Australia went metric in the early 70s but many years later one of our football commentators came out with the wonderful observation "he's lining up for goal about fifty meters out and..... he's missed it by a mile"
From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Ken Armstrong
Sent: Wednesday, 13 February 2013 3:28 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Phrasal help wanted, s.v.p.
On 2/11/2013 6:48 PM, Peter Dillane wrote:
> Jerry Seinfeld asked why we were still measuring the power of the space shuttle in horses too.
Memory won't let me put my finger on it today ("where the hand of
man never set foot"), but Walter Ong gave a pretty good commentary on
that and on the staying power of English measures vs. metrics. Units of
measure like the foot, the yard, the mile, horsepower, however
"imprecise" they are, are based in sense experience. Even "right" and
"left" vs. compass points are more grounded in our orientation to the
body. When I went to school as a youngster in elementary school, the
math instruction still included making measurements with body parts:
second to third knuckle for an inch, a foot for a foot, a stride for a
yard, and etc. However unscientific these measures are, they provide a
sense of measurement closer to our lived experience.