WHY the metric system exclusively, ESPECIALLY for builds

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cool hand luke
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WHY the metric system exclusively, ESPECIALLY for builds

Post by cool hand luke » October 24th, 2019, 10:57 am

Anyone have insight into why all of Olympiad uses the metric system exclusively? This doesn't seem to reflect the real world very well, at least not for any of the industries I've worked in. It's especially frustrating on builds where they use 30cm to approximate a foot. Except its NOT a foot. So tons of stuff have to get cut down a fraction of an inch to stay inside a 60 cm length limit etc. If they would at least bump it up to 31 cm or even 30.5 it would make it a ton easier on everyone.

The biggest gripe I have is it doesn't align well with what kids will face in the real world.

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Re: WHY the metric system exclusively, ESPECIALLY for builds

Post by FiveW's » October 24th, 2019, 11:07 am

cool hand luke wrote:
October 24th, 2019, 10:57 am
Anyone have insight into why all of Olympiad uses the metric system exclusively? This doesn't seem to reflect the real world very well, at least not for any of the industries I've worked in. It's especially frustrating on builds where they use 30cm to approximate a foot. Except its NOT a foot. So tons of stuff have to get cut down a fraction of an inch to stay inside a 60 cm length limit etc. If they would at least bump it up to 31 cm or even 30.5 it would make it a ton easier on everyone.

The biggest gripe I have is it doesn't align well with what kids will face in the real world.
Pretty sure it's because most scientists and stuff use the metric system and it is more common around the world.
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Re: WHY the metric system exclusively, ESPECIALLY for builds

Post by cool hand luke » October 24th, 2019, 11:24 am

yeah, maybe scientists, but I manage a group of mechanical electrical chemical and civil engineers at a chemical plant and nothing we do is metric.

I have recruited a bunch of them to help teach events and man this frustrates them!

and as I'm reminded every time I buy stuff for Olympiad not much in the US is manufactured to metric, which means it's not just the major industries I'm familiar with that don't do metric, but NOBODY in the real world outside of academia uses it in the US.

sorry grumpy old man yelling at clouds.

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Re: WHY the metric system exclusively, ESPECIALLY for builds

Post by MadCow2357 » October 24th, 2019, 1:12 pm

cool hand luke wrote:
October 24th, 2019, 11:24 am
yeah, maybe scientists, but I manage a group of mechanical electrical chemical and civil engineers at a chemical plant and nothing we do is metric.

I have recruited a bunch of them to help teach events and man this frustrates them!

and as I'm reminded every time I buy stuff for Olympiad not much in the US is manufactured to metric, which means it's not just the major industries I'm familiar with that don't do metric, but NOBODY in the real world outside of academia uses it in the US.

sorry grumpy old man yelling at clouds.
Yes, it's a hassle to convert between metric and imperial but it's the US's problem that we mainly use imperial. I totally get why you are angry at this, but remember you have a bias towards the metric system since you've been using Imperial/Customary units for your entire life up until perhaps recently.

As for nobody in the real world, I'm sure you know that only 3 out of 195 countries in the world don't use metric, and those include the US, Myanmar, and Liberia. The switch to metric is necessary if we want to stay competitive in the world economy. IMO Science Olympiad is doing us all a favor by promoting the switch to metric.
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Re: WHY the metric system exclusively, ESPECIALLY for builds

Post by AlfWeg » October 24th, 2019, 1:40 pm

cool hand luke wrote:
October 24th, 2019, 11:24 am
yeah, maybe scientists, but I manage a group of mechanical electrical chemical and civil engineers at a chemical plant and nothing we do is metric.

I have recruited a bunch of them to help teach events and man this frustrates them!

and as I'm reminded every time I buy stuff for Olympiad not much in the US is manufactured to metric, which means it's not just the major industries I'm familiar with that don't do metric, but NOBODY in the real world outside of academia uses it in the US.

sorry grumpy old man yelling at clouds.
Um ur profile says ur Division B, might wanna change that :lol:
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Re: WHY the metric system exclusively, ESPECIALLY for builds

Post by cool hand luke » October 24th, 2019, 7:09 pm

You can't have college grad coaches?


I hear what you guys are saying, but they were saying the same things 20 years ago.

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Re: WHY the metric system exclusively, ESPECIALLY for builds

Post by JoeyC » October 24th, 2019, 7:16 pm

Point being, as Science Olympiad is supposed to be a "world of science", they use the system most of the world uses - SI.
While it is understandable that this may not be much relevant inside the U.S. - something that won't change without major upheaval - the universal scientific standard is to use metric and not imperial.
Further, metric is easier to use so long as one has the measuring equipment.
Hence, due to Science Olympiad choosing to follow the world of science rather than solely the U.S., SI units are used - not because it's necessarily better for the competitors (indeed, we only have 1 or 2 teams ever coming from areas that use metric) - but because it follows the global scientific standard in order to be recognized as a valid scientific organization.

Think of it as using metric for legitimization and not specifically for its practicality.
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Re: WHY the metric system exclusively, ESPECIALLY for builds

Post by TheMysteriousMapMan » October 24th, 2019, 7:18 pm

To add to what Joey just said, correct me if I'm wrong, but some types of engineering are the few American industries that still use imperial units. I think another reason SO does it is the reason you (luke) state–metric is used in academia, which makes a lot of sense if competitors want to go into STEM careers where most of their study, as well as a good portion of their jobs, will use metric. For a more superficial reason, it also is a lot easier and makes a good deal more numerical sense in the decimal system.
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Re: WHY the metric system exclusively, ESPECIALLY for builds

Post by Unome » October 24th, 2019, 8:47 pm

cool hand luke wrote:
October 24th, 2019, 10:57 am
Anyone have insight into why all of Olympiad uses the metric system exclusively? This doesn't seem to reflect the real world very well, at least not for any of the industries I've worked in. It's especially frustrating on builds where they use 30cm to approximate a foot. Except its NOT a foot. So tons of stuff have to get cut down a fraction of an inch to stay inside a 60 cm length limit etc. If they would at least bump it up to 31 cm or even 30.5 it would make it a ton easier on everyone.

The biggest gripe I have is it doesn't align well with what kids will face in the real world.
Broadly speaking I don't see a particular problem with the choice of unit, since students should be able to switch the units they're thinking in without too much trouble, I'd think (depending on the industries or such that they end up in). Although, the example you mention about 30 cm being slightly less than a foot sounds like a practical concern that's definitely worth talking about.
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Re: WHY the metric system exclusively, ESPECIALLY for builds

Post by chalker » October 25th, 2019, 5:29 am

Unome wrote:
October 24th, 2019, 8:47 pm
cool hand luke wrote:
October 24th, 2019, 10:57 am
Anyone have insight into why all of Olympiad uses the metric system exclusively? This doesn't seem to reflect the real world very well, at least not for any of the industries I've worked in. It's especially frustrating on builds where they use 30cm to approximate a foot. Except its NOT a foot. So tons of stuff have to get cut down a fraction of an inch to stay inside a 60 cm length limit etc. If they would at least bump it up to 31 cm or even 30.5 it would make it a ton easier on everyone.

The biggest gripe I have is it doesn't align well with what kids will face in the real world.
Broadly speaking I don't see a particular problem with the choice of unit, since students should be able to switch the units they're thinking in without too much trouble, I'd think (depending on the industries or such that they end up in). Although, the example you mention about 30 cm being slightly less than a foot sounds like a practical concern that's definitely worth talking about.
As a policy, we've settled on metric across the board for all the reasons (and more) listed already in this thread. As an aside, metric is far more present in the US than most people realize: Soda bottles are 2 liters. Pharmaceutical doses are in milligrams. Film is 35mm in size People run 5K or 10K races. etc. etc. Depending on the industry you are in, you might encounter it a ton or just a little. For example, in my industry of computers, most everything is metric hardware and dimensions because it's globally sourced.

That said, we are sensitive to the impact on building events and the fact that many physical items used for these events have imperial dimensions. For example, in Boomilever, all the dimensions of the mounting hook are in imperial units since we know that's how they will be labeled when you go to a hardware store. Likewise, in several events where we utilize dowel rods for various things we give those in imperial dimensions (e.g. 1/2" dowel).

In terms though of the general specs and dimensions of devices, we generally round those to the nearest 10 cms on purpose. We aren't trying to get them to the nearest foot equivalent typically, rather to just set a reasonable size that will be easy for participants and supervisors to remember and measure.

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