Posted by: bkivey | 21 May 2010

A Handy Metric Conversion Guide

Currently there are three countries that have not officially adopted the metric system, Myanmar (Burma), Liberia, and the U.S. This is not to say that, in the U.S. at least, the metric system is unknown. Anyone involved in a technical field or working on Federal contracts routinely uses the metric system. But most Americans grow up with and use Imperial measure. Everyone ‘knows’ the length of a  foot or the weight of a pound.

It should be pointed out that there are actually two systems of measurement in the U.S.: urban and rural. Where the urban dweller may use the traditional units of Imperial measure, the rural denizen is equally comfortable with a more informal paradigm. Most people have heard of the legendary ‘country mile’ but fewer know that equally valid measurements of distance include ‘a ways’ and ‘a piece’ as in ‘up the road a ways’. A point at some intermediate distance would be ‘over yonder’. Quantity may be expressed as ‘some’, ‘a mess of’, or in the case of large quantities, ‘a s***load’. Despite the seeming imprecision of these measurements, everyone will know exactly what you’re talking about.

As an aid in familiarizing Americans with the metric system, I am reprinting a Metric Conversion Guide. I don’t know who the author is so I can’t properly credit it. I hope that it proves useful.

10^12 microphones = 1 megaphone

10^6 bicycles = 2 megacycles

500 millinaries = 1 seminary

2000 mockingbirds = 2 kilomockingbirds

10 cards = 1 decacards

1/2 lavatory = 1 demijohn

10^¯6 fish = 1 microfiche

454 graham crackers = 1 pound cake

10^12 pins = 1 terrapin

10^21 picolos = 10^9 los = 1 gigolo

10 rations = 1 decoration

100 rations = 1 C-ration

10 millipedes = 1 centipede

3 1/3 tridents = 1 decadent

10 monologs = 5 dialogues

5 dialogues = 1 decalogue

2 monograms = 1 diagram

8 nickels = 2 paradigms

2 snake eyes = 1 paradise

2 wharves = 1 paradox

10^¯6 phones = 1 microphone

10^6 phones = 1 megaphone

10^¯2 mental = 1 centimental

10^¯1 mate = 1 decimate

10^12 bulls = 1 terabull

10^¯12 boos = 1 picoboo

10^¯15 bismol = 1 femtobismol

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