Mathematical Reason Why You Can't Catch A Dollar Bill With Your Fingers 

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The streets are full of many tricks that people are out to play with others in order to trick them off their cash. A simple life tip for you to always remember on the street. Someone might come to you and claim that they will give a dollar bill for free of you will be able to catch the bill between your fingers as he drops it. That’s a simple con street trick, please keep off. If you don’t believe me then try it out with a friend. But don’t be worried there is a mathematical explanation behind the incident. 

This is because the average human takes close to 0.2 seconds to react. The time period of 0.2 seconds is enough for a person to feel something, process it and be able to physically react to it. Very impressive I tell you.

Sadly enough, 0.2 seconds is not quick enough for one’s eyes to see the bill falling and have the brain process the reaction and hence instruct the fingers to try and catch the dollar bill. This narrows down to simple high school mathematics that indeed helps to show that humans are not that useless furthermore, they are capable of catching things on the fly. It’s easy to calculate the time it will take for something to fall on the ground when it is dropped from any given height.

This also applies to the velocity of a falling item, the distance covered and the time it will take to reach the ground. The simple mathematical equation to be used is, D = 1/2 gt2, where D = distance, t = time, g = gravitation acceleration, and gt = falling velocity.

The above mathematical equation is able to give a clear explanation to why it’s not possible to catch the dollar bill. The gravitational acceleration of the planet earth is measured at 9.8m/s2, but for easier calculation the estimated figure that is normally used is 10m/s2. Numberphile mathematician Tadashi Tokieda is accredited to have rounded up the value up to 10. Using this equation to calculate the distance covered in the human reactive response, this will show that the distance is 0.2 meters or 20 centimeters. The dollar bill is on average 15 centimeters long. Simple mathematics shows that if a person is holding it at 5 cm or less, then it’s mathematically impossible for you to catch the bill regardless of how fast your reaction response is.

Ironically, the Numberphile video clearly shows that the normal human being is able to improve his response to stimulus reaction. So before you decide to go ahead with the stranger’s proposal make sure you watch the video and have done a few practices that will make you a professional at catching up the bill. Another trick is to make sure that he gives you the chance to choose which fingers to use when catching the dollar bill.

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Gloria Caputa

Writer and Coffee Addict

Gloria is a veteran in this game, winning many writing contests and being published numerous times for her various stories. She came to work for us because she wanted more freedom with her writing, but also wanted to be apart of a team. She has a deep love for coffee and anything that has to do with the ?60s.