Free the metric martyrs!
April 4, 2002 8:05 PM   Subscribe

Free the metric martyrs! Hate "compulsory metrication"? Join the crowd. Well, not a crowd, per se; more of a gaggle. Historical metrology goes to a lot of weird places, including the Prussian inch and the Dozenal Societies of Great Britain and America.
posted by rodii (14 comments total)
...not to mention binary time.
posted by rodii at 8:09 PM on April 4, 2002

BWMA's aims are to:

* To promote and enhance understanding that the metric system is not merely a means of measurement but a political philosophy and tool. To discover who in politics and industry supports metric conversion, and why.

I always hate it when you find out you were being oppressed and you didn't even know it.
posted by mattpfeff at 8:21 PM on April 4, 2002

Am I the only one reminded of that Monty Python sketch of "The royal society for putting things on top of other things"?

GC: Gentleman! I'm not done! Just this evening, on my way to the society's meeting, I observed almost 8 things that were not on top other things in any way at all!
SOCIETY: [shocked]
posted by Settle at 8:47 PM on April 4, 2002

That rodii: give him an inch and he'll take half a parasang...
posted by y2karl at 8:55 PM on April 4, 2002

Frankly, I'm with the oppressors on this one. In fact, I'd like to see the U.S. go to mandatory metric. (Yeah, like that would ever happen...) The English system is archaic and enslaves us with its ridiculous increments.
posted by christophernaze at 9:25 PM on April 4, 2002

Am I the only one reminded of that Monty Python sketch of "The royal society for putting things on top of other things"?

Isn't that the group whose meeting broke up when Graham Chapman suddenly discovered that "We're on film!"? Hilarious sketch.
posted by diddlegnome at 10:15 PM on April 4, 2002

Yeah. They get trapped and then work on shifts tunneling themselves out.
posted by Settle at 10:27 PM on April 4, 2002

So, compulsory metrication is a bit daft and we'd be better off forgetting the whole issue.

But let's put it in perspective, right? The Metric Martyrs are fighting for the right to... count things in 16s, 14s, 12s and 8s? Is this 10s and 100s thing really that hard for them to figure this out?
posted by skylar at 11:44 PM on April 4, 2002

Quite frankly, the stupid metric martyrs deserve what they get. And that site is stretching the truth. They're not in trouble for using lbs and ozs, they're in trouble for NOT using the metric system.

The law says that, at least for now, you CAN use imperial measurements. However, you MUST also use the metric system alongside any imperial measurements you may have.

Many people of my age - I'm 20 - don't know the imperial system for weights and measures! I don't want to go to the greengrocers and be forced to use the stupid imperial system. I have no idea what a lb of apples is like, but I know what a kilogram is! And feet and yards? Eh? We use metres here.

I have sympathy for those who want to use lbs and oz to help their older customers, but there is absolutely no excuse to not be using the metric system AS WELL.

The people on that site who are marching around at the Crown Court are regressive, and want to keep us in the dark ages. Get rid of the old fogeys, and let things evolve, as they always have done.

What's more.. they're vandals too! They're actively defacing street signs that use metric units! Really, their idiocy and 18th Century thinking is beyond belief.
posted by wackybrit at 11:50 PM on April 4, 2002

The only reason these metric martyr idiots don't like metric measures is because it's the system the rest of Europe uses. Their xenophobia is so intense that they can't recognise the occasional good idea that comes from the EU. It wasn't exactly difficult to switch from buying petrol in gallons to buying it in litres. The switchover would have been prolonged if garages had been allowed to only advertise the price per gallon.
posted by salmacis at 2:13 AM on April 5, 2002

In other news, proponents of Imperial Computation are objecting that the kilobyte and megabyte are superseding the old-fashioned British grossbyte (=144 bytes). "All of a sudden we're getting only one kilobyte where before we'd get seven grossbytes," says Lionel Fridge of the British Bytes and Measures Association. "It just isn't right... everything is being resized to encourage metric computation. Twenty megabyte hard disks hold 145,635 and a half grossbytes: if that isn't an attack on good old-fashioned British values, I don't know what is."

Fridge went on to complain that tuppence ha'penny and a shiny new shilling just don't buy what they used to, before being cruelly struck down by a crash-landing Mars orbiter.
posted by rory at 2:48 AM on April 5, 2002

The "direct action" against the signs in Lee Valley Country Park resulted in their removal, which has inconvenienced far more people than the few wrinklies who are unable to comprehend distances in kilometers.
posted by kerplunk at 3:16 AM on April 5, 2002

More conflation of distinct issues by the BWMA. Metrication need not result in downsizing: in Australia the old pint bottles (568ml) were replaced with 600ml bottles. But even if shopkeepers do try to pull a fast one, they'll only be able to do it once - unless the conversion process is dragged out over years and years. That's the problem with gradual metrication: it's like peeling a band-aid off hair by painful hair. In Australia we ripped it off in one go 35 years ago. Older Australians brought up on pounds and ounces somehow manage to hide their state of perpetual bewilderment and get by using grams and kilos.
posted by rory at 3:56 AM on April 5, 2002

Actually, rory, it's quite common for manufacturers to use that trick--keeping the price of an item the same while decreasing its size, thus effectively increasing the price for the same amount of whatever it is--even though there's no unit conversion involved. A conversion from one system of units to another can't really be blamed for the tactic.

Consumer Reports has a page called "Selling It," dedicated to questionable advertising/marketing tactics, and such a maneuver is frequently seen there.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:38 AM on April 5, 2002

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