Metric Views marks the end of 2011 by drawing attention to a recent exchange of letters in the Irish Times, one looking backwards, the other with a message to take into 2012.
This letter appeared on 15 December 2011:
“Sir, – Now that we are in the season where dissemination of accurate information about weather conditions can mean the difference between life and death, I can only hope that journalists will take the time to convert metric units into imperial ones when dealing with Met Office and other government-provided forecasts.
Like most people of my age group, when it comes to snow, I know what six inches looks like but the equivalent in centimetres is something that I cannot easily visualise. Likewise, with temperature, elevation and wind speed.
While EU-compliant officialdom may seek to kill off us old dinosaurs to hasten its goal of compulsory metrication by effectively withholding such essential information, I would urge the media to be more considerate. – Yours, etc,
John Eoin Douglas, Spey Terrace, Edinburgh, Scotland.”
Metric Views suspects that the author is using a nom de plume, and that his letter was sent to several UK newspapers as well as the Irish Times but only the latter saw fit to print it.
This response was published on 19 December:
“Sir, – I am puzzled as to why John Eoin Douglas (December 15th) has written to you. After all, his Scotland is part of the United Kingdom, which is governed by London; one of the last bastions of imperialism and things imperial, I would have thought. Has he considered writing to a London newspaper on this topic?
It has to be said that UK can’t be too averse to metrication: its currency is metric; UK subjects buy their petrol and (I believe) their food metrically. How is Mr Douglas dealing with this internal conspiracy? Mr Douglas decries “EU compliance”. I believe that for Ireland, it is much easier on the nerves of the average human being than was “empire compliance” when it was being introduced.
Being in my 70th year, I suspect that I may also be in “the old dinosaur” category that Mr Douglas is proud to belong to. I assure him that I am totally “metric compliant”. It was a painless transition and my only complaint is directed towards those fellow dinosaurs who so hate and resist change.
Such an attitude could well lead to the total extinction of us dinosaurs. – Yours, etc,
Vincent Mac Carthy, Cloncat, Athboy PO, Co Meath.”
Metric Views is pleased to remind readers that not all the real dinosaurs disappeared during the great extinction. Those that survived were the ones that were able to adapt to changing circumstances.