Celsius: (adj) a scale of temperature in which water freezes at 0° and boils at 100°

I was terrified.

I had to believe it was true because my Weekly Reader printed it.

This was the small newspaper handed out to me when I was a young boy. It had stories about recent discoveries as well as projections on
what would happen in the future.

The Weekly Reader informed me that the metric system would take over in the United States in the next few years.

I believed it.

I was so frightened that I went out and tried to learn it.

That was many decades ago, and aside from a few signs adding the word “kilometers,” two-liter bottles of Coke and packaging putting milligrams in parenthesis, the United States is still metric-free.

Likewise, we still honor Farenheit over Celsius.

Even though the contention for metric and Celsius is that it’s easier to comprehend, we Americans–a sturdy lot–choose to pursue abstract numnbers, like “36 inches makes a yard” and “freezing is 32 degrees, Farenheit.”

Occasionally when my travels take me to the border of Canada, the local newspaper will list the daily temperature in Celsius. The numbers are so ridiculous. How can a 90-degree day be captured in a 40-plus Celsius?

It’s confusing.

Do I think we will ever go on the metric system or that Celsius will become the rule of the thermometer? Probably not.

It gives me pause to wonder what else was in error in my Weekly Reader. Does this mean we won’t have flying cars by 1999?


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