From the archives: Metric

100 seconds in a minute, 100 minutes in an hour, 10 hours in a day; the American highway with kilometre signs; the $327 million dollar NASA metric mix-up; and that time pirates prevented the United States from getting the metric system.

A timekeeping system from the French Revolution attempted to make time decimal.


Interstate 19 out of Tuscon, Arizona, is unique amongst American highways: the signs are in metric.


Mars Climate Orbiter
NASA/JPL/Corby Waste [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Mars Climate Orbiter crashed because of a mix-up between Imperial and metric measurements.


Grave
Unknown author / Public domain

Thomas Jefferson could have adopted the metric system back in the 18th century, but he was thwarted by pirates of the Caribbean.

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