Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Pride, stubborness or foolishness?

Why does the US have to be so difficult about changing? Other countries do it and survive. Daniel points out here that is is pretty well only the US who do not use A4 sized paper. Something like ninety percent of the world uses A4 paper. It makes it difficult for the rest of the world for all sorts of reasons, from printer settings to office efficiency.

The US persists with its non-metric system and is now lumped with Liberia and Burma as being the last to hold out against the much more sensible metric system.

Neither of the above affect me too much. But here is one that causes me much botheration.


I never knew about this difference in the way a date was written until the arrival of the internet.

My Australian and UK readers will know the day I mean if I write 05/06/07 but US readers will be thinking I am talking about 6th of May.

There is a world standard to formally write a date now and it is in use in Australia on some official forms. So the date above would be 2007/06/05. At a glance I can easily see what the date is. It just reads backwards to what I would use and the use of four digits for the year makes the format immediately clear.

But when I write 05/06/07 and you are in the US, do you know if I am writing it the way I would, or am I accommodating you and your way of reading it? Either way, you could be wrong. The clue is I suppose, is that it is today's date, but then you haven't reached that date as I write.

Web sites meant for international viewing are pretty poor if they are still using that format and although I would like everyone to change to suit me, at least I can understand the international standard format.

This clock is for the chop.


  1. So A4 is metric? (Boy, I sound ignorant asking that question, don't I?) I always wondered what that button on the printer was for.

    I have no control over these things, you know. Otherwise, there would be an immediate change made. Out of ignorant curiosity, is cooking metric too? What would the equivalent of a teaspoon of sugar be?

    re Date: I read it the way you write it (05/05/07), but I'm smart enough to figure it out. Everything here is MMDDCCYY.

  2. A4 is metric, but I only just found that out too.

    We still use teaspoons, cups, even tablespoons for cooking. From memory, a teaspoon is liquid 5ml (millilitres). No idea what the dry weight is, but I always use a heaped one anyway. More is better.

  3. great idea for when I write my nursing noted every single shift too...I like it..let's change!

  4. i never understood why americans would use month/day/year. it jsut doesn't make sense to me.

    surely, reading left to right, smallest to biggest is so much more logical?

    mind you, the reverse is a lot more handy for filing on the computer (like my timesheets for example)

  5. I don't think there's anything about this in the Free Trade Agreement. If there was, I'm sure we'd be the ones changing...let's be thankful for that!

  6. Americans sure love to hold onto to traditions.

  7. Yes I like the "20070605" format, it's very neat, I use it for filing my digital photos.

    In my job I sometimes deal with measurements in feet and inches, and even chains and links. Luckily the conversion factors are usually supplied on such documents. For feet it's:
    metres = 0.3048 x feet

    I can't remember the chains and links one...

  8. Traitors Ben Kiki and Cazzie. I want to keep what I know already. Chain is twenty two feet isn't it? Just remembered 'the great three chain Dandenong Road'.

    Good point Rob. Thankfully we are with most of the rest of the world.

    Seems so Rosanna, otherwise why would they not adapt to the rest of the world or they don't want to join in with the rest of the world.


Before you change something, find out why it is the way it is in the first place - unknown.