## 26.2

Another number that screams “Go Metric!” is 26.2. Yes, this is the distance in miles of a marathon. Stickers with only this number on them seem to have proliferated on the backs of cars lately. I am guessing that the drivers of these cars have either driven a marathon course, or watched a marathon on TV.

What is interesting about the 26.2 is that is is rounded off number. The exact number is 26 miles, 385 yards. This is 26.21875 miles, which technically should be on those stickers. But, while one may think that this odd number is because it is a conversion from metric, it is not. The metric distance is 42.195 kilometers.

So, why is the distance of a marathon not an even number in either measurement system? It has to do with some strange story in history which I will not relate here. But I will say that this demonstrates clearly the need for a sensible standard measurement system. No, not the English system. The metric system.

## 144

Yet another number that represents, for the engineer, how a non-metric system of measures simply does not make sense is 144. It should be stated that although, technically, this number is not directly tied to the pitiful English system to which the United States nonsensically adheres, the fact that we have a number like 144 as a unit for ordering a number of an item, points out the need for a base ten system of weights, measures, and numbering.

144 is a number that is a “gross” of something. It is a dozen dozen. So, if 12 is not a bizarre enough number to use as a unit, we somehow have decided to make it more complicated by multiplying it by itself, by squaring it – 12 x 12, or 144. We end up squaring the illogical number, but instead of that making it make sense, it only makes it more convoluted.

There are times that the approach of the engineer may get complicated and caught up in calculating and recalculating, and adding in factors of safety, and remeasuring, and on and on. But when it comes to weights and measures, and counting – world, listen to the engineer. Let’s not have any more numbers like 144 as part of our system.

## METRIC SYSTEM – How Far to Swim

This week on engineeringdaze.com, we will pull together in one week some of the posts that were written to inform and to promote the metric system, an incredibly obviously superior system of measurement to the one we here in the United States use. This post was written during the first week of the summer Olympic games this year.

Hoping you all are sensible, intelligent, insightful, and reasonable thinkers. Then you all would be pro-metric…

Well, as an engineer, and an avowed supporter of the metric system, watching the Olympics is much less difficult to do than most spectator events. All the distances are in metric. Next week, when track and field cranks up, the distances people run will obviously be in metric, and even the distances people jump or throw objects are announced in metric, until the announcers convert it to feet and inches for the non-engineering, American audience.

I did figure out some people who would have like the Olympics in the archaic English system of measurements – the men’s swim team. I have tried to avoid comments about specific athletes, but will have to break with that norm for once. So, think about this: if the distance Michael Phelps would have swam in the butterfly would have been in the English system instead of metric, he would have gone 200 yards, not 200 meters. 200 yards is 182.88 feet. At that point in the race, Phelps was another meter or so, make that a few feet, ahead and would not have gotten barely beat out at the end.

Here is something to consider. A few nights before, the Americans were beat out in the last few meters, make that feet, for a first place in a relay. If the race had been in English, and not metric, the Americans may have won. But, they got beat out by the French team. Where did the metric system get introduced in 1799? In France.

It is a good thing that engineers are not, by and large, conspiracy theorists, and that they are supporters of the metric system. Otherwise, we couldn’t enjoy the Olympics. The rest of the USA can fret and watch gymnastics.

## METRIC WEEK – Signature Block for an Engineer

This week on engineeringdaze.com, we will pull together in one week some of the posts that were written to inform and to promote the metric system, an incredibly obviously superior system of measurement to the one we here in the United States use.

Hoping you all aren’t like my friend, John, who thinks I have a “problem” with being pro-metric, when clearly, it is the “pro-English” with the problem…

Signature blocks say something about the person. Many people put inspiring quotes after their names on e-mails. Some make up quotes themselves. Some of these add-ons may be educational, informative, or something meaningful the person would like the reader of the e-mail to remember.

For an engineer, this may also be true. I ran across a great signature block from an engineer recently:

43,560 square feet in an acre
5280 feet in a mile
16 ounces in a pound
128 ounces in a gallon

23 confused kids in a class

What could be simpler?

It was great! The engineer promoting the metric system in an educational, informative, and inspiring way.

## METRIC WEEK – You Might Be an Engineer If…

– you convert all the distances in the Olympic events to the English System of measurements and use them in every day conversation about the Olympics, just to show how senseless it is for the USA not join the 98% of the world’s countries who use the metric system.

This week on engineeringdaze.com, we will pull together in one week some of the posts that were written to inform and to promote the metric system, an incredibly obviously superior system of measurement to the one we here in the United States use.

Hoping you all aren’t my friend, Dave, who has not idea how many feet are in a mile, but still thinks the rest of the world should be converted to the English System…

## METRIC WEEK – 5280

This week on engineeringdaze.com, we will pull together in one week some of the posts that were written to inform and to promote the metric system, an incredibly obviously superior system of measurement to the one we here in the United States use.

Hoping you are not like my coworker, “Wade”, who says that the problem with the English System is that it does have a metric…

Some may know that the number 5280 represents the number of feet in a mile. Many people don’t remember that. Why such a strange number? Who knows.

But because it is so strange and difficult to understand and remember, the engineer considers this a great number. It’s like a politician who doesn’t have to use negative advertising because his or her opponent keeps saying stupid things. 5280 is a great number because it represents the failure of the system of measurement we use in the USA. Who wants to or can remember numbers like that?

Instead, go with the metric system. With numbers like 10 and 1000, trust me, it’s much easier. It’s much easier than remembering numbers like 5280.

## METRIC WEEK – A Simple Bar Chart

This week on engineeringdaze.com, we will pull together in one week some of the posts that were written to inform and to promote the metric system, an incredibly obviously superior system of measurement to the one we here in the United States use.

Hoping you all are not like my coworker, “Wade”, who understands that the metric system is a decimal system, but doesn’t get the point of decimals…

Here is a simple bar chart that says it all from the perspective of most engineers.

The Number of Countries that Use the Metric System vs. the Number of Countries that Do Not Use the Metric System

If you didn’t know, the USA is represented on the right, one of the three countries that does not use the metric system. There are approximately 193 countries (depending on how one counts countries) that do use the metric system.

It’s us, and our friends in Liberia and Myanmar.

Nuff said.

## 1000

All right, it’s soap box time. Somebody’s got to do it.

The number 1,000 is GREAT. It is the answer to many simple measurement questions:

How many meters are in a kilometer? How many grams in a kilogram? How many milliliters in a liter?

There are a lot of numbers that engineers like, and though they may not have this one as their favorite, engineers like it when all you have to do is move a decimal to change units. This definitely beats 5,280 or 16 or 8 or other odd numbers* one would have to memorize in a different measurement system other than the metric system. Regardless of Democrat or Republican, if a candidate had as his or her main platform to convert to the metric system, I know who I’d be voting for. Especially if they also made science fiction the national movie genre.

*Yes, all the odd numbers used as examples are actually even numbers, but that just shows (in my mind) how strange the system we have is.