I remember way back when I was a girl in school and we were told the metric system was coming, but it never happened. Most people have no no idea why we don’t use it today. Even fewer consider that, in fact, we had the first decimalized currency in the world (that whole 10 dimes and 100 pennies thing in our dollar) thanks to Thomas Jefferson.
It’s been more than 30 years since we officially looked at metric system adoption and I’ve decided that it’s time that we revisit this issue and see if it’s time for that last push to join in with the other 95% of the world. I’m currently in progress on a book, whose main title will be America’s Biggest Miscalculation.
I’m bringing my experience as a professional writer, video producer, project manager and everything else that seems appropriate to throw at this to tell the story of what happened with the metric system in the United States and where we might need to go from here.
I hope you’ll come along. It should prove to be very interesting.
Feel free to write to me at email@example.com.
If you’re a reporter looking for comment, the above email address is the best way to reach me in a hurry. You can also check out a podcast I did with Vox News in November 2018 (I’m the second half of the interview).
Thanks for your interest.
(By popular demand, full name added for those who wish to cite my work in their papers.)
I once penned a funny about the metric system and why the switch never worked, if that might interest you. It was purely for fun.
Being non-american and working in metrology, we love to quote this:
The 95% you quote is basically because the US makes up the 5% that doesn’t use it…
Where is your documentary available? Can I see it on the internet somewhere? Thanks.
I’m currently in preproduction on the project. As a result, it’s not yet available but I’m hoping to be done in 2015. Thanks for your interest. Can I add you to my project mailing list?
Ms. Anderman, would you add me to your project mailing list as well? I am very interested in seeing the documentary when you make it available.
Something you might find worth reading …
Click to access SC%20Governor%60s%20Metric%20Proclamation%202013.pdf
Thanks for sharing this. Every little bit helps.
Hey Linda! What is your last name? I need to site my sources for a persuasive essay I am writing on why the US should convert over to the metric system.
Linda Anderman. Could I ask to see a copy of your essay once it’s done? I’d love to hear what you have to say. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
I am writing the exact same paper and I was wondering if we could collaborate.
Please email me at email@example.com
You might like to reproduce the tables in the Wikipedia article “Introduction to the metric system” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Introduction_to_the_metric_system). The article itself is targeted at those who have forgotten any science that they might have learned at school and is targeted at both US and UK readers.
Is your documentary finished, if not, would you add me to your project mailing list?
Current finish date is fall of next year. I’d be happy to add you to the mailing list.
May I be on the mailing list as well? Looking forward to the documentary, and the day US declare metric.
I would just like to reaffirm my interest in being notified when your documentary is available.
(“Give em 2.5 centimeters and they’ll take 1.6 kilometers.”)
I can add you to my mailing list if you would like.
I just happened on this site while I am getting acquainted with baking techniques. King Arthur mentions possibly being more international in future editions – I really hope they are still working towards the goal. With my woodworking, I am entirely SI – it has reduced mistakes in unit arithmetic. The bizzare world of baking units is a serious challenge to keeping consistent in what one is doing. Keep up the good work to push us on the U.S. toward more sane ways of measuring all that we do.
Thank you so much for helping the cause. My dream is some day I wake up and the U.S. is finally metric. Could you please add me to your list when your documentary comes available? Keep up the good work!
Think Smart, Think Lean, Think Metric, 1000m = 1km
Like the article. Keep up the good work.
We started our metrication in Ireland in 1970. I was in first year high school and our year was the first to get metric only textbooks. After school, I completed a science degree and am proud of the fact I’ve not used old units since then. We are nearly there. All shop products are in metric, as are our road signs. The only holdouts are beer (sold in pints), some references in the newspapers, and still some people who quote height and weight old style. It takes a lot more time that you’d think, but hopefully you’ll get there. Please include me in the documentary link.
All the best
Do you know her full name?
I know it’s an old post, but I can’t help but be envious of any nation (99% to be exact) that recognizes the benefits of a cohesive and rational system of measure! I find it incredibly perplexing why our government doesn’t mandate the SI be taught as the primary system from K-12 simply because it’s the language of science and engineering. I feel terrible for American kids. They are ill-prepared for a career out of school. Dismissal of teaching the metric system also suggests that third graders on every other nation on the planet is better prepared for science and technology than the average American high school graduate. That’s really pathetic.
Good to see people still here….it’s unfathomable (joke 😁) that the USA still use feet, inches, pints, pounds etc. Looking from the outside (Australia) there are so many things about the USA I don’t understand.
I am an anomaly. I am from the generation when we were told we were “going metric” – I was a school kid in the mid 70’s so technically, I -never- learned “our system” in a school. I was probably 10 years old before I learned that “lb” meant “pound” (hard to believe, I know). I thought it meant “label” – like a word with dual meaning (foot, yard comes to mind). And I am proud to say, I had no idea there were 1760 “yards” in a “mile” (how incredibly useless) and so on until my relatively recent metric epiphany. I simply used “our” garbage units because they’re all I had. These units are just something that’s “there” – They have no rational use or value as a tool – any part of them. This is where the exasperation comes in – having the desire to use the SI in a nation of selfish, recalcitrant buffoons who call all the shots and maintain the status quo. You cannot reason with any of them. We’ve “paid our way” out of metrication for so long, the average American is in a profoundly deep state of delusion. Metric legend suggests the mess we’re in here is the product of the activism of 2 “journalists” who convinced a sitting president (Reagan) that the metric system is bad for the country. They unilaterally decided for a nation (based solely on their personal opinion) to kill any forward momentum towards modernization – and here we sit. How incredibly irresponsible.
I’m writing a reportin school I need to know your first and last name.
I realise this blog is old but you seem to still monitor it… I’d just like to say that a big difference between the conversion to metric currency in the UK & Australia was that in Au. we converted one shilling to ten cents, the UK converted two shillings to ten cents. Our ten shillings to the dollar was much easier to get into your head than their conversion of 20 shillings to one hundred pence.(One pound)
This post is old but the overall blog is not. Posted a new entry just last month. Just an FYI
What’s the ETA for the documentary?
Hi there every one, here every person is sharing these kinds of know-how, so it’s good
to read this weblog, and I used to visit this web site daily.
It is my belief that the -only- way to be heard is to organize. We seem to have an abundance of intelligent, motivated people who recognize the importance, ease and practicality of the metric system but a splintered group of lone voices will have ZERO impact. Something HAS to change. Here’s my idea – AMSRUP (A Measure Up) Americans For Measurement System Reform, United For Progress.
First, thanks for letting me know you care about this. I absolutely agree. Give me a little more time. I’m trying to work on some things, however, when needed, I think I have some pretty cool branding for these efforts in “my back pocket.” I have to be careful to deploy the right resources at the right time. I haven’t built enough of a coalition or put in place enough of a structure to go down this road yet. Please be there when I am. Please? In the meantime, wanna help? I have to ask since my resources are pretty thin right now with lots of work on my horizon. Many hands make light work, as you clearly know. If not that, could you please help clue people in to what I’m starting to call “Our most overlooked, critical problem”? I love that you offer a concrete suggestion. We need more people like you. ;-D
“Please be there when I am. Please? In the meantime, wanna help?” Well, as far as I know, as they say – I ain’t goin’ nowhere and you bet I want to help. I’m doing everything I can as one person to advocate but you know better than anyone else it can be a fruitless and lonely endeavor lol. There’s power in numbers for sure and I’m looking forward to getting involved – just let me know how and if you’re open to ideas and suggestions.