The traditional Christmas cracker usually contains a joke, a paper hat and a toy, and goes off with a bang. Metric Views, in its cracker, has an anecdote about a Christmas Fair, links to two radio programmes, and a videoÂ with some knockabout fun.
Our anecdote is provide by one of our regular readers, John Murray. He writes:
“I’ve recently helped in our village Christmas Street Market. We had a ‘Guess the weight of the Cake’ competition – you were allowed to guess in either lbs/oz or kg. Depressingly, out of 192 guesses only 12 were in metric, this in spite of the guessers being a mix of all ages, male and female. It was a real nightmare trying to work out which was the winner – converting all those nearest lbs-oz to kg.Â In hindsight, I should have filled in the first few spaces on the card with my own metric guesses – and probably more might then have followed this ‘example’. Anyone had a similar experience? (Incidentally, my wife made the cake – which weighed 3.022 kg, and the winner guessed 6 lb 10 oz. We had a couple of 3.0 kg guesses – I hope I worked it out right! What a mess!)”
NowÂ to the first of the two recent radio broadcasts providing views on metric. It isÂ from John Foster’sÂ early morning show on BBC Tees Radio on 17 December.Â The link below provides an edited version of the discussion between John, two studio guests and Robin Paice, Chair of the UK Metric Association. During the discussion,Â John asks Robin if UKMA’s campaign will be called off, now that the EU has dropped the timetable for completing the metric changeover. You can guess the answer.
The second broadcast was on 19 December. This isÂ a programme fromÂ a series produced jointly for the BBC and the Open University, under the title â??More or lessâ??. The series aims to improve numeracy, and this programme tackled, among other subjects, the day-to-day practicalities of having two systems of measurement side by side. The programme lasts for thirty minutes. To hear it, follow the link below and click on “Listen to the programme”.
The link also takes you to an article, written by the “More or less” team, entitledÂ “Imperial measures: why do they refuse to die?” Click on the picture of fruit at the bottom of this articleÂ to seeÂ someÂ point scoringÂ between an imperialist and a metricist(sic).
And finally, thisÂ first article has a link to a furtherÂ article, written by a regular contributor to the UK measurement debate, which he describes as “The tidy-minded versus the bloody-minded”.
And if you have got this far, you deserve a mince pie.
Seasons Greetings to all our readers.