Our founding fathers were Penny Wise. They created the world's first decimal currency.

Sadly, we remain Pound Foolish. The rest of the world uses simple metric systems of measurement, while we Americans continue to struggle with yards, pounds, and tablespoons.

Penny Wise and Pound Foolish. Time to wise up, America!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Water Bottle Mysteries

Our well provides us with delicious drinking water. We drink from the tap and fill our own water bottles whenever we head out the door. I avoid buying bottled water.

So I had to wander about my house looking for a plastic water bottle to photograph. I found this one in the freezer where I store plastic bottles to use when I want to keep food cold in a cooler.

Check the label. First the fluid ounces. 16.9. Hmmm. That's more than 2 cups: 1.05 pints. But look: the 3rd number is a nice round 500 mL. Why is the metric unit listed third? Is someone trying to hide it?

Bottled water can also be purchased in liter and 2-liter bottles. Everyone knows how much liquid those bottles hold. They've become familiar.

But we also buy water in gallons. Why gallons? Why not 4 liters? Maybe we already had those milk jugs. That gallon sure does look clunky and out of place among the other sleak bottles.

I spent a while looking for an explanation of how water came to be sold in metric units. And why the gallon is now the only non-metric container for water. It must have been one of those laws passed in the metric 1970's. I'll have to keep digging for the rationale.

But that gallon catches my eye. Clunky. Old-style. Time to update. And time to call 500 mL by name, not hide it behind 16.9 fluid ounces.

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