My friends had a baby today. Congratulations to them! And congratulations especially to Dave, for announcing the baby’s mass in kilograms. I can’t understand why society insists that baby announcements should always be in outdated imperial measurements.
Sensible people use the metric system (or SI units, after the full French title: Système international d’unités) because it is far superior, and it is superior for two very good reasons:
- The base units are defined by specific quantities are always the same, no matter who measures them, or where, or when. (Except, crucially, the kilogram.)
- The larger and smaller versions are all related by multiples of 10, allowing for easy conversion. It’s easy to convert 1.234 kg to grams, but how many ounces are in 12 stone 6?
“Yeah, but they’re so easy to visualise”, people say, “and metric numbers are so cold and clinical”. What a load of woolly nonsense! Whose foot? Which stone? And where is the problem with visualisation? Try this on for size:
Baby Zoë was born at 583144929491543703900 +/- 275778953100 periods of the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom since an arbitrary datum chosen by medieval monks. She has a mass of 3.24 times the mass of a cylinder of platinum-iridium alloy stored in a lab outside Paris. Mother and baby both have heart-rate, blood pressure and temperature within one standard deviation of the mean of their cohort.
See? Much better!