Standardizing your units

November 1, 2019

A misconception I held that the US was on Imperial units. The US uses United States Customary Units (USCS), which has a common ancestry with English units but is different than imperial.

Some fun facts:

  • The only three countries in the world that don’t use metric are the USA, Liberia, and Myanmar.
  • NASA lost a $125 million Mars orbiter because a Lockheed Martin engineering team used English units of measurement while the agency’s team used the more conventional metric system.
  • The European Union is looking to abolish Daylight Savings Time in 2021. Its also confusing that the US and the UK observe DST at different times where the US observes it earlier.

I was encouraged to start thinking ways I could start incorporating more universal units in my life.

  • I changed my watch from EST to UTC and thinking in 24 hour units which has made reading server logs much easier!
  • I changed all my weather temperature units from Fahrenheit to Celsius. (I myself doing Celsius x2 + 32 to gauge temperature but less as time goes on)
  • I started using Kilometers as the standard unit of distance on all my routing apps. It makes you feel more accomplished when you walk 3 kms vs a mile!
  • I’ve slowly adopted using kilograms instead of pounds for personal units but its hard to purchase things commercial not in pounds or ounces.
  • Thinking about liquid is hard but a quart is approximately ~95% of a liter so rounding is quicker.

This is my small way of beating daylight savings time but not having to change my clock and start thinking more worldly.