With the annual Canada trip just days away, it’s time to return to the classroom for a lesson in conversion.
After all, there’s not a person in Ontario, or any Canadian province for that matter, who cares a bit about gallons, quarts and pints; nor do they care about paper dollars, inches and feet, or the current temperature in degrees Fahrenheit.
As many times in the past as officials here and abroad insisted that life would be better if the US would adopt the metric system of measurement is the exact amount of times that this country has refused to convert.
Yes, we do indeed use the metric system here and there but for the most part we’ve agreed to adopt the “you can’t make me” extended chin attitude.
So let the rest of the world go outside to enjoy the sun when it is 22 degrees, bake a 0.45 kilogram “pound cake” and measure bolts of cloth with a meter stick.
All right class, sit up straight and listen closely. Your boat’s six-gallon gas tank will take 22.8 liters. We know that because one gallon is equal to 3.8 liters and one quart is the same as 0.95 liters. Who cares?
You will if you watch the gas pump spinning like a pin-wheel as it measures liters, not gallons. And yes, gas in Canada is priced by the liter and a liter is usually priced at a dollar or a bit more.
Speaking of cost, this year is an especially great bargain because your US dollar is worth a lot more than a Canadian dollar — at least 25 percent more, possible quite a bit more.
But know this; if you are to hand a US 50 dollar bill to some venders, you may not see any discount for your dollar.
Most places will be fair, or somewhat fair, but think a little about the advantage of exchanging your money at the first bank you find on the north side of the boarder.
Now repeat after me: “I will go to a bank, not a money vender, so that I get the correct exchange rate as determined that day.”
If you drive a vehicle of recent vintage you will probably be able switch your speedometer to metric so your speed is measured in kilometers per hour instead of miles per hour.
Older vehicles sometimes have both printed on the speedometer face. You can also find a free app on your phone which measures speed very accurately.
When the sign reads 100 it means 100 kph, not mph. — that is 62 mph. One US mile is equal to 1.6 kilometers. One kilometer is equal to .62 miles.
An easy conversion, although close but not exact, is to simply multiply kilometers by 0.6, so if the sign reads 300 to your next stop it translates to about 180 miles.
Now comes something a little tougher — the temperature. The metric system measures temperature in Celsius and is quite simple, but converting it to Fahrenheit is not.
You better write this down on a flash card for further memorization.
The test for this exercise comes after waking on the first morning when the radio reports a morning temp of 16 degrees. He or she is actually encouraging you to get up to a nice day.
To convert that to Fahrenheit multiply by 9, divide your answer by 5, and then add 32. The correct answer is 62.8 degrees, a morning temp that will end up being a pleasant 70 degree day.
Step on a scale and your plump 250-pound score might be something like a svelte 112.5 kilograms. And your tires will hold about 30 plus psi of air or 200 plus kPa in Canada.
They are both measures of pounds-force per square inch as we know it but in north of the border jargon it is a measure of kilopascals. Nothing to it.
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