Thoughts on the metric system

I like the metric system. I think it makes a boatload more sense than the Imperial system.

Think about it.

Distances are all base-10 numbers. One kilometre is 1,000 metres is 100,000 centimetres.

Weight (strictly speaking it’s mass) is also base-10. One kilogram is 1,000 grams.

Everything is easy to calculate and all that.

But yesterday on my way back from my run, I realized something that doesn’t completely make sense to me. Where and how did the creators of the metric system come up with their base units?

How did they decide on the actual mass of a gram?

And how did they ultimately decide on what distance a metre actually is?

I did some research (hello, Wikipedia) and found these two entries regard grams and metres. Now, I’m all for science and knowledge, but to be truthful these derivations don’t quite satisfy my mind. Especially the basis for the gram, being 1,000 times the mass of “a physical prototype preserved by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures.” That to me just seems very arbitrary.

Then again, people smarter than me are in charge of that kind of thing.

It’s still a better system than the Imperial one, which is ostensibly based on the physical measurements of a long-dead English king. Or so I am led to believe.