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posted by LaminatorX on Saturday October 04 2014, @11:25PM   Printer-friendly
from the rods-to-the-furlong dept.

Children in the U.K. have been taught in metric measures in school since (at least) 1972, but yesterday the British Prime Minister David Cameron suggested that they should actually be taught in Imperial measures which are still officially used to measure road distances and speeds, but not really for anything else. Is this because he hasn't a clue about science or because he is catering to a particular political base?

Cameron is a graduate of PPE – politics, philosophy and economics.

The saying going metric, inch by inch perhaps should perhaps be upgraded to going metric, inch by inch and backwards a foot or so.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 04 2014, @11:31PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 04 2014, @11:31PM (#101831)

    Old habits die hard.

    • (Score: 2) by BasilBrush on Sunday October 05 2014, @10:43PM

      by BasilBrush (3994) on Sunday October 05 2014, @10:43PM (#102214)

      You understate the extent of the Right Wing British xenophobia. It's not just the french they hate, it's all of Europe. It mainly stems from an inability to speak foreign languages. These anglo-red-necks used to mostly vote for the Conservative party, with only the most extreme voting for fascists like the British National Party. But lately they've been fracturing, with many of them defecting the the UK Independance Party, which has a charismatic leader. The defections have included a number of members of parliament.

      The Conservative Party is now simply pandering to these UKIP defectors, in the hope that they'll revert when it comes time to vote. This ridiculous lip-service to old-fashioned measures is part of that. Metric measures are seen to be an EU demand, rather than the reality of them being a rest-of-the-world-apart-from-the-US standard.

      --
      Hurrah! Quoting works now!
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06 2014, @09:16AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06 2014, @09:16AM (#102344)

        > the UK Independance Party, which has a charismatic neckless mollusc.

        FTFY. Seriously, Nigel Farage, "charismatic"?

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by jackb_guppy on Saturday October 04 2014, @11:53PM

    by jackb_guppy (3560) on Saturday October 04 2014, @11:53PM (#101835)

    It is fun to convert between the two systems. You also is some fun facts...
    8 oz in a cup (2^3)
    2 cups in pint (2^4)
    2 pint in quart (2^5)
    4 quarts in a gallon (2^7)

    Think further money should not be on base 10, either. Base 12 has more useful...
    A dozen eggs have 1/12, 1/6, 1/4, 1/3, 5/12, 1/2, 7/12, 2/3, 3/4, 5/6, 11/12 and of course 1. If we had money is the same breakdown, simpler making change and buying dounts...
    But then again
    2 bits = Quarter
    4 bits = Half Dollar
    6 bits = 3 Quarters
    8 bits = 1 Dollar
    Another power of two system... Remember "pieces of 8"

    Oh well, in for penny, in for a pound... :)

    • (Score: 1) by Jesus_666 on Sunday October 05 2014, @12:35AM

      by Jesus_666 (3044) on Sunday October 05 2014, @12:35AM (#101846)
      Wouldn't a more consistent system make more sense?

      2 oz in a cup
      2 cups (4 oz) in a pint
      2 quarts (8 oz) in a quart
      2 quarts (16 oz) in a gallon

      Alternatively we'll stick to base 12:
      12 oz in a cup
      12 cups (144 oz) in a pint
      12 pints (1728 oz) in a gallon
      (I skipped quarts because 20736-ounce gallons seem silly.)


      Then again it might be simpler to just use base 12 SI-style prefixes instead of giving every order of magnitude its own name that doesn't carry over to different units of measurement. For lack of reasonable names I'll just use "duodeka-", skipping the 1:
      1/12 ddm2oz = 1 ddm3oz (duodeka-minus-3-ounce) = 1/1728 oz
      1/12 ddm1oz = 1 ddm2oz (duodeka-minus-2-ounce) = 1/144 oz
      1/12 oz = 1 ddm1oz (duodeka-minus-1-ounce)
      1 oz = 1 oz
      12 oz = 1 ddoz (duodekaounce)
      12 dd2oz = 1 dd2oz (duodeka-2-unce) = 144 oz
      12 dd3oz = 1 dd3oz (duodeka-3-ounce) = 1728 oz
      And so on.

      That way we can have arbitrarily large (or small) measurements without having to write something silly like "ten billion short tons" or "one ten-billionth of an ounce". This would also work very well with currency – for instance, on June 28, 2013 the United States had a combined public debt of 1.87 duodeka-12-Dollars. The Cent could be replaced by the ddm2USD coin, which would also allow the Fed to mint coins like Quarters (36 ddm2USD), Thirds (48 ddm2USD) and, obviously, Twelveths (1 ddm1USD).
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by kaszz on Sunday October 05 2014, @12:50AM

      by kaszz (4211) on Sunday October 05 2014, @12:50AM (#101850) Journal

      The problem is that when someone says "oz" it could mean:

      Variant [grams]
      International avoirdupois ounce 28.349523125
      International troy ounce 31.1034768
      Apothecaries' ounce
      Maria Theresa ounce 28.0668
      Spanish ounce (onza) 28.75
      French ounce (once) 30.59
      Portuguese ounce (onça) 28.69
      Roman/Italian ounce (oncia) 27.4
      Dutch metric ounce (ons) 100
      Chinese metric ounce (盎司) 50
      English Tower Ounce 29.16

      When someone says "gallon" it could mean:

      Variant [dm³]
      Standard imperial gallon 4.54609
      Standard US gallon 3.785411784
      Dry US gallon 4.40488377086

      And so on.... The imperial system is maze of various unclear definitions and on top of that uses complex multiple and fractions of a unit. And in physics you need magic constants all over the place to get basic relations to be correct.

      • (Score: 2) by jackb_guppy on Sunday October 05 2014, @02:51PM

        by jackb_guppy (3560) on Sunday October 05 2014, @02:51PM (#102045)

        I much not also gloss over what the metric system is based on too.

        1m = 1/10,000,000 of the distance from Equator to North Pole along the longitude that goes through Paris, FRANCE,

        All these systems are like tracking down the cultural differences that are the bases of:
        ... currency: And unlying formating and covertions standards: use of , vs . 0, 2, 3 decimals in display and calculation.
        ... dates: ( http://isotropic.org/date/ [isotropic.org] ), names for days of week, names of Month, conversions between each of them and formatting rules.
        ... time: 100 minute clocks (punch clocks), mid-night first, last, either or both monument of a day, noon first, last, either or both monument of a day, formatting 12am, 12m, 12pm, 12n.
        ... date/time periods - 1/4 hr. 1/4 day, last day of a month, what does it mean to add 30days to date, add 1 month to date, why are they are or not the same. What did the user really mean.
        ... name: last, first, sir, given, what about von, mc, mac, o' prefixes.
        ... address: formatting standards in multiple formatting rules, what is numeric and what is alpha, conversion to geo-codes.
        ... phone numbers: how many digits, how many groups of digits.

        This is HISTORY and CULTURE of Science and Math and Finance. http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/doomed-to-repeat-it [goodreads.com]

        “Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.”
        ― Edmund Burke

    • (Score: 2) by sjames on Sunday October 05 2014, @02:48AM

      by sjames (2882) on Sunday October 05 2014, @02:48AM (#101869) Journal

      The funny thing is, a lot of the things that were billed as advantages apply to traditional U.S. units as well. An oz of water weighs 1 oz. So a pint weighs 1 pound. The U.S. units are based on powers of 2 as you pointed out. That's because in an era before standardized measures were well distributed, dividing by 2 was MUCH easier than by 10.

      I'm fine with the metric system, especially in science, but to pretend it's anything but yet another arbitrary system is delusional. It is helpful that 'kilogram' refers to a single (however arbitrary) agreed upon mass rather than one of a half dozen traditional masses, but that's its only real advantage.

      • (Score: 2) by davester666 on Sunday October 05 2014, @07:58AM

        by davester666 (155) on Sunday October 05 2014, @07:58AM (#101940)

        Um, in what sense is dividing by 2 easier for a person to do vs. dividing by 10? because all this stuff was created way back before computers and such things...

        • (Score: 2) by sjames on Sunday October 05 2014, @08:36AM

          by sjames (2882) on Sunday October 05 2014, @08:36AM (#101953) Journal

          Here's a length of rope and a knife no measuring devices are available. Divide by 2. Here's another, divide by 10.

          In every day guesstimation, people tent to think in terms of halves quarters and eights rather than tenths.

          When you cut a pizza, do you cut into 10ths or 8ths?

          Where absolutely necessary, you can probably eyeball a 3rd, but probably not a 10th or a 5th.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05 2014, @06:34AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05 2014, @06:34AM (#101928)

      From the Terry Prachett book: Good Omens [electric-escape.net]:-

      NOTE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE AND AMERICANS: One shilling = Five Pee. It helps to understand the antique finances of the Witchfinder Army if you know the original British monetary system:

      Two farthings = One Ha'penny. Two ha'pennies = One Penny. Three pennies = A Thrupenny Bit. Two Thrupences = A Sixpence. Two Sixpences = One Shilling, or Bob. Two Bob = A Florin. One Florin and one Sixpence = Half a Crown. Four Half Crowns = Ten Bob Note. Two Ten Bob Notes = One Pound (or 240 pennies). One Pound and One Shilling = One Guinea.

      The British resisted decimalized currency for a long time because they thought it was too complicated.

    • (Score: 1) by rufty on Sunday October 05 2014, @09:50AM

      by rufty (381) on Sunday October 05 2014, @09:50AM (#101968)

      5 floz in a gill [wikipedia.org]

      4 gill in a pint [wikipedia.org]

      2 pint in a quart [wikipedia.org]

      4 quart in a gallon [wikipedia.org]

      2 gallon in a peck [wikipedia.org]

      4 peck in a bushel [wikipedia.org]

      2 bushel in a quarter [creativespaces.eu]

      5 quarter in a wey [creativespaces.eu]

      2 wey in a last [creativespaces.eu]

      There's a pattern in there, if you squint.

      And don't forget about mutchkin [wikipedia.org], kenning [wikipedia.org], firlot [wikipedia.org] or chadron [demon.co.uk].

      That's volumes, simplified. Now for lengths, weights and areas...

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by zocalo on Sunday October 05 2014, @12:00AM

    by zocalo (302) on Sunday October 05 2014, @12:00AM (#101837)
    Let's see. 1972. That's 42 years ago. Kids don't start school until they are four or five, and probably don't start learning about distances enough to conceptualise them until a year or two after that. At a conservative estimate that means that everyone in the UK under the age of at least 45 has never been formally taught imperial measurements. It doesn't take a genius to work out that is more than half the population, which possibly even includes David Cameron since he's 47, and the part it doesn't include is declining year by year.

    I've really got no idea who he thinks he's pandering to here. My late grandparents had problems with metric, but my parents - both now in their 70s - understand it just fine, and my mother actually prefers recipes in metric because she can calculate the quantities required to cook smaller portions much more easily, so if it's the aged he talking to then it's likely a generation that is too infirm to be voting anymore. The number of things still measured in imperial measurements in the UK is tiny; besides the road distances/speeds mentioned, beer (by the pint, and then only in pubs/restaurants) is about the only other thing left that people encounter on a regular basis. Rather than pursuing another white elephant, perhaps it might be a better idea to finally start including both metric and imperial distances/speeds on roadsigns and providing an option for premises to sell beer by the litre in preparation for finally completing the switch?
    --
    UNIX? They're not even circumcised! Savages!
    • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Sunday October 05 2014, @12:38AM

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Sunday October 05 2014, @12:38AM (#101847) Homepage

      I live in a country that tried [wikipedia.org] to convert to the metric system but decided it was too hard for them so they kept the imperial units.

      Cooking is not the only thing made easier with the metric system. Imagine working in a technical shop that uses both imperial and metric units. So for screws you have nice tidy metric designations like M3, M4, M5, etc. Imperial screws are designated ugly things like 10-32, 1/4-20, etc.

      I work for a place that started using imperial units and then switched all later products to metric. The size of the things they make are dependent on operating frequency. So they release a product using imperial units and then decide to develop the same thing later in different frequencies after they're using the metric system, so we have one nearly-identical product family with one version still using imperial units and the other two using metric units. That means that any new guy working there who has touched the later frequencies would just walk over to the earlier one and fuck up a ton of housing threads trying to tap a 10-32 hole with an M5 tap because they were eyeballing and confident enough to not bug everybody else with all kinds of paranoid questions, because who the fuck would mix imperial and metric units in a product family anyway?

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by carguy on Sunday October 05 2014, @01:01AM

        by carguy (568) Subscriber Badge on Sunday October 05 2014, @01:01AM (#101851)

        So for screws you have nice tidy metric designations like M3, M4, M5, etc. Imperial screws are designated ugly things like 10-32, 1/4-20, etc.

        What you are missing is that the common metric sizes are a compromise, not well suited for any purpose. Consider the difference between UNC and UNF:
            UNC 1/4-20 tpi (threads per inch) -- deep coarse threads for use in soft or lower strength materials like plastics, aluminum and cast iron. 1/4"-20 is still (as far as I know) the single most common thread, for example, most camera tripod mounts.
            UNF 1/4-28 -- fine threads for use in high strength materials (steel) and higher bolt strength due to larger diameter at the root of the threads.

        Someone else here may understand Metric threads better than I do, but when I go looking for a fine thread I find a real lack of standardization outside the single M system.

        Many high performance products made in UK (for example many race cars) as well as in USA still use the US AN-series bolts which were designed for function, not to have short & tidy designations.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05 2014, @12:13PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05 2014, @12:13PM (#101986)

        Imperial units are still used in mechanical engineering in the UK, I still see drawings first issued back in the '50s. Lathes manufactured in the '50s and marked in thousandths of an inch are still in everyday service. I also have camera lenses marked in imperial units and all my guitars are US made.

        We measure distances in miles, we drink pints... people in the UK never really went metric at all.

    • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Sunday October 05 2014, @12:40AM

      by kaszz (4211) on Sunday October 05 2014, @12:40AM (#101848) Journal

      Road speed limits could be specified in meters per second [m/s] for that hot fuzzy metric feeling :P and road distance is then specified as "4.5 * 10^4 meters" .. ;-)

      Cameron should perhaps be upgraded? :D

      • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Sunday October 05 2014, @02:47AM

        by aristarchus (2645) on Sunday October 05 2014, @02:47AM (#101868) Journal

        "Furlongs per Fortnight" is the preferred standard of speed. In a pinch, "rods per watch" could be used. Or just "knots". If we are to use Imperial measure, we will inevitably have to return to the sea.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05 2014, @09:20AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05 2014, @09:20AM (#101965)

      Beer's not sold by the pint in the UK any more, and hasn't been for some time. The conventional measure you ask for in a pub is 'a pint' but you actually get 570mL, which is the official measure.

      • (Score: 2) by isostatic on Sunday October 05 2014, @01:56PM

        by isostatic (365) on Sunday October 05 2014, @01:56PM (#102034) Journal

        From Wikipedia:

        As of 24 April 2012, there are still a few cases where imperial units are required to be used and where metric units are optional within the scope of the Weights and Measures Act. These are: the pint for the sale of draught beer and cider and of milk in returnable containers; miles, yards, feet and inches for road signs and distances; and troy ounces for the sale of precious metals. In addition, British law specifies which non-metric units may be used with dual labelling (for example the imperial gallon, but not the US gallon).[8]

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05 2014, @06:29PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05 2014, @06:29PM (#102117)

          (2)No person shall use for trade—

          (a)the ounce troy, except for the purposes of transactions in, or in articles made from, gold, silver or other precious metals, including transactions in gold or silver thread, lace or fringe, or

          (b)the carat (metric), except for the purposes of transactions in precious stones or pearls, or

          (c)a capacity measure of [F735,][F870,]125, 150 or 175 millilitres, except for the purposes of transactions in intoxicating liquor [F9or

          (d)the pint except for—

          (i)the purposes of the sale of draught beer or cider, or

          (ii)the purposes of the sale of milk in returnable containers, F10. . .

          http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1985/72#reference-c1336933 [legislation.gov.uk]

          The proceding provisions have effect subject to—

          (a)subsection (5A) below, and

          (b)sections 9 and 89 below.

          (5A)Nothing in this section precludes the use for trade [F13up to and including 31 December 2009,] of any supplementary indication; and for this purpose any indication of quantity (“the imperial indication”) is a supplementary indication if—

          (a)it is expressed in a unit of measurement other than a metric unit,

          (b)it accompanies an indication of quantity expressed in a metric unit (“the metric indication”) and is not itself authorised for use in the circumstances as a primary indication of quantity, and

          (c)the metric indication is the more prominent, the imperial indication being, in particular, expressed in characters no larger than those of the metric indication.]

          And clearly, on every 'pint' glass I've drunk from in the last 10 years, the volume of 570ml has been clearly visible in the base of the glass, moulded in during manufacture. Some do occasionally have a transfer on the side 'Pint to line' indicating the volume of beer, not counting any head. But this is, as per the legislation, smaller than the metric indication.

    • (Score: 1) by hendrikboom on Sunday October 05 2014, @01:10PM

      by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Sunday October 05 2014, @01:10PM (#102008) Homepage Journal

      Let's see. Imperial is still used for road distances and beer. Could it be he's pandering to drinking drivers?

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by isostatic on Sunday October 05 2014, @02:01PM

      by isostatic (365) on Sunday October 05 2014, @02:01PM (#102037) Journal

      There's an election coming up. Old people vote. He's already promised old people will keep their pensions while you people take the hit to repay his generation's excesses.

      However old people are racist, and ukip is attractive. They drink pints of beer, say "boo hiss Gerry", have a healthy fear of Johnny foreigner, and want to ban confusing tonight's like litres and go back to selling whiskey by the Gil. Cameron is worried ukip will take enough votes to mean he doesn't have an overall majority and won't be able to push through things like overturning the human rights act.

      • (Score: 2) by hoochiecoochieman on Thursday October 16 2014, @06:38PM

        by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Thursday October 16 2014, @06:38PM (#106745)

        There's an election coming up. Old people vote. He's already promised old people will keep their pensions while you people take the hit to repay his generation's excesses.

        Funny, here in Portugal they're cutting old people's pensions really hard and telling the young that they're unemployed and poor because of the excesses and the privileges of the old.

        Maybe our government should be doing the same as Cameron, since we don't have many young people to vote any more. They have all emigrated (note: this looks like a joke, but it's not).

        In the end, the bullshit is the same in every country, it's just directed somewhere else. Divide and conquer.

        Or maybe... Cameron is getting ready to convert the pensions to the imperial system.

  • (Score: 2) by Subsentient on Sunday October 05 2014, @12:09AM

    by Subsentient (1111) on Sunday October 05 2014, @12:09AM (#101840) Homepage Journal

    I don't care if you use imperial or metric, I'm in the USA and we use imperial, but so long as I understand it, I'm fine with either. I guess what I'm trying to say is, it's not important enough to get so angry over. It's not a holy war.

    --
    "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." -Jiddu Krishnamurti
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05 2014, @03:39AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05 2014, @03:39AM (#101883)

      I'm in the US too, and I use both metric and imperial measurements. I use metric measurements for scientific activities where it's convention. I use imperial measurements for driving to and from work, or for cooking, or wherever it is conventional. The key is that both are conventions. Arbitrary conventions, because all measures are arbitrary.

      At one bar of pressure, pure water boils at 99.61º C, not at 100º. The Celsian scale was first designed to make 0º the freezing point 100º the boiling point, but that idea didn't quite work out as accuracy improved. The scale is now defined by different standards, such that 0.01º is the freezing point, without reference to the boiling point. The scale, however, remained the same: to maintain the convention, different references were sought when the original ones proved to be wrong.

      A meter is the length that light travels in one two hundred and ninety nine millionth, seven hundred and ninety two thousandth, four hundred and fifty eighth part of a second. Originally it had something to do the length of a pendulum swinging with a one second period; but pendula swing differently in different places depending on gravity, and so the meter went through a series of redefinitions. At some point it was lines on a platinum bar; then some peculiar and non-integral number of wavelengths of an emission line of krypton, a number based on those lines on the platinum bar. Now it's how far light can travel in some bizarre fraction of a second, but the reason for that particular fraction is that it's close to those lines carved on a platinum bar ages ago. Again, it's a convention.

      As long as there are known conversion factors between conventions, there's no problem in using two systems, especially when you use them for different purposes. Scientists and engineers should be smart enough to be able to do conversions. International merchants might get annoyed, especially in regions with a lot of small, contiguous countries -- Europe being the poster child of such an arrangement. For most people, though, everyday measurements are just a convention and the daily routine doesn't really care about the specifics of the convention.

      For Brussels and the UK, though, this is a more important deal than for real people. The EU doesn't conquer territory with its practically non-existent armies: it introduces standards and regulations that gently assimilate new countries like the Borg, but quieter. That's why Russia fears them: once Ukraine or anyone else from the former satellite countries starts adopting EU standards, the same railroad gauge and voltage and bottle sizes and monetary system and human rights laws and agricultural policies, there's no going back. That's exactly why the UK wants to revive the imperial system: it goes with wanting to drop out of the European Court of Human Rights, to keep the Pound Sterling, to hold a referendum on dropping out of the EU. The UK is reasserting its sovereignty in the face of the Brussels Borg. It's not about the Brits being backwards, but about international politics.

    • (Score: 2) by dry on Monday October 06 2014, @02:37AM

      by dry (223) on Monday October 06 2014, @02:37AM (#102276) Journal

      I thought Americans used English rather then Imperial. An Imperial gallon has 160 fl.ozs and weights 10 lbs (at a certain temp). The English gallon has only 128 fl.ozs. For length everyone settled on the Canadian inch of 25.4 mms though America still has the old surveyors inch. Generally the weights agree

  • (Score: 2) by khchung on Sunday October 05 2014, @01:11AM

    by khchung (457) on Sunday October 05 2014, @01:11AM (#101852)

    Yes! Go ahead and destroy Britain's competitiveness! My kids will have an easier time competing globally in the future.

    Thank you, Mr. Cameron.

    - Signed, non-British.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05 2014, @01:44AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05 2014, @01:44AM (#101857)

    I live in the US. I wish we used metric system. I am 40 and really don't remember being taught imperical units in school. I absolutely remember going over the metric system in elementary school. The metric system is so much simpler. Also, when I go to the supermarket, I ask the lady behind the counter for a pound of turkey. I always have to throw 2-3 slices away. I would ask for 0.8 pounds of Turkey but I'd feel like douche-bag, especially when I see the black lady's eyes roll in a way that says "white people are so uptight".

    I would love to be able to say, "I'd like 4 hectograms of turkey, please." It would be just the right amount for me. Plus, I'd feel like I was in a sci-fi movie or something.

    • (Score: 2) by sjames on Sunday October 05 2014, @02:18AM

      by sjames (2882) on Sunday October 05 2014, @02:18AM (#101864) Journal

      So ask for 3/4 pound. Or 13 oz if that's not enough.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05 2014, @05:14AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05 2014, @05:14AM (#101914)

        Or just ask for a "light pound" at the deli counter. That should get you in the ballpark without raising suspicions that you are a nerd...

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05 2014, @03:07AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05 2014, @03:07AM (#101874)

      I know that Turkey and Greece do not get along and never have, but I'm still looking for a roasting pan that's just the right size and doesn't cost over $100 that can catch all the mess.

    • (Score: 2) by gringer on Sunday October 05 2014, @04:37AM

      by gringer (962) on Sunday October 05 2014, @04:37AM (#101904)

      I would love to be able to say, "I'd like 4 hectograms of turkey, please." It would be just the right amount for me.

      In my country, we call that "four hundred grams". You'd just get confusion asking for hectogram measurements.

      --
      Ask me about Sequencing DNA in front of Linus Torvalds [youtube.com]
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06 2014, @03:34AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06 2014, @03:34AM (#102287)

      Mentioning hectograms would only be understood by a handful of scientists. In metric countries we typically order "400 grams of ham please".

      If your look at some article on Orange UK (formerly ananova), many times they give a person's weight in stone, not kilograms, not even pounds. A 'stone' is apparently 14 lbs. And then the UK gallon (4.55 liters) is not the US gallon (3.84 liters).

      Having lived around the planet I'm comfortable with both systems.

    • (Score: 2) by hoochiecoochieman on Thursday October 16 2014, @06:41PM

      by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Thursday October 16 2014, @06:41PM (#106746)

      When I buy deli, I ask for 150 or 200 grams. No problems.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05 2014, @03:00AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05 2014, @03:00AM (#101873)

    This is a good thing. Imperial units are still use in common speech and use. People measure themselves in pounds and stones, feet and inches. People express distances in yards and miles--everyone including those brought up after 1972. This hasn't changed in 42 years. Why deny them an education in something like that? A lot of people cannot convert between them--this is not taught--this would, however, be taught under what the PM is suggesting.

    I don't understand this hysteria. They're not going to stop teaching the metric system. All the kids who want to be scientists can become scientists, just everyone else can figure out how many yards are in a mile, or how many centimetres are in an inch. They're just going to start teaching an old--but still widely used--measurement system. Which unlike the summary says imperial units *are* widely used, just not officially.

    The summary also seems to have an illusion about British politics. The Conservatives, despite their name, are not the Republicans of Britain, especially on social and scientific matters. Devout Christians and science deniers in the UK are an irregularity. Something to be quizzically observed by the rest of the population--including for some comments he's made, the Prime Minister.

    We are not the 51st state. Don't expect that just because you understand US politics, you understand British politics. They're widely different animals, pandering to a very different public.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05 2014, @05:26AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05 2014, @05:26AM (#101918)

      We are not the 51st state. Don't expect that just because you understand US politics, you understand British politics. They're widely different animals, pandering to a very different public.

      Have you read, "51st State"? I thought the author made a pretty good case for the UK joining the USA, but then I'm from the US and have only spent about half a year (in total) in the UK --
          http://www.amazon.com/51st-State-Plus-Peter-Preston/dp/0140275800 [amazon.com]

    • (Score: 1) by xorsyst on Monday October 06 2014, @08:53AM

      by xorsyst (1372) on Monday October 06 2014, @08:53AM (#102337)

      People measure themselves in pounds and stones, feet and inches. People express distances in yards and miles--everyone including those brought up after 1972.

      You need to meet more people then. Most people I know under 30 weigh themselves in kg, measure themselves in cm and are happy talking in km. Yes, they are also able to know roughly what this is in stone, f&i and miles, but don't choose to.

    • (Score: 2) by hoochiecoochieman on Thursday October 16 2014, @06:47PM

      by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Thursday October 16 2014, @06:47PM (#106752)

      This is a good thing.

      I still haven't grasped exactly why. And the rest of your text is not helping.

      Imperial units are still use in common speech and use.

      The keyword there is still.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05 2014, @05:46AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05 2014, @05:46AM (#101923)

    He hasn't much clue about anything I'm afraid.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by chiefnx on Sunday October 05 2014, @08:06AM

    by chiefnx (3888) on Sunday October 05 2014, @08:06AM (#101945)

    This was just an off-the-cuff remark to a rather odd TV interview question. Not the unveiling of a new education policy.

    Often these sorts of questions - i.e. those designed to catch politicians out - are good because they uncover regressive attitudes unpolished by party PR teams. I think this one just shows that he hasn't really thought about it that much.

    There are tonnes of reasons to really hate the Tories. Can we complain about those instead?