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POLL for Americans...What kind of units do you use?

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View Poll Results: Imperial or Metric
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59.42%
Metric
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26.09%
Units...I don't need no stinkin' units
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Voters: 69. You may not vote on this poll

POLL for Americans...What kind of units do you use?

Old 02-18-21, 11:09 AM
  #1  
spelger
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POLL for Americans...What kind of units do you use?

I am curious to know what the typical units everyone in America uses; imperial or metric. My expectation is imperial but who knows...

I recently switched to metric because i got tired of converting from metric figures i read about to my imperial trained brain.

So, what is it? imperial or metric?

Edit: intentionally limited to Americans not out of disregard for the rest of the world but because we seem to be slow in the units area.

Last edited by spelger; 02-18-21 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 02-18-21, 11:16 AM
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Reflector Guy
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Like most people, I use both. Depends on what I am doing.
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Old 02-18-21, 11:19 AM
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Steve B.
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On bikes and cars it's all metric, everything else is imperial. Too bad, the US should have gone metric back in the 60's when it was an option.
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Old 02-18-21, 11:24 AM
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Tools = metric (with rare exceptions)
Cycling and running distance = imperial
Weight = imperial
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Old 02-18-21, 11:25 AM
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79pmooney
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I try to use units appropriate to the job at hand. If I'm using a Stanley tape measure, I find using English, I can simply read it off the tape. Calipers with both? Finding a drill bit, I use English. Other things, I may well use the units that are easier to remember or are nice numbers. Some math (especially in my head) is easier with the decimal metric, some easier with inches and feet.

Having just one system would be nice but that isn't the world I live in so I might as well take advantage of the best of both.
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Old 02-18-21, 11:32 AM
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I use both.
Even when I am walking and chewing gum at the same time
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Old 02-18-21, 11:34 AM
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life-wise, imperial, cause that's how everyone around me expresses everything and they already think I'm weird enough. tool-wise, bikes are metric, end of story. zwift is now making me think all metric-y, and that's ok.
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Old 02-18-21, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Reflector Guy View Post
Like most people, I use both. Depends on what I am doing.
When I went to tour Andalucia for two months I was glad I could reprogram my CatEye to metric.

The biggest pain was converting currency on the fly. One dollar equaled about 167 pesetas. Try doing that math in your head when looking at something like a restaurant menu.
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Old 02-18-21, 11:41 AM
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Coming from a long automotive background, I use both imperial and metric measurements for sizes. I do some design work in CAD, and prefer metric there, because it's much easier to work with.
I still prefer imperial for temperature, speed and distance. I also prefer in/lbs and ft/lbs over Nm for torque, mostly due to the calibration markings on most US made torque wrenches, although I have a set of Park Tools torque wrenches in Nm just for use on the bike.
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Old 02-18-21, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
When I went to tour Andalucia for two months I was glad I could reprogram my CatEye to metric.

The biggest pain was converting currency on the fly. One dollar equaled about 167 pesetas. Try doing that math in your head when looking at something like a restaurant menu.
Many years ago as a fresh graduate I drove the west with my housemate. We stopped at El Centro and walked into Mexicali. Forgot to ask about the exchange rate. Saw the vendor's prices on the main drag of hundreds of "$$s" and knew we would be taken as suckers. So we wandered down the next street over. Stopped at a tiny mom and pa's restaurant. Prices we still astronomical but at least we had enough to leave the country after we ate! Pointed to the pictures, got served who knows what but it was really good. Opened our wallet and "mom" picked out $3.25!

My one visit to Mexico. Left a piece of my heart there.
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Old 02-18-21, 12:06 PM
  #11  
indyfabz
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Many years ago as a fresh graduate I drove the west with my housemate. We stopped at El Centro and walked into Mexicali. Forgot to ask about the exchange rate. Saw the vendor's prices on the main drag of hundreds of "$$s" and knew we would be taken as suckers. So we wandered down the next street over. Stopped at a tiny mom and pa's restaurant. Prices we still astronomical but at least we had enough to leave the country after we ate! Pointed to the pictures, got served who knows what but it was really good. Opened our wallet and "mom" picked out $3.25!

My one visit to Mexico. Left a piece of my heart there.
When I was backpacking around Europe in 1985 the exchange rate for Italian Lira got up to 2,200/dollar. I remember having nearly a half a mil in my wallet at one point.
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Old 02-18-21, 12:10 PM
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When I was a schoolkid in the 'early '70s, we were told that, within ten years, the metric system and soccer would both become huge in the US.

Ha.
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Old 02-18-21, 12:10 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
On bikes and cars it's all metric, everything else is imperial. Too bad, the US should have gone metric back in the 60's when it was an option.
It is always an option. Just like using Daylight Switching Time, as a society we just choose to keep punching ourselves in the face for the sake of punching ourselves in the face.
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Old 02-18-21, 12:16 PM
  #14  
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Ever done any plumbing? Get used to imperial units. Appliance repair that involves plumbing and mechanical may have both. Yay.

Gunsmithing? Then a combination of imperial with just a splash of metric for excitement. But mostly imperial.

Bike repair? Metric all the way. Same with cars and everything else, mostly. But...

I'm a disc golfer. Distance units are imperial in the U.S. and metric overseas (mostly).

BTW, why didn't the survey offer a "both (situational)" option? Seems quite the oversight...

EDIT: Some additional ironic thoughts. I think like most Americans, in imperial units. My height and weight, for example. I have to speak English to my American wife, who thinks exclusively in imperial units. When I sell a 124 gram front derailleur on eBay, I have to use a postal scale that's in ounces. Convenient because the USPS works in imperial units. I buy my cycling items, including clothing, from foreign web sites, so am now comfortable with my sizing in centimeters. I measured in inches and converted, though. I still think in inches for my physical sizes, and convert. For bikes, I think in metric units.

Last edited by Phil_gretz; 02-18-21 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 02-18-21, 12:42 PM
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Reflector Guy
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I work in the construction industry, and it remains virtually 100% standard English units. If there are any exceptions, I can't think of any right off the top of my head. Excavating firms move soil to the tune of however-many cubic yards, and concrete is likewise ordered in cubic yards. Structural and architectural drawings are in feet and inches. Structural steel (such as I-beams) are specified according to size (in inches) and weight (in pounds) per linear foot. Rebar is sized in "eighths" (meaning a #5 rebar is 5/8" in diameter) but some manufacturers also mark it in millimeters. The asphalt pavement section in front of my house was placed however-many inches thick, it was mixed at 300 or so degrees F and the gravel aggregate it was made from was sized according to sieves measured in fractions of inches. Etc, etc.
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Old 02-18-21, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
Ever done any plumbing? Get used to imperial units. Appliance repair that involves plumbing and mechanical may have both. Yay.
I have news for you, your pipes are metric in size, just called by imperial names. For example, the most common half inch copper pipe diameter is not 25.4/2 mm which is some 12.7 mm but 15 mm, same as in Europe. There are many instances where the actual sizes are round numbers in metric system but for convenience still called by the imperial system names.

I grew up in metric but moved to Canada long time ago and I can see the advantages of both system and also why the imperial is still with us (it is more natural in many ways). Canada is more metric minded but it is mixed anyway. Even in metric Europe (of course not fully counting British), for example the clock 12/24 hour system is effectively imperial, based on 12 base. If clock divisions were to be decimal, you'd have decimal points all over the clock displays which would be ridiculous.

In Canada, we use degrees Celsius but in the place I work, everything is in Fahrenheit degrees. It actually happened to me that I heard temperature forecast on radio the other day and was wondering why they use Celsius scale, I was fully expecting it to be in Fahrenheit degrees. That's how deep rooted the imperial system is among native, read long time settled folk here, in other words, true blue Canadians.

And not only them, all tradesmen that I know, that immigrated from Europe long ago or even more recently, use the mixed system. You very simply can't get around it and you don't want to because they, like everybody else, also see the advantages of the imperial system.

Last edited by vane171; 02-18-21 at 01:08 PM.
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Old 02-18-21, 12:59 PM
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I seem to remember that speed limits in Scotland are posted in MPH. In Canada they are Km/Hr. A lot of imaging stuff (both printing and scanning) resolution is described as "dots per inch" or "pixels per inch". I have done automation equipment where the underlying units were decimal inches, and the User Interface would display either metric or imperial units.

I tend to use which ever unit makes the most sense to me or to the person I an communicating with. I was involved in designing a piece of automation equipment for a well known electronics company which required that all materials be sized in metric units, so the 1/2 inch aluminum plate we used suddenly became 12.7 mm plate. What ever.
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Old 02-18-21, 01:42 PM
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Forgot to include "Both, depending on what's being measured."
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Old 02-18-21, 02:01 PM
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With frame size, it's frame tubes in cm (c-c) and standover in inches.
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Old 02-18-21, 02:06 PM
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Like others, when I'm doing any sort of mechanical work I use both. But this would swing between when I was a kid, foreign cars, classic American cars, around the house, or bikes. There was a era when US cars used both. What a pain.

But I would like to adopt other weights and measures. My weight in Stones seems so much less. Telling someone I social distance by Fathoms usually gets them to more further away. People don't question how far I ride in terms of Leagues; I usually say major. And for some of my more Biblical projects, Cubits is always a fallback.

John
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Old 02-18-21, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
Like others, when I'm doing any sort of mechanical work I use both. But this would swing between when I was a kid, foreign cars, classic American cars, around the house, or bikes. There was a era when US cars used both. What a pain.
Then there were those old British cars which used Whitworth fasteners.... I am sure there are plenty of old-time mechanics who still have a set of Whitworth tools, gathering dust somewhere on a shelf.
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Old 02-18-21, 02:21 PM
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At this point I haven't worked inside a factory in my 15 years from during and after college that didn't dominantly use metric. So the whole argument of tooling costs and changes is bunk.

Just slowly start moving over the products we buy to list the correct thing (foods). It's no cost difference as products already list both!

For bikes......I do distance in miles and weight in pounds since it's so common. But now that I think about it, zero reason to do so. I could swap my gps over, my bathroom scale, and never know the wiser. I could swap my Google maps and apps over.

Only real things in the old system are structural building dimensions, cooking units, and speed limits now that I think about it.
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Old 02-18-21, 02:27 PM
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for cycling- both.

speed- mph
distance- miles 85% of the time
height/length- feet 60% of the time
weight- pounds
temp- f 100% of the time
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Old 02-18-21, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Reflector Guy View Post
I work in the construction industry, and it remains virtually 100% standard English units. If there are any exceptions, I can't think of any right off the top of my head. Excavating firms move soil to the tune of however-many cubic yards, and concrete is likewise ordered in cubic yards..
Until you're doing infrastructure construction where we use tenths & hundredths of feet not inches. That asphalt lift isn't 3 inches it's .25 Ft
Then we get into water where we measure in things like CCF (hundred cubic ft),, acre feet, or Mgd (million gallons/day) depending on what you're doing
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Old 02-18-21, 03:22 PM
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I use both too. Wish that RWGPS, GarminConnect and all those other sites that we upload data to had a toggle on the individual data groups to change them on a whim without having to go into my profile settings and change them globally.
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