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Ed O’Keefe of the Washington Post’s Federal Eye brings up a question that, if everything works just right, will be the toast of the right-wing blogosphere any moment now. “Will the U.S. Go Metric?” he asks. The place to find out is the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Weights and Measures Division, whose Elizabeth Gentry tells O’Keefe that metric is already the “preferred system of weights and measures here in the U.S. for trade and commerce.”
Commenters are already all over this one, trolls splitting neatly among the lines of “Most Americans are too stupid to make the switch” (martin6) and “Reject European hegemony, METRIC NEVER!” (SUMB44). Neither of these arguments takes into account what makes America truly great: apathy!
The United States tried to go metric with the Metric Conversion Act of 1975, an initiative that NIST notes was “largely ignored by the American public.” I-19 in Arizona is the only U.S. highway marked in metric, and American motorists have complained that this is confusing since 1980, when the signs went up. They’re coming down now, an initiative funded by…the stimulus package.
That’s right, socialism will pay for us to, uh, maintain our individuality!
Photo by Flickr user Oran Viriyincy