Before the creation of the World Wide Web and the all-powerful Google, came the wisdom of grannies. Us, millennials – we’re somewhat spoiled. We are born in an age where all information and the collective knowledge of humanity are available right at our very fingertips. With a trusty Wi-Fi connection and a few strokes on our keyboard, there isn’t much that we can’t access and learn.
However, with great privilege come certain drawbacks. Since we’re oh-so-spoilt for choice, somewhere down the line, our generation has lost out on ancient wisdom passed down the generations. I’m talking about the knowledge that you can only gain through experience – those little tips and tricks that helped humanity survive before the invention of measuring scales or calculators.
Curious to know just what wisdom you may have missed out on? Well, read on to discover those wise little tips that Google never bothered teaching you. Presenting, the wisdom of your ancestors that will turn you into a living encyclopedia!
Aren’t we just the best?
1. Determining The Time Of Sunset
Here’s the scene: You’re out hiking with a group of friends when your phone suddenly dies on you. Now, before you try to correct us – no, you’re not wearing a watch. Let’s be real here, other than doctors, who really does these days?
If you’re wondering how long before it gets dark and you must get back to camp, then use this oh-so-simple technique to calculate the time left before the sun finally sets. Just look out at the horizon then keep your fingers together and keep placing one palm over the other until your pointing finger coincides with the sun.
Count how many fingers it takes for your index finger to reach the sun. Each finger represents approximately 15 minutes till sunset. See? Sorted!
2. Figuring Out The Number Of Days In Each Month
As embarrassing as it is to admit, till today I still face trouble remembering the months that contain 31 days and those that don’t. I also have a very good feeling that I’m not alone.
If you too suffer from calendar dilemmas, use this Nobel-prize-worthy hack for correctly remembering the days of each month on the go! Simply close your hand into a fist and count each month using your knuckles and the spaces in-between.
Each knuckle as well as each cleft that lies between your knuckles, all signify a month. If the month falls upon a knuckle, it will have 31 days and those that fall upon a cleft contain 30 days or less.
Since knuckles happen to be bigger, it makes absolute sense for them to have the greater number of days. Brilliant!
3. Assessing The Quality Of Batteries
Found a couple of old batteries and wondering whether they still have any juice? Do the bounce test! Simply bounce your batteries on a firm, hard surface to tell whether they’re good or bad.
Drop them onto your desk from a distance of roughly 6 inches. If they give you one tiny bounce then fall right over – congratulations, they’re still in business!
However, if they bounce around any more than that, then they’re dead or at least dying.
4. The Simplest Methods Of Telling Whether The Moon Is Waxing Or Waning
Lunar phases can be rather tricky. By interpreting just which phase the moon inhabits can help us predict how tides will move and just where the moon is in relation to the sun and Earth.
A waxing moon is one that is in the process of being increasingly lit with every night, i.e., it is headed towards a full moon. A waning moon, on the other hand, is the opposite. To predict which phase the moon currently inhabits compare it to the letters D, O, and C.
- A crescent moon in the shape of a backward C is waxing.
- A half moon in the shape of a D is waxing.
- An O signifies a full moon.
- A half moon in the shape of a backward D is waning.
- A crescent moon in the shape of a C is waning.
5. Measure Angles With Your Hands
Need to measure some angles but don’t have a protractor on you?
Then, use your hands! This is a remarkably accurate measuring tool that is commonly used by astronomers. It goes something like this:
- If you stretch your thumb and pinkie as far as you can, the span from each tip is roughly 20 degrees.
- Now, do the same thing with your pinkie and index finger. This span is equivalent to 15 degrees.
- Clench your hand into a fist and hold it at arm’s length with the back of your hand facing towards you. The width equals 10 degrees.
- When you hold your three middle fingers together, they span roughly 5 degrees.
- The width of your pinkie finger, when held at arm’s length, is 1 degree.
There you have it, five old-school hacks that only your grandma could ever teach you. Did you learn something new? We sure did. Share this article with your friends and family (especially Grandma) and make their day!
Emaan is a voracious and rather indiscriminate reader. She is also a writer, history buff, insomniac, amateur doodle artist, terrible poet and a self-professed philosopher (but only after 3 am). Currently, she is pursuing a degree in medicine.