The real reasons the US refuses to go metric

The real reasons the US refuses to go metric

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– We struggle with units of measurement all the time on our channel and it’s something that we
get a lot of comments about. – [Woman] Pro tip: use the metric system. – [Man] Why don’t you
use the metric system man, so annoying. – [Woman] Metric please. – [Man] Just use the
(bleeped out) metric system, for god’s sake – We interview scientists,
engineers, and other researchers but they live in a metric world. We then have to turn
around and make a video but around half of our
audience is American. So if we say something in
centimeters or kilograms it could trip up a lot of our viewers. We’ve tried going back and forth. We should make an executive decision about using Fahrenheit or celsius. Um, its like three, isn’t
it three something feet? We should know this. We’ve put conversions
in parentheses on screen but it’s a mess and we want to know why. Almost everyone on the
planet uses the metric system but why has the United States held out? Well, there are a ton of
reasons both big and small but here are three reasons that we’ve never considered before. Reason number one: US measures are dumb but they make sense. Officially, the United
States uses a system known as the US customary measures. It’s adapted from the imperial system that we inherited from
our British forefathers and we’ve clung to their
feet and ounces ever since. The UK is now officially metric-based but in practice, imperial units are sticking around there, too. – I’m in such a quandary. I wake up in kilograms,
I go to bed in ounces. I, you know, do I measure
things by meters or feet? I don’t know, it’s actually,
no it’s fine, it’s fine. – That’s James Vincent,
a reporter for The Verge. – James lives in the UK but writes for a US-based publication. So, he’s pretty familiar
with the headaches caused by juggling two systems of measurement. – I put it along as a prop but now I haven’t had
a chance to use it yet. – James says feet and
ounces might be clunky but the US and the UK haven’t ditched them because they just work. – A foot, for example, is
more relatable than a meter which was originally
defined as one ten-millionth the distance from the
equator to the North Pole. A foot is what it sounds like. An inch is about the
width of an adult thumb. If you have a body, you
can use these measures. – Some people argue and I
think there’s the decent case to be made that they
are sort of on a human scale. – And while many European
countries ditched their old measures because they
were irregular or confusing, America’s units were just more consistent right from the get-go. US has started on a stronger footing than many European countries did. They have had good, consistent
weights and measures and consistency matters far more than what unit you’re actually using. – The point is, the US
system has always been a little more accessible than metric. Sure, stacking up 12 thumb
widths to make a foot that’s still kind of weird but it’s not so weird that
we’re clambering to change it. Reason number two: Americans
can’t be bothered to switch. Adopting the metric
system is something that a majority of Americans
would have to get behind. There’d need to be a popular movement and very recently, one man
tried to make that happen. (“Yankee Doodle”) We took a trip to Rhode Island
to talk to Lincoln Chafee. He’s a former senator,
Rhode Island governor, and presidential candidate in 2016. And he had a grand vision
for taking the US metric. – I think America should
be behaving a little more along with the other civilized countries and it just makes sense when
our two closest countries, Mexico and Canada, both have metric so it’s an international,
forward-looking way of where America’s going
is how I got interested in promoting the metric system. – [Cory] Lincoln ran on his Prosperity through Peace platform which focused less on military spending, and more on infrastructure, education, and generally making friends
with other countries. But he tacked one extra
point onto his platform that seemed pretty fated to backfire. – Earlier, I said let’s be bold. Here is a bold embrace
of internationalism. Let’s join the rest of
the world and go metric. I just kept saying Stephanie was right and my wife was right. Never should have brought it up. I remember exactly when I
was reading over the speech right near where we’re sitting right now and she said don’t put
the metric in there. It’s gonna be misinterpreted. But I wanted to test. Can America, can we have a conversation about some controversial things? – [Cory] Unfortunately for Lincoln, his test was pretty conclusive. – Cafee said an important
part of his platform is getting the US to finally
adopt the metric system. – [Narrator] Lincoln Cafee, he’ll be out of this race in .2 nanoseconds. – [Reporter] Lincoln Chafee’s
odds of getting the US to finally embrace the metric system are probably about as low
as Lincoln Chafee’s odds of getting to be the next
president of the United States – But my wife was right. It was totally
misinterpreted and ridiculed and mocked and nobody ever asked about any of the other issues. – [Cory] Lincoln withdrew
from the race in 2015. – I have decided to end my
campaign for the president today. – [Cory] And with him went any hope of conversation around metric. Though Lincoln still holds out hope. – Ultimately, people have
an affection for America and it’s still there and
we should be building on it instead of driving a
wedge into our differences with countries around the world and metrics is part of it. It’s a good symbolic part of it. – The moral of the story,
don’t hold your breath for a metric uprising in America. – Almost every nation on Earth has fallen under the yoke of
tyranny, the metric system. – But for what it’s worth, we might actually be in the middle of a much sneakier metric takeover. Reason number three: The US
is secretly already metric. The US may not be officially metric, but meters and kilograms
have found their niches. First, US scientists do not
mess around with US measures. – Metric was designed by
scientists and who primarily you know they were annoyed
about inconsistencies within the systems they
were currently using. – [Cory] The metric system
uses standard, consistent prefixes based on powers of ten. So if you know your prefixes,
you can measure a lot or a little of anything
using one base unit. – Whether you are doing
very precise measurements in chemistry or you’re looking
at astronomical differences that’s where metric is useful because you if you wanna move the unit you just, you know,
move the decimal point. – Industry is largely on
board with metric, as well. In 1988, Congress passed a bill which required federal agencies
to use metric measurements. Another bill in 1992, required
businesses to use metric for consumer goods, too. Ever wonder why your soda can lists both ounces and milliliters? And last but not least,
imperial units are now technically based on metric definitions. An inch is defined as 25.4 millimeters and a pound is .45359237 kilograms. Metric really is everywhere. – You’ve got the scientific standards at the heart of the scientific community. You’ve got the companies, they’re metric and you might have as we do in the UK, certain examples where
other units are used in day-to-day life but where
it counts, America is metric. – There you have it. The US is one big measurement gray area. We haven’t officially switched to metric but we haven’t shunned it either. It’s a compromise between
science and industry which benefit from metric, citizens who feel no reason to change – Kilograms – And a government that’s
trying to keep everyone happy. – Ultimately, there’s
only one way that James thinks this story ends. – As you know, the US is already metric essentially it just has
this facade of measures. The thing to do is just
to wait for that facade to slowly crumble away and
that will happen with time. – When that change happens,
you can be sure that we at Verge Science will
accept it with open arms. Until then, please be patient
with us in the comments and don’t forget to like
and subscribe, thanks.

100 thoughts on “The real reasons the US refuses to go metric”

  1. ein Google Name kann exakt ganze 100 Zeichen lang seien Wie soll man das denn ohne Satzeichen Füllen says:

    1. Is just wrong. If you used to it all systems are natural.
    2. Literally the only reason for it.
    3. An expeption is not a reason.

  2. Unifying units is the reason that since is universal the reason that US don't wanna use metric because they simply don't care about the rest of the world

  3. Even if wanted to. The national cost to swap signs out. Car manufacturing etc would make it create so much backlash on government taxes to pay for project

  4. Everytime i watch youtube channel that measures with miles, foot, inches i just dont want to bother to measure anymore lmao

  5. I would say that if this is a science channel, then it should stick with metric system. Or at least, place metric system on screen wheen using imperial

  6. But Americans dont even use the standard imperial system – US gal, US ton etc – that is because they think the world revolves around them – about time they got with the program – a selfish backward looking country

  7. The point is not what kind of notations are on the coke can. The point is that when I speak of the height of 2 meters, most Americans won't know if that's closer to a person or a giraffe. And I'm not seeing that changing in the slightest, no matter what they decide to print on consumer foods.

  8. The US doesn't even use proper Imperial. Eg 1 US pint = 473ml. 1 imperial pint = 568ml.
    1 US gallon = 3.78L. 1 imperial gallon = 4.54L.
    Way to make things more confusing America! First you stop spelling words correctly and now this?

  9. Bottom line: NASA lost its $125-million Mars Climate Orbiter because spacecraft engineers failed to convert from English to metric measurements when exchanging vital data before the craft was launched, space agency officials said.

  10. What consistency??? Is it my foot or your foot?? Wheres the freskig consistency!? 1000 is a 1000 no matter how u spin it.

  11. So let me see if I got it right…

    Metric is better for people who actually use their brains.
    Imperial is better for nationalists numb skulls

  12. I think the two-way system is working just fine. In fact, the horse world uses is a different system to measure horse height and it with hands.

  13. "a foot is what it sounds like" There's a lot of difference between a size 36(23.5cm) and 45(27.9cm) foot, so which one do you use?
    And yeah, shoe sized are weird too.

  14. I hope we don't go metric because I'mma wake up one day and realise im paying 3 dollars to the liter as opposed to 3 dollars a gallon for gas

  15. Lol I just saw a news headline from the usa it said "manhole was about the size of 7-8 washing machines". They'll really use anything but the metric system lmao.

  16. 2:00 that’s just wrong. There are also equivalent in the metric system. 1m ~ one step by an adult men. 10 cm = 1 dm ~ Rist to thumb. 1 cm ~ with of nail. Etc.

  17. As a US citizen I would love to move to metric! I dislike unit conversions (5280 ft to 1 mile, water boiling at 212ºF, etc.). Let's just change to something that makes sense.

  18. Just sounds like excuses.
    I'm sorry, but the USA is a self-centered country that doesn't really Care about what happens outside it's borders.
    "Oh, it makes sense."
    No, it doesn't. I can guess how much is a meter. You can't because you're not used to it.

  19. It's good that you take the road less taken.. but that doesn't mean you should do it just for others' inconvenience.

  20. I use both it’s not hard took me less than a week to comprehend and I’m Canadian btw we still use imperial alongside metric so up here you really have to know

  21. I have a question for the world why can't the usa just stick with what it has now why do they have to have the metric system why can't they just be different

  22. Am I the only person that finds it odd that they decided to show the reporter on a laptop screen? Here I am watching a video of a reporter on a laptop in a video I’m watching on my tablet. Seems strange.

  23. Once ESA and NASA worked togheter and after all they had to do it all over because NASA didn’t use the metric system thats the real reason us sciencestist use the metric system

  24. How u gon say that the imperial system is more consistent and then tell us that scientists don’t use it cus it’s….. not consistent?

  25. We know the basics of metric units for science stuff. It's easy for that kind of work.
    Inches, feet, yards and miles are just easier for everyday use.

    As for the people asking how we measure things in cups, or what measurement that even is…. I don't actually know why we have measurements in teaspoons and tablespoons and cups.

  26. 3:34
    I don't care
    Except for that cute soft boi at the back , do we have a measurement system to measure adorability? :/

  27. World: “Eventually the US will lose the facade”

    Literally every American: “Nah no thanks we like guns per texases”

  28. Off topic, but everytime a foreign person assumes all Americans are fat idiots, im gonna say all brits have the same accent

  29. LOL This is like sooooo outdated just look here veritasium did video on it and America was and ever will be metric despite using their measurment unit….they CONVERT!

    PS: dissliked!!!! Good way to go verge….. another fiasco after that PC build guide… ew!

  30. The SI (Systeme International for mrasurement) was normalized since the french revolution for one reason: Make humanity speak the same measurement language, Extraterrestrials (Aka US) are not concerned about normalization, CO2 emissions, ozone layer…etc…such selfish behavior make me wonder how this nation managed to go to the moon?

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