BBC told to stop undermining the National Measurement System

In its response to a recent BBC consultation the UK Metric Association (UKMA) has called on the BBC to live up to its declared mission and hence to support – and not to undermine – the exclusively metric National Measurement System.

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Which? and Government claim credit for UKMA campaign

Both the Consumers’ Association (aka Which?) and the Government’s Business Department have claimed the credit for the success of their campaign to persuade supermarkets to price goods transparently.  But who actually started the campaign? and is it enough?
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Independent Scotland would keep …

In its White Paper today (26 November 2013) the Scottish Government has tried to reassure nervous sceptics with a list of things that they hope a future independent Scotland would keep.  Widely reported have been the Queen, the pound sterling , membership of the EU, membership of NATO (all these subject to negotiation), free travel to the rest of the British Isles, the BBC, Royal Mail (albeit renationalised).  But there is one item in the list that has not attracted much attention …

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What did the royal baby really weigh?

One of the most infuriating practices of the British media is to translate the proper medical data recorded by the hospital (in  kilograms, naturally) into the obsolete units that were once used by our grandparents or great-grandparents.  Thus, our future head of state is described as weighing in at “8lbs 6oz”.  So how much is that, and is it a lot or a little?

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Will EU-US trade agreement bring in metric-only labelling in the US?

A key point of President Obama’s State of the Union address on 13 February was the proposed EU-US trade agreement, which has been under preliminary discussion for the past year. (See http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/13/state-of-the-union-free-trade-europe).  As this agreement is supposed to remove regulatory barriers to trade, there should now be a serious opportunity to remove the US ban on metric-only labelling of most packages.

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Myths, misinformation and fallacies (1) – Are imperial units “natural”?

The claim is often made by last-ditch defenders of miles, feet, pints and acres that “Imperial units are natural whereas metric units are artificial”.   In the first of an occasional series of articles on “myths, misinformation and fallacies” used by opponents of completing metrication, we examine this claim.

A list of such myths is summarised in a webpage on UKMA’s main website at this link entitled “Briefing note for UKMA representatives”.  This note arose from a discussion at UKMA’s 2012 annual conference about the abysmal standard of debate heard on local radio phone-in programmes.  The original intention was (and remains) to help UKMA members and supporters to make the case in radio and television interviews, in newspaper correspondence and online.

In the coming months we shall be discussing particular arguments from this list and opening them up to readers of MetricViews.  This week we look at the claim that:

“Imperial units are natural whereas metric units are artificial”

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DfT misses another trick

The Department for Transport wants to reduce sign clutter.  Very commendable, you might think.  So why don’t they adopt an obvious measure that would make many signs smaller, simpler and easier to read – and thereby reduce clutter? Continue reading “DfT misses another trick”