OT-FYI: Conversion to Metric System

The "Car fuel in aircraft engine" thread suffered a minor hijack :) relating to the US conversion to the Metric system. We have been moving in that
direction for years before and after the Metric System Conversion act of 1975: Here's a partial chronology of the process (it actually began during the 16/17 century - Interesting -
1964 The National Bureau of Standards (NBS) made the metric system its standard "except when the use of these units would obviously impair communication or reduce the usefulness of a report." 1968 Public Law 90-472 authorized a 3-year U.S. Metric Study, to determine the impact of increasing metric use on the U.S. This study was carried out by the National Bureau of Standards (NBS). 1971 The U.S. Metric Study resulted in a Report to the Congress: A Metric America, A Decision Whose Time Has Come. The 13-volume report concluded that the U.S. should, indeed, "go metric" deliberately and carefully through a coordinated national program, and establish a target date 10 years ahead, by which time the U.S. would be predominately metric. 1973 The UCLA/USMA/LACES/STC and other professional groups National Metric Conference, the largest ever held, totaling 1700 registrants, took place at the University of California, Los Angeles in September. It took place as a result of USMA's recommendation. USMA coordinated and directed the event. One of the speakers was the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Also, the American National Metric Council (ANMC) formed as a not-for-profit, non-advocative trade organization to plan and coordinate SI implementation by U.S. industry. 1974 The Education Amendments of 1974 (Public Law 92-380) encouraged educational agencies and institutions to prepare students to use the metric system of measurement as part of the regular educational program. The initials "U.S." were added to the Metric Assocation name by the Board of Directors. The organiation is now known as the "U.S. Metric Association, Inc." with the initialism "USMA". 1975 The Metric Conversion Act of 1975 (Public Law 94-168) passed by Congress. The Metric Act established the U.S. Metric Board to coordinate and plan the increasing use and voluntary conversion to the metric system. However, the Metric Act was devoid of any target dates for metric conversion. 1976 The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) started the National Metric Week tradition, with the first one during the week of 10 May 1976, the year after the Metric Conversion Act of 1975 was enacted. 1979 The Treasury Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) requires wine producers and importers to switch to metric bottles in seven standard [liter and milliliter] sizes. 1980 The Treasury Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) requires distilled spirits (hard liquor) bottles to conform to the volume of one of six standard metric [liter and milliliter] sizes. 1982 President Ronald Reagan disbanded the U.S. Metric Board and canceled its funding. Responsibility for metric coordination was transferred to the Office of Metric Programs in the Department of Commerce. 1983 The meter is redefined in terms of the speed of light by the 17th CGPM, resulting in better precision but keeping its length the same. 1988 The Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 (Public Law 100-418) amended and strengthened the Metric Conversion Act of 1975, designating the metric system as the preferred measurement system, and requiring each federal agency to be metric by the end of fiscal year 1992. 1991 President George H. W. Bush signed Executive Order 12770, Metric Usage in Federal Government Programs directing all executive departments and federal agencies implement the use of the metric system. The Executive Order is also available as an appendix to: Interpretation of the SI for the United States and Federal Government Metric Conversion Policy 1994 The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA) was amended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require the use of dual units (inch-pound AND metric) on all consumer products. 1996 April 15 All four Canadian Stock Exchanges began decimal trading, the first exchanges in North American to abandon the old "pieces-of-eight" trading system and welcome the new decimal system. The old tradition of trading stocks in increments of one-eighth of a dollar, or 12.5 cents, dates back to when the Spanish mille dollar was divided into "pieces of eight". 1996 July All surface temperature observations in National Weather Service METAR/TAF reports are now transmitted in degrees Celsius. 2000 September 30 This deadline that all agreements, contracts, and plans processed by individual states for federally-funded highway construction be in metric units was canceled by Congressional action, leaving metric conversion as voluntary but still recommended to comply with the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988. Several State Departments of Transportation continue to use the metric system despite the deadline being rescinded. See Did You Know That for more details on this topic. 2001 April 09 U.S. Stock Exchanges finalized the change to decimal trading. The Securities and Exchange Commission has ordered that all stocks must be quoted in dollars and cents rather than fractions by this date. The switch to decimal trading brought the U.S. in line with the rest of the world's major exchanges. This follows the change of the Canadian Stock Exchanges to decimal trading in 1996. 2004 July 08 UK Metric Association (UKMA) issued a comprehensive report, A Very British Mess, on the need to complete UK metrication. 2005 January 20 Speed limits in Ireland were converted from miles per hour to kilometers per hour (km/h). To accompany this, new cars have kilometers as the primary speed displayed on their speedometers. Wind speeds in weather reports were also changed to kilometers per hour. See the Irish Department of Transport announcements at http://www.transport.ie/viewitem.asp?idX61&lang=ENG&loc 01 and http://www.gometric.ie / 2007 January 08 Metric Moon: NASA has decided to use metric units for all operations on the lunar surface when it returns to the Moon. See the NASA announcement at http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2007/08jan_metricmoon.htm?list864576 .
Future metric deadlines: Before the end of 2009 The U.S. should allow metric-only packaging by amending the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA). This would be a good step towards meeting EU requirements for SI-only labels in 2009. 2009 December 31 All products sold in Europe (with limited exceptions) will be required to have only SI-metric units on their labels. Dual labeling will not be permitted. Implementation of the labeling directive, previously 1999 December 31, was extended by the EU Commission for 10 years, giving more time for companies to comply and for U.S. regulations to allow metric-only labeling on consumer products. See Did You Know That for more details on this topic.
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