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Field Measurements

August 27, 2009 Leave a comment

The “field” in the title of this post refers to field events in track and field — throwing and jumping. “Measurements” refers to how the throws and the jumps are measured — English units versus metric units. I will eventually argue, with regret, that it’s time to let go of English units in this context. Not in general. I’m not a metric fanatic. For scientific use, sure, go metric. But for everyday use, I have no desire to abandon English units. I do, though, in field events.

Let me be more specific. The world already uses the metric system in field events. The problem is that we in the US don’t, and this creates total confusion when an international event is being broadcast on US TV. The equipment on the track lists distances and heights in metric, the graphics on the screen show them in metric, but the announcers speak in English units. It’s nonsensical. More on this later in the post. But first, some context. Read more…

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Categories: Measurement, Sports