While here in the US, we know that we are speaking of Temperature in terms of degrees Fahrenheit. 100 degrees F is about 40 degrees C (Celcius). 100 degrees C is the Boiling point of water! None of us would live in that temperature. We certainly won't live very comfortably at 100 degrees F either.

Why do I mention this on ABG? Because just about every vehicle we buy/use, every drop of fuel they consume is measured in two units - the International System of Units ("metric" or SI units) and inch/foot/pound/gallon units. Dimensions have to be quoted in both unit systems. Technicians have to maintain two sets of tools. In the Bosch Automotive Handbook, 5th Edition, 10 pages are devoted just to the conversion of units! Why is this still happening in the 21st century? Because we in the US don't want to change our traditional ways and, since we are big and powerful, the rest of the nations have to put up with it. It wastes time and money, causes confusion. It certainly builds in an extra cost making things we buy - including our autos - more expensive and prone to errors of conversion. About 95 percent of the world uses metric units. We are the holdouts!

NASA suffered the lost of a space probe to Mars. It slammed into the surface instead of gently landing. Why? Because some calculations were done in US units while all the rest were in SI units. Nobody caught it.

Are we going to carry a set of obsolescent/archaic units of measure into the new vehicles of the 21st century? If we are part of a globalized economy, do we want to rest of the world to build vehicles for us by our units of measures or theirs? Which is the "way forward"? As an engineer, though I am most comfortable with miles, foot-pounds, PSI and MPG, etc., it is past time when we make the switch and new green vehicles should lead the way.

I guess it depends on how smart and adaptable the American public is. If all the world can work and measure in metric units, can't we? Is it just because of our pride that we resist? Is it an issue of nationalism? Will it hurt so bad if we buy liters of fuel instead of gallons? Give our weight in units of kilograms? (I weigh 51 kg.) We want to succeed in a globalized economy, don't we?

Oh, 100 degrees F is 37.9 C. Either way, its hot!



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