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Old 12-15-2008, 11:42 AM   #5
Michael Rowley
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Howard:

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Could you elucidate? What do you mean by "tied into the metric system"? They still use inches, feet, miles, pounds and fahrenheit
I mean that the US Customary units were defined in the nineteenth century in terms of the metre and kilogram; the other basic units of SI (the kelvin, ampere, mole, and candela) never differed. The degree Fahrenheit has never been defined, but everyone assumes that that it is 9/5 degrees Celsius plus 32*; Fahrenheit invented the mercury-in-glass thermometer, which was sold particularly well in England, but he didn't get round to defining his scale.

US Customary units of length and mass are the same as Imperial Units, and both have been defined relatively recently (previously the two units of length varied very slightly) in terms of SI. SI differs from the previous metric system in that all seven of its basic units are coherent.

SI units are legally obligatory for Federal agencies now.

The full story is told by NIST, which was known as NBS in my time (and probably in yours).

*That's wrongly defined, but you'll know what I meant.

   
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