Sunday, December 03, 2006

Celcius vs Fahrenheit

It’s something that isn’t covered all that well in Canadian school textbooks regarding recent Canadian history, but people of a certain age remember the time well. They were the Metric Riots of the late 1970’s and the early 1980’s where martial law was declared in citied all across Canada and which, in 1984, brought down the Liberal government, leaving Ottawa in flaming ruins and Canadian society in tatters.

As Canadians we have come a long way since those dark days and today we have what I am proud to call a typically Canadian solution to the entire Metric ker-fuffle; we use both the Metric as well as the Imperial systems interchangeably. Problem, such as it was, solved.

Of course there are those out there who say that this solution just goes to show that Canadians can’t make up their minds to save their lives. I’m undecided on that (this is what’s known as a cheap joke. Sorry) and I have always just sort of figured that we Canadians would rather choose our battles, and fighting over whether something is an inch or whether it’s two point five four centimetres is just stupid. Distance, weight, mass, volume, are all pretty much just arbitrary numbers anyway. Who was it that decided that a foot would be this much or a decimetre would be that much? When you look at it that way then neither system is better than the other (yeah, yeah, and then there’re those who say that a system based on tens is just better anyway and what’s easier? Figuring out how many millimetres in a kilometre, or how many sixteenths of an inch there are in a mile? To this I say, you go right ahead. I’ve got a book to read instead.)

The only place where I can see one system being better than the other is in temperature. I mean who was the prize winning ga-nimrod who thought of water freezing at thirty-two degrees and boiling at two hundred and twelve degrees (at sea-level)? That dude should have stayed off the laudanum and thought about it a bit more. You have to wonder what’s up with that sort of thinking? Life can be complicated enough without tossing looney numbers like that into the mix. Water freezing at zero degrees and boiling at one hundred degrees? Now there’s a system you can sink your teeth into.

Anyway… Humouroceros.

The Official Symbol of Canadian Metrification


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