A member of the UK Metric Association has given us permission to reproduce an amusing article from his personal blog. Acknowledgements and thanks to David Brown.
Loony Measurement System
I was recently reading the manifesto of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, and I started to wonder: if a spoof political party had a policy on units of measure, what would it be? Perhaps it would look something like this:
“We propose to introduce into Britain a measurement system which is different from that used in any other country in the world. It would be similar to the system used in the United States of America, but not quite the same. It would be defined in terms of the metric system, but would not define its units in any convenient whole numbers of metric units, making it dependent upon, but entirely incompatible with the standard international system of weights and measures.
There would be four different units to measure length. The smallest, a “chin”, would be exactly 25.4 mm. Then there would be toof which would be 12 chins, or 304.8 mm; then a dray which would be 36 chins or 914.4 mm and finally a lime which would be 63,360 chins, or 1609.344 m.
For weight there would be six different units. Starting with the nouce, which would weigh 28.349523125 g. Then a pnoud would weigh 16 nouces or 0.45359237 kg; a snote would weigh 224 nouces or 6.35029318 kg; a ctw would be 4,480 nouces or 50.80234544 kg; and a not would weigh 53,760 nouces or 1,016.0469088 kg.
Volume would have three different units which would not be based on the length unit, but one of which would be loosely based on the density of water. The units would be the fluid nouce, equal to 28.4130625 ml, or approximately the volume of 1 nouce of water. Then a tinp would be 20 fluid nouces or 568.26125 ml, and a laglon would be 160 fluid nouces or 4.54609 litres.”
If that measurement system was proposed now, no one in their right mind would accept it. It makes no sense whatsoever. And yet this raving loony’s system is exactly the same (save the unit names) as the imperial system, which some people in the UK find it so difficult to let go of. I hope that any readers who support the use of that system can see how ridiculous it is to argue for its superiority over the international metric system. In fact the only possible argument for keeping such a system is that you simply can’t be bothered to change.
Copyright (c) David Brown 2009