Why I will NEVER use the Metric System

How Americans Missed out on the Metric System
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The US decided not to join the rest of the world to go metric. Here’s why.

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Johnny Harris is a filmmaker and journalist. He currently is based in Washington, DC, reporting on interesting trends and stories domestically and around the globe. Johnny’s visual style blends motion graphics with cinematic videography to create content that explains complex issues in relatable ways. He holds a BA in international relations from Brigham Young University and an MA in international peace and conflict resolution from American University.

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Comment (44)

  1. Hey thanks for watching!

    A couple things:
    I have a Patreon where I share map backgrounds from videos as well as the actual scripts, you can find that here: https://www.patreon.com/johnnyharris

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  2. youre not teaching yourself right, you have to start again. we didnt automatically know how far 10 metres or a kilometre was, we measure against our experiences, for example, in primary school in australia we all attend swimming carnivals and the swimming pools were 50 or 100 metres long so we could use that as a reference for how far 50 metres is, again with bags of food and stuff that comes in 1kg lots, you get used to how 1kg feels so you can use it as a reference.
    just apply this to your own life and you will learn it, but it will only properly happen if you stop using imperial

  3. Enjoy your Emmy, Mr Harris. Well deserved πŸ₯‚ I prefer to use metric, but I’m not gunna criticise imperial just because I find it cumbersome. Do you find it difficult to adapt? It’s a matter of scale and the scale is what You choose! I don’t comprehend your mission here, apart from highlighting how children have no concept of β€œscale” as you (we) put it.

  4. How I know what's 20 cm? That's the approximate length of MY hand span. Or how I know what's 45 km? That's the approximate length between my hometown and the center of it's county, around 50 minutes of driving. There's no problem using everyday things "at hand' for measurement reference in your life imo. The problem is when you think, that should be the one and only universal measure πŸ˜€

  5. Ummm we 'Muricans inherited it from the Brits, which in turn they inherited from the Germans who were partly colonized by the Romans and their unit of measurements aka Pfunt, Meile, Pfennig, etc.

  6. Do you know what is the secret to using a metrics system? We don't estimate how far something is with a precise number of meters on our head, but if we should we can easily know it and compare it to how far is it in kilometers and how fast we can go to reach that

  7. Canada also has a hybrid system unofficially. Growing up we all used feet and inches to talk about height and used pounds for people's weight. Houses are measured using square feet and properties with acres. Distances and speed use metric, as do weights in a lot of places. Certain exceptions exist though. There's a chart kicking around out there that details using measurements in Canada using a sort of flow chart.

  8. I'm British – we use imperial and metric interchangeably (in my experience). Depends on age / situation etc. I like both systems – different use cases. My favourite thing about imperial though, is watching Americans defend it but then use any other unit of measure (ex football fields) instead of it πŸ˜‚

  9. This completely leaves out Eratosthenes who first measured the circumference of the earth with literally a stick and shadows

  10. Did you know an RX can be written in grains or drams? Pharmacists, Dr’s and Nurses actually need to know the imperial system because some doctors still write prescriptions in imperial measurements. You see Mg’s or grams on the pharmacists interpretation of what the doctor may have actually signed off on. It’s rare, nevertheless there are still instances.

  11. I was able to switch over and I got through it… it's practice. That's all it matters. You have to practice, you can't just give up soon as you're presented with math again.

  12. We've learned metric the same way you learned imperial. I only know how long 100m is because that's the distance between the markers on highways. And these markers are used in driving classes to teach you what distance to keep for the car in front of you. A liter is the volume of a 1l water bottle. Which also has a certain weight to it which is a pretty much a kilogram. A bag of cement is 20kg, one brick is 2kg, etc etc. We equate the world around us in all of these different numbers our whole life so to start changing that as an adult is ofc gonna be way to difficult. It's like that smarter everyday video where destin has reversed the rotation of the steering wheel on his bike. Took him forever to do it and he looked like it was his first bike ride.

  13. Just wanted to pitch in some Asian perspectives. In traditional street markets in Taiwan, ζ–€ jin and ε…© liang, our two traditional weight measurements, are still very often the default. One jin is 600 grams, or 0.6 kg, and one liang is 1/16 of a jin.

    Funny thing is they came from China, but the current Chinese jin is 500 grams, or 1/2 kg.

    These traditional measurements, just like your examples of pint and ounce, are just very prone to change and discrepancies across different times and countries. But they manage to remain functional as long as a society agrees on how much it is and continues to use it.

  14. Interesting how you neglected to mention that Britain only adopted the metric system in 1965! So yeah I think people can change their minds. Also your inability to adopt the metric system in a country that uses imperial is not reflective of the metric system or yourself, it just how our minds work!

  15. Because you're indoctrinated? Because anything that makes something else simple is bad? Because NASA uses metric? Because manufacturing uses the metric system? Because the US military uses the metric system? Because US scientist use the metric system and you don't like that they are smarter than you?

  16. In the Philippines, the height is commonly measured in feet and inches, weight can be in Kg or Lbs up to you, Softdrinks in ounces or Milliliters or Liters, rice in kilograms, speed and distance in kilometers, but when you buy curtains, it can be in inches, yards or meters. Tv's in inches. Swimming pool depth in Feet. Temperature in Celsius. Its wild wild west of measurement.

  17. In Australia it’s weird as well. Generally screen size is measured in inches, whether it be phones, TVs or car infotainment screens. Height is a blend, I personally use feet but it sort of depends on the person. Weed, weirdly, is still measured in ounces by people who smoke it. Wheel and tyre size is measured in inches, but everything else about cars is in metric. It’s very, very weird. There’s some more things I can’t remember but those are the sort of main ones.

  18. the only things I know about imperial is that 1/4 mile is 1320 feet (thanks @1320 video) and a foot is 12 inches or 30cm.

    heres some easy temperature for you, 21Β°c is a nice spring day, warer boils at 100Β° and freezes at 0Β°

  19. Hey Johnny, congrats on your Emmy award. Keep up your good work. I find your vids entertaining informative and sometimes a blast. Anyhow I'd like to mention You yanks have been sorts of using the metrin system since the dollar. 100.cents =1 $ haha

  20. I am from Indonesia, we don't use the Imperial system but most people that got K-12 Education recognizes the "value" of Imperial system and how to convert them… Especially for Distances, Temperature and Volume in a lot of cases and Mass in very minor occasion… I reckon mainly because Indonesia rely heavily on Trade for goods that uses those measures. Some of our Vehicles measure Petrol/Gas Consumption with MPG (Miles Per Gallon) not Km/L, especially cars… Motorcycles may use Km/L but some also do MPGs. Volumes are often both in Liters and Fluid Ounces…
    And we are also thought how to Convert Celsius to Fahrenheit at Elementary Physics class.

    We would never use the Imperial system. But obviously we could accommodate societies who do. The key for me is the fact that those who do use Imperial System are Common people … And for Common people, it's not about pure precision, it's about Communication.

    If you don't get that I am sweating on 30 degrees heat, that's an issue of communication, not precision.

    And if you deal in Precision… You would opt for Standardized measure and don't use it as a communication.

    Measurement is where the world of Humanities (Communication and Language) and Science (Precision and Technicalities) collide and it's honestly beautiful too see how deep it goes

  21. Imagine working with imperial at NASA lol. So stilly. All you need now is to drive on left side(because you don't read a book from right side). Plus drive from right side of car (because right hand is mostly the most dominant hand for steering).

  22. at my place, we usually use feet when building houses or measuring room size. other stuff we use metric. (y)

  23. Architect here ,I feel the most comfortable in Metric system. But it is because I was trained in the Metric standards. Imperial is the go to for basic understanding of measurement. But When I design a building I would go for metric because I have to deal with Engineers who all are trained in the MEtric system.

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