Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • And...

  • Alexa, what’s the weather today?

  • Right now in NewYork, it's 65°F

  • with clear skies and sun.

  • Today’s forecast has partly sunny weather with a high of 77°F and a low of 61°F.


  • I still don’t understand the use of Fahrenheit.

  • Virtually every country on earth uses Celsius to measure temperature.

  • But the US still uses Fahrenheit.

  • And for that reason, weat Voxoften get comments like these.

  • *Okay, we get it.*

  • Besides the fact that the majority of the world uses it

  • the metric system makes conversions a lot easier.

  • The Celsius scale even looks simpler.

  • It has freezing and boiling points at nice, round numberszero and 100.

  • Where in Fahrenheit, it’s a bit of a mess.

  • And of course, this isn’t just an issue of aesthetics or weather updates.

  • America’s unwillingness to switch over to the metric system has had serious consequences.

  • In 1999, a 125 million dollar satellite sent to Mars, disappeared in the Martian atmosphere.

  • It’s a setback to years of work already done in the vastness of spaceall it takes is one navigation error.

  • And this colossal mistake was largely due to a

  • conversion error between US and metric measurements.

  • Fahrenheit was really useful in the early 18th century.

  • At the time, no one really had a consistent way to measure temperature.

  • But then a German scientist came up with the Fahrenheit scale when he invented the

  • mercury thermometer in 1714.

  • To make the scale, the most popular theory is that he picked the temperature of an ice/water/salt

  • mixture at the zero mark.

  • He then put the freezing point of water, which is higher than a salt mixture, at 32.

  • And placed the average temperature of the human body at 96.

  • From there, he placed the boiling point of water at 212 degrees.

  • In 1724, Fahrenheit formalized that scale and was inducted into the British Royal Society, where his system was a big hit.

  • As Britain conquered huge parts of the globe in the 18th and 19th centuries, it brought

  • the Fahrenheit system and other Imperial measurements,

  • such as feet and ounces along with them.

  • And Fahrenheit became a standard system for the British Empire across the globe.

  • In the meantime, the metric system was gaining popularity during the French Revolution.

  • It was put in place to unify the country at the national level.

  • So by the second half of the 20th century, Celsius became popular in many parts of the

  • world, when many English-speaking countries began using the metric system.

  • Even America attempted to switch over.

  • The change would have been good for trade and scientific communications with the rest of the world.

  • So, Congress passed a law, the 1975 Metric Conversion Act

  • which led to the United States Metric Board that would educate people about the system.

  • This created the only metric highway sign in the USthe Interstate 19 connecting Arizona to Mexico.

  • But it didn’t go much further than that.

  • The problem was that unlike the UK, Canada or Australia, the law made the switch voluntary

  • instead of mandatory.

  • And of course people resisted the change, and the Metric Board couldn't enforce the conversion.

  • So, President Reagan ended up disbanding the board in 1982.

  • The next nudge to metricate came when the metric system became the preferred measure

  • for American trade and commerce in 1988.

  • But nothing really stuck with the general public...

  • Even though bizarre measurements like Feet and Fahrenheit are not doing them any favors.

  • Students have to train for two sets of measurements, making science education even more difficult.

  • And companies spend extra dollars producing two sets of products,

  • one for the US and the other for metric.

  • There’s also an argument for public health.

  • According to the CDC, about 3 to 4000 kids are brought to the ER due to unintentional

  • medication overdose, every year.

  • And conversion errors for dosage are to blame.

  • So it seems like a no brainerAmerica needs to switch to the metric system to match the rest of the world.

  • But it is still struggling to make that change.

  • That’s because itll take a lot of time and money but there’s no financial proof

  • that this will all be worth it.

  • So unless that change is proven to be economically better

  • Were not going to be using celsius anytime soon.

  • What’s 77°F in Celsius?

  • 77°F is 25°C.

  • Ah!

  • Okay.


Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 US Vox metric fahrenheit metric system celsius system

Why America still uses Fahrenheit

  • 62449 1455
    shining posted on 2017/09/26
Video vocabulary