The Great American Measurement Conundrum

20 Jan


The Great American Measurement Conundrum

by metricpioneer

Americans would do well to deem these three questions worthy of thoughtful consideration:

1) Why are so many Americans reluctant to embrace measurement harmony with every other nation on Earth by adopting SI (the International System of Units) and getting rid of its obsolete Imperial units?

2) Is American metrication a worthy goal? And

3) Why is the Metric System (as it was formerly known) better?

Americans fought long and hard to gain independence from England. We proudly commemorate the event every summer on the Fourth of July, a national holiday, yet ironically, we still use Imperial measurements.

Measure Compare

Why? Because we are accustomed to using inches and pounds. It is that simple. We learned how to measure ever since we can remember. Our parents and teachers taught us how to measure. We believe what our loved ones tell us and we remember the school lessons of our teachers. This is the way we have always measured. Tradition is a powerful motivator. The older we get, the harder it is to learn something new, especially something so hard-wired into our brains.

Why else? Fear! We are afraid of loosing part of ourselves. We fear that our individual identities may suffer irreparable damage, but this fear is irrational, because other nations have given up their obsolete measures and yet, they have indeed retained their identities with no adverse effect.

Answering the second question is easy. Yes! Just do a little research and educate yourself about all the merits of adopting a National Metrication Policy. Importing, exporting and labeling would be WAY simpler.

Answering the third question deserves consideration of some objective facts: Before humans were sophisticated enough to know about the vast array of things in the microscopic realm or in the seemingly boundless expanse of the Universe, they had no need for any whole unit of measure longer than a about a mile and shorter than about an inch, so those units were quite sufficient back then.

How much wood is required to burn a witch? How long is the foot of the king? A pint of beer seems like a reasonable serving: quaint measures for quaint times.

But humanity has moved beyond its Dark Ages. Science brings new challenges to measure things like sub-atomic particles and orbital distances of planets. Hunter-gatherers, ancient warring tribes and even subjects of the Roman Empire had no frame of reference to even understand that the observable Universe is about 880 yottameters or that our galaxy is a little less than one zettameter in diameter or that the average orbital distance of Earth is about 150 gigameters or that Earth weighs almost six thousand yottagrams or that our moon weighs 74 Yg or that a tardigrade is about one millimeter long or that the largest bacteria is 750 micrometers or that a human egg is about 120 micrometers or that a transistor gate is 25 nanometers or that DNA is 3 nm or that a hydrogen atom is 31 picometers in diameter and weighs 1.674 yoctogram or that the total mass of the Terran cryosphere is about 26 zettagrams.

Sure! You could measure all those things using quaint miles, inches, pounds and ounces, but you would end up with so many gazillion miles or pounds and ridiculously small fractions of an inch or an ounce that mathematical calculations would become a terribly cumbersome nightmare. It is no wonder that the United States ranks way down at number 31 in mathematics; even kids in Poland rank better at math than Americans! Perhaps it would be more appropriate for people in Poland to tell American jokes than the other way around when it comes to measurement competency.

Ask any school kid around the world how many meters in a kilometer and you get an immediate response: a thousand, of course. What an easy question! Ask an American kid how many yards in a mile and all you get is a blank stare. Even most American adults have to stop and scratch their heads or run to fetch a calculator.

People used about 250,000 different units of weights and measures in France before the French Revolution. The need for a national standard was totally obvious to the French.

Imperial China successfully standardized units for volume, but by 1936, official investigations uncovered 53 dimensions for the chi, varying from 200 millimeters to 1250 millimeters; 32 dimensions of the cheng, between 500 milliliters and 8 liters; and 36 different tsin, ranging from 300 grams to 2500 grams. Standard weights and measures are crucial for any nation to pragmatically function. China, the largest nation on Earth (by human population) was able to adopt a measurement system having its origins in Europe, so we know that such a feat is possible.

Of the three common ways that nations convert from traditional measurement systems to SI, the first is the quick route (which India used in the 1960s and several other nations including Australia and New Zealand) which is to simultaneously outlaw the use of pre-SI measurement, metricate, reissue all government publications and laws, and change education systems to SI. The changeover in India lasted from 1 April 1960, when SI measurements became legal, to 1 April 1962, when all other systems were banned. The Indian model was extremely successful and was copied over much of the developing world.

Now many Americans cringe at the very thought of outlawing their dear inches and pounds, but consider the Arab / Israeli conflict and how it seems that the two sides cannot agree on anything, yet everyone in the Middle East uses the same International System of Units. The way those people there seem to cling to ancient traditions, you would think that measures from the Quran or Tanakh would have survived well into modern times. An historian should wonder why Israel decided not to resurrect the cubit since clinging to tradition is such an important aspect of Judaism. You might say, Sure! It is probably much easier for little nations to undergo metrication, but the United States of America is the third largest nation on Earth.

The bigger the nation, the more difficult the task, but if the Arabs and Israelis can adopt SI; if China and India can undergo metrication, then surely, so can America. It is a daunting task for America, but it is well worth continuing the effort we began in 1866 with the Metric Act and resurrected in the 1970s which gave us soda pop in two-liter bottles. Do you remember how banks used to display current temperature in C and F?

American prescription medication is measured in milligrams and milliliters because no other option is workable. America is partly metric already; we just need to finish the job. You do not have to wait for the government to do it for you. This is America where YOU are the government. Just self-metricate right now. Learn SI and teach it to others. Memorize your height and weight in centimeters and kilograms. Put a Celsius-only thermometer on your front porch and look at it every morning. Forget Fahrenheit. Water boils at one hundred. Normal human body temperature is 37. Just remember this rhyme for Celsius weather:

30 is warm

20 is nice

10 is cold

0 is ice

Watch Al Jazeera for news given using only SI units. Write letters to publications like National Geographic and urge them to use SI only. Living in a perpetual state of transition is really getting old.

Here is a sample snippet from a recent news article: The robotic sub, about the size and shape of a baseball bat, was dropped down a 2,625-foot (800 meters) borehole into subglacial Lake Whillans in January.

The snippet clearly reveals that the original writer estimated how deep the robotic sub was dropped down a borehole, rounded to about 800 meters. Some Bozo editor later decided that Americans were too dumb to know what a meter is, so he got out a calculator and made believe that the random figure in feet would clarify matters.

Let us put an end to news articles cluttered with dual measurements! Measuring everything twice just seems so irrational and desperate. How embarrassing that our articles have to give us obsolete measures then parenthetically remind us of their equivalent SI measures! Let us not pretend anymore that obsolete Imperial measures are somehow a global standard worthy of primary mention.

Let us stop using four-letter words like yard, mile, inch and foot. Let us rid ourselves of obsolete measures once and for all. No one really cares how many ounces are in a 1 Liter bottle. Let America embrace measurement harmony on Earth. Your focus determines your reality.

Source: The Great American Measurement Conundrum


before you knock

26 May


e you knock.

my resignation letter

23 Oct

my resignation letter.


About Comment (non)Policy Contact Us Feminist FHE Resources Podcasts

my resignation letter

By meli, October 22, 2013

I was nervous when two Sundays ago my stake president, Bart MacKay, called me into his office. Here was a man who had my entire future in his hands. If he didn’t like me, he could kick me out of my school, my job, and my housing. I was already seriously considering leaving BYU and the LDS Church after this semester.

I began our interview by telling him my story. I was open about my atheism, my experimentation with alternative spirituality, and my support of feminism and LGBT*QIA activism.

He cut me off while I spoke with him and told me he frankly didn’t care about my story. Rather, I was in there because of a feminist critique I wrote about the temple, as well as my association with the occult.

President MacKay had received a portfolio from an anonymous source that contained much of my online activity. My bishop and the honor code office also received the same portfolio from the same anonymous source.

He called me a covenant breaker for writing about the temple, and whenever I would try to express how I was feeling, he said he couldn’t believe a word I said because of it. He’d cut me off any times I’d try to express myself. He’d tell me why I did what I did instead of letting me explain myself. He raised his voice to me. He compared me to Korihor multiple times. At one point he even compared me to a criminal on the stand. (President MacKay’s an attorney, so that may be one of the causes of his delightful personality).

To end it all off, he told me that he loved me and saw me as a son of God.

Excuse me, but if you loving me means that you don’t even care about who I am or where I’m coming from, I don’t want you to love me.

If being a son of God means you’re going to put words in my mouth and compare me to a villain from the Book of Mormon, I don’t want to be a son of God.

Telling me that you love me after you treat me less than human is similar to an abuser telling their victim that they love them after treating them like dirt. Thanks President Bart MacKay. Thanks for loving me.

President MacKay told me that he was going to disfellowship me if I didn’t repent of beliefs and actions that I don’t think are wrong. Being disfellowshipped while at BYU would make me get kicked out of school, work, and housing.

I broke down and asked him to wait until the end of the semester so my parents could get their money’s worth for my tuition. I told him he had total control over my future. He said, “No, I don’t. You do. You are the master of your own destiny.”

That’s when I realized that I SHOULD be the master of my own destiny. But I’m not the master right now. Because I was currently attending BYU, this man who doesn’t seem to care about who me was the master of my destiny.

Comparing me to Korihor, President MacKay said all that I ever do is look out for myself and justify incorrect behavior. There was some truth to that. I was lying about who I am and what I believe and justifying my lying so that I could keep attending BYU.

I decided right then and there that I would drop out of BYU, quit my work, look for new housing, and resign from the LDS Church. I was going to do this so that I wouldn’t be like self-serving Korihor with his fake repentance.

I don’t want to be like Korihor. I don’t want to justify lying any longer. I want to live up to my ideals even under the threat of losing everything. And I want to leave the LDS Church and everything that comes with it, including my school, work, and housing so that I can be the master of my own destiny.

I gave the following letter to my bishop yesterday:

To whom it may concern,

Please remove my names from the records of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I no longer feel like a member of the LDS Church, and believe it is dishonest for me to pretend otherwise.

I’ve been struggling for the past few months trying to decide to stay in the LDS Church or not. I returned from my mission last year in August. I found I was agnostic by November and that I was an atheist by February. I do not deny the wonderful experiences I’ve had in the LDS Church. But to me it seems that there is no place in the LDS Church for secular Mormons. From going the temple to participating in priesthood rituals to holding a variety of callings, it is clear to me that people like myself are not wanted here.

Besides being an unbeliever, I have no interest in paying tithing to an organization that bars women from full participation in its ranks and has such a shady history in its treatment of homosexual and transgender people, even up to the current day.

Just because I no longer feel like a member of the LDS Church, however, does not mean I no longer feel connected with the Mormon community. I plan on continuing to support my Mormon and ex-Mormon LGBT*QIA siblings, as well as my feminist and skeptical sisters and brothers, those who’ve left and those who choose to stay. My goal is to help make the Mormon and ex-Mormon community a safe place for all people.

At this time, I am following the advice of my stake president and being the master of my own destiny. I don’t want anybody else being my master. And for this reason, I repeat my request that you remove my names from the records of the LDS Church.

Thank you,

Curtis Penfold

Feel free to contact me with your thoughts and feelings regarding this blog post at cvpenfold at gmail dot com.

Facebook Alienates Secularists and Scientists – One Anonymous Moderators Story

13 Apr

Facebook Alienates Secularists and Scientists – One Anonymous Moderators Story.

Facebook Alienates Secularists and Scientists – One Anonymous Moderators Story

I am aware that just writing this puts me in the position of jeopardizing my place as a Facebook moderator, but it’s about time someone do this. Since I have never really used my real name on Facebook, I am hoping that those who know me will keep quiet and those who don’t won’t concern themselves with the messenger as much as the message.

Facebook Does Not Care About Your Page

No one should really have to tell you this. If you run a secular or science related page you have probably already experienced reports, bans, hacks and more. Just keeping your account and page going seem to be a full-time job. But while it may be a full-time job for you, there are actually people working behind the scenes that do care about your freedom of speech, your right to enjoy secularism and science, and your protection when it comes to how your city, state or country may treat you for sharing your opinions. However, it is vital to note that the actions of these rogue mods is not supported by Facebook development, managers or its famous co-founder, Zuckerberg. I constantly see atheists yelling about how they can’t believe Zuckerberg doesn’t support them considering he is an atheist. Let me reassure you of one thing right now. He DOES NOT give a shit about your page. He cares about advertising. That is why when large countries like India and China threaten to pull out, Facebook devs go into a flurry of reporting, banning and deleting activities on pages that seem to generate the most controversy. For the record, several countries have threatened to pull out of Facebook citing that secular pages have caused civil unrest in their regions.

Science Flies in the Face of Faith

While I actively spend hours per day trying to unban admins from secular pages, nothing frustrates me more than trying to cope with

This is obviously witchcraft. Thou shalt not suffer a coin to live. Stupidicus 3:14

the irrational human beings’ reaction to science. I have spent many hours combating the trolls that visit a very popular science page known as I Fuckin’ Love Science. Some of the complaints I have read include:

“Please remove this picture, I do not believe in this coin and it goes against my beliefs.”

“Jesus teaches us that not all things we can see are worth believing in. I am reporting this because science has proven dinosaurs did not exist.”

“I don’t like Bob Barker, he is a pervert and should not be represented on this page.”

Secular Charities Enrage Stupid People

One of the most frustrating issues I have dealt with in recent months was the banning of the moderator and an incredibly charitable gentlemen who dedicates his time and his life, to improving the living conditions and the health and rights of the people of India. Responsible Charity is just that, responsible. They share where their donated funds go, they are genuine, real and admirable in a time where no one trusts charities anymore, the horror stories about misappropriated funding, deviant behavior and other fraudulent ‘charities’ still fresh in the minds of many. And here is one, doing the right thing, and their administrator is banned for posting pictures that do not make the religious feel warm and fluffy. You know who does get to feel warm and fluffy? Hopefully the people that charity takes care of, even if just for a minute. I’d throw Facebook in the trash forever if it would earn one dollar for this charity, but the moderation team has fought long and hard to repeal a month-ban on the admins account, only to be met with bugs, roll backs and general hamster on a wheel functioning that Facebook has become while they are trying to implement video advertising. Because like I’ve tried to tell you, that is literally all that matters here.

Facebook has it’s purposes in the big picture; most certainly we are all there for more than just the general sociable circle-jerk of digital high-fiving with a side of narcissism that we all enjoy when we participate there. However, I now want to share the other side of the coin with you. 99% of reports are sent to an automated system that uses an algorithm of a combinations of triggers and filters

Buzz Aldrin refuses to admit he is Bob

based on your account. What this

Barker. He also wants you to know he is

means is that when you get banned

tired of your shit.

for some batshit reason, don’t take it personally. No individual, sitting idly by, sipping latte.. has looked at your report and said, “He posted a picture of Mother Teresa riding a T-Rex holding a shot gun, he’s OUTTA HERE!” More than likely, your account just got banned on the popular internet premises, “Because, who cares?” along with an algorithm built to do exactly that. You ever noticed how Facebook doesn’t have a nice blog posting new updates we can expect? Did you notice that Facebook has no real reachable customer service numbers or emails? Did you pick up on how last week, when the Richard Dawkins Facebook page was hacked, it was returned to its admin within a couple of hours?

Several people who know me and what I do on Facebook’s back end asked me how the RD page got fixed so quickly when other sites like Sexy Atheists took a lot longer to return. There are two contributing factors to this.

Sexy Atheists is a great page, however, they aren’t, you aren’t, Richard Dawkins. Don’t get your tits in a rage, I don’t mean that, “Hahaha! You aren’t Richard Dawkins, you suck! Hahaha!” I mean, you aren’t Richard Dawkins. You don’t have millions of people willing to listen to you complain about Facebook’s policies, he does. Period. By the way, you yourself aren’t making that situation any better by only using Facebook to ‘share your message’, whatever it is. While it still has a few years left in it before some 12 year old creates a better network, you should realize right away that it isn’t going to be around forever.

The Sexy Atheists admin wasn’t a part of the admin group that helps secular and science page owners to deal with these banning frenzies when it first occured. FYI, the bans and reports are most often carried out by packs of religious trolls that know a little bit more about coding than the average bear, but fortunately, my early days on the Internets IRC’s taught me more. The SA page was returned to its owner within two hours of our getting in contact.

I put a special note “S1″ on the accounts of people who deny dinosaurs or claimed they were

I am not a braggart, I never work alone.

buried by satan. S1 isn’t really fancy,

There are other individuals on the back

it just stands for Stupid One. This

end that support me, I support them.

alerts other moderators to the fact

We take shifts so that I can guard their

that they can then begin pointing and

pages when I am awake, they are

laughing at your profile.

sleeping – and vice versa when it’s my turn for a nap. And in some cases, like with the RD Foundation page, the posts I make asking people – YOU PEOPLE – to email Facebook about, get righted in that way, too. Don’t stop doing that whatever you do. I wish I had a solution for you, but as I warned my group at the beginning of this year, things are getting worse for the secular pages, not better. The chances are that they won’t. I do love reading your messages about how Facebook and Zuckerberg should take these matters seriously, but I can’t help but think your time would be better spent doing something more productive for yourselves or your pages or your fans.


If you have questions about anything I will try to answer them here. However, trolling in any form has no place here. I am taking a big enough risk just sharing this, I am making preparations with my admin group about a probable deletion, and I don’t expect this blog to stay up indefinitely, though I do believe it has a better chance being on a public forum and search engine crawl-able. We shall see.

If you want to read a real story behind how the underpaid, overworked Facebook moderators feel about your reporting issues, read more here.

Hello world!

8 Dec

Welcome to After you read this, you should delete and write your own post, with a new title above. Or hit Add New on the left (of the admin dashboard) to start a fresh post.

Here are some suggestions for your first post.

  1. You can find new ideas for what to blog about by reading the Daily Post.
  2. Add PressThis to your browser. It creates a new blog post for you about any interesting  page you read on the web.
  3. Make some changes to this page, and then hit preview on the right. You can always preview any post or edit it before you share it to the world.