Irritations ... damn metrics

The wrong yardstick?

That's it! I've had enough. No matter how hard I try, metrication isn't natural! Walking with Dinosaurs (25 October, BBC 1) became totally disjointed while my brain wrestled with just what size 100kg represented. Then some metric distance was quoted. All totally meaningless.

And it doesn't stop there. I now only watch local TV weather forecasts as this can be completely pointless on national TV (millimetres this time). I can visualise a six-foot man, a seven-stone weakling and an inch of rain, but now I have to buy wrapped goods by visual assessment, not by the foreign language on the packet.

Philip Walte (Radio Times 27/11/1999)

One of the most infuriating things about the Metric System is the stupid way we are expected to use it. How many people know what a millimetre really is? It is about the size of an average pinhead.
Similarly, a millilitre is only a few drops. Who with any sense wants to measure anything in so many (worst of all, hundreds) of pin-heads and drops? ...
What housewife would ask for, say, '350 peas in a packet', or '100 lumps of sugar'? Who but a fool would tell you that the next village was '5,280 yards away', intead of 3 miles? Yet this is just the kind of senseless thing that is being done with the metric system.
How stupid can these Metric fanatics really get?"

J. H. Durance, in the English magazine Model Engineer (June 1979).

And another really irritating use - millimetres of rain instead of inches, and centimetres of snow. Two feet of snow I can visualise - but 60cm! Hardly. We need our user-friendly units.

School Arithmetic, Bozman, 1938
There remains a practical disadvantage; although numbers are simply dealt with in decimal fractions, quantities are not. Consider the division of a piece of butter, a quantitiy of milk, a length of material, a space of ground; these can be divided more easily and accurately into halves, quarters, eighths, even into thirds, sixths and twelfths, than into tenths.