Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Practical Tips: Developing the Sixth Sense. Here are 10 applications.

Dr Abe V Rotor 

1. How accurate are folk measurements?
Old folks would tell a child that the total length of the outstretched arms fingertip to fingertip is equivalent to the height of the person. This is based on the drawing of Leonardo da Vinci. Is this true? What don’t you try it on yourself? They also say that the least shadow you make, the closer it is to noontime. This is of course without reference to the declination of the sun, and the season of the year. 

There is no assurance of accuracy in these means of measurement. Take for instance when one says “isang sigarilyo lang ang layo” (it takes a stick of cigarette to reach the place), and the guide has yet to light his cigarette and you have gone a long way. Or somebody says, “It is only at the other side of the mountain.”  Which mountain and how many are there?  

2. When is a child ready for school?
In earlier times when there were no nurseries, kindergartens, and preparatory schools, this is the simple way to know when children are ready for Grade 1. 

The potential enrollee stands straight before the principal or teacher.  He is asked to stretch his right hand across the top his head in order to touch his left ear without tilting his head. He must do the same with his left hand to touch his right ear.  If he passes this test without difficulty he is ready for schooling. At this stage the child is around seven years old, the age of reason.  He is now in pre-adolescence.  

3. How do you count seconds and minutes without a timepiece?
When counting seconds, it is more precise to count, “one-hundred-one, one-hundred-two, one-hundred-three, and so on.” This traditional technique is used today in photography (light exposure, shutter speed), games (swimming and track race), and during emergency (CPR, measuring body temperature, pulse rate). It may be useful in our daily routine (cooking, exercise).  

4. Double the circumference of your neck and that is your waistline.
In the absence of a tape measure, and without fitting it, how do you know the waistline of your pants? Mothers have a simple formula.  Button the pants and wrap it around the neck of the would-be user. Both ends should meet, not too tight or loose.

5. If you see birds in the open sea, there must be land nearby.
Christopher Columbus knew there was land nearby when he saw sea birds in the sky.  This convinced his disheartened crew who was at the verge of mutiny. The ship followed the birds leading to the discovery of America


Birds migrating to the south when it is winter in the north guide seafarers.  In spring and summer the birds return. It is a long route covering a distance of three thousand miles.  Many of the birds fail to complete the route, and may discover new habitats and interbreed with local birds. Butterflies like the flamboyant monarch butterflies also migrate over long distances, such as the route from North America to Mexico. It is not a wonder to find butterflies not only on land but also at sea. 

6. If you happen to touch a hot object, immediately press your affected fingers on your ear lobes.
By so doing you transfer the heat and get refreshed. The earlobe is usually cooler than any part of the body, so with the whole ear which works on the principle of a radiator. That’s why people who flare up develop red ears. (Pulang pula ang tainga). It is the same way the rabbit releases heat through their large ears. The earlobe is also less sensitive because it has fewer nerves and blood vessels – which explains the universal practice of earlobe piercing and wearing of earrings.   

7.  Without tasting it, you can tell if lemonade is already sweet or it still needs more sugar.
Seeds of calamansi (Citrus microcarpa) rises to the top as buoyancy (specific gravity) is increased.  Thus the more we put sugar, the more the seeds float. If they settle at the bottom, the lemonade needs more sugar. Buoyancy is also explained by the fact that it is easier to swim in seawater than in the swimming pool.

Scientifically the addition of sugar increases the specific gravity of the lemonade. By specific gravity of a liquid we mean the ratio of its density to that of water which is normally 1. This is determined by the use of hydrometer, the same instrument used in determining the concentration of alcohol, acids, oils and other liquids.

The idea of buoyancy that led to our present knowledge of specific gravity came from the first true experimentalist, Archimedes during the golden age of Greek civilization. A story about his discovery was a hilarious one. All of a sudden he emerged from the bathtub and went through the streets shouting, “Eureka! Eureka!” 

 8. When walking through a forest, wear a reverse mask, to ward off tiger or lion attack.
This may not apply in the Philippines because we have don’t have tigers and lions.   But in some parts of Asia and Africa, there are cases of people attacked from behind by these ferocious animals. Reversed mask makes the fellow appear always on the watch. But recently, these animals could no longer be deceived. Either they have become bolder, or it is simply a case of poor art.

9. More fish are caught when the moon is out.
Fish have wider range to feed in the moonlight.  Fishing lights attract more fish when the moon is out, so that fishermen time their fishing for more catch. However there are species that are not discriminating in their feeding habits whatever is the phase of the moon.

In The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway, the author, did not mention under what condition the old man hooked and landed his prized blue marlin. Definitely there are factors other than the phase of the moon that predispose fish to bite. 
  
10. Sterilize handkerchief with hot iron in the absence of cotton gauze and bandage.
In an emergency case, or for simple treatment, this is what you can do.  Get a clean handkerchief and iron it repeatedly at high temperature for a duration of five minutes to seven minutes. To save on energy, you may prepare two or three handkerchiefs for the purpose. 

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