Celsius & Fahrenheit

Those of us who live in the US haven't caught up with the rest of the world, who have the good sense to measure things in metric. Actually, not everybody; the scientific community uses metric all the time. So, being married to a scientist, I'm pretty comfortable with it. But I'm just not as fluent with the Celsius-Fahrenheit interface as I'd like to be - messing with the whole five-ninths or nine-fifths things is silly. Much better simply to live it and become fluent. So... to that end, I have found a nice way that is doing a grand job of helping me become bilingual with the two. Because I note the temp in my sketch journal each day (read off our outside thermometer, which is only in Celsius), I realized that if I just made a scale for myself, in the back cover of my book, I'd have it there for constant reference. And naturally, while drawing the scale, I realized all kinds on nice relationships between the two scales. And in the more recent book, I realized that I don't even have to make a separate inches/centimeters scale (for if I want to measure stuff I find), because my temp scale itself is based on inches, so I can just plug some centimeters into it, and I have all kinds of good reference material all in one image.
The fluency thing is working - I don't have to refer to my scale nearly as often as I used to.


June said...

Centimeters were forced upon us as children in the 1970's Consie. I remember decimalisation coming into being, and the new coins, and needing to use a ruler with new markings...
European law only very recently relented and agreed that the UK could still use gallons, pints, pounds and ounces, and yards and inches again, if they really wanted to. People refused to let them go, and produce carried both imperial and metric weights. Now we can go to the pub for a 'pint' again legally, even if it is in a metric measured glass and not actually a pint!

I was always wondering why we were still using 3 1/2 inch floppy discs without being told they were illegal!!!! Officially here, they should have been 89mm floppy disc! Now of course, floppy discs are all but obsolete anyway.

I always get confused when American measurements come to me as decimalised inches. EG: 1.25 inches.(rather than 1 1/4 inches) That is really weird.
But, I have to agree, centimeters and millimeters are great for accurate design measuring. :o) They can stay.

Connie said...

When my son was at UCSF for 5 months, I got pretty comfortable thinking in Celsius--but only in the body temp range. We brought home several thermometers I still use, so I have the conversion scale I made for myself taped inside the medicine cabinet door.
I often find millimeteres (or points) much more flexible and accurate when enlarging or reducing artwork or type. But for truly thinking metric, I think forced immersion would be the only way--all or nothing. If everyone did it, I don't think it would take very long or be that hard or to convert.

Janet said...

It's so funny, I remember there being a big push to teach the metric system when I was in middle school in the '70s, and then everyone just gave up! At least that's how I remember it. I was born in Canada and whenever we go back to visit, we feel so stupid!