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Articles

These articles will download to your computer as .pdf files. You need to have a (free) copy of Adobe Acrobat to read them. To download your copy, click to: Adobe Reader

Note that the following articles were written to fit on an international A4 piece of paper.
You might like to alter the borders or use 'Fit to page' if you are using any other paper size.

Metrication in a day

You can complete a metrication upgrade for your company in a single day - or you can take 200 years or more. It's your choice. "Metrication in a day" is a step-by-step program that will produce FAST results for you and your associates.

Which Inch?

From time to time you might read the line that goes something like:

The metre has never changed in length, only the definition has been rewritten to provide better accuracy and precision.
This poses the question of how reliable measurements were before the invention of the metric system in 1668. See http://www.metricationmatters.com/who-invented-the-metric-system.html

However, when you use the word 'inch' or its multiples, 'foot', 'yard', or 'mile', you are probably referring to one or other of the various inches that have been used throughout history. My motivation in researching this article was to count how many different inches there have been since the length of the metre became a definite, fixed, "universal measure" from 1795. A good guess is eight different inches with eight different definitions.

USA metric system history

This article may surprise you. It begins:
Without the influence of great leaders from the USA there would be no metric system.
Since many in the USA do not believe this statement, let me repeat it in a different way.
It is my belief that without the influence of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington, the metric system would not have been developed in France in the 1780s and 1790s.

Force field metrication analysis

Based on Kurt Lewin's Force Field Analysis technique, this is a 6 step analytical process to help you to understand the driving forces toward metrication and the restraining forces within your organisation.

Metrication is SUCCESSFUL

This is the free gift that new subscribers to the Metrication matters newsletter receive. It is designed to help you discuss the positive benefits of the metric system with your colleagues.

Letter to the Obama/Biden Energy and Environment Policy Team

As Barack Obama and Joe Biden prepare for the Presidency of the USA, they have asked for policy suggestions. This is my suggestion for some of the major issues to do with energy and the environment.

Pat Naughtin letter to Barack Obama and Joe Biden

Following their election as President-elect and Vice President-elect of the USA, Barack Obama and Joe Biden requested ideas for change from people in the USA and from other places around the world. This is Pat Naughtin's response to their request.

Spelling metre or meter

The spelling of the words, metre or meter and litre or liter, has confused many people since the meter and liter spellings were first actively promoted by Noah Webster in 1828. The debate still continues almost 200 years later.

degrees Celsius poster

This one page poster is ideal for school, college, or business notice boards so that people can quickly learn how to relate to temperatures in degrees Celsius. This will fit on either A4 paper or USA Letter paper.

National Metric Day poster

Metrication, the process of making the transition from old pre-metric measures to modern SI metric units, can be really, really slow if you choose the worst possible pathways to make your inevitable metrication change. This A4 or USA Letter poster illustrates this with an advertisement from 1901-10-10.

SI metric units vs USA measures

This is a one page comparison between the complete set of units for the modern metric system (SI) and some of the old pre-metric measures currently in use in the USA. It is a dramatic demonstration of the power of the metric system.

Energy words poster

The International System of Units has only one unit for measuring energy. However, if you use old pre-metric measuring words you can confuse and obfuscate with a wide choice of jargon words like BThU and calorie, each of which has a multiple choice of definitions.

A metrication elephant

Sixteen groups of scientist and engineers in the USA developed seven seemingly simple questions about science and engineering to ask of presidential candidates before the 2008 election. They wanted to ask about: innovation, climate change, energy, education, water, research, and health without once referring to how any of these things could or should be measured! This struck me as completely astounding. It was as if there was an elephant in the room a metrication elephant that no-one wanted to recognise.

Metric conversion

To decide on 'metric conversion' looks like a correct decision because, on the surface, it looks simple. However, hidden behind this apparent simplicity are three quite separate and distinct learning paths. You and your companions will learn: about the metric system; more than you ever needed to know about old pre-metric measures, and a whole new world of conversion factors and how to use them. This 3 page article explores these three learning paths.

Responsibility for metrication

This letter is less than two pages, takes under two minutes to read, and it is intended to encourage people who although committed to promoting the metric system feel that they cannot do anything because they don't have enough responsibility.

John Wilkins translation full version with images from the original document

John Wilkins translation shorter version without the original images

These two documents are transliterations of a four and a half page section from John Wilkins 600 page 'AN ESSAY Towards a REAL CHARACTER, And a PHILOSOPHICAL LANGUAGE.(1668)'. It contains almost all of the elements of the International System of Units (SI), the modern metric system. Wilkins suggested a decimal system, with a universal standard of length, preferably based on time, and that this standard length could be used to define area, volume, and 'weight' (using distilled rain water). Some of Wilkins' ideas were repeated by Gabriel Mouton two years later, in 1670, and the word, metre probably derived from a translation of Wilkins work into Italian, 'metro cattolico' seven years later by Tito Livio Burattini in 1675. Be aware that the full version is a large document that will take some time to download so I suggest that you use the shorter version if large downloads are a problem for you.

Commentary on John Wilkins' 'Of Measure'

This commentary places the work of John Wilkins, 'AN ESSAY Towards a REAL CHARACTER, And a PHILOSOPHICAL LANGUAGE.(1668)', into an historical context. It shows that the metric system and the International System of Units (SI) had their origins in England and that the development of the metric system in France in the 1790s was heavily influenced by thinkers in the USA especially Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington.

centimetres or millimetres which will you choose?

This is an analysis of the arguments for and against using centimetres or millimetres. It is in the form of a discussion between three people and it also includes summaries of the main discussion points and a conclusion to suggest future policies and actions. This is long (37 pages) but if you are pressed for time you can skim read a lot of it.

What is metrication?

Direct metrication is one of the ways nations choose to 'go metric'. The other main ways are phased metrication and metric conversion. Direct metrication is fast, smooth and so economical that most nations, industries, and companies profit immediately from their metrication upgrade.

Is 07 04 2007 The Fourth Of July?

While this short article is not directly related to metrication or the metric system, it does shed some light on the ways that societies around the world cooperate for their mutual benefit. In this case the topic is universal date formats.

A metric playground

This is a one-page list of ideas that you might be able to introduce into your school's playground. These ideas are intended to give school children practical experience with metric units as they use metric objects for their play.

Setting SMAART metrication goals

The SMAART way to set your metrication goals.

A word about global warming

This is a short 3 page suggestion of how metrication might help to solve the worldwide global warming problem. This article suggests that the single word, joule, is sufficient for us to begin our understanding of not only 'global warming' but also other issues such as 'peak oil'. It includes criticism of the ways that individual companies, industries and nations choose to use old measures for energy at the expense of our understanding of these global issues and lessens our ability to do anything about these pressing problems.

Metrication, who is responsible?

This short article questions who is responsible for metrication. Is it you, schools, industry, or the government?

10 ways to promote metrication

This is a short 2 page list of ways that you, or anyone else, can promote the use of the metric system, at home, at work, or at your school or college.

31 steps to metrication

This is a 4 page list of ideas to promote metrication amd the metric system every day in the month. The ideas include activities that suggest that you think, talk, listen, speak, write, and educate others about the metric system and about the process of metrication. These ideas need not take long as they are usually quite simple.

Costs of non-metrication

This is an 8 page article that uses a question and answer technique to discuss the costs of not changing to the metric system in the USA. It refers to small and large companies, the national education system, and to the USA as a whole.

Page borders Inches or millimetres

This two page article explores the cost of your simple decision about the size of the margins that you (and other people) choose for your computer paper printout.

Metrication quiz

This is a short quiz to test your Knowledge, Skills and your Attitudes to metrication. It is a 3 page test with an introduction and a guide to scoring.

Metrication emotions

Another short 2 page list of some of the things that people feel as they approach their own metrication process. These emotions are not rational, but that does not reduce their importance. If you are a metrication leader, you should at least be aware of how others might be feeling about metrication.

Approaches to metrication

This is a slightly longer article 6 pages that describes the four approaches that people take when they begin their metrication program. Some of these don't make a lot of sense in hindsight but their proponents don't see the problems when they are starting out. As a metrication leader, you should be aware of the various approaches to metrication and you can then choose the most appropriate for you and your group. By choosing the right approach you can dramatically reduce the time and resources needed for your metrication program. If you have already started on a metrication program and it is not going well, this may help you identify and correct some of the problems.

40 steps to better metric editing

This article goes through a step-by-step process to improve your general editing, and to specifically improve your numerical and metric editing. If you are a beginning editor, you will appreciate the step by step guide; if you are an experienced editor, you will appreciate the technical advice on specific and metrication measurement issues.

Metrication timeline

This is a long timeline or chronology of the development of the metric system from about 5000 BCE to the present. It is fairly detailed and I expect that it will be useful to anyone who has to research the origins of the metric system. It might also be useful for anyone who is trying to lead others to use the metric system.

Don't use metric!

This is a tongue-in-cheek guide to a day in the life of a citizen of the USA who chooses to have nothing to do with that 'metric muck'. It includes some of the difficulties that they might face. We normally don't sell this 5 page 'Don't use metric do the hard yards' document as we believe that it is priceless!

Metric Cooking with Confidence

Cooking with Confidence explains the hows, whys, and wherefores, of cooking measurements of all kinds, but with a specific preference for metric measures. This is a short (8 pages), but thorough description that covers all of the measuring issues you will meet in a modern kitchen. Normally we sell this as a small booklet for $10.00.

Writing money

Writing money explores some of the ways we choose to use in writing money around the world. It recommends a simple form of writing money that makes communication about sums of money especially large sums of money much clearer to us all.

USA decimalisation and metrication

USA decimalisation and metrication explores a possible impediment to metrication in the USA. This article proposes that the success of decimalisation has delayed the beginning and slowed down the progress of metrication in the USA.

USA Travellers guide to metric

This is a one-page sheet designed to fit in the bottom of any travel bag. It has the minimum amount of metric information for you to do your shopping and sightseeing in any metric country – and this means every country in the world except the USA.

Walking for fitness

This 7 page fully metric guide promotes a simple 3 stage program to improve your fitness and to lose some of your body mass. It includes a guide for beginners and a logbook page to record your progress.

Whole number rule

This is a short (2 page) article that recommends a method to remove fractions from all of your measurements and from all of your measurement calculations. It does this by recommending that you choose metric prefixes in such a way that fractions simply become unnecessary.

Leading Change by John P. Kotter book review

This book is reviewed as a useful model on which to base any metrication upgrade strategy. It is short (3 pages) but it will hopefully inspire metrication leaders to read Kotters' Leading Change with a view to developing their best possible metrication upgrade plan.

Do you mean energy or do you mean power?

The words energy and power are often confused and used interchangeably by politicians and journalists. This is a letter from Pat Naughtin to two politicians in Geelong, whose names will remain anonymous!


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Pat Naughtin
Metrication Matters
ABN 18 577 053 518
PO Box 305, Belmont, Geelong, 3216, Australia
+ 61 3 5241 2008
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