B1 Intermediate US 46 Folder Collection
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Land of the free, home of one of the world's top five systems of units.
Sixteen fluid ounces make a cup, four cups make a pint, three pints make a quart, and
two quarts make a gallon.
It just make sense!
Likely not since none of that was true but you believed it, maybe.
The US, with an asterisk, uses that imperial system or rather an extra special variation
of it for extra special Americans.
The rest of the world, save Myanmar and Liberia, use the International System of Units but
if you take out your “Extra Special American Dictionary” you'll see that “international”
means “basically China, which is communist,” and we wouldn't want to be using communist
units would we?
Oh here's that asterisk.
The US uses customary units everywhere except for here, on one road in Arizona.
We'll get back to that.
During decolonization, all the former British Empire countries were really excited to not
be British and as part of that they were really excited to ditch the British Imperial System
of units.
That included the US which was also super excited to adopt one system of units since
just after independence it used a variety of units such as Dutch ones in New York or
Imperial ones in New England and if that time when NASA lost an $125 million orbiter due
to a conversion error or that time when a plane ran out of fuel over the Atlantic due
to a conversion error or that time when Columbus landed in the Bahamas instead of Asia and
accidentally discovered the New World due a conversion error, having to convert units
is bad.
Wait was that last one a bad thing?
Depends who you ask I guess.
So, to simplify things, a politician's secretary named Thomas sent a letter to France to ask
them to send a kilogram.
You see, this is super self explanatory, but if you wanted to adopt the metric system you
needed to, like, know how much a kilogram was.
Thomas Jefferson, who was the Secretary of State, I guess that detail is important, was
going to upon delivery decide if he liked how the kilogram felt, I guess?
Unfortunately the shipping service wasn't very good.
France sent this guy, scientist Joseph Dombey, on a ship but then the ship got blown south,
to the Caribbean, where there were pirates who took him and his kilogram, and killed
You know, I'm really starting to think that pirates are troublemakers.
Oh, so, what's a pirates favorite unit?
A kilomtaaaarrr since the base 10 system allows for easier conversion.
So, since Thomas didn't have a kilogram he couldn't switch the country over since
he didn't know how much a kilogram was and to this day, not a single American knows what
a kilogram is.
In reality he probably could've asked for another one but Britain was at least, 50 kilometers
Shipping times were slow.
Better to just use imperial units.
Ok, so industrial revolution, civil war, World War One, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, 200
years later and bam, the United States is still using imperial units.
But the US really tried to switch.
They passed a law in 1975 that pretty much said, “hey, you can switch if you want.”
This push for conversion was met with intense opposition especially from Republican Charles
Grassley who said, “forcing the American people to convert to the metric system goes
against our democratic principles.”
I also believe that forcing the American people not to murder goes against our democratic
Nonetheless, America started to switch, at least here, in Arizona on Interstate 19 between
Tucson and the Mexican border whose signs were fully switched to metric as an experiment.
People truly believed that the country was going to switch to metric because the government
told them so and would the government ever lie?
Now, plenty of signs in the US use both miles and kilometers, but I-19 is the only highway
in the country to use exclusively metric units.
They've thought about changing it since the great metric revolution never came, but
all the exits are numbered off how many kilometers they are from the border so then they'd
have to all change and then businesses would have to change which exit they say to get
off on in their ads.
It's just complicated.
Nonetheless, Arizona law now says that from now on if and when the signs get replaced
they have to be in miles to much opposition by local residents who say it will be too
difficult to convert to imperial.
Ok so… hmm there's nothing left on the script.
Wait that's it?
You make a five minute video and the cumulation is that there's a road with signs using
Who's the writer here?
This is such a stupid show.
I quit.
Your show is stupid, your jokes are stupid, this is all stupid.
Ok I've calmed down a bit, had some tea, and remembered that I'm the writer.
Except… oh boy… this tea is laced… with amphetamines.
That's not good.
You see, there's about 630 nanogram of amphetamines per liter of water according to scientists.
So, two questions: what are nanograms and how much drug is there in my tea.
If only there was a website that could answ… wait, what's that?
brilliant.org can?
Oh how handy they have a quiz that teaches you how to calculate how many nanograms of
amphetamines there are in your tea.
You see, they teach by breaking concepts down to their intuitive principles so you can build
up to the answer.
This way you don't memorize how to do something, you understand it.
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Why One Road in the US Uses Metric (Because of Pirates)

46 Folder Collection
Samuel published on May 11, 2018    Arnold Hsu translated    Evangeline reviewed
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