The sun has finally emerged here in Portland after a very long absence and the temperature got above 60F, that’s 16 of your incredibly sensible metric units. I spent much of the weekend wrestling with the incompatibility of metric swedish furniture and insane imperial wood sizes. Even the damn tape measure is marked unilaterally in inches. The US really needs to get on board with the metric system and surprisingly they have tried on numerous occasions. However in typical big government way have been massively ineffectual. According to Wikipedia the decision to go Metric was taken in 1975:
The final report of the study, "A Metric America: A Decision Whose Time Has Come," concluded that the U.S. would eventually join the rest of the world in the use of the metric system of measurement. The study found that measurement in the United States was already based on metric units in many areas and that it was becoming more so every day. The majority of study participants believed that conversion to the metric system was in the best interests of the nation, particularly in view of the importance of foreign trade and the increasing influence of technology in the U.S.
The study recommended that the United States implement a carefully planned transition to predominant use of the metric system over a ten-year period. Congress passed the Metric Conversion Act of 1975 "to coordinate and plan the increasing use of the metric system in the United States." The Act, however, did not require a ten-year conversion period. A process of voluntary conversion was initiated, and the U.S. Metric Board was established for planning, coordination, and public education. The public education component led to a lot of public awareness of the metric system, although the public response included plenty of resistance, apathy, and even ridicule (for example in the Saturday Night Live decabet sketch). In 1981, the Board reported to Congress that it lacked the clear Congressional mandate necessary to bring about national conversion. Due to this apparent ineffectiveness, and in a Reagan effort to reduce federal spending, the Metric Board was disbanded in the fall of 1982.
The consequences of mixed systems can be expensive as the Mars Orbiter program found out.
The use of two different systems was the root cause in the loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter in 1998. NASA specified metric units in the contract. NASA and other organizations worked in metric units but one subcontractor, Lockheed Martin, provided thruster performance data to the team in pound force seconds instead of newton seconds. The spacecraft was intended to orbit Mars at about 150 kilometers (93 mi) altitude, but the incorrect data meant that it probably descended instead to about 57 kilometers (35 mi), burning up in the Martian atmosphere.
So America, lets start having things in both Metric and Imperial that way I will be able to repair crappy swedish furniture far more easily in the future.