Welcome! Sign in to access your account. New user?

Converting measuring units

There are many measuring systems around the globe, for length, volume, weights, temperature etc. Besides some exotic ones, the most important ones are metric units, British units and US units. The latter two are mostly identical (except for volumes and weights). Sometimes you need to convert something from one to the other. There are a lot of unit converters available online and they work quit, but they all have the problem that measures are not displayed as people actually use them when converting into non-metric units with arbitrary sub units and fractions. I would like to develop something that's more oriented on how people actually speak and think. And here I need your help, my dear non-metric friends. Please help me find out the best form of displaying them. Thanks a lot.
Let's start with something simple: distance on a human scale, say the height of a person, the width of a window opening, the height of a room, the depth of a cupboard. I'm 1.85m tall, how would you express this height? Unit converters say 6.07ft or 72.83in. I guess you would say 6ft 1in. Is this right?
no - I'd say:
Now suppose you want to fit a rack exactly into your basement which has a height of 2.55m (8.366ft or 100.4in). One inch is still a quite rough measure then. How would you express this?
I would use cm, as in the DIY store they use cm anyway (happened to me in Britain).
8ft 0.4in
100 1/2in or 8ft 1/2in
100 1/3in or 8ft 1/3in (which is pretty exact, and your rack would definitely fit)
100 5/12in or 8ft 5/12in (which is as exact as you can measure with a tape measure)
I would say:
Would you ever use the measures "barleycorn" (1/3 inch) or "line" (1/12 inch) in real life?
yes (please specify which and when)
Now to slightly larger scale: 59m (64.52yd or 193.6ft). Which of the following would you consider using according to what is measured and which precision is needed?
64 1/2yd
64yd, 2ft
64yd 1 1/2ft
193 1/2ft
193ft 7in
64yd 1ft 7in
I would say:
Let's go a little bit larger: 1400m (0.87mi or 1530yd). Which of the following would you consider using?
1/2mi 650yd
2/3mi 340yd
3/4mi 210yd
5/6mi 60yd
6/8mi 210yd
10/12mi 60yd
Let's go to distances over a mile: 3.8km (2.4mi or 4200yd). Which of the following would you consider using?
2 1/2mi
2 1/3mi
2 1/4mi
2 3/8mi
2 4/12mi
2mi 600yd
I'd use
Now to areas: Are square yards ever used?
no, we go directly from square foot to squares (100 square ft)
no, we go directly from square foot to acres ( 43 560 square ft)
no, we use another intermediate measure
Are "squares" (100 square ft or 11 1/9 square yd) ever used?
no, not really - we rather use
Now to small volumes 20ml (or 2cl or 20ccm as you like), that is 0.70 fl oz (UK) or 0.68fl oz (US). Which of the following would you rather use?
0.70 or 0.68 fl oz (depending on location)
7/10 fl oz
2/3 fl oz
3/4 fl oz
8/12 fl oz
17/24 fl oz (UK) or 16/24 fl oz (US)
Now to larger volumes: 26l (or 26cdm as you like), that is 5.7gal or 915fl oz (UK) or 6.9gal or 880fl oz (US). Which ones would you consider using?
5.7gal or 6.9gal (depending on location)
915fl oz or 880fl oz (depending on location)
5 3/4gal or 6 3/4gal (depending on location)
5gal 115fl oz or 6gal 112 fl oz (depending on location)
Now to weights. My weight is 86kg, that is 13.5st or 190lb (same for UK and US). How would you express that?
13 1/2 st
190 lb
13st 8lb (that is definitely the British way, I believe)
smaller weights: 2.35kg (or 2,350g as you like), that is 5.18lb or 82.9oz. Which one would you consider using?
5 1/4lb
82 11/12oz
82 21/24oz
5lb 3oz
5lb 2 11/12oz
5lb 2 21/24oz
For now, that is it. Many thanks for your participation. There might be a follow up poll to this one. I now only have some last questions for you. To which of the following do you agree?
The metric system is easier then the Anglo-saxon ones.
Anglo-saxon systems are not more complicated than the metric system if you are used to it.
Using Anglo-saxon systems is good from a didactic point of view. You learn how to deal with fractions and other multipliers than 10.
Using Anglo saxon systems is good for teaching arithmetic, but it's pointless as most people can't deal properly with numbers anyway.
My country should adopt the metric system as soon as possible
My country should adopt the metric system in a smooth process, perhaps over 20 years and only where it's practical - I mean: you don't have to switch from drinking pints to half litres, as it is always exactly one or a half.
Although the metric system is more practical, a switch would only confuse people. I'm against it.
Although the metric system is more practical, a switch would cost too much money. I'm against it.
More practical or not, either works, so there is no need for a switch.
Creationism is more popular in the US than in any other country, and in the UK more than in the rest of Europe. There is probably a common root between sticking to irrational beliefs and sticking to impractical measures.
Practical or not, it's good to preserve traditions and heritage. I would strongly oppose a switch (hard or soft) if the parliament decided to go for it.
Any comments you like to make? Your email if you want to get notified of any follow-up poll? I would also appreciate any comment in the message area.
This poll was created on 2013-06-20 08:19:30 by zugger