I'm not stupid, I'm just American!
November 16, 2012 6:00 PM Subscribe
I need to learn how to seamlessly convert between miles and kilometers in my head - without having to think about it.
posted by matty to Education (25 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I'm in the US - where we're raised on the English measurement system, not metrics. Just about the only metrics I've ever been exposed to is knowing that a 10k race is 6.2 miles long.
I've been in aviation for years, and I can dance pretty easily between mph, knots, nautical miles, etc... but now I find myself at work regularly in meetings and presentations where everything is in kilometers.
I find it pretty much impossible to sit there and instantly grasp just how far a distance, speed, etc is being presented. I try to convert it with simple math in my head, but just can't do it fast enough to keep up with the discussion and still have a real understanding of the material.
Can anyone provide tips on how you've learned to accept metrics without having to jump through mental hurdles? If someone tells me they were traveling at 70 mph, I inherently 'know' what that is like, or if they travelled 500 miles I can look at a map and make an accurate guestimate of how that looks. But kilometers? Or meters per second? I'm lost.
Is there a simple way to make the conversion without having to actually, you know, MAKE the conversion? Is there a technique where I can just 'get it'?