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  1. Justin R.
    January 19, 2018 @ 2:01 pm

    I’m with you on the overall point of flexibility of systems built around 12ths and 16ths, and agree that there’s value in them that has been lost in metric. In fairness though, there is one other feature of metric that wasn’t addressed: they work together as a system.

    In metric, every measurement can be represented by one of the seven base units – amps, kelvin, seconds, meters, kilograms, moles or candela – or some combination of them (e.g. newtons are kg*m*s^-2, and ohms are kg*m^2*s^4*A^2). And these can be combined, yet still retain their clear relationships, such as in the case of torque: 1 N*m applied through 1 rotation requires 2pi joules. Thus, one milliliter of water occupies one cubic centimeter, weights one gram, and requires one calorie of energy to heat up by one degree Celsius, which is one percent of the difference between its freezing point and its boiling point. An amount of hydrogen weighing the same amount has exactly one mole of atoms in it.

    In the imperial system, if you want to know “how much energy does it take to boil a gallon of water at room temperature?” the answer is “give me some paper and 10 minutes”, because you can’t directly relate any of the quantities.

    I think in the end these will converge, and we’ll use the most appropriate measure for the usage: liters of diesel and pints of beer; nautical miles on passages, mms of plate thickness, and fathoms of rope; and so on. Now if only we can bring back the league 🙂