A little known fact about the ‘incident’ of 2019 emerged in recent days that should serve as a warning for our modern times. The government at the time made a decision to formally use only measurements in the older British Imperial units. This meant that the SI or the International System of Units (French: Système international d'unités abbreviated as SI usually) would no longer be in use in the United Kingdom or UK. This was before the Former UK States or FUKS emerged from the chaos.
The confusion that this caused led to the United States of America (as it was known before the dissolution of the federal union post Trump) and all European states banning all imports of engineering products from the UK. The issue for those countries revolved around safety and confidence in the engineering tolerances of the products. After a series of safety incidents involving critical components being manufactured at the wrong dimensions and mass, it became obvious that safety was becoming a problem. One incident involved several aero jet engines failing in flight due to incorrectly sized combustion chamber seals. Another investigation of failing electric rail cables in Germany revealed the cause was use of the wrong size manufactured in inches in the UK. The list expanded fast after 2019 and almost as many products were returned as were exported before a blanket ban. Even blankets were banned at one stage.
Why did this happen?
The origins of a decision to convert to older Imperial units in the UK seems to be obscure. But one thing is sure; manufacturing in the UK collapsed completely. The SI system of measurement had been adopted by every country worldwide. However, some manufacturing in the USA was still using Imperial measurements for local use. Two theories are currently circulating. One is that, to secure a trade deal with the USA, an independent UK decided it would be wise to manufacture for the American market in Imperial measurements. This turned out to cause too much confusion and numerous errors that were safety critical. Another is that a minor political figure at the time decided that his department would only communicate in Imperial units. Eventually all scientific briefings for government were converted from SI to Imperial measurements. The attempts to use feet, inches, cubic feet, degrees Fahrenheit, pounds per square inch, Therms and British Thermal Units was a huge burden on the scientific advisors. None of the government of the day had any scientific training and they had already distanced themselves from the idea of global warming. They were further bamboozled by figures that barely comprehended in old units.
What lessons can we learn for 2070?
Firstly, we now know that a common system of units world-wide is the only way to trade effectively. Manufacturing of exactly the same products is now widely dispersed around the world. This minimises the transport of goods and energy usage. Secondly, using the same units means that all parts are interchangeable as they must comply with the RMR or Rees-Mogg Registry (the origin of the RMR is obscure but may refer to pioneering work on standardisation by an engineering genius from the nineteenth century). The registry ensures that every component designed for every machine must be interchangeable. It seems that we now live in a safer and more confident world due to the efforts of Rees-Mogg.
From our Engineering correspondent Jacob 'Screws' Loose.