Why We're Stuck With It:
Actually, we have started to use metric, in some ways. The imperial system is so clumsy that the U.S. scientific community has already abandoned it for metric, which is much better at measuring anything really big or small, like light wavelengths. Besides the sciency stuff, electricity consumption is measured in kilowatts, data storage is measured in megabytes, and nutrition labels have been in both imperial and metric for quite a while.
But let's be honest: The metric system has not caught on here. Technically, the U.S. government adopted the metric system in 1866. But what it failed to do was restrict the use of the old system in any way that actually affects regular citizens. We haven't made the crucial transition from "soft metric" ("1 pint [473 milliliters]") to "hard metric" ("500 milliliters [1.057 pint]"), in which the imperial equivalent gets a smaller and smaller font size and eventually disappears.
Why? Well, these numbers aren't just used in math -- there are imperial measurements built into the culture and language. We instinctively know that it's good for an NBA center to be 7 feet tall instead of 6, something that gets lost when you switch it to 2.13 meters. There is a mental image associated with a "quarter-pound" hamburger, or a gallon of ice cream. Changing the units of measure means changing the language and certain figures of speech.
"I'm not good with math. Just give me the 'bigass' one."
Still, these days, every country uses the metric system, except the United States. Well, and Liberia and Myanmar.
The secrets don't stop here, learn more in the brand new Cracked.com book! And once you get that book, make sure you take a picture of yourself with it, then upload it to our Facebook fan page for a chance to win $250!
And stop by Linkstorm to see how 4Chan will become obsolete.
And don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Do you have an idea in mind that would make a great article? Then sign up for our writers workshop! Do you possess expert skills in image creation and manipulation? Mediocre? Even rudimentary? Are you frightened by MS Paint and simply have a funny idea? You can create an infograpic and you could be on the front page of Cracked.com tomorrow!