2010-10-17

Conversation and display

As I've mentioned before, the tricky thing about the adoption of the International System of Units (SI) in the US is getting more people to readily use its units in their everyday lives. You can assist with this process by presenting SI in a natural and logical way. (Avoid talking about SI with arrogance, as that will most likely cause the listener to stop caring all-together.)

Conversation, in our modern age, can be had in at least two ways: verbally and textually. Presenting SI equivalents textually is relatively easy. For example, 5 km (approx. 3 mi); 20 C (approx. 70 F); etc. Using SI equivalents in verbal communication can be a little more complex; especially if you haven't already performed the conversion.

Here are some ways in which I've managed to sneak SI into my everyday communication....
"Could I get a 10 meter cable from you? .... That's about 32 feet."
(In the pause, I was able to convert to feet for the gentleman. It also allowed the "10 meter" statement to sink in and give the "32 feet" more relevance in relation.)

"I try to drink about 2 liters of water while on that 40 km ride. 2 liters is pretty decent; it's about a half gallon, but I really should be drinking more than that on a ride that's nearly 25 miles." (Basically, I just repeated the same information two different ways.)

"Wow! It is warm in here! It's got to be at least 25 Celsius.... What do you think? Is it about 80 in here?"
Try it out. I think you'll find that people readily accept your use of SI, if you provide the necessary context WITHOUT coming off as arrogant or pushy.
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