Weekend Trivia ~ Saturday

midnightsmum (Z4, ON)May 17, 2014

Happy Saturday Morning, Cottagers!! Yesterday it was in the eighties, it is much cooler today!! The laundry is still on the line though!!

It has been officially sanctioned for use in the United States since 1866, but it remains the only industrialised country that has not adopted this system in common practice. What is it? Hmmm...perhaps this is easy? I will be back with clues, if you need them!

Nancy.

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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Mmmmmm, I'm going to need clues on this one.

Annette

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 12:46PM
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thinman(Z5 MI)

I spent this frosty (really) morning in and out of the Maple River, a local stream that I help monitor as a volunteer. We basically collect aquatic bugs, which are used to gauge the health of the stream. The water is pretty high here after a rainy spring, so measuring the water depth was a challenge. It's not a big river, but all they gave us was a flimsy yard stick. The water was deeper than 3 ft in some spots and the current wanted to pull the stick away. There must be a better way to measure than that.

So, trivia-wise, I think I may know this one, although I couldn't have told you what year the official OK was.

TM

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 1:10PM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

Oooh, oooh, oooh! I think I know this! If I am right, I also think it is ridiculous that we are so stuck in our ways! In fourth grade, I remember being told we were switching soon. Hmmmm...

Cynthia

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 1:11PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Hmmmm, switching, measuring, I'm beginning to get a glimmer, if it's what I think it is I hate it with a passion, I'm so old school LOL.

Annette

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 1:42PM
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midnightsmum (Z4, ON)

Me too Annette - all that math!! I guess this wasn't hard enough for you smart guys!!

Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau introduced it to Canada in 1970, so that we could keep up with our largest trading partner, the U.S. Kinda sounds funny now, but the joke was on us!!

Nancy.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 1:55PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

A busy day for me. Have been to a city sponsored plant swap. My goal was to not bring any plants home. Close, got a small pot of rock cress and a blue hardy geranium. And brought back the Recta clematis that no one chose. Will take it to another swap in a couple of weeks.

As we talk about moving to a place with no or a very small yard I am beginning to get my beds into shape and dividing and winnowing plants. Wish you were all cose by so you could come take some plants home. This fall I might have a dig and take party for my local garden group.

Cynthia, I was one of those math teachers telling my 7th & 8th graders in the late '60s that in ten years the US would be using these measurements exclusively. If we did away with the current system the math would be simple, dividing and multiplying by 10, 100, 1000 etc.

Temps are finally warming into the mid sixties and may hit 70 here tomorrow. We've had lots of cloudy and rainy days. Nice to see the sun today. Everything is very late in the gardens. Blooming: spring bulbs, hepatica, primrose and early dwarf iris. The single and double bloodroot have finished though were mostly closed due to cloudy days.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 3:55PM
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midnightsmum (Z4, ON)

OK, so way too easy - bonus points if you know who invented the metric system - my last ditch effort to save some cred!!

Nancy.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 4:28PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

I have no idea who invented it but I can tell you I'm not a big fan whoever did.

Annette

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 5:35PM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

Haha, Bobbie, that is what we were told in the 50s, too! I think every generation has been told that. Now, I tell my kids that it is so much easier than our system and if they are lucky, we will switch at some point! Until then, they need to remember three feet in a yard, 36 inches, etc., etc.!

Hmm. Nancy, not sure. From the name metric, I would guess it might be Italy (from Latin, maybe?). Also think it could be French, but if it was one person, I have no idea! Not feeling so smart any more! Haha.

Cynthia

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 5:38PM
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thinman(Z5 MI)

I know the country. Is that what we're going for? The spelling metre may be a clue.

TM

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 6:32PM
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midnightsmum (Z4, ON)

Well, a metre is a bit shorter that a yard, n'est pas?

Nancy.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 7:38PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

Looks like French to me.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 12:29AM
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midnightsmum (Z4, ON)

Well, you are all correct,it is the Metric System.

In 1586 the Flemish mathematician Simon Stevin published a small pamphlet called De Thiende ("the tenth"). Decimal fractions had been employed for the extraction of square roots some five centuries before his time, but nobody used decimal numbers in daily life. Stevin declared that using decimals was so important that the universal introduction of decimal weights, measures and coinage was only a matter of time.

One of the earliest proposals for a decimal system in which length, area, volume and mass were linked to each other was made by John Wilkins, first secretary of the Royal Society of London in his 1668 essay "An Essay towards a Real Character and a Philosophical Language". His proposal used a pendulum that had a beat of one second as the basis of the unit of length. Two years later, in 1670, Gabriel Mouton, a French abbot and scientist, proposed a decimal system of length based on the circumference of the Earth. His suggestion was that a unit, the milliare, be defined as a minute of arc along a meridian. He then suggested a system of sub-units, dividing successively by factors of ten into the centuria, decuria, virga, virgula, decima, centesima, and millesima. His ideas attracted interest at the time, and were supported by both Jean Picard and Christiaan Huygens in 1673, and also studied at the Royal Society in London. In the same year, Gottfried Leibniz independently made proposals similar to those of Mouton. In pre-revolutionary Europe, each state had its own system of units of measure. Some countries, such as Spain and Russia, saw the advantages of harmonising their units of measure with those of their trading partners. However, vested interests who profited from variations in units of measure opposed this. This was particularly prevalent in France where the huge inconsistency in the size of units of measure was one of the causes that, in 1789, led to the outbreak of the French Revolution. The official introduction of the metric system in September 1799 was unpopular in large sections of French society, and Napoleon's rule greatly aided adoption of the new standard across not only France but the French sphere of influence. Napoleon ultimately took a retrograde step in 1812 when he passed legislation to introduce the mesures usuelles (traditional units of measurement) for retail trade a system of measure that resembled the pre-revolutionary units but were based on the kilogram and the metre; for example the livre metrique (metric pound) was 500 g instead of 489.5 g the value of the livre du roi (the king's pound). Other units of measure were rounded in a similar manner. This however laid the foundations for the definitive introduction of the metric system across Europe in the middle of the 19th century. So even Napoleon blinked.

In America, although the constitution gave the authority to dictate standards of measure to Congress, it was not until 1832 that the customary system of units was formalized.[ In the early 19th century, the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (the government's surveying and map-making agency) used meter and kilogram standards brought from France. In 1866, Congress authorized the use of the metric system and supplied each state with a set of standard metric weights and measures. In 1875, the United States solidified its commitment to the development of the internationally recognized metric system by becoming one of the original seventeen signatory nations to the Metre Convention or the Treaty of the Metre. The signing of this international agreement concluded five years of meetings in which the metric system was reformulated, refining the accuracy of its standards. The Metre Convention established the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (Bureau international des poids et mesures, BIPM) in Sèvres, France, to provide standards of measurement for worldwide use.

Under the Mendenhall Order in 1893, metric standards, developed through international cooperation under the auspices of BIPM, were adopted as the fundamental standards for length and mass in the United States. The U.S. customary units such as the foot and pound have been defined in relation to metric units ever since.

The 1895 Constitution of Utah, in Article X, Section 11, originally mandated that: "The Metric System shall be taught in the public schools of the State." This section was, however, later repealed.

And yet in Canada, we are stuck with it. I am used to how the temperatures are, but can't translate the fact that is is 18C out today. I do know that if a recipe says 2 lbs. of roast, I should buy 1 kg. and so on.

so, for everyone:

Thanks for playing - see you next week.

Nancy.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Metric System

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 5:25PM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

Fascinating. I do wish we would just go ahead and switch. It is (slightly) amusing that the US seems to have approved the metric system for so long, but we still don't use it. Silly.

Thanks for the fun, Nancy.

Cynthia

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 6:14PM
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thinman(Z5 MI)

Nancy, it made me chuckle seeing you and Annette both complain about having the metric system thrust upon you. For some reason I have always pictured Canadians all being happy with it. Kind of silly of me to think that. I should have known that the people who have to live through a change are never all going to be happy with it. I taught the metric system for decades, but I still don't naturally think in those units. I always told my kids that the metric system itself is pretty easy to use -- it's going back and forth between the systems that's a pain. Luckily, we did almost none of that in chemistry and physics.

Thanks for the weekend fun, Nancy.

TM

P.S. The pedantic teacher in me can't help but mention that a meter is actually a bit longer than a yard, rather than shorter. Sorry.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 12:38PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

I have long forgotten all that information, if I knew it at all.
Thanks for the question, Nancy, and the follow up one. Not surprised that the man was Flemish.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 2:03AM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

As a Canadian born into the Imperial system and now in the Metric, this was interesting reading. The metric system seems, on the face of it, very easy since it is decimal, yet, as a Science student, we used it and it did not seem that much easier, as Math is more than just multiplication and division. I had a hard time getting to 'think' metric, and when I think about baking, I still 'think' Imperial. Shopping in the butcher store, I still do a quick conversion from kg to lbs. The worst for me is distance. My youngest son, who went to school in 'metric' refers to things in terms of metres and I don't have a clue: still have to the rough calculation. When it comes to sewing, fabric requirements are still calculated quickly so I can gauge how much I am buying. The one thing that is totally metric in my mind is temperature. I have a hard time relating to temperatures in degrees F, especially in the 40's, 50's, 60's. I know that 80's and 90's are hot, but I am no longer sure if 45 degrees is hot, cool, or cold. So I guess it is a learning process, and because I am constantly bombarded with temperatures in Celcius, I think in Celcius . I probably will never really know what a kilo of flour is like , so where possible I measure in cups. At least that's universal.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 2:30AM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

I have seen an increase in recipes that weigh ingredients using the metric system.

Edited to add:

It is like people forced to learn a new language. They still think in their native language and unconsciously & consciously change the new language back.
Imperial and metric are languages of math. Those born into the system of usage don't have the need to convert and therefore have less difficulty.

This post was edited by mnwsgal on Wed, May 21, 14 at 11:25

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 11:10AM
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