# The American Spectator

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## Measure for Measure

Old weights and measures have lasted in America because they grew from the free transactions between people.

Since 1995, under pressure from the European Union, our Land Registry in Britain has been measuring land areas in hectares, rather than acres. As from now the acre is no longer protected as a legal measure, and all transactions in land must be conducted in hectares. The European Commission has not banned the acre: but it has not needed to, since it has pushed the British people into a corner where their ancient way of measuring and parceling out land no longer has any real legal standing. This is one part of the ongoing abolition of England, and it offers me an occasion to reflect on the meaning of weights and measures, and on what first inspired the comprehensive decimal system that is now uniform across Europe.

It began in France at the Revolution, when the decimal system was proposed as uniquely rational, proof that people were able to organize their lives according to Reason rather than Custom. The meter and the centimeter, the franc and the centime, the liter and the centiliter, the hectare and the square meter were henceforth to replace all the old weights, measures, and currencies that had reminded the French of the unexamined ways by which they had lived. Even the clock had to be decimalized, with 10 hours to the day, 100 minutes to the hour, and so on. The Revolutionaries stopped short of decimalizing the months, but were clearly deeply frustrated that they could not boss the moon about as effectively as they could boss the earth.

From the mathematical point of view there is nothing sacrosanct about the decimal system, which owes its preeminence to our human fingers, rather than to any properties of the number 10. As we now know, if there is a basic way of counting, on which all others depend, it is that of binary arithmetic, using the numbers 0 and 1. But what was offensive about the decimal system was not its arbitrariness. It was its despotic intent. The decimal system did not evolve; it did not emerge by an invisible hand from the transactions of free individuals, as the old currencies and measures had emerged. It was imposed from above, by arrogant revolutionaries who despised what was customary and voluntary as a threat to their geometrical conception of society. Through changing the measures they hoped to change the world, binding the familiar transactions in an abstract yoke of pure mathematics.

You may think the exercise harmless. After all, Americans, who use yards and miles instead of meters and kilometers, and acres instead of hectares, began their independence with a decimal coinage — the dollar and cent, derived from the German thaler. But the old weights and measures persisted in America despite that innovation. Ounces, pounds, stones and bushels, pints, quarts, and gallons, rods and perches, and all the crazy derivatives of those fantastic measures have lasted here as they lasted back home in England. And why did they last? They lasted because they grew from the free transactions between people, because they were marked by human need and human interest, and because no meddlesome official had ever thought he had the right to change them.

A bushel of corn is just the amount that a single man can carry. A stone is 14 pounds, which is the maximum you can lift without strain. A pint is the amount that will quench the ordinary thirst, and a gallon (eight pints) the largest quantity that can be easily carried on a journey. A pound is 16 ounces, and so can be divided two ways, four ways, and eight ways in even portions. The natural contours of the human body and human relationships can be read in these measures at every point.

FOR IN-BUILT GENTLENESS, nothing compares with the old English currency, still in use during my youth, and abolished under pressure from Europe when that cold fish Edward Heath decided (alas, probably rightly) that England would be better ruled by Brussels than by him. Since the days of King Alfred the Great it had been established that the English pound — defined by weight — would contain 240 pence. Why choose such a number? The simple answer is that 240 has 18 whole number factors, besides itself and 1 — so that there are 18 ways of dividing a pound among those entitled to a share of it. This is a currency designed for sharing and giving, unlike the decimal system (100 has only 7 whole number factors, and 10 only 2). And the principle of sharing and dividing penetrated our coinage from top to bottom. The pound had 20 shillings, divided into four crowns. But we also divided again, so as to have the half-crown piece, worth two shillings and sixpence, since the shilling was divided into 12 pence (12 having four whole number factors besides itself and 1). Hence the half-crown and the two-shilling piece (the florin) lay side by side in our pockets, both of them heavier than any coin in circulation today. The shilling was divided into the sixpence, the three-penny bit, and then the penny, which was in turn divided into the halfpenny, the farthing, and (though this coin was extinct in my youth) the mite. The array of sterling coins created a kind of compendium of human dealings. It suggested all the ways people could be linked by division and multiplication, rather than by the mean-minded addition and subtraction that define the decimal system.

Most wonderful of all was the coin that had vanished long before my time, but which was still retained as an item of accountancy — the guinea. This, equal to 21 shillings, had no other purpose than to define a booty in which there could be seven equal shares. Even today horses are bought and sold in guineas, maybe because those involved gang together in threes and sevens, or maybe because the word “guinea” is too closely associated with the horse in the legends of huntsmen and highwaymen.

Our coinage remained unchanged for a century or more and Victorian pennies still circulated abundantly at the moment when the penny ceased to be “legal tender.” Silver coins survived from the reigns of Victoria, Edward VII, and George V, but they were made of real silver, and therefore rare, since the metal was worth more than the coin. (Hence Gresham’s law, which tells us that “bad money drives out good.”) Losing this precious part of our national life was hard for us, even if easy for Edward Heath. For it meant saying farewell to dealings that made threepence, sixpence, a shilling, two shillings, and then half a crown into thresholds, stages on the way to an agreement, in which we could exercise our social prowess and pause to take breath. Ours was an intricately social coinage that opened the way at every point to the concluding gesture.

THEN CAME THE EUROPEAN DIRECTIVE OF 2001, which abolished our ancient weights and measures, and which allowed our Parliament no right to consider the matter. Pounds and ounces, gallons and pints, bushels and stones — all those wonderful, irrational, but humanly intelligible measures were stolen from us. And for what? So that our markets could be “opened to competition,” and our customs “brought into line” — so placing a penalty on our economic life, forcing us to redesign all our scales and packaging, and abolishing all our local ways of doing things.

There was resistance for a while; one or two butchers and grocers were prosecuted. But we knuckled under, since no one in authority made a move to defend us. Our Parliament is a fiefdom of the political class; it knows on which side its bread is buttered, or rather its tartine est beurré. The great advantage of those top-down edicts from Brussels is that they confer on our politicians the right to be elected, without the duty to do anything in exchange for it. Nevertheless, it still seems to me that our little farm, which we have worked for years to put together from abandoned scraps, is not 40 hectares of Europe, but 95 acres of England.

Roger Scruton is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. His latest book, How to Think Seriously About the Planet: The Case for an Environmental Conservatism, has just been published by Oxford University Press.

## Bob Cotten| 2.7.11 @ 7:07AM

A wonderful and much needed article, rightly nailing the "scientism" of the revolutionaries and intellectuals as sheer top-down hubris if not idiocy. What I think it may have left out is the contribution to human measure of time --- all the wonderfully cyclical, cosmic and planetary movements which gave observers the notion of the year, the hour, minute, second, the degree and the notion of permanence and eternal return. Ancient people observed the phases of the moon and the tides and etched their notations into pieces of bone or antler some 30,000 years ago. Isn't the "music of the spheres" --- the frequencies and scales of music itself --- pure number as revealed in the incredibly regular motions of a spinning Earth and in the dome of sky above our heads? Intellectuals seem typically to be people who know too much of the wrong thing but nonetheless feel qualified to remake (and then to mandate) Heaven on Earth.

## vb| 2.7.11 @ 7:19AM

I am still trying to figure out a reason for using liters for milk, whether nonfat or 3.8%, while using grams for cream, which to my mind is equally liquid. There is probably a ton, excuse me--a thousand kilos, of paper lying somewhere in Brussels that could clarify things for me, but I'm either too lazy or too sane to go that route.

## MoeBlotz| 2.8.11 @ 8:29AM

You could say metric tonne , that is one thousand kilos.

## Appleby| 2.7.11 @ 7:20AM

When I want to know what the temperature is here in Kanukistan, I tune in the Buffalo station. Otherwise I have to do mental arithmetic which is not worth the effort. When I want to know how much snow we are going to have, I divide centimetres by five and multiply by two, and since usually the amounts predicted are 10,20, 30 centimetres this is not as difficult as figuring out the temperature. Fortunately there are enough Americans living up here so one can order half a pound of this or that at the deli and get it.

Jimmy Carter once declared that America would be metric by a date certain. America said No It Will Not, Either, Bubba, and it isnt. Various efforts have been made to force upon us a dollar coin (or as they are called in Houston, Them Damned Yella Things) and failed.

When my Canadian friends ask in puzzlement why we have neither, I point out that historically speaking, nobody has ever made Americans do what Americans have decided not to do...and occasionally I point out that those who thought otherwise ran away to live in Canada.

## ChrisC| 2.7.11 @ 3:05PM

Dollar coins are good for vending machines but when I lived in Canada I'd lose \$10 in loonies and toonies every time I sat on a sofa.

## MoeBlotz| 2.8.11 @ 8:33AM

Many a Susan B. Anthony dollar was misspent as a quarter,I know I did at least once. The yellowish state theme dollars have all been collected and do not circulate,but would last longer than the paper dollar if people would let go of them.

## Le Cracquere| 2.7.11 @ 3:58PM

The Celsius scale gives the lie to the claim that the metric system is somehow more efficient. However haphazard the rationale for the Fahrenheit system was, the fact is that 0 to 100 degrees F usefully covers the extremes of "damned cold" and "damned hot" for inhabitants of the world's most populous zones.

The degree in Celsius is only meaningful to a man who passes his days boiling or freezing water. I submit that this man needs to get out more.

## Ray Kremre| 2.8.11 @ 9:42AM

Most of the efficiency in the metric system comes from ease of conversions between units. Temperature doesn't directly relate to anything else though, so the scale used doesn't really matter as long as you're consistent. Like all units, it's mostly a matter of what you're used to, what you were raised on.

0 to 100°C as the liquid range of water is as arbitrary as anything else, but it is easy to remember, much like metric's mass and volume units are jiggered so the density of water is 1 g/mL.

## Mazzuchelli| 2.9.11 @ 5:03PM

Hahaha. It's one of many differences between pioneers and colonials. Having said that, my Dad and I are both aware that if alive during the American Revolution, we both would have hightailed it north of the 49th or back across the pond.

## Ken (Old Texican)| 2.7.11 @ 8:17AM

Mr. Scruton,
thank you. I have never ...ever...had all the pieces in one clear statement before.

## Vern Crisler | 2.7.11 @ 8:56AM

I don’t have any problem with the metric system, but have you ever come across guys who go all snooty about it? As if anyone who wanted to use feet, or inches, or yards, was akin to trailer park trash? Here is a good corrective to such, what shall we call them, upper class metric twits?

http://butler-harris.org/archives/126

## Grandpa Simpson| 2.7.11 @ 9:09AM

"My car gets 50 rods to the hogs-head, and THAT'S THE WAY I LIKES IT!!!"

## David W| 2.7.11 @ 9:44AM

That was too gud.....

## irish19| 2.7.11 @ 11:39AM

Now what does that come out to in furlongs per gill?

## Gunner-Asch| 2.7.11 @ 9:53AM

Funny you should publish this today. Just last night I spent two of those 100 minute French hours trying to get out of Paris, with the motorway clogged with meter-long itty bitty cars burning E10 by the kiloliter. Some love Paris but around 7 PM it was hard to tell it from Lubbock in the rear view mirror.

On the other hand, the kids and I love London even though the Conties have managed to squash much of what makes England England. The only good thing coming out of Brussels is the Eurostar heading for St Pancras.

I'm not quite sure about what drives Brussels and the EU government to act the way does towards England. Perhaps they do what they do because nothing helps a bad mood like spreading it around.

## Ned (the Scot)| 2.7.11 @ 11:05AM

"...what drives Brussels and the EU government to act the way [it] does towards England...?"

Envy.

Yup.

## jb| 2.7.11 @ 9:54AM

And a man's rate of travel was measured in furlongs per fortnight. Thanks for an excellent piece.

As I remember the story from one of my professors, the metric system grew out of France's great hatred of anything English. The original definition of a meter was supposed to be 1 millionth of the distance from the center of Paris to the north pole. And the French surveyors got that so wrong. The meter has now been defined as the distance light travels in a vacuum in exactly 1⁄299,792,458th of a second. This like telling a school child that a meter is equal to the distance of 1/4 of the wave length of the comic book element Krypton radiation when heated to the 5th level of excitation. In other words, gobbledygook.

No wonder our schools are turning out another generation of illiterate morons.

## Ray Kremer| 2.8.11 @ 9:49AM

Yes, the original meter was as arbitrary as anything else. The official measures are kept in a vault somewhere. I think the speed of light reference was just done so people wouldn't be entirely dependent on the stick in the vault.

## dvb| 2.7.11 @ 10:04AM

Scruton has clearly never tried to deal with even a first year engineering course. There is nothing likely trying to juggle a handful of assorted unit conversions and keep track several bases of measurement to realy teach appreciation of decimization and standardization.
But at least we can be assured it will be relatively easy to figure out how comfortable it is to carry a bridge or how many times one could slake thirst from that deep sea oil resevoir.

## Unger| 2.7.11 @ 1:10PM

I am no Metric hater, and I think like most things the Metric system becomes more human and usable the more we live with it, but I think you have inadvertently reinforced Scruton's point. You mock that engineering measures should not be based on human strength or human thirst, but then why should human needs be measured by engineering measures? Or to put it into your terms why should my thirst be measured as a portion of a reservoir rather than by the size of my stomach.

## Petronius| 2.7.11 @ 10:13AM

Some way to start the day; with a discussion about money. I enjoy the confusion among those who return from Blighty package tours concerning English measures. I even had a colossal row with the director of A Man For All Seasons over a line of the Common Man when I told him that a cockney would say "hapenny" (long A), instead of "half penny" which is in the script. The one thing missing in all this is the synonym for the Pound Sterling being a "Quid". in all my travels throughout the Realm, I've yet to discover who sanctioned this Latin label upon it. Would that Dr. Scruton should further expound to my satisfaction. Another old coin no longer extant was the Groat which disappeared after the Tudor dynasty. And I'd like to know it's relative value.

## MoeBlotz| 2.8.11 @ 8:39AM

A bloke I know in Cornwall might say,"A few bob."

## Leif| 2.7.11 @ 11:00AM

Mr. Scruton makes a case for the Imperial System (which was in fact standardized by Parliament in 1824). Surely he is aware of decimals as an alternative to fractions. In Europe, children can skip roughly six months of math (the time it takes to apply fractions to algebra) simply because the metric system supports decimal arithmetic.

I remember an discussion I had with my (German) cousin, where I advanced many of the arguments you read here. He had the last word: ‘Anyone who has had to work with both systems prefers metric’.

When you get your tail kicked, you remember it.

## Dale R.| 2.7.11 @ 11:12AM

Appleby, as for me, I like dollar coins. As long as they are silver. :)

## Appleby| 2.7.11 @ 1:11PM

The hotel chambermaids loved them too, since all the out of town visitors leave them on the dresser as tips!

## Petronius| 2.7.11 @ 12:10PM

Thanks for reminding me Leif
To be an archer for the King, you had to have the draw strength to kill a man 12 score yards away. If you could not place any 4 arrows in and end of 6 within the clout, (the radius of an bow length from centre), at that distance, you got relegated to the shield wall with a spear. Where's Henry V when we need Him?

## loulou| 2.7.11 @ 12:19PM

I don't deal in metrics.
I am an American.

## Wxcynic| 2.7.11 @ 2:34PM

The bloke who works on your car has to deal with it for you.

## Ray Kremer| 2.7.11 @ 12:44PM

It's true that a base 10 (decimal) system has nothing particularly special about it beyond the fact that we have 10 fingers, however, there is a key aspect the article misses. Regardless of the measuring units used, our counting system is decimal. As any scientist can tell you, the major benefit of having your units of measurement use the same number base as your counting system is it makes it much, much easier to do MATH with it. You can convert from centimeters to meters to kilometers or milliliters to liters just by moving the decimal point. A cubic centimeter is a milliliter and that much water weighs a gram. Quick, how many quarts, pints, cups or ounces are there in a gallon? How many feet in a mile? How many cubic inches in a gallon and how many pounds does that much water weigh? Now, this is of rather less importance to the general consumer, which is no doubt why the US has never quite made the full jump to metric.

The switch to metric is the kind of change that doesn't happen without an arbitrary government decree. To be sure though, it is the decree that is arbitrary, not the metric system itself.

Also, standardization is usually more of a good thing than not, just ask the home video industry.

## Unger| 2.7.11 @ 1:25PM

I have often wondered why Metric advocates in the USA don't just use our already well established demotic names for metric units and forget things like centimeter, decimeter, meter, and Kilometer. Instead call them cent, dime, dollar and klick( I cheated a little on this one). I can imagine someone saying they are a buck seventy-eight tall or winning the one hundred dollar dash.

## robert c| 2.7.11 @ 1:10PM

Ray Kremer is the only one of the comments that get it right. I am a person comfortable in either the English or Metric systems. I prefer the Metric. It is much easier for physics, science, etc.. And no, I don't look down on or turn my nose up at anyone who prefers the English.
I still prefer the farenheit over the centigrade. How's that? 180 divisions gives a more accurate reading than 100.

## Appleby| 2.7.11 @ 1:14PM

So why can't the scientists use metric measurement and the old lady in the grocery store use English measurement? I have noticed that the kiddies behind the counter at MacDonalds cannot make change in decimal currency any better than they could in pounds, shillings and pence.

P.S. A groat is probably like a Greek lepta -- 1/100th of nothing.

## Ray Kremer| 2.8.11 @ 9:53AM

That is pretty much the case in the States, scientists use metric and everybody else uses English units. There's nothing wrong with that, either.

I think the only major inconvenience that the competing units system causes is when trying to find the right size wrench for a nut or bolt.

## Rich D| 2.7.11 @ 2:23PM

More precise, but not more accurate! Does a change of one Fahrenheit degree really matter?

## Nunya| 2.7.11 @ 2:58PM

It does to water.

## Rich D| 2.7.11 @ 7:27PM

Do you have a point?

## Ray Kremer| 2.8.11 @ 10:07AM

Indeed, accuracy has nothing to do with the units. Precision with units of smaller divisions is higher, yes, but only if you are confining yourself to integers, which nobody does.

## Francis W. Porretto | 2.7.11 @ 1:12PM

Yes, indeed. The whole point of the old system of measures was convenience, both in estimation and division. "A pint's a pound the world around" -- a pound of seawater, that is. The formal definition of a pint was the volume of a cube three inches on a side, which made the gallon the volume of a cube six inches on a side. Balance scales in particular were critically dependent on the ability to measure things in units that were separated by factors of two.

Time was, there was an outfit called Americans for Customary Weights and Measures, which agitated -- gently -- for the retention of the English system of measures here in the "colonies." I wonder what's become of it?

## dvb| 2.7.11 @ 1:53PM

As you say units of measurement are for convenience, these days decimals are standards are convenient.

## Ray Kremer| 2.8.11 @ 10:02AM

That's a good point actually, used to be 1/8 and 1/16 were commonly used, and you can see it in a lot of English units. However 0.125 and 0.0625 are decidedly inconvenient.

Fractions of powers of 2 are good for quick reference and halving things, I suppose, but decimals are better for exact measurement of things that haven't been specifically made to be a certain size. Plus math with fractions isn't as handy as math with decimals, especially once you involve calculators or computers.

I even have a ruler here that has inches divided into 16ths for half of it, and 10ths for the other half.

## ACWM | 3.24.12 @ 3:55PM

We are still alive and well.

Seaver Leslie, the head of the organization told me that they wound production of the official publication, "The Footprint," down after the organization basically succeeded in eliminating taxpayer funding for metrication.

The U.S. basically "won." Now the battle, as of Mar. 2012, is being fought to eliminate the requirement for dual labelling (aka allowing metric only, but not US Customary only), but there is a small retreat, potentially a victory for FDA labelling redesign, as consumers have indicated they haven't the faintest idea what a "gram" really is on the label. Most consumers haven't the faintest idea what a gram of mass actually is.

Then again the dra(ch)m is practically unheard of, and there would be confusion between the avoirdupois (1/16 oz. avdp.) and the apothecary (60 grain / 1/8 ozt.) varieties.

Grains would only be familiar with hunting enthusiasts, and would be confusing on several levels, as in confusion with the plant particle, and similarity in spelling and abbreviation with the gram.

Teaspoons may be easiest to understand, but promise confusion with Imperial varieties, in addition to not even being a unit of weight/mass, but rather of volume, which is problematic as well.

But the FDA's acknowledgement that using a unit that isn't really understood on a nutritional label is problematic, is a victory, where allowing consumers to be exposed to mL only measurments is problematic for a segment of consumers, and probably shows the willingness of a segment of the public to jettison the elegant U.S. liquid system altogether.

## gary siebel| 2.7.11 @ 1:25PM

You are mistaken...

The decimal system did not evolve; it did not emerge by an invisible hand from the transactions of free individuals, as the old currencies and measures had emerged.

Forget the invisible hand crap -- it never was true. Plus, weights and measures have ALWAYS been the purview of government -- from the time before government, when it was temple priests guaranteeing just weight and measure. Obviously, weights and measures must be settled BEFORE transactions occur.

Decimal system is evolutionary. It's just the rapid speed of transition that's got you bamboozled.

## Unger| 2.7.11 @ 1:34PM

Tell me what is the difference between "the invisible hand crap" and "evolutionary" ? If there is a difference tell me what makes one good and one bad?

## John K| 2.7.11 @ 1:52PM

Dr Scruton is quite right. I have no objection to engineers using metric measurements if it suits them, but equally ordinary people should be free to use the units they are comfortable with if it suits them. Obviously, this is not good enough for our masters in Brussels, who like to rub our noses in it at every opportunity. We may have liberated the Belgians in 1944, but, as they say, no good turn goes unpunished.

## Dave| 2.7.11 @ 4:04PM

I have yet to figure out how my life would be enhanced to go to the lumber yard for some 5x10's and 122x244 pieces of sheetrock to remodel my basement, as opposed to 2x4's and 4x8's.

## Michael K| 2.7.11 @ 5:38PM

Actually the the florin, 2 shilling under the pre-decimal system, was introduced during Victoria's time as an early step towards decimalisation of the British coinage system. There were proposals for decimimalisation in 1847 and as a test case the florin was coined being worth one-tenth of a pound.

## Byron Keith| 2.7.11 @ 7:15PM

Try an experiment sometime:
Get out your favorite bottle of whiskey. Have a friend take it into another room and pour 2 oz. into one glass and 60 ml into another. If you can tell the difference in a blind taste test then, and only then, will you convince me that one measuing system is intrensically superior to another.

The world does not change because of the words we use to describe it; the distance from A to B is exactly the same, regardless of whether we call it out in leagues, furlongs or Roman miles.

Here in America, we like the "crazy derivatives of those fantastic measures," as Mr. Scruton states it. We were brought up with them, we're comfortable with them, we know how to make them work for us. THAT'S ALL WE HAVE TO SAY. If the issue is resisting an unwanted, unasked-for reform of our measuring system by the government, that's one thing, and I'll cheer for it, send a check, offer to man the phones, etc. But if the burden of this article is that a kilometer is necessarily better that a mile (or vice versa, whatever), well, try the experiment above.

(And as for the revolutionaries "bossing the earth," well, here's another experiment. Next time you're out walking on the earth, ask it if it feels ill-used by being measured in metric. It'll probably ignore you.)

If we, as a free people, choose to use use the measure of out fathers, no government can say us nay. Just ask President Carter (thank you Appleby at 7:20AM - I'd actually forgotten about that). By the same token, if we, as a free people, get so cozy with metric that the NFL adopts a 100-meter field, that will be fine, too.

## Ran / Si Vis Pacem | 2.7.11 @ 10:16PM

Mr. Scruton,
Many thanks! Here in America, I remain free to measure my daughters in pounds or inches; my Scotch in milliliters and proof; and my reloading propellants and payloads in grains.

May your 95 acres of Albion bloom, sir! England was the birthplace of American Liberty. For that we shall always be thankful.
Cheers,
-Ran

## MoeBlotz| 2.8.11 @ 8:47AM

Scotland was the birth place of American Liberty, read the declaration of Arbroath.

## John Carnal| 2.8.11 @ 2:07PM

My what an eye opening perspective on what was for so long taken for granted. One missing point in this piece is how the advancement of science was so accelerated by the introduction of metric measure. Furlongs per fortnight anyone? Also I am curious. What killed the 100 minute hour?

## charles794| 2.9.11 @ 2:09AM

The US' standing in the world began to decline from the moment it refused to go decimal, along with the rest of the world.

## John K| 2.9.11 @ 12:49PM

Do you mean metric by any chance? You are of course, quite right, the "rest of the world" hates the USA because it uses feet and inches, but why can't these dumb Yanks see it?

## Mazzuchelli| 2.9.11 @ 5:16PM

Leif, your German friend is a jackwagon. My first husband transitioned to metric as the owner/operator of the largest independent garage in San Francisco. He didn't like it. Ever. First, tools are expensive; second, the skill of eyeballing the various sizes is compromised when the differences are minute; third, that same skill seldom regains the crispness of the original even over time.

And when engine displacement is sized in terms of liters, it is meaningless. Tell me in cubic inches and I have an excellent idea, given the number of cylinders, what the piston size is as well as a likely range of horsepower. WWII took a lot out of England. It's time to get some back.

## Roland | 2.13.11 @ 12:50PM

"The Revolutionaries stopped short of decimalizing the months . . ."

But they did abolish the 7-day week in favor of the 10-day "decade."

is good

## العاب | 4.11.12 @ 4:41PM

So why can't the scientists use metric measurement and the old lady in the grocery store use English measurement? I have noticed that the kiddies behind the counter at MacDonalds cannot make change in decimal currency any better than they could in pounds, shillings and pence.

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