Why do people love to measure things so much?
· To compete? (My pop is bigger than your pop. I can jump farther than you. Well, I can run faster than you! Oh, yeah, prove it!)
· To make life fair? (Make sure everyone gets an equal share. Kurt always gets the big one—I want the big piece this time!)
· To avoid waste? (Oops. I cut that too short. What will I do with that short piece of wood?)
· Because it’s there? (How tall is Mt. Everest anyway? Can you prove that it’s the tallest mountain in the world?)
People have been measuring since long before they began to write or read. To measure length, they used their hands, their feet, their strides. To measure time, they created sundials and lunar calendars. To measure weight, they built balances. Measuring is one of the hallmarks of civilization!
The same is true for systems of measurement. From the beginning of civilization in the Fertile Crescent of Mesopotamia, people have used the barleycorn to measure length and weight. It was so useful, that before long people all over Europe and Asia used it. Settlers brought it to the Americas.