Home » Americans Will Measure Using Anything But The Metric System: COTD

Americans Will Measure Using Anything But The Metric System: COTD


One of the more hilarious parts about American news is that you’re bound to find a unit of measurement that’s a bit, we’ll say, improvised. Why give exact dimensions when you can use very rough estimates? Here’s a good example of this in current news: earlier today, I wrote about how Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 lost one of its door plugs. Many news sources called the opening left behind “about the size of a refrigerator.” Great, now I’m picturing a Frigidaire parked in a window seat of a Boeing 737.

Some of these estimates also don’t make any sense. Refrigerators come in different sizes! Was the plug about the size of a fridge found in an apartment? Or like, the huge one you’d find in Jeff Bezo’s mansion? My favorite of these comes from KSHB 41 News from Kansas City. In 2019, the station fired off this meme-worthy Tweet:

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[Ed note: who can forget the giraffe-sized asteroid scare we endured back in 2022 (below)? At least we got a sweet arcade game out of it.]

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Anyway, StillNotATony has a silly joke about Thomas’ article about the Galaxy E8. And we aren’t talking about a Samsung here:


‘in a pube-width under six seconds”

Man, we Americans really will use anything other than metric…

And it still looks better than most Lexuseseses.


Jack Beckman figured out why Jason cannot find the reverse lights of a Peugeot 404:

The clue to the mystery is right in the name: 404 (not found).

Finally, we have Rust Buckets, who noticed something amusing about David’s new stash of Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ design history:

I think it’s hilarious that some of the front end studies were “hey what would this look like with a Ford explorer front end” and “hey what would this look like with a fullsize Chevy front end”

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3 months ago

It’s not just we ‘Muricans. My favorite German word (ok, actually Swabian, but only Germans really understand the difference) is “Muggeseggele.”
It’s used in the same way an English speaker would ask for a “smidge” or a “scosche” of something, but it’s generally understood that eins Muggeseggele explicitly refers to the width of a house-fly’s ballsack.

Nate Stanley
Nate Stanley
3 months ago

I really like the way Autopian has matured into the state that it’s in now. This article is hilarious!

I get the 6 or 7 washing machines dimension, just watch a couple of Rush concerts on YouTube and you’ll get the idea.

But seriously, I grew up in the precision sheet metal trade, and by the time I got into CAD design, having fluency in both the metric and the Imperial system was critical to communicating with our customers’ designers. After awhile you’ll get a feel for size of things once you get the 25.4 /
.03937 conversions in your head.

And as a car nut and wrencher at home, 8mm is crazy close to 5/16″ and 11mm works for 7/16″ as well. Just a coincidence.

But why do metric sockets still use 1/4″, 1/2″ and 3/4″ drive even Europe?

Bottom line is we have to embrace both systems as I’ve done for the last 50 years.

3 months ago

Well, there is a huge difference between American and European refrigerators. The “full-size” European ones are slimmer and bit taller than American. The “half-sized” European is similar to the refrigerators found in the university dormitory rooms.

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