It's perfectly acceptable to use the metric system in the United States -- Congress originally authorized it in 1866 and has repeated those sentiments in the years since -- but tradition tells a whole other tale. Although the government now requires metric use in some public sectors and strongly encourages it in many private industries, the American public never really took to the system and largely dismissed it, making the United States the only industrialized nation where that's the case.
In an effort to move the matter along, Congress even passed a Metric Conversion Act of 1975 and set up a U.S. Metric Board to take care of all the planning for the desired transition, but they apparently didn't empower the board with enough authority, and the American people essentially said, "meh" to adopting metric and continued on with their miles, pounds, ounces and all the rest. Similarly lackluster efforts since then have done little to get Americans to change their ways.
For more about culture and country's particular codes of conduct, check out the links below.
- Allen, Greg. "Reining In Tailgate Parties a Challenge for Colleges." NPR. Nov. 28, 2009. (July 25 2011) http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120551372
- Arnold, Bettina. "Halloween Customs in the Celtic World." University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Oct. 31, 2001. (July 25 2011) https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/barnold/www/lectures/holloween.html
- Carlson, Peter. "(The Last) Trial of the Century." Washington Post. Jan. 4, 1999. (July 25 2011) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/stories/trial010499.htm
- Cloud, Joe. "How the Casey Anthony Murder Case Became the Social-Media Trial of the Century." Time. June 16, 2001. (July 25 2011) http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2077969,00.html
- Coughlan, Sean. "The Japanese knotwood of festivals." BBC. Oct. 31, 2007. (July 25 2011) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7067804.stm
- Crowder, Courtney. "Countdown to the New Year: 12 Strange but True Traditions." Petergreenburg.com. Dec. 31, 2008. (July 25 2011) http://www.petergreenberg.com/2008/12/31/countdown-to-the-new-year-12-strange-but-true-traditions/
- Fletcher, Dan. "A Brief History of Black Friday." Time. Nov. 27, 2009. (July 25 2011) http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1942935,00.html
- Grannis, Kathy. "Black Friday Weekend Sees Bigger Crowds, $45 Billion in Spending." National Retail Federation. Nov. 28, 2010. (July 25 2011) http://www.nrf.com/modules.php?name=News&op=viewlive&sp_id=1043
- Grannis, Kathy. "Over 106 Million Americans to Shop on Cyber Monday, According to Shop.org survey." National Retail Federation. Nov. 28, 2010. (July 25 2011)
- Grannis, Kathy. "Cyber Monday Significance Rises as Nine in Ten Retailers Plan Special Promotions." National Retail Federation. Nov. 28, 2010. (July 25 2011) http://www.nrf.com/modules.php?name=News&op=viewlive&sp_id=1040
- Hesse, Monica. "Turkey Pardons, the Stuffing of Historic Legends." Washington Post. Nov. 21, 2007. (July 25 2011) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/20/AR2007112002331.html?sub=AR&sid=ST2007112002354
- Horovitz, Bruce. "Best Super Bowl Ads: A doggone tie for Ad Meter." USA Today. Feb. 2, 2011. (July 25 2011) http://www.usatoday.com/money/advertising/admeter/2011/super-bowl-ad-meter/43271432/1
- Kamp, David. "Rethinking the American Dream." Vanity Fair. April 2009. (July 25 2011) http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2009/04/american-dream200904
- Kiger, Patrick. "How the American Dream Works." HowStuffWorks.com. (July 25 2011) https://www.howstuffworks.com/american-dream.htm
- Mikkelson, Barbara. "The Ungobbled Gobbler." Snopes.com. Nov. 23, 2010. (July 25 2011) http://www.snopes.com/holidays/thanksgiving/pardon.asp
- Pratt Bannatyne, Leslie. "Halloween: an American holiday, an American Tradition." Pelican Publishing Company. 1990. (July 25 2011) http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=rNAXt9jLXWwC&lpg=PA44&dq=guising%20SAMHAIN&pg=PA182#v=onepage&q=guising%20SAMHAIN&f=false
- "Punkin Chunkin." Science Channel. http://science.discovery.com/tv/punkin-chunkin/
- Rushin, Steve. "A Billion People Can Be Wrong." Sports Illustrated. Feb. 6, 2006. (July 25 2011) http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/writers/steve_rushin/02/03/rushin0206/
- Punxsutawney Groundhog Club Web site. (July 25 2011) http://www.groundhog.org/
- Tailgating.com Web site. http://tailgating.com/
- TailgatingIdeas.com Web site. (July 25 2011) http://www.tailgatingideas.com/
- "The American Dream." Library of Congress. (July 25 2011) http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/lessons/american-dream/procedure.html
- "Toward a Metric America." National Institute of Standards and Technology. May 2002. (July 25 2011) http://ts.nist.gov/WeightsAndMeasures/Metric/upload/1136a.pdf
- "Tradition." Merriam-Webster. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tradition
- Travers, Karen. "Lucky Turkey! President Obama Spares a Thanksgiving Bird from Dinner Table." ABC News. Nov. 25, 2007. (July 25 2011) http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/obama-give-presidential-pardon-turkey-named-courage/story?id=9166752
- "Twenty "Trials of the Century" of the 20th Century." Off The Record. (July 25 2011) http://www.crschools.net/blog/20-trials-of-the-century
- "Weights and Measures." The CIA World Factbook. (July 25 2011) https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/appendix/appendix-g.html
- "What is a punkin chunkin?" HowStuffWorks. (July 25 2011) https://science.howstuffworks.com/transport/engines-equipment/question502.htm
- World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association. (July 25 2011) http://www.punkinchunkin.com
HowStuffWorks looks at the history of Arlington Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the Army's elite Sentinels who guard it, 365 days a year.