rmsgrey wrote:SDK wrote:rmsgrey wrote:I can use my size 9 shoes to get distances in feet just by counting; getting distances in meters means multiplying by 0.3 (which introduces an error, but if I cared about precise measurement, I wouldn't be using my shoes to measure it).
One meter is approximately one stride length, either a long stride or a normal stride depending on your height. Also, multiplying by 3 (not 0.3) is very easy if you insist on measuring things with your shoes (which is slow and annoying).
A yard is closer to a stride, but still a bad approximation - average stride length is around 78cm for males; 70cm for females. And multiplying by 3 without also dividing by 10 would make my bed 21 meters long - or longer than would fit in my house and the house next door combined (measured parallel to the road). Doing the conversion isn't terribly challenging, but it is more work than just counting off the measurement (and pacing out yards is easier than pacing out meters for most people).
The point is that most imperial units were originally picked to be convenient for what people wanted to measure, while metric units are chosen to be convenient to convert between, and/or define by experiment rather than by comparison with a pre-calibrated measure. For example, the meter was defined as one ten-millionth of the (surface) distance between the equator and the poles - and slightly misjudged, so that the arc is about 17km short, but that's not terribly relevant here - the main point is that yards and feet were developed to be easily used for everyday things; meters were defined to be convenient for cartographers, and approximately the same as yards.
SI units are chosen to be approximately the same magnitude as imperial units, so the individual benefits of imperial units for their specialist purpose are generally going to be small, but that doesn't mean they aren't real.
This. Metric measurement in practice jumps from units for tiny things (MM, CM) to units for fucking huge things. There's no metric equivalent of a foot. Standard has yards which are on the same scale as a meter, but most standard lengths are given in feet. I think people find feet a more natural unit of measure, because it's suited for the scale of things they'll interact with during their day.
Same with temperature. In standard subzero weather you better fucking bundle up, in metric subzero weather I don't even feel like I need a jacket sometimes. If it's dry and not windy, a standard t-shirt is enough. Standard was calibrated based on body temperature, so it more accurately reflects the experience of temperature.