"Let's be bold -- let's join the rest of the world and go metric," said Democratic presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee when he announced his bid for the Oval Office. CNN interviews John Bemelmans Marciano, author of Whatever Happened to the Metric System?, about why the US is the only industrialized nation not to use the metric system in business, or most other fields. (Above, U.S. Office of Education public service announcement from 1978.) From CNN:
"People say the metric system makes sense," Marciano says, "But in nature we don't think about dividing things by 10, do we? We think of halves and feet and thirds."
Acres, for instance, were based on the amount of land a man could plow in a day.
"Throughout history we have measured things by ourselves," Marciano says. "We are really losing something with metric."
And another thing: People think the metric system has something to do with science. It doesn't, Marciano says, except that it is used in science and every scientist will probably put forth a convincing argument for why it's silly not to be metric.
"That's the biggest misconception," Marciano says. "The metric system has everything to do with capitalism. It's all about a selling system."
"Refusing to Give an Inch" (CNN)
Whatever Happened to the Metric System?: How America Kept Its Feet (Amazon)
Jon Cog writes, "For Christmas, mathematician Donald Knuth shared some great geeky fun. He revealed how for the last 57 years, he's been incorporating the digits of pi into the exercises of his computer programming books -- a whopping 1,700 times. And before long his annual 'Christmas Tree' lecture 'had turned into a kind of […]
There's a scene in my novel Homeland (the sequel to Little Brother) in which the first 1,000 digits of Pi are featured; when it came time to produce the audiobook edition, poor Wil Wheaton -- the narrator -- ended up reading out Pi for four solid minutes, with some entirely understandable difficulties. Nick Land set […]
Nathan Davis writes, "When you shuffle a deck, it rearranges the order of the cards and I got wondering what that looked like.
Laptops are great when it comes to getting work done on the move, but sometimes you need a better and more responsive keyboard in order to get your work done away from your desktop. Here are six top-rated Bluetooth keyboards that will help you power through your tasks both at the office or while you’re […]
The life of an entrepreneur is rarely easy, regardless of whether you’re running Google or have yet to get your first idea off the ground. So why not make your life easier with a lifetime subscription to Zuitte 50+ Tools for Entrepreneurs while it’s over 90% off? With over 50 powerful tools that help everyday […]
When it comes to top-quality kitchen gadgets that won’t break the bank, nothing beats Gourmia. These eight best-selling Gourmia tools will help you take your culinary prowesses to the next level, and each one is available for an additional 15% off when you enter the coupon code COOKSAVE15 at checkout. 1. Gourmia GTF7350 6-in-1 Multi-Function […]