TIME Switches To The Metric System
TIME managing editor Rick Stengel has ordered his staff to go metric. Gawker has the memo:
Time is going global. And metric. Starting with the next issue, we will provide both imperial and metric equivalents for distance, weight, volume and temperature. (We’ve been doing this for some time in our graphics. Now we’ll extend this to the general text as well.) This will help ensure that one text works for all of our international editions.
In most cases, we’ll use the imperial measure first and then show the metric equivalent in parentheses: five ft. (1.5 m); 170 lbs. (77 kg); 5 gallons (19 liters); 98.6 degrees F (37 degrees Celsius).
As always, editors should use their judgment. There’s no need to convert every reference, particularly regarding sports (a 10-yard touchdown run need not be translated into a 9.14-m scamper).
While it’s simply bizarre to me that we are still on the imperial system even though the UK itself went metric decades ago, this is likely to have as much success as the effort by U.S. News in the 1980s to push simplified spelling (e.g., “employe” for “employee”).
After all, they were pushing the metric system when I was in grade school — about 35 years ago now! — and we don’t seem much closer to switching.
UPDATE: In related news, Kris at Smooth Operator is pushing a metric alphabet.