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The metric system


The metric system makes sense, unlike the measurements we use in America — what do they call it, avoirdupois? Well, there you have it. (Or is it "imperial?" But then an "imperial gallon" is something altogether twisted and strange, different again from the American standard.)

The metric system really is metric — it's a real measuring system.

In America, we have twelve inches in a foot—which, to give credit where it's due, is about as long as a man's foot. There are three feet in a yard and 5,280 feet in a mile. (That's 1760 yards.)

We have sixteen ounces in a pound, as well as sixteen ounces in a pint. That is, fluid ounces — defined by the volume of water that weighs an ounce. Of course, there are eight pints in a gallon — and two cups in a pint. Cups are divided by regular fractions — half, third, quarter, etc. And a quarter-cup is equivalent to four tablespoons, one of which is the same as three teaspoons. (That's in America; in Ireland, a tablespoon is a spoon like you use at the table, a teaspoon one you use for putting sugar into tea.)

An exception to the rule about ounces-per-pint is the American beer, served at a bar. These "pints" normally hold only about thirteen ounces.

I just threw that in there to make it complicated.

The metric system, on the other hand, is based upon the concept of "ten." That's about all I need to say about it, when the average person can look down and count his fingers to understand the sensibility of the arrangement. And mathematics, of course, benefits greatly from any regularity at all.

However — I have to admit — I am not accustomed to the metric system, and I do not think in its terms of measurement. I use terms like feet, miles, pounds, and ounces, only because of long use; because it is customary in my country. Though I "believe in" the metric system, I don't regularly use the superior method.


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