6 Stories

US Says Goodbye to the Foot

Which means America is now 28 feet wider

(Newser) - Change is afoot for the official measuring stick used to size up big places in America, the AP reports. The reason? There are actually two different definitions of the 12-inch measurement known as a foot. Some land surveyors use what's known as the US survey foot. Others use the... More »

Estonia Is About to Get a Little Taller

It's switching to new system that will add 8 inches to highest point

(Newser) - Over the next three months, the Baltic country of Estonia will become a little bit taller. That's because it has decided to change how it measures heights above sea level, converting from an old Russian system to something called the European Vertical Reference System, reports the Postimees newspaper. The... More »

Metrologists to Redefine the Kilogram

The weight of the physical object is changing

(Newser) - The weight of a kilogram is changing—and metrologists want it to stop. The kilogram isn’t just an ephemeral standard of measurement; it’s a physical cylinder of platinum-iridium alloy, cast in 1879 and squirreled away under lock and key at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in... More »

The Kilogram Is Losing Weight

19th-century reference object may be off by microscopic amounts

(Newser) - To a casual observer, the plum-sized chunk of metal that rests inside a sealed, underground vault near Paris is unremarkable. But to scientists, the cylinder of platinum and iridium is one of the constants upon which science is based. It weighs exactly 1 kilogram, or at least it used to,... More »

Europe Ends 40-Year Fight Against Pints, Miles

'Metric Martyrs' applaud EU decision to back off

(Newser) - Europe unlocked horns with the UK today, abandoning its fight to ban Brits who still sell by the pound, the Times reports. Calling the campaign a “pointless battle,” an EU official conceded that British use of imperial measurements did not interfere with trade; in fact old-fashioned inches and... More »

Can You Spare a Gou of Sugar, Neighbor?

Wired offers new ways to measure up to modern life with esoteric units

(Newser) - Everyone knows about inches, minutes and grams, but what about smoots, gous and twips? Now hipsters can turn even more esoteric with these odd measurement units from Wired. The 5-foot, 7-inch "smoot" was born one night when MIT pranksters used a fairly short frat pledge to measure the Harvard... More »

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