Retirement of the US survey foot

It is well known that the USA uses miles, feet and inches and they are identical to the English versions of these units used in the UK. What is a lot less well known is the fact that the USA had two official feet, the international foot and the survey foot. By extension, there were also two versions of derived units based on these two feet. So there were survey and international versions of common units such as the mile, yard and inch. The US survey foot was deprecated at the end of last year. This deprecation act shows the importance of ensuring uniformity and common standards in measurement matters.

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Novel signs around the UK

Following on from our article last week about those curious signs in Southend, Ronnie Cohen, one of our regular readers, now reports on a few others that have attracted his attention.

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It’s official – the UK’s hybrid collection of measures is here to stay

Recently, one of our readers wrote to his MP about the UK’s measurement muddle. He received a reply from the office of the Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts MP, who has responsibility for measurement standards in the UK. This reply confirms that the Government has no plan to reduce the current mixture of units in common use in the UK or to promote a single system of measurement for all purposes.

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DfT guilty of making unfounded claims

Yesterday, the National Audit Office (NAO) criticised the UK Department for Transport (DfT) for its unfounded claims about the benefits of the proposed high speed rail project HS2. In this article, Ronnie Cohen identifies another unfounded claim by the DfT – one that relates to the change to metric units on road signs.

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Inconsistent and confusing distances on public signs

Ronnie Cohen writes about the muddle of measurement units he has found on public signs in London, particularly those related to public transport and cycling. If two measurement systems were not bad enough, he has found there are now three.

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