Posted tagged ‘Metric System’

How big is big?

February 15, 2010

The metric system is a very useful way of having a common system of relation between units of different sizes. The metric system was originally proposed by an Englishman, but didn’t catch on. It was later introduced in France and has since spread across almost the entire world (see the history of the metric system), except for the U.S.A and Myanmar (but scientists across the world all use metric). The advantage of the metric system is common conversion rates – every unit is related in multiples of 10, which makes it easy to convert between different sizes. It wasn’t always so easy:

LENGTH

12 lines = 1 inch (in.)
12 inches = 1 foot (ft.)
3 feet (ft.) = 1 yard (yd.)
7.92 inches = 1 link
25 links = 1 rod, pole or perch
16½ feet = 1 rod, pole or perch
yards = 1 rod, pole or perch
4 poles .. = 1 chain
100 links = 1 chain
22 yards = 1 chain
40 poles .. = 1 furlong
220 yards = 1 furlong
8 furlongs = 1 statute mile
5280 feet = 1 mile
1760 yards = 1 mile
2240 yards = 1 Irish mile
3 miles = 1 league

Now that’s confusing! All the different conversion factors makes for such a mess – trying to remember what you multiply by to convert one unit to another is just messy! It makes it much more easy if you can just move the decimal point in order to change between relative sizes by multiplying or dividing by ten.

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