Jan. 8th, 2015

kadenza: (ask dr stupid)
This is a pretty interesting topic. Canada has always been caught between several cultures (British, French, US). We were supposed to be fully Metricated by 1980, but some things just never caught on.
Reading the Wiki article brought back many memories, as Metrication was in full swing when I started Kindergarten. I had forgotten about this symbol, but it is really familiar to me– the symbol of the government's Metrication movement. It was found on things like our yellow classroom rulers, scales, and posters.

Despite all this, we continue to use paper that is 8.5 x 11" and print photos that are 4x6". All my print design work is in inches... and I hate it. Eighths and sixteenths of inches? Please.
Personally, I think of temperature in Celcius, very small measurements in milimetres, my own height in feet and inches (though I can give it in cm if need be), and distances in km. I think of large weights in pounds, small ones in grams. Many older people, like MIL, still very stubbornly use F when it comes to outdoor temperatures, though secretly they know that 20° is a nice day and -20° is fricking freezing. However, when it comes to body temperature, I know 37°C is normal, but I think of fevers in °F because that was what all our thermometers full of mercury used when I was a kid. I know anything over 37 is a fever, but I often translate it to F to figure out how "serious" a fever it is. 38.8° is a fever of 102°F. To me, 102 sounds much worse. Similarly, I think of body weight in pounds but prefer to weigh myself in kg, specifically because the number I see has no emotional associations. It's neither good nor bad, but truly "just a number."

Meanwhile, in craft land, it's just a mess. Most people I know measure knitting needle diameter by mm, but we frequently encounter US needle sizes in stores and knitting patterns. Yarn thickness is often measured in wraps per inch. All North American looms, even brand new ones made in Canada, are hopelessly Imperial. Reeds come in dents per inch, weaving widths are measured in inches, warping boards have pegs set one yard apart. Even my hand is 6" long, and I use it to measure with frequently. However, my customers all want wraps in metres; even the American ones. This has caused a few miscalculations on my part, but at least it's not as serious as some incidents I can think of.

This map of non-metric countries continues to boggle my mind (though clearly there are several countries that at least deserve to be shaded slightly pink, including mine):

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