Friday, March 13th, 2009

Imperial Measurements are Complicated

Why some parts of the world still insist on not using te metric system is a mystery. With the metric system all of the different units of measurement are done in multiples of ten. The older systems of measurement require that you remember all sorts of different numbers in order to convert to different scales rather than just multiplying or dividing by tens. Consider the measurements of length for example, you need to remember:

  • 12 inches = one foot
  • 1.5 feet = 1 cubit
  • 2 cubits = one yard
  • 2 yards = one fathom
  • 5.5 yards = one rod or perch or pole
  • 4 rods = one chain
  • 8 furlongs = one mile
  • 3 miles = one league

And that only covers a short part of the range of lengths that also includes such distances as Angstroms, Astronomical units, light years etc.

How many people really understand that system of measurement properly? From what I have been able to determine there are very few. For many years I have been asking those who like that system of measurement how many chains there are in a furlong and none of them has known their preferred system of measurement well enough to be able to answer.

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