## Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

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## Metric of Customary/Imperial for Everday Use?

Metric
110
86%
Customary/Imperial
18
14%

Mittagessen
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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

I'm using metric for everything and have used imperial units for exactly one purpose lately: preparing food requiring moderately exact measurements in a kitchen lacking a kitchen scale but having for some inexplicable reason an US standard cup. Converting grams of \$component to cm^3/ml and then to cups. We got a measurement jug now, so the last step can be skipped.
I'd greatly appreciate if recipe writers would use mass instead of weird, unscalable units like pinch and {tea,dessert,soup}spoon. It sooo sucks to put 40 teaspoons of \$insert_random_spice_here into a soup every time I cook for more than ten people.

Xanthir
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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

Why do you think that teaspoons are unscalable? There are 3 teaspoons in a tablespoon, and 2 tablespoons in an ounce. In other words, a teaspoon is 1/48 of a cup.

Pinches are indeed not an exact measurement. I've scaled them before, but I forget what I assumed them to be.

(These units are all still idiotic. I agree that mass is better, especially for things where packing affects volume a lot, like flour.)
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Steax
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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

Xanthir wrote:There are 3 teaspoons in a tablespoon, and 2 tablespoons in an ounce. In other words, a teaspoon is 1/48 of a cup.

I think I now remember why I hated elementary school.

I prefer grams and cups for cooking, if only because I'm used to tools with those units.
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Mittagessen
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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

Xanthir wrote:Why do you think that teaspoons are unscalable? There are 3 teaspoons in a tablespoon, and 2 tablespoons in an ounce. In other words, a teaspoon is 1/48 of a cup.

Pinches are indeed not an exact measurement. I've scaled them before, but I forget what I assumed them to be.

You're funny. Maybe this applies to your part of the world, There are US, UK, metric and the what-the-heck-i-just-use-an-ordinary-spoon teaspoon. I have yet to see a single recipe specifying which unit is used. After all there is a difference in almost 20 per cent just between the "standardized" spoons. In the aforementioned example this would cause a difference of almost 40 grams of \$spice. As someone with anosmia I am often required to follow the recipe to the letter so this inaccuracy disturbs me considerably.

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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

Mittagessen wrote:
Xanthir wrote:Why do you think that teaspoons are unscalable? There are 3 teaspoons in a tablespoon, and 2 tablespoons in an ounce. In other words, a teaspoon is 1/48 of a cup.

Pinches are indeed not an exact measurement. I've scaled them before, but I forget what I assumed them to be.

You're funny. Maybe this applies to your part of the world, There are US, UK, metric and the what-the-heck-i-just-use-an-ordinary-spoon teaspoon. I have yet to see a single recipe specifying which unit is used. After all there is a difference in almost 20 per cent just between the "standardized" spoons. In the aforementioned example this would cause a difference of almost 40 grams of \$spice. As someone with anosmia I am often required to follow the recipe to the letter so this inaccuracy disturbs me considerably.

It definitely applies within the US, and within the US, there is one standard for a teaspoon. (Of course, if you get a cheap set of measuring spoons, it's probably not going to be as accurate, but I would assume that's the case with metric measuring devices as well).

Also, I've never heard of a "metric" teaspoon. A metric equivalent for volume would likely have something to do with cubic centimeters or milliliters.

Xanthir
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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

Mittagessen wrote:
Xanthir wrote:Why do you think that teaspoons are unscalable? There are 3 teaspoons in a tablespoon, and 2 tablespoons in an ounce. In other words, a teaspoon is 1/48 of a cup.

Pinches are indeed not an exact measurement. I've scaled them before, but I forget what I assumed them to be.

You're funny. Maybe this applies to your part of the world, There are US, UK, metric and the what-the-heck-i-just-use-an-ordinary-spoon teaspoon. I have yet to see a single recipe specifying which unit is used. After all there is a difference in almost 20 per cent just between the "standardized" spoons. In the aforementioned example this would cause a difference of almost 40 grams of \$spice. As someone with anosmia I am often required to follow the recipe to the letter so this inaccuracy disturbs me considerably.

Man, who uses actual spoons? Those are ridiculously variable. I don't even *own* an actual teaspoon.

However, my ratios are definitely correct for the US, and they're also what google reports when you use their calculator to do conversions (though they do specify "US teaspoons" in the answer).
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Mittagessen
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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

Xanthir wrote:Man, who uses actual spoons? Those are ridiculously variable. I don't even *own* an actual teaspoon.

However, my ratios are definitely correct for the US, and they're also what google reports when you use their calculator to do conversions (though they do specify "US teaspoons" in the answer).

At least over here it is common to use an actual spoon. Saying those ratios are correct for the US is as useful as saying those ratios are correct for some minor county in Turkmenistan. Cooking a lot of non-European foods and collecting most recipes on the Internet (as quite a few people do these days) without necessarily knowing the source (geographically) any variation this large can be extremely annoying.

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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

If the recipe author is using a completely unstandardized measurement unit, I agree that's a problem. I would assert that a definite majority (probably some kind of supermajority, actually) of recipes on the internet written in English and using teaspoons are referring to US teaspoons, though, as they were probably written in the US. If you're specifically using recipes from outside the US, though, that probably won't apply. They should either be using the US definitions or be using metric units (preferably the latter).
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marcel
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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

Teaspoons in recipes are usually used for herbs and spices. Herbs and spices should never be blindly added by quantities from recipes, but always to taste. For this reason it is not very relevant which teaspoon is being used in a recipe.

Xanthir
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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

That's not true. Assuming you trust the source, you can usually follow the recipe pretty blindly. Tasting is of course required throughout cooking, especially for new recipes, but tasting my dry herb rub won't help very much (it's not intended to be eaten directly).

A factor of 2 difference in measurement size can make a big distinction there.
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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

Any other metric-lovers have hankerings for Metric Time or secretly had all their calculators set as Gradient default?

No? Just me...
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Tomlidich
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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

personally, i just wish they would standardize and just PICK ONE ALREADY!!

i hate needing to go back and forth between my car and my tool kit to decide whether or not the bolt is metric or us standard.

metric is easy. just a number printed right on the socket. "oh hey, 15 is a little small, lets go two millimeters up to 17."

i hate fractions, so naturally i hate having to deal with us standard sockets.

the one thing is, i would prefer to keep mph. it is just alot easier than changing to kmh, and i think alot of drivers would get confused by the change.

Iranon
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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

The major draw of the metric system is better standardisation though, it would make little sense to retain mph (or you may as well retain pints, inches, stones... and everything else). Kilometers per hour is already a concession to comfort, m/s would make more sense as those are the base units of the SI.

Unfortunately, I doubt we're going to see complete standardisation any time soon. Miles to km is easy because that's unlikely to throw entire industries into disarray. Trying to forcibly replace points with metric in typography would result in riots and murders and possibly the end of the world as we know it.
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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

Iranon wrote:The major draw of the metric system is better standardisation though, it would make little sense to retain mph (or you may as well retain pints, inches, stones... and everything else). Kilometers per hour is already a concession to comfort, m/s would make more sense as those are the base units of the SI.

Unfortunately, I doubt we're going to see complete standardisation any time soon. Miles to km is easy because that's unlikely to throw entire industries into disarray. Trying to forcibly replace points with metric in typography would result in riots and murders and possibly the end of the world as we know it.

Similarly, it'll be a long time replacing units things like beats per minute with Hz.
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enk
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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

styrofoam wrote:it'll be a long time replacing units things like beats per minute with Hz.

That would actually be pretty cool. I assume it would be used with a prefix. But what should that be? (I'm think of uses within music here)

For example, people who need music with a specific tempo for a certain dance or running exercises or something like that do not need big precision and the larger gap between integer values would make it easier to refer to a tempo, so they could use decihertz, dHz. For example, "for salsa the tempo should be 15-18". A change of one would actually be noticeable by most people. The same would be useful for analog musicians. (But of course the change of one is only relevant at normal tempo ranges. If you count each step in salsa as a beat (which most people do, I guess), you'd be closer to saying 30-36 and the point would drop.)
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GenericAnimeBoy
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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

There are some Customary/Imperial measurements you'll just never get rid of. The pint, for instance, is a very nice size for a beer. The best idea I've read so far for resolving this problem when we do eventually convert to the metric system: convert from US pint -> mL (1 US pint ~ 473mL) and round up, calling the result a (metric) pint. Then if you prefer metric terms you can use a nice, round, 1 pint=0.5L conversion factor and the rest of us still only need to pronounce one syllable while intoxicated. Convenient side effect: 5.7% more beer per pint.

enk wrote:
styrofoam wrote:it'll be a long time replacing units things like beats per minute with Hz.

That would actually be pretty cool. I assume it would be used with a prefix. But what should that be? (I'm think of uses within music here)

For example, people who need music with a specific tempo for a certain dance or running exercises or something like that do not need big precision and the larger gap between integer values would make it easier to refer to a tempo, so they could use decihertz, dHz. For example, "for salsa the tempo should be 15-18". A change of one would actually be noticeable by most people. The same would be useful for analog musicians. (But of course the change of one is only relevant at normal tempo ranges. If you count each step in salsa as a beat (which most people do, I guess), you'd be closer to saying 30-36 and the point would drop.)

Replacing BPM with deci- or centi- Hz would not only be annoyingly overkill, it would also confuse musicians for whom pitch is already measured in Hz, and for whom eleven is louder than ten.

Bottom line: more things in the world could stand to be in SI units, but not everything should be.
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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

GenericAnimeBoy wrote:There are some Customary/Imperial measurements you'll just never get rid of. The pint, for instance, is a very nice size for a beer. The best idea I've read so far for resolving this problem when we do eventually convert to the metric system: convert from British pint -> mL (1 British pint ~ 568mL) and round up, calling the result a (metric) pint. Then if you prefer metric terms you can use a nice, round, 1 pint=0.6L conversion factor and the rest of us still only need to pronounce one syllable while intoxicated. Convenient side effect: 1.06% more beer per pint.

enk wrote:
styrofoam wrote:it'll be a long time replacing units things like beats per minute with Hz.

That would actually be pretty cool. I assume it would be used with a prefix. But what should that be? (I'm think of uses within music here)

For example, people who need music with a specific tempo for a certain dance or running exercises or something like that do not need big precision and the larger gap between integer values would make it easier to refer to a tempo, so they could use decihertz, dHz. For example, "for salsa the tempo should be 15-18". A change of one would actually be noticeable by most people. The same would be useful for analog musicians. (But of course the change of one is only relevant at normal tempo ranges. If you count each step in salsa as a beat (which most people do, I guess), you'd be closer to saying 30-36 and the point would drop.)

Replacing BPM with deci- or centi- Hz would not only be annoyingly overkill, it would also confuse musicians for whom pitch is already measured in Hz, and for whom eleven is louder than ten.

Bottom line: more things in the world could stand to be in SI units, but not everything should be.

FTFY
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Derek
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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

Actually your fix just introduced several other mathematical errors. You might want to fix those too.

GenericAnimeBoy
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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

I'd go for .6L pints. More beer FTW.
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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

KestrelLowing wrote:Very true - I know that especially around Detroit (except for the 5 roads that come out of Detroit into the suburbs) everything is a mile grid. That's why I know what a mile actually is. It's just the distance between 13 and 14 Mile. The east-west roads are mile roads, and the north-south roads are often a mile apart as well (the major ones). It's actually an excellent system - if you tell me what mile road and I know the order of the north-south roads, I can easily find where they live and know approximately how long it will take to get there, even if I've never been there before.

Toronto's grid is laid out in rectangles measuring 1 Irish mile x 1/2 Irish mile...and an Irish mile. as fate would have it, is 2048 meters--almost exactly 2 kilometers, and even more exactly two kibimetres.

Jonathan589
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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

I’ve grown up with both Imperial and metric units so mentally use whatever fits what I’m doing. I’m not bothered which way it goes but I think the new Lost In Space sounds silly when they talk about ‘pounds’ of fuel that I need to divide by 2000 or maybe 2240 to get tons.

The American ‘cup’ idea and the older ‘spoon’ idea came from cultures that had someone doing all the cooking for the whole family for years and years and years starting from childhood. So the cook tasted and added the ‘right’ amount of a herb or flour or brandy or sugar to get the right taste or consistency. Then Sears or someone selling recipe books to pioneers could translate recipes with specified teaspoons/ounces/pints/milligrams by saying ‘cups’. Your kitchen had a cup you’d use for all the measurings. Someone else’s kitchen had a different cup so made slightly smaller cakes or pies. Another neighbour had a big family and a big cup to match. In all of these the proportions stayed the same. It's only complicated nowadays because kids don't learn to cook like their ancestors did and governments feel the need to define 'cups' precisely.

As for metric; has anyone else noticed that when the French invented it they deliberately made the essential units a little bigger than imperial equivalents? Meter = yard+10%; kilo = two pounds +10%; tonne = ton+1.6% or US ton+10%.

And another thing; if the metric system is so good, why do the Germans say ‘meilenweit’ when roads go a long way?

Oh yeah; British and Americans shouldn't say ‘kil-OM-itr’ when ‘kilo-MEE-tr’ is right. They don’t talk about mil-IM-itrs or cent-IM-itrs. I think a kil-OM-itr is a gauge for measuring murder rates. (I’ll get my coat …)

Derek
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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

Jonathan589 wrote:As for metric; has anyone else noticed that when the French invented it they deliberately made the essential units a little bigger than imperial equivalents? Meter = yard+10%; kilo = two pounds +10%; tonne = ton+1.6% or US ton+10%.

This is a coincidence. The meter was defined to be (approximately) 1/10,000,000th of the distance from the equator to the North Pole. The liter was defined as 1/1000th of a cubic meter, and the gram was defined to be the mass/weight (they didn't really make a distinction back then) of 1 milliliter (or a cubic centimeter) of pure water, and the kilogram derives from that, and the tonne is a repurposing of an old unit (the ton, 2000 or 2240 pounds) to serve as a synonym for the megagram.

Also the tonne is long ton - 1.6%, it's actually smaller.

Oh yeah; British and Americans shouldn't say ‘kil-OM-itr’ when ‘kilo-MEE-tr’ is right. They don’t talk about mil-IM-itrs or cent-IM-itrs. I think a kil-OM-itr is a gauge for measuring murder rates. (I’ll get my coat …)

This has to do with English stress rules, which are complicated but predictable.

Jonathan589
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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

Derek, you're right to find the hole in my 10% argument that was intended to be humourous and fell flat on the long ton!

I stand by my pronunciation one though. English 'rules' have always been very bendable according to where an imported word came from, which accent was used to pronounce it and had most influence on other users, and what history it went (or goes) through. Standard UK English had the stress on 'harass' and 'controversy' one way until recent decades moved it. Ditto Kilometer. Some things are just wrong but may be what Fowler called lost causes for me. Like I pronounce 'lingerie' like the French word it is and not lonzheray, and I can pronounce Kärcher like the Germans say it and not to rhyme with Marcher.

Gauges have the stress on the 'o' like odometer, hygrometer, thermometer, so why oh why did someone move the stress in just the one word 'kilometer' to make it different from every other metric measurement? Grams, Meters, Liters, Ares, Steres and all the energy/force/power/etc ones.

Sigh.

Thesh
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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

It's well know that to convert metric to imperial or vice versa you simply multiply by 2.2.
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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

Jonathan589 wrote:As for metric; has anyone else noticed that when the French invented it they deliberately made the essential units a little bigger than imperial equivalents? Meter = yard+10%; kilo = two pounds +10%; tonne = ton+1.6% or US ton+10%.

Isn't that a consequence of Imperial having a new and incompatible unit every few dozen percent?

Jonathan589
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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

Not quite Znirk. The Imperial 'system' just growed (like Topsy) over a millennium or two. It used natural body measurements for foot, inch, ell, yard and so on, and absorbed other weights and measures when they appeared or were needed. The French had similar odds and ends of measures until the Revolutionary wish to fix everything invented the metric system by saying "Let's stop adding and fixing and adjusting; let's just have a single integrated set of unit measures upon which everything may be based", so scrubbing all the local variants. That was fine. Their similar calendar change didn't gain traction but the rest did. (I tried to be funny by suggesting a French/English oneupmanship thing of adding 10%)

So why can't anyone--except me and few other radicals--pronounce kilometer properly?!

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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

Zat eez becausse you are not spelleeng eet correctly, mon ami Americain.

~meters are devices for measuring things.

~metres are units of length.

Imperial units are a pain.
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Jonathan589
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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

Mon cher Sableagle (pas 'sable-aigle'?). Je n' suis pas Americain, mais j'ai appris 'meter' en Allemagne!

French root 'metre', non-French root 'meter'? French system to start with so perhaps 'metre' more logical spelling to use in English? Perhaps. I'm not too fussed. I've just checked the Wikipaedia entry--did you see what I did there?--that tells me that English-speaking countries apart from the usual suspect use the French spelling and Germanic languages use the Germanic spelling, so I'm now caught up on the barbed wire of a dilemma as far as spelling goes. (Read the next bit substituting -re for -er where preferred.)

But I'm still right on the pronunciation! An inch is not about 25 mill-IM-iters, the capacity of a tonne of water is not a kill-O-liter.

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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

Thesh wrote:It's well know that to convert metric to imperial or vice versa you simply multiply by 2.2.

This is also the secret to unlimited free energy.

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### Re: Metric versus US Customary/Imperial for Everyday Use

WanderingLinguist wrote:This is also the secret to unlimited free energy.
Specifically; convert in a cycle from Joules to BTUs to Horsepower-Hours and back, skim off the fractional rounding errors to charge a battery.