One of the most frustrating hobbies I ever took up was archery, and not because it’s hard to hit a wall (yes, I’ve gotten pretty good at it). My problem was that one of the popular ways to go out and enjoy archery was to do a “3D shoot”. This meant you had to shoot a series of animal statues, each placed at an unknown distance.
Estimating the distance turned out to be my fault. If you’re not sure how far away the deer is, you’ll end up shooting it over its back or burying arrows in the ground under your feet. At the time, I thought estimating distance was an intuitive rather than a learnable skill.Hence my surprise when I recently came across Simple Eyeball and Mental Math Tricks This allows anyone to estimate distances fairly accurately.
Techniques include A few Guts-level estimation, but much easier type. Then just multiply by 10. Here’s how it works:
Place your thumb in front of you (with your arm fully extended) and close one eye. Place your thumb on an object of some size (such as a car).
Without moving your thumb, close the open eye and open the other eye. It looks like your thumb is in a different place.
Estimate how far your thumb has “moved” relative to the object you are looking at. For example, a car is about 15 feet long, so if you move your thumb half the length of the car, it’s about 7.5 feet.
Multiply by 10. For this example, we calculate that the car is about 75 feet away from you.
Too good to be real? Walked around and tried it. I also carried a laser rangefinder and a tape measure to check. One thing I quickly discovered was that I was tempted to measure the space between the two thumb images. Instead, you should measure, for example, from the left side of the first thumb image to the left side of her second thumb image.
Standing in the kitchen, staring at the TV in another room, I realized that the TV was 3-4 feet wide and my thumb moved just over half that distance, or about 2 feet. Calculation: TV must be 20 feet away. Laser level: 25 feet. Ok, not bad.
My thumb moved six inches, maybe more, from the desk to the nearby bookshelf. Count: 60ish inches. Footprint: 59 inches.
From where the driveway is to the shed in the garden: I turned my head to the side and measured the height of the door. Must be 60 feet away. Actual measurement: about 70 feet. Not perfect, but again, not too far off.
The reason this trick works is that the distance from your eye to your thumb is about 10 times the distance from one eye to the other. I also measured it. If you look in a mirror with a tape measure in front of your face, your pupils are 2 5/16 inches apart, or 2.3 inches. Distance from brow spot to outstretched thumb is 23.5 inches. This is 10.2 times. , impressively close to the 10 I promised.
Conclusion: This trick doesn’t give you an exact distance, but as an estimating tool, it really works! It’s about 5 feet long.
How to estimate distance with just your thumb
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