Don't you hate it when Americans feel the need to use metric-speak in a conversation or a news report. Now, I mean, it's perfectly fine in an engineering journal or a physics textbook, but for everyday usage, Americans still think in the good old Imperial system.
So we end up hearing about a new weapon that can fire shells for a distance of 500 meters or that global warming has raised the temperature by .6 degrees Celsius. Now, I'm as capable as the next guy of digging out my calculator and making a conversion, but that breaks your concentration and spoils the reading or listening experience. It's as unnecessary and annoying as an author who slips foreign phrases into his writing, n'est-ce pas?
There was an example of unfamiliar measures in today's Buffalo News. An op-ed writer, in the midst of exhorting us to think green and make Buffalo the windmill capital of the United States (more on that another day,) tried to convince us of the scope of the industry worldwide with this statistic.
In a September 2006 report, Greenpeace notes the current international wind energy market encompasses 150,000 jobs and 13 billion Euros in annual sale
I can only picture hundreds of Buffalonians reading that startling bit of news this morning and reacting with shock and perhaps not just a little excitement. 13 billion Euros? I had no idea, and I still really don't -- but that's a damned big number. The writer's argument would have been much more effective had he bothered to convert Euros into something his readers could readily comprehend. Sheesh.
By the way, 13 billion Euros equate to 2.04 trillion Yen. Betcha thought I'd leave you hanging.