The Preamble

The short story:

  1. I’m on holiday.
  2. Maps are cool.
  3. For more, read my first post of 2015: 2015, and Mapping The Way Forward.

Countries that make it complicated:

Thanks viralnova
Thanks viralnova

Which is a bit of a mystery, not so?

Some comparisons from

Comparing metric with imperial

Metric Imperial
It is consistently based on decimal numbers It uses different number systems (base 3, 8, 12, 14, 16, etc)
Works well with percentages Percentages are difficult to work out (Try deducting 10% from your body weight in stones and pounds!)
Able to deal with very large and very small quantities (using prefixes based on powers of ten) Large units limited in size and have an awkward relationship to smaller units. Small quantities handled with awkward fractions
One sort of unit for weight:

  • gram (and its muliples)
Two systems of weight:

  • avoirdupois pounds, ounces, etc
  • troy pounds, ounces, etc
One system of volume:

1000 millilitres = 1 litre,
1000 litres = 1 cubic metre

Two systems of volume:

  • fluid ounces, pints, quarts, gallons
  • cubic inches, feet and yards

(How many pints in a cubic foot?)

Handles mechanical and electrical quantities No electrical units. Mixing imperial mechanical units and metric electrical ones is messy
Units are the same internationally Some units differ between UK and US

  • different pints and gallons
  • different tons
  • different fluid and dry ounces
Simple calculations such as floor area, energy consumption and volumes are easy Simple calculations such as floor area, energy consumption and volumes are needlessly complicated

Come now.

Rolling Alpha posts opinions on finance, economics, and the corporate life in general. Follow me on Twitter @RollingAlpha, and on Facebook at