Monday, February 18, 2013

How accurate are folk measurements?

Dr Abe V Rotor

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.

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).

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?

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.~

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