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Theoriginalc

Weighty mission for scientists: redefine the kilo

The original cylinder of platinum and iridium used as the standard weight for one kilogram. Scientists said Monday they were moving closer to coming up with a non-physical definition of the kilo after discovering the metal artefact used as the international standard had shed a little weight.

Researchers caution there is still some way to go before their mission is complete, but if successful it would lead to the end of the useful life of the last manufactured object on which fundamental units of measure depend.

At the moment, the international standard for the kilo — the equivalent of around 2.2 pounds — is a chunk of metal, under triple lock-and-key in France since 1889.

Meanwhile in the USA the war against pounds, inches and miles continues to lag…

Pt 10741

The process of replacing the American system of measurements has been unsteady over the years with no definite conclusion. After efforts in the 1970s and 1980s, there has been little political will to continue conversion to metric. Currently, the U.S. uses a mixture of units. In some fields, the metric system has been used in the U.S. since the early 19th century. The use of metric units instead of or in addition to customary units has been gradually increasing for many years, but much of the public momentum has been lost since the 1980s, except in schools, science, and manufacturing.

Metric-America

Towards a metric America!

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. MadRat says:

    I was a kid in the 1970s when metric was being taught in school. As an adult I started wondering what ever happened to the US converting to metric. It turns out that the Metric Conversion Act was passed in the 1975 and never repealed although the US Metric Board was disbanded. Is it true that the US military uses metric?

  2. Robert says:

    …get mythbusters to move to metric. They have a scarily large following and would be the perfect people to show why the metric system works so well.

  3. Rob Cruickshank says:

    …it’s more like a massive problem.

    (Mass is not the same thing as weight, even if you are living in Myanmar, Liberia, or the U.S.A, and still using pounds.)

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