectacular Geysir Area and at Kerið Volcanic Crater and at Gullfoss Waterfall:2016 04 21 D 29 Golden Circle Bus Tour Gullfoss Waterfall
Instructional Signage at Spectacular Geysir Area: 2016 04 21 D 79 Instructional Signage Golden Circle Bus Tour Spectacular Geysir Area 2016 04 21 D 77 Instructional Signage Golden Circle Bus Tour Spectacular Geysir Area 2016 04 21 D 76 Instructional Signage Golden Circle Bus Tour Spectacular Geysir Area 2016 04 21 D 78 Instructional Signage Golden Circle Bus Tour Spectacular Geysir Area
Instructional Signage at Kerið Volcanic Crater:2016 04 21 D 95 Golden Circle Bus Tour Volcanic Crater Kerið Instructional Signage2016 04 21 D 96 Golden Circle Bus Tour Volcanic Crater Kerið Instructional Signage2016 04 21 D 97 Golden Circle Bus Tour Volcanic Crater Kerið Instructional Signage2016 04 21 D 98 Golden Circle Bus Tour Volcanic Crater Kerið Instructional Signage
Instructional Signage at Gullfoss Waterfall:2016 04 21 D 27 Golden Circle Bus Tour Gullfoss Waterfall
Iceland has a very low level of pollution, thanks to an overwhelming reliance on cleaner geothermal energy, a low population density, and a high level of environmental consciousness among citizens. The amount of toxic material in the atmosphere is far lower than any other industrialized country measured. We found (through AIRBNB) a nice place to stay (Hraunteigur 28) in Reykjavík. Here is the room where we showered with hot sulfur-smelling water straight out of the ground:2016 04 17 D 163 Water Closet Art at Hraunteigur 28
One must add cold water (otherwise you cook like a lobster). Hot water running through a radiator is how homes are heated too. Renewable sources – geothermal and hydropower – provide effectively all of Iceland’s electricity and around 85% of the nation’s total primary energy consumption. Iceland is one of the few countries that have filling stations dispensing hydrogen fuel for cars powered by fuel cells. It is also one of a few countries currently capable of producing hydrogen in adequate quantities at a reasonable cost, because of Iceland’s plentiful renewable sources of energy.

The government of Iceland is in talks with the government of United Kingdom about the possibility of constructing a high-voltage direct-current connector for transmission of electricity. Iceland has considerable renewable energy resources, especially geothermal energy and hydropower resources, and most of the potential has not been developed, partly because there is not enough demand for additional electricity within Iceland. But the United Kingdom is interested in importing cheaper electricity from renewable energy sources.

HOW WAS GULLFOSS FORMED? The Gullfoss gorge was formed by flash flood waters that forced their way through cracks in the basalt lava layers. The average water flow in Gullfoss is 109 cubic meters per second (m3sec), but at times it can reach 2,000 m3sec. This flow is enough to fill 60 transportation containers with water in one second. In some instances, flash flood waters in Hvitá have been so great that the gorge below the waterfall has overflowed:2016 04 21 D 31 Golden Circle Bus Tour Gullfoss Waterfall
Would an American tourist have any idea how hot this 80-100° C water is based on instructional signage at the Geysir Area?2016 04 21 D 67 Instructional Signage 80-100° C Golden Circle Bus Tour Spectacular Geysir Area
Would American tourists have any idea how much of a hike this 5 km Lighthouse Circle in Seltjarnarnes is?2016 04 19 D 70 Lighthouse Circle 5 km in Seltjarnarnes
“Hmmm – 38° C – Is that hot or cold? I wonder,” thought the American. I took this photo at the Reykjavík Hot Springs across the street from where we stayed:2016 04 18 D 48 Sign at a Reykjavík Hot Springs (across the street from where we stayed)
“Hmmm – Maximum Height 120 cm – Is that tall or short?” thought the American:2016 04 18 D 49 Maximum Height 120 cm
What about this 6° C display in Reykjavík? Surely, restricting one’s knowledge of temperature only to the F Word (Fahrenheit) is a considerable disability when traveling around on Earth. (Advocates of American Exceptionalism seem to take much pride in willful ignorance as though it is somehow a good thing).2016 04 19 D 1 Reykjavík Temperature 6° C
If you want letter size paper (8.5 x 11) you are out of luck in Iceland – Plenty of A4 though:2016 04 17 D 38 If you want letter size paper (8.5 x 11) you are out of luck in Iceland - Plenty of A4 though 2016 04 17 D 72 If you want letter size paper (8.5 x 11) you are out of luck in Iceland - Plenty of A4 though 2016 04 17 D 36 If you want letter size paper (8.5 x 11) you are out of luck in Iceland - Plenty of A4 though
And A5:2016 04 17 D 77 If you want letter size paper (8.5 x 11) you are out of luck in Iceland - Plenty of A5 though
And A3:2016 04 17 D 78 If you want letter size paper (8.5 x 11) you are out of luck in Iceland - Plenty of A3 though
This sign conveys that one is leaving a 30 km/h (kilometers per hour) zone:2016 04 20 D 10 Leaving 30 kilometers per hour zone
Of course petrol is sold by the liter in Iceland, like most everywhere else on Earth:2016 04 16 D 13 Petrol Icelandic Króna per Liter
I find grocery shopping in Iceland a refreshing change from shopping back home where product labels are cluttered with dual measurements. Bananas are 425 Icelandic Króna (Kr) per Kilogram:2016 04 17 D 30 Bananas 425 Icelandic Króna per Kilogram
No one cares about ounces in Iceland:2016 04 17 D 28 No One Cares About Ounces in Iceland
In a Reykjavík Grocery Store is the first time I had ever seen an electronic price tag:2016 04 17 D 138 Electronic Price Tag in Reykjavík Grocery Store
While in Iceland, the exchange rate was around 123 Kr to the US dollar.
Apparently most Icelandic robbers are shorter than 190 cm:2016 04 16 D 15 Apparently most Icelandic robbers are shorter than 190 cm
While testing my ability to fill out an electronic crossword puzzle on our Delta flight, I had no trouble answering 49 Across. SI, of course:2016 04 16 D 1 Electronic Crossword Puzzle on Delta Flight SI
Our Delta aircraft reached a maximum altitude of 11,548 m according to the flight data displayed to each passenger:2016 04 23 D 10 Altitude 11,548 m
I just cannot get metric-only folding rulers here in the United States, so I just had to check Brynja out:2016 04 17 D 116 Brynja
I acquire a bunch of folding rulers there, which you can see at my Metric Pioneer Shop:MP18001 Folding Rule 59 - 1 MeterMP18002 Folding Rule GE59 - 2 Meters
I ask the lady behind the counter at the entrance to the National Museum of Iceland (just for my own amusement) if she knew when Iceland adopted the metric system. “Iceland has always been metric!” is her enthusiastic though inaccurate response. I know the answer; I just wanted to know if she knew. So many generations of Icelanders have exclusively measured with the International System that no living memory of metrication remains on this wonderful island nation whose enchanting city Reykjavík is the northern-most national capital on Earth.2016 04 21 D 48 Golden Circle Bus Tour Gullfoss Waterfall

Indonesia and China View Atheists from Opposite Perspectives

Flag of the Qing Dynasty (1889-1912)Leaders of large nations wield tremendous control, but they run the risk of losing control unless they gain the respect of the citizenry (or alternatively force their will through dictatorship). The larger the nation, the greater the challenge.

China encourages atheism and discourages religion.

Indonesia pretends that atheism does not exist and forces citizens to pick a religion.

We can learn something of value by examining the strategies of these two large nations.
20 CHN ChinaChina, a nation with the largest human population on Earth, governs through its officially atheist 中国共产党 Communist Party of China and officially recognizes five religions: Buddhism (18.2%), Taoism, Catholicism, Protestantism and Islam (1.8%). A 2015 poll conducted by Gallup International found that “A convinced atheist” is the response given by 61% of the Chinese people.

The Communist Party of China prohibits its nearly ninety million party members from holding religious beliefs and it has demanded the expulsion of party members who belong to religious organizations. Officials have said that Party membership and religious beliefs are incompatible, and they discourage the family of Party members from publicly participating in religious ceremonies.
Resident Identity Card ChinaEvery Chinese citizen 16 years and older shall have a Resident Identity Card. People must carry identification in public at all times. The identity card is the only acceptable legal document to obtain resident permit, obtain employment, open bank accounts, obtain passport, obtain driver license, apply for tertiary education and technical colleges, pass security checkpoints in domestic terminals of Chinese airports and check-in at hotels.

China does not display a person’s religion right on the face of a Resident Identity Card, but China stores information in a biometric ID card database such as work history, educational background, religion, ethnicity, police record, et cetera.
34 IDN IndonesiaIndonesia, the largest Muslim-majority nation, governs through a unitary presidential constitutional republic and officially recognizes six religions: Islam (87%), Protestantism (7%), Catholicism (2.9%), Hinduism (1.7%), Buddhism (<1%) and Confucianism (<1%). Indonesia has the fourth largest human population on Earth, after China, India and the United States. More Muslims live in Indonesia than any in any other nation.
Resident Identity Card IndonesiaIndonesia issues a Resident Identity Card to citizens reaching the age of 17 or at marriage. Indonesian citizens must renew the card every five years.

Indonesia forces its citizens to pick a religion from a short list. Picking no religion is not an option.

Finding a unifying factor is essential for national success. Both Indonesia and China use religion to unify, but in opposite ways. Another unifying factor essential for national success is the establishment of a national measurement standard. No nation would be able to carry out even the most basic functions unless all citizens agree on the same measuring stick. Pragmatism demands it. Can you imagine each village using different units of measure? It would be chaos.

On a broader scale, and now that we have crossed the threshold into the Modern Era, any nation still clinging to legacy units of measure is comparable to villages chaotically using different units of measure; it does not work within a nation, and it does not work on a planet.

See how France and Brasil and Germany and Turkey and China and Japan and India and Australia found their paths to national metrication and find out how the Untied States can too by clicking on those nations.

Spelling Variations of International System Unit Names

Measurement harmony on Earth has obvious advantages. Governments all around the world have standardized units of measure in our era of globalization and international trade. The International System (SI) of units makes use of standardized symbols for length, volume, and mass. These symbols transcend language. In other words, these symbols are the same in every language.

Unit Symbols

It would be wonderful if every language could share a standardized spelling of international units, but not every language uses a Latin-based script. Chinese does not even use an alphabet. A meter is spelled metro in Italian, Spanish and Basque. A meter is spelled metar in Croatian and mita in Igbo. The spelling variation list goes on and on. So you see, employing unit symbols for product labeling transcends language differences.

The Human mind is keen on finding patterns in Nature, so it is no surprise that some people insist that the spelling of metre / meter and litre / liter be standardized in English. That’s not gonna happen. American English has evolved many variations across a wide ocean. We are lucky enough on the rare occasion that an American even uses the word meter. By the way, Americans and Brits spell many words differently. Here is a short list: theater / theatre — color / colour — flavor / flavour — center / centre — maneuver / manoeuvre. For heaven’s sake, we cannot even standardize / standardise the word standardize / standardise!

The primary SI unit is spelled meter in at least ten non-English languages. Those languages are:
Spelling Language
The primary SI unit is spelled metre in only three non-English languages: Catalan, Turkish and French. So it can be argued that Earthlings tend to prefer the spelling meter over the metre.

Then there is the argument that the word meter already has a meaning, so we must spell metre the British way in order to avoid potential confusion. Well that argument falls short too. In this sentence — They were too close to the door to close it — the word close has two different meanings, yet it is spelled the same way. Languages are loaded with heteronyms, so the fact that the word meter can have different meanings is not a big deal. Do not desert me here in the desert! Do you know what a buck does to does? I did not object to the object. We must polish the Polish furniture. He thought it was time to present the present. OK. You don’t need more examples. You get the idea.

Please stop arguing about how meter / metre and liter / litre are spelled. This spelling issue serves only to distract us from our goal of measurement harmony on Earth.

Women on Currency Notes in the United States

Harriet Tubman might appear on the $20 bill by 2020. She would not be the first woman featured on a US bank note though:
Harriet Tubman
Almost a full century after gaining independence from the Imperial Crown, Americans first issue their one-dollar bill in 1862 as a Legal Tender Note (United States Note) with a portrait of Salmon P. Chase, the Secretary of the Treasury under President Abraham Lincoln:
Americans issue the first $5 bill in 1861 as a Demand Note with a small portrait of Alexander Hamilton on the right and an allegorical female statue representing freedom on the left side of the obverse. Americans issue the first $5 United States Note in 1862 with a face design similar to the previous Demand Note and a completely revised reverse:
American currency notes mostly feature portraits of named men for the first quarter century. Only unnamed allegorical women occasionally appear during this period:
This 1875 specimen actually shows a nipple. Woo Hoo!
Americans redesign the $1 United States Note in 1869 with a portrait of George Washington in the center and a vignette of Christopher Columbus sighting land to the left. Here is an 1880 specimen:
More unnamed allegorical women appear in 1880:
It was twenty years after passing the Metric Act that Americans first feature a woman, Martha Washington, on United States currency on the $1 silver certificate in 1886:
Here is a beautiful unnamed allegorical woman representing Liberty appearing in 1891:
Americans issue the famous Educational Series Silver Certificate in 1896. Americans cover the entire obverse with artwork of allegorical figures representing History Instructing Youth in front of Washington District of Columbia on the $1 bill. Americans feature portraits of George and Martha Washington surrounded by an ornate design on the reverse. The Educational Series include the $2 and $5 bills as well:
Americans issue a new $5 silver certificate with a portrait of Running Antelope in 1899 deviating from the monotony of featuring only pale face:
Americans issue a $10 bill with Lewis and Clark, three women and a buffalo at the turn of the century:
Americans continue issuing unnamed allegorical women when 1914 rolls around as you can see on the $50 and $100 bill:
Look at the pose of those three women on the hundred-dollar bill. Do you think the scene seems strikingly similar on the BIPM seal?
BIPM Logo 7 cm
American women have only had the right to vote since 1920 thanks to the Nineteenth Amendment. It is fitting that we commemorate this Centennial by featuring a woman on the twenty-dollar bill by 2020.

The Obsolete Mile

What have the Romans ever done for us?! Well, they showed us by example that it is time to invent a larger unit when your daily affairs involve things vastly larger than your largest unit of measure.

Roman armies marching through Europe created mille passuum (a thousand paces) because they needed a long-distance unit to mete out their expanding empire. The Romans eventually attempt to standardize the Roman mile as a distance of 1,000 average paces or 5,000 Roman feet (probably about 1.482 km). At least the Romans had the sense to use a nice round number, unlike the odd number of feet and yards in a mile today. The Roman mile spread throughout the Roman Empire, but the subjugated locals often made modifications to fit their local measurement systems, resulting in many different lengths for a mile / league over the years. The following chart shows only a handful of the hundred or so definitions of a mile:


I think the following chart is a whole lot easier:


Since daily affairs were limited to measuring nothing larger than land distances, I suspect that people living in Roman times had no need of a unit of measure greater than a mile (or whatever unit people used in other parts of the world). But how are we expected to get a real sense of scale when someone gives astronomical distances in so and so many gazillion miles? Why would anyone pick such a relatively short unit like a mile when measuring something on such a vastly different scale? It would be akin to using inches to measure the distance from Milano to Minsk or using a fraction of a mile to measure the width of a human hair.

We can now measure things vastly smaller than an inch and vastly longer than a mile, so it is only natural that people create appropriate units for appropriate uses. The dekameter and hectometer and kilometer and megameter and gigameter and terameter (larger than a meter) and the decimeter and centimeter and millimeter and micrometer and nanometer and picometer (smaller than a meter) were all in use by 1951 and redefined in 1960 when the metric system became the International System. But the terameter is only useful for measuring outer planetary orbits and the picometer is only useful for measuring atoms. Science is ready for even larger and even smaller units.

Unit Prefixes

In 1964, the femtometer and attometer allow us to appropriately measure subatomic particles and quarks without having to use ridiculously small fractions of a much larger unit.

In 1975, the petameter and exameter allow us to appropriately measure interstellar distances and put a nebula into perspective without having to add a whole bunch of zeros to a much smaller unit.

In 1991, the zeptometer and yoctometer allow us to appropriately measure neutrinos and the zettameter and yottameter allow us to appropriately measure on a galactic and intergalactic scale.

SI Multiples and Fractions of meter

Most Earthlings have already come to realize that we must rid our lives of quaint measures that may have served us well in quaint times, but have become quite obsolete in modern times. Social evolution has brought nearly every nation on Earth to realize that having incompatible measurement systems is counter-productive. Just as the Romans created the mile unit equal to five thousand Roman feet, so too have people in modern times created the yottameter unit to mete out our universe. The observable universe is estimated to be about 880 Ym in diameter.

Join us on Facebook for discussions on ways to kill the inch: or work toward metric-only labeling in the United States: and visit for metric resources. USA – Metrication: One person at a time. Start with yourself right now!

Challenge the State

Challenge the State for not allowing you to render your height and weight in centimeters and kilograms on your state-issued driver license or identification card. Your chance of success is not as important as getting their attention.

“I am just one person, so I can’t make a difference!” Did you ever say that to yourself? People commonly resign themselves to such a pathetic state of mind in the face of seemingly insurmountable endeavors, but be encouraged by the fact that things start to change when others do the same thing over and over with increasing frequency. The squeaky wheel gets the grease as they say.

In 1927 CE several million people in the United States sent over 100,000 petitions urging Congress to adopt the Metric System.

In 2012 CE the White House received precisely 49,914 petition signatures to Make the [SI – the International System – formerly known as the] Metric system the standard in the United States, instead of the Imperial system.

White House Petition

The White House responds through Patrick D. Gallagher, who is Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology as well as Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST): “Thanks for your petition. There’s a lot of history here. Right after the Civil War, President Andrew Johnson signed legislation that made . . . bla bla bla . . . ”

White House Response

Patrick ended his totally weak response by saying “So choose to live your life in metric if you want.”

So choose to live your life in metric if you want

Here it is! Here is our authority to take the White House up on that offer. Let us indeed live our lives in metric! The White House says we can, so let us just do it now! Let us take them at their word and rub it in their nose.

Challenge your state for the right to render your height and weight in centimeters and kilograms on your driver license. Be creative and challenge other government entities for not rendering units in the SI and just use this White House directive as the authority for your lawsuit.

You may want an example of this strategy actually working. Well after years of complaints, the United States Postal Service finally gave us a metric weight option:

US Post Office Metric

See! We can accomplish this when enough people like you put forth the effort. Let us know the details of your lawsuit on Facebook page Kill the Inch and Complete US Metrication. We would love to know about all of your pro-SI experiences on Facebook.

Paleolithic Style Cranberry Sauce

340 grams fresh cranberries
175 grams (175 mL) fresh orange juice
150 grams honey

Combine cranberries, orange juice, and honey in saucepan. Simmer over medium heat, until cranberries pop and sauce thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes. Cool completely and refrigerate. Serve at room temperature.


Did pre-Agricultural Revolution humanoids eat Paleolithic Style Cranberry Sauce? Probably not! Did pre-Agricultural Revolution humanoids eat the ingredients found in Paleolithic Style Cranberry Sauce? Well, they were hunter / gatherers, so they ate all sorts of wild berries and fruits. Our ancient ancestors probably even ate some honey now and again when it was available.

Ever wonder why our Modern Era is plagued by a trend toward obesity? Some research shows that our post-Agricultural Revolution diet is the culprit. Eating more like our Paleolithic ancestors did the trick for me. My scale used to show well over 100 kilograms when I stepped on it, but soon after I eliminated grain, dairy and sugar from my diet, my scale shows only 88 kilograms. We can eat nearly like our Paleolithic ancestors ate in order to maintain a normal body mass index, but we no longer have to measure with our feet.

Did pre-Agricultural Revolution humanoids use grams and milliliters to measure their food ingredients? No, they were rather unsophisticated when it came to measurements, so they were probably so dumb that they used body parts as handy standards to measure things. Moderns of our species have come a long way since the days when a literal foot of flesh was as a standard of measurement. Well, at least some people have come a long way; others are not so advanced. Join our effort. Check it out. Kill the inch!

Do no be a Dunce

Valley site offers measurement resources

from Page 7 of The Valley Explorer Volume 4, Issue 3:

By David Pearl

We celebrate American independence every Fourth of July to commemorate our freedom from the oppressive British monarchy. Yet Americans still proudly use the inches, pounds and gallons that our oppressors graciously bestowed upon us; a Salem man whose mission is to bring our nation into the Modern Era finds this puzzling. Americans should be leading the way to measurement harmony in our increasingly globalized economy, but instead, Americans tend to forget the involvement of Benjamin Franklin working alongside Antoine Lavoisier during the French Revolution and that the Metric System was made legal in the USA in 1866, and that the inch-pound non-system has never been legalized here. David Pearl created Metric Pioneer with the hope that Americans would take advantage of the resources available to those who wish to self-metricate. Yes, we have been on training wheels for nearly a century and a half! Did you know that our Statue of Liberty occupies one hectare of land?

Do you remember that conversation between Vincent and Jules in the movie Pulp Fiction about what they call a Quarter Pounder with cheese in France? David Pearl and his wife visited a Subway sandwich restaurant during a visit abroad last summer. The sandwich makers would have been clueless had they received an order for the Foot-long sandwich. You have probably guessed by now that both scenarios involve the Metric System. Subway restaurants all over the planet (except here of course) call it a 30 cm and you could probably guess what they call a half sandwich; yes, 15 cm.

Do you ever notice when you read a newspaper that measurements are sometimes given twice? American editors often parenthetically mention SI equivalents in order to maintain the appearance that America will some day adopt the Metric System. By the way, what Americans call the Metric System is now known as SI which is an abbreviation for Système International d’unités (International System of Units). Here is one example from an article about sulfide forming at Earth surface, sinking deep into Earth mantle, likely all the way to the core-mantle boundary, 1,865 miles (3,000 kilometers) below the surface. The snippet clearly reveals that the original writer estimated the distance at approximately 3,000 kilometers. It is a rounded guess. Nobody would estimate 1,865 miles! Some editor decided that Americans were too dumb to know what a kilometer is, so he got out a calculator and made believe that the random figure in miles would clarify matters. Dual measurement is a hallmark of American journalism. Students in United States public education do not learn to think and calculate exclusively in SI. Their minds are handicapped by early submersion in units of measurement outside the SI, and late, first exposure (if at all), to metric units of measurement.

Dual measuring is a false crutch that does not help people learn SI but just allows them to ignore it. Our Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA) mandates that products sold in the United States must list SI alongside units that Americans have been using. The FPLA (as presently written) is a false crutch that has not done much for metric education in the 19 years it has been a requirement. Most Americans are still not ready for metric-only measurements. The Australians completed metrication in less time than it took us to waffle around with dual labeling.

America is actually part way metric already. For example, American scientists already use SI; NASA uses SI; our United States Dollar is already decimalized; American Nutrition Facts labels are already in grams (What else could we use? Nothing!); for decades, our Wine & Distilled Spirits have already been exclusively measured in metric units (750 mL is the most common size); our prescriptions are already measured in metric units (mg, mL et cetera) because no other measure is workable at that level; The United States military uses metric measurements extensively to ensure interoperability with allied forces, particularly NATO Standardization Agreements; ground forces measure distances in klicks, slang for kilometers; most military firearms are measured in metric units, beginning with the M-14 which was introduced in 1957; heavy weapon caliber is measured in millimeters; military vehicles are generally built to metric standards; the Navy and Air Force continue to measure distance in nautical miles and speed in knots because these units are now accepted for use with SI by the BIPM, so adopting SI would not be as painful as one might expect. We have been using metric tools for many years. You probably have metric tools in your garage right now!

Celsius is actually very easy! First put Fahrenheit out of mind for now (Pearl no longer uses the F word). Just remember this little weather rhyme: 30 is warm, 20 is nice, 10 is cold and 0 is ice. Yes, water freezes at zero and boils at one hundred! What could be easier? Normal human body temperature is 37.

Metric Pioneer David Pearl hopes that one day his driver license will list his height at 181 cm and his weight at 88 kg. As mentioned in the first paragraph, a Progress CheckList is available for a free download. You can also find (in the Metrication Earth tab) great graphics showing the flag of every nation on Earth, a rendering of the name of the nation in the actual local language and script (Chinese, Hebrew, Sanskrit, Swahili, Thai, and nearly every other language) along with the year each nation underwent metrication and the year each nation joined the United Nations organization. And for a load of fun, you can see a video clip of Riker telling his Star Trek crew that the Borg have captured Captain Jean-Luc Picard and are headed for the Terran System. Then finally you can take the online Terran System Exam. Here is the first question: 1. How would a police officer react to you driving 40 km/h (kilometers per hour) on a residential street? A. He would continue eating his donuts. B. He would issue you a citation for going way too slowly. C. He would think the high-speed chase is like a COPS episode. D. He would think your car is a disguised Alien Visitation Craft. You may take the exam over and over until you get 100%, which will qualify you to receive a free International System Ruler (one per household). Those interested may also register (for online social media) and sign the online Metrication Pledge to participate in the advancement of measurement harmony on planet Earth.

American Attitude

Exterior Dimensions: 61 cm wide x 32 cm tall x 31 cm deep.

How could any Earthling (even an American) possibly think the above words describe dimensions in inches? Well I experience that scenario all the time, because I sell stuff on Craigslist and I only use measurement units of the SI. I recount here a recent episode:

A potential buyer makes his initial inquiry Friday early afternoon while I am still at work. I give him my home address. He comes by to purchase our Craigslist item. He interacts with my wife. (I never meet the guy because I am still at work).

My wife Michele describes him as a reasonably intelligent Caucasian in his fifties. Upon seeing the item, he exclaims “That’s too small” then politely wishes her well and off he goes empty-handed. His fundamental misunderstanding of measurement results in another wasted trip in the United States of America.

Of course, this is not as bad as crashing a craft on Mars, but it is the same thing on a smaller scale. It happens in America every day with varying degrees of waste, ranging from minor things like this to even loss of life when parents give the wrong quantity of medication to their own children.

Such a scenario could only happen in measurement-challenged places on Earth, because the vast majority of humanity measures everything using the International System of units (SI).

I could not resist a follow up exchange of words with him so I could figure out what makes this guy tick. American attitude can truly be unimaginably narrow-minded when it comes to thinking outside the American box. Even though I tried, I failed to win him over to SI. Here is our text message exchange that at least brings a smile to his face:

19 Jul 2014 10:19 am
Metric Pioneer: I listed dimensions on Craigslist. So sorry item is too small.

20 Jul 2014 6:29 am
Craigslist Shopper: Sorry. I thought those were inches

20 Jul 2014 6:56 am
Metric Pioneer: 95% of people on Earth measure with centimeters. I clearly wrote cm after each number.

20 Jul 2014 6:58 am
Craigslist Shopper: Not in usa

20 Jul 2014 7:01 am
Metric Pioneer: American scientists and medical professionals and progressive Americans use the International System (SI) every day.

20 Jul 2014 7:05 am
Craigslist Shopper: American engineers and surveyors and architects dropped that crap long ago. Oh by the way they no longer teach it in schools anymore

20 Jul 2014 7:09 am
Metric Pioneer: Kill the inch!

20 Jul 2014 7:09 am
Craigslist Shopper: 🙂 [Smiley Face]