In 1970, Pepsi-Cola, along with manufacturing, and design help from the DuPont Corporation, introduced the first 2 liter bottle of cola. This is an auspicious occasion for several reasons; the least being the two liter bottle would become the unofficial national standard for cola packaging. More importantly, the 2 liter bottle would become America’s best, and most successful venture into the metric system before it was abandoned.
In 1982 President Ronald Reagan would disband the U.S. Metric Board, and cancel its funding. There were attempts to jump-start the system after that, but it never really made a recovery. All the reasons why are out there, but I just think too many people distrusted the metric system because they would never buy into the idea that you should forget converting everything from one system to the other, and just accept what is there. The idea was always in the back of their mind that they were being “ripped off” for a liter of fuel, or a liter of whiskey.
There is a place where the metric system thrives; it is at the “institutions.” No, I’m not talking the engineering schools, like MIT, and the California Institute of Technology. I’m talking the correctional institutions; prisons. These institutions are filled with men and women serving time for participation in the drug trade. For a group that is said to be lacking in education, it’s obvious they do have some scientific skills. They used “keys, kilos, grams, and milligrams. They also carried 9 millimeter pistols, and drove performance cars with 1.7 liter engines. I know most of the inmates didn’t learn the system in the grade schools, because the school systems gave up teaching it.
The funny part is, people are unknowingly learning the metric system whether they like it or. They learn it through their phones, computers, and digital cameras; bring on more bits, bytes, and mega-pixels.
Just don’t ask them how many kilometers to the Apple store.