Author Archives: philh

How can people’s behaviour be changed?

One of our regular contributors, Phil Hall, looks at the success of the recently-introduced plastic bag charge in England, and asks if there are lessons for the completion of the UK’s stalled metric changeover. Likes(7)Dislikes(7)

Posted in Consumer affairs, Education, General | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Why do we bother with metric?

A recent question put to UKMA via its web site contact form is one that comes up frequently. Some may consider this surprising as the debate has been going on for at least fifty years. Are we missing something? Likes(6)Dislikes(0)

Posted in General | 20 Comments

Should we forget fractions and only use decimal?

I am motivated to write this article because, in the past, I have come across supporters of metrication, some of whom with teaching experience, who say that only decimals should be taught rather than both fractions and decimals in elementary … Continue reading

Posted in Education, General | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Joules – rare but minor progress for metrication

After many recent setbacks, it is pleasing to report a small but significant bit of progress in the long campaign to make the metric system (SI) the default system of measurement in the UK.  This minor (but perhaps somewhat pyrrhic) … Continue reading

Posted in Consumer affairs, Health, Science, Technical | Tagged , , | 33 Comments

Why is it important to weigh ourselves in kg?

The measurement mess in Britain is in itself reason enough for the discontinued use of stones and pounds for personal body mass (commonly weight), but is there a case for using kilograms that goes beyond this? This article proposes that … Continue reading

Posted in General, Health | Tagged , , | 31 Comments

Sign clutter campaign misses obvious target

The UK Metric Association (UKMA) welcomes today’s announcement by the government of an attack on unnecessary sign clutter, but believes that some obvious targets have been missed: in particular, the Department for Transport’s requirements for local authorities to use multiple … Continue reading

Posted in Road signs, Transport | 14 Comments

Is there room for non-standard units within SI?

One of the main advantages of SI – the metric system – is that it can be used for any measurement task (from the kitchen to the science lab) – thus avoiding the need to learn a plethora of specific … Continue reading

Posted in Technical | 3 Comments

Metric, a truly natural system

At the time of writing NASA scientists are eagerly awaiting the results of soil sampling from their latest Martian probe Phoenix. Crucial to that experiment is confirmation of the presence of water. That precious substance essential to all life both … Continue reading

Posted in Education, General, History | 3 Comments

Visionary sci-fi writer uses metric

The late Arthur C Clarke who died this month (March 2008) wrote what may be regarded as his most memorable non-fiction article in 1945. He was the first person to propose the use of satellites in geostationary orbit to form … Continue reading

Posted in General, History, Technical | 1 Comment

Using metric – accuracy v precision

A fellow metric supporter who admits to being a little weak on mathematics owned up to not understanding the difference between accuracy and precision when it comes to measurement. He is probably right in saying that he is not alone … Continue reading

Posted in Technical | 2 Comments