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Rule of thumb

for measuring smallish distances
  (+3, -1)
(+3, -1)
  [vote for,

Time was, when an inch was the width of one's thumb, however in these troubled times, people call for more standard definitions, so everyone can compare like with like

Simple suggestion is to measure your own thumb now (25mm), then the next time you need to measure a small ish distance, you can, accurately using your very own rule of thumb. No need to carry a ruler with you everywhere and ideal for the summer when you don't have your desperate measure with you.
neilp, Jul 29 2003


       Oh you really are a newbie ;)
po, Jul 29 2003

       Let's just adopt a system where we make everyone's thumb the same size with a careful combination of use of metal files and xacto knives. When you turn 18 you get "thumbed".
DeathNinja, Jul 29 2003

       21 in the states?
neilp, Jul 29 2003

       ..or give everyone a ruler on their 18th/21st birthday. If they can't produce it when asked *then* thumb them.
Seriously [neilp], the inch was the distance from the tip of the thumb to the middle of that thumb's knuckle (not the width).
Don't ask about my Measuring Eye
gnomethang, Jul 29 2003

       yeah, I thought that [gnomethang], but that's about 45mm, how did we ever settle on 25.4mm for the inch ?
P.S. I'll never ask about your measuring eye
neilp, Jul 29 2003

       [neilp] 45mm!!? Are you an Orang-Utang?? My Left is 28 and right is 29mm. My Measuring Eye is bang on (volunteered info!)
gnomethang, Jul 29 2003

       dammit [gnomethang] you've got me there. This whole thing started because I couldn't find a ruler, and I gratuitously made up both measurements. I'll measure up tomorrow morning and make amends..
neilp, Jul 29 2003

       Cash only, large bills.
thumbwax, Jul 29 2003

       I've been using this system of rough measuring for years but, inspired by neilp's post, I can now definitely state that my thumb measurement is an inch and a quarter and the distance from my wrist to my elbow, which I normally use as roughly equivalent to a foot (bizarre anatomy conversation ensues!), turns out to be eleven inches.
DrBob, Jul 30 2003

       right [gnomethang], my inch is exactly 40mm long, whereas my thumb across is 25mm. So, I clearly am a bit Oranguoyed.
neilp, Jul 30 2003

       does this suggest that thumbs have evolved to be bigger since the inch was chosen as a unit of measurement?
hazel, Jul 30 2003

       It seems so, and quite considerably.
hence UOMs being standardised back to speed of light / Caesium states.
neilp, Jul 30 2003

       I'm 5' 2" (which is 157.5 cm for those of you which work in new money) - ie not very tall - and my thumb is 32 mm long.   

       Johnny Vaughn is at least 6' tall and only has a thumb 25.4 mm long? Strange man.
hazel, Jul 30 2003

       Ta [neilp] - it would be boring if we were all the same.
gnomethang, Jul 30 2003

       My wife used to have an obsession with feet, but luckily for me she now makes do with 6 inches ;)
7snottyorphans, Jul 30 2003

       Why not have a rule of toe?
Cheese Wraith, Aug 06 2003

       Because it won't work. It just *won't* OK?
gnomethang, Aug 06 2003

       Why would anyone use something as compressible as a thumb as a standard of weights and measures?
LoriZ, Jul 29 2005

       I think it's time [gnomethang], to ask about your Measuring Eye...
zen_tom, Jul 29 2005

       [zen_tom] - Spot on son!, I just checked! My thumb-inch was exactly the length of my thumb from that bit to the other bit (+/- 0.5mm).
EDIT: we *are* talking about the measurement from last joint on the thumb-stump to end of fleshy bit?.
That is my inch (24.5mm) and I will stick to it!.
gnomethang, Jul 29 2005


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