Reporting from hell’s 0.2 hectare

That Sunday quickie about the metric system has generated a concurrence:

I’ll let you in on how I feel about the metric system: it’s great for stuff that is too small to see and for stuff that is too far away to touch, but for everyday existence, I prefer American. A foot is a foot, a mile a minute is a good speed for getting somewhere by car. One hundred degrees is hot, zero degrees is cold. What are the values for these in the metric system? Prime numbers from the planet Xylorcanth. And before you go trying to tell me that we could have a kilometer a minute as a good speed, if we only changed the length of a second to a more metric-centric value, let me remind you that your heart beats once per second, or it would if you were a real human and not some Eurocentric cyborg wanna-be.

If we must have metric, let us have Metric, a Canadian band whose 2012 album Synthetica has been boiled down to a bunch of lyric videos, including this one:

The guy who’s singing with Emily Haines? Lou Reed, in what might have been his last studio performance. He sounds downright upbeat at times.


  1. fillyjonk »

    9 July 2014 · 11:03 am

    I dunno. I guess I’m bilingual when it comes to measurement: I can happily use the metric stuff for my research and when I teach, and I can even kinda-sorta visualize how much a kilogram or a liter is. But when I cook or sew or buy fabric, I go Imperial (Is it still okay to call it Imperial, if the Empire that it’s named for is pretty much dead, and anyway, I’m an American?)

    Even British and some European quilt patterns are still sized in inches; centimeters seem not to work as well. When things are scaled in increments of 1/4″, it gets messy to try to use metric.

  2. McGehee »

    9 July 2014 · 1:02 pm

    You load 14,545 kilograms, and what do you get?

  3. CGHill »

    9 July 2014 · 1:38 pm


  4. Roger Green »

    11 July 2014 · 4:58 am

    …but still deeper in debt.

  5. canadienne »

    11 July 2014 · 1:03 pm

    I’m also bi-metrical, since inches and feet and pounds, etc. linger here or seep across the border. Once you get used to it, the metric system is neither more or less intuitive than Imperial, though it’s a lot easier to use for some things. I do miss the mile-a-minute estimates that we used to use on car trips, but now it’s 100 km/hour, and we’re used to ballparking how long it will take (50km, half an hour, 20km, somewhere around 10-15 min) Celsius makes a lot more sense to me than Fahrenheit: water freezes at 0, boils at 100. What’s with this 32 and 212 stuff? And who anywhere is using metric time units?

    Actually since I occasionally work with print design, I’m also familiar with points and picas, and web design in pixels – four measurement systems! Keeps the mind flexible.

    Also 60 beats per minute is on the low end of the range for human heart rates. In my first aid class I was told 60 to 100. Don’t remember any mention of cyborgs, Eurocentric or otherwise. Presumably cyborg first aid is a different course.

    Metric is a great band!

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