Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Gone Metric!

My friend Jeff obstinately uses Celsius units when describing the weather regardless to whom he's talking. Celsius might be one of the most difficult of day-to-day Metric units for an American because most of us have no clue what to wear based solely on a Celsius reading of the temperature. Is 20° C hot or cold? Most of us don't know without performing a conversion to Fahrenheit first. As it turns out, 20° C is a pleasant 68° F.

Jeff's independent change of habit to using metric temperature units inspired me to do the same; I reconfigured the weather widget on my Google homepage to display metric units. Doing so has increased my familiarity with the range of temperatures from 30° C to 45° C this summer but has done little else to spark a greater comfort with the Celsius unit.

I gained a bit more exposure to the Metric System this summer by reading articles about the Tour de France. Of course, being a French race, the stage distances are measured in kilometers (although American publications usually convert the distances to miles), and foreign news articles frequently report average speeds in kph rather than the more familiar mph.

Today I have decided to take a plunge and increase my familiarity with the meter; I reprogrammed my bicycle computer to display metric units: km for distance and kph for speed. An incidental advantage of this switch is that an arduous pace of 22 mph is now a sleek pace of 35 kph. The speed is the same, but 35 kph sounds way cooler than 22 mph. And my work commute of 8.25 miles expanded to 13.3 km with no additional pedaling effort required.

Wikipedia link of the day: Metrication in the United States.


Rachel said...

Cool - I feel like I just lost a lot of weight....I totally prefer kg to lb! Bring on the nightly ice cream!!!

Markus said...

30 is hot,
20 is nice,
10 is cold,
0 is ice!!!

Markus said...

Also, I would suggest you think about adopting ISO8601 time formatting. It works great for many reasons.