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Thursday, April 28, 2011

How many feet are in a mile? Quickly now!

There are 5280 feet in a mile. How about, how many inches are there in 18 feet? The answer is 216 inches.  I just read an article on "Why America Should Use the Metric System" by Deborah-Diane in which the author lists several reasons on why America should switch to the metric system.  Its factor of ten makes the metric system more intuitive to learn and work with.  Plus, just about every country in the world, except for the United States, uses it.

One compelling factor that Deborah-Diane makes is that the cumbersome nature of our Imperial measurement system, using inches, feet, yards and miles, present a disadvantage to learning math, causing our kids to lag behind other nations. Although this logic seems to make sense, I wonder -- I've never really had to convert feet, yards and miles from one unit of measurement to another.  And converting inches to feet and vice versa was never too painful.  A bigger annoyance for me is measuring time, with increments of 60 minutes in an hour.  Computing my weekly hours is always cumbersome as I always find myself trying to fit the calculations into a decimal frame of reference.

For me, though, the biggest reason to convert to the metric system is sitting on my desk right now.  I am looking at a 1.75 L bottle of juice that is 1.75 L or 1 QT 1 PT 11 FL OZ (59 FL OZ).  How much more cumbersome can you get!  Ok, quickly now, how many fluid ounces in a quart?

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