5

enter image description here

In Star Trek Beyond, Spock is punctured by a piece of a bee ship. The wound is in his lower, right abdomen. Bones comments that if his Spock's heart had been a few inches over he'd be dead already. A very similar wound befell Spock in TOS: A Private Little War. Here, Spock is shot in the upper, right chest. Bones comments that if his liver wasn't where his heart should be, he'd be dead already. Those two anatomical statements seem to work out.

enter image description here

But in Star Trek Beyond, why did Bones use "inch" as a unit of measurement with Spock? Why isn't he on the metric system?

  • 8
    Damnit Jerry, he’s a doctor, not a Measurement Unit Consistency Officer. – Paul D. Waite Aug 4 '16 at 12:48
  • 10
    He didn't. The Universal Translator converted the dialogue for you since you are an American English-speaking member of the audience. – PoloHoleSet Aug 4 '16 at 13:38
  • 1
    @AndrewMattson when Canadians watch the movie, does the translator convert it into metrics for them? ;-) – Jerry Nixon Aug 4 '16 at 19:37
  • Not sure if they go metric, or just add an "eh?" at the end of each sentence. "Another two inches and you'd be dead, you green-blooded Vulcan!..eh?" – PoloHoleSet Aug 4 '16 at 20:25
  • OMG, does this really need an answer? Even if you use metric units for precise measurements, I don't think we need to justify why someone might informally say a few inches. This is totally normal today in, say, Canada and Britain even though the predominant units of precise measurement are metric. – ThePopMachine Aug 15 '16 at 16:56
8

In the original timeline, although they did use metric units in the TNG era, during the TOS era they were still using non-metric units like miles and feet (suggesting either US customary units or imperial units), so it makes sense this would be true in about the same era in the Kelvin timeline. For example, here's a bit of dialogue from the transcript of the second-season episode "The Immunity Syndrome", in which Spock reports some measurements made on a giant space amoeba:

SPOCK: Readings coming in now, Captain. Length, approximately eleven thousand miles. Width varying from two thousand to three thousand miles.

Similarly in the second-season episode "Friday's Child", here is McCoy describing the inhabitants of an alien planet:

MCCOY: They're quite large. Seven feet tall is not unusual.

And thanks to @Valorum for pointing out an example that actually involves inches, from the transcript of the first-season episode "Operation: Annihilate!":

KIRK: We have to duplicate the conditions on the planet, and Spock

SPOCK: Captain, you'll need a host for the next step in the test to determine whether the creature can be driven from the body. I am the logical choice.

MCCOY: Do you know what one million candlelight per square inch can do to your optic nerves?

  • 1
    Operation: Annihilate! [TOS] - KIRK: We have to duplicate the conditions on the planet, and Spock SPOCK: Captain, you'll need a host for the next step in the test to determine whether the creature can be driven from the body. I am the logical choice MCCOY: Do you know what one million candlelight per square inch can do to your optic nerves? – Valorum Aug 4 '16 at 15:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.