Telling apart the Olsen twins

06/22/2016
 
An obvious difference between these two cars is the arrangement of the tail lights.
An obvious difference between these two cars is the arrangement of the tail lights.
Having an eye for detail is a useful thing. Getting in the habit of paying attention to what you’re looking at and noticing some characteristics can be helpful for identifying the object later in a different context as well as for spotting abnormalities or potential failures. Picking up on details can also help you to quickly discern differences among similar things.
 
During WWII, this was an invaluable skill, as people were encouraged to learn how to identify incoming planes and other aircraft by a few key characteristics in order to tell whether or not it was the enemy approaching.  Today, you can benefit from doing the same thing, whether it’s to being able to find an unfamiliar car in the parking lot or tell apart the Olsen twins in pictures from when they were little. I’ve included some examples for you to use to test your skills.
 
The back of a white Honda CRV looks a lot like the back of a white Lincoln MKZ. Among other shared details, the cars have a very similar taper and size. Of course, if you take a few minutes to actually compare them you can spot a whole list of differences. However, the idea is to be able to pick out one or two differences right away—something you might notice while passing the car on the road or that you can use to spot the car from a distance. The most obvious thing here is the arrangement of the tail lights. 
 
The coral snake, left, has red bands touching yellow bands, while the king snake has black bands separating the other two colors.
The coral snake, left, has red bands touching yellow bands, while the king snake has black bands separating the other two colors.
Parts of the U.S. are home to the venomous coral snake and the non-venomous scarlet king snake. These snakes often live in the same environment and can appear nearly identical, making it very hard to tell them apart. However, there’s a key detail you can pick up on that gives the true identity away. If the red bands touch the yellow bands, it’s a coral snake.  If they touch the black bands, it’s a king snake.  Some people remember this by saying something silly like “Red touches yellow, you’re a dead fellow.”
 
The Spitfire, left, has a very distinctive wing shape. The 727 has a three cell layout, making it easy to identify.
The Spitfire, left, has a very distinctive wing shape. The 727 has a three cell layout, making it easy to identify.
The two planes shown in the picture are examples of aircraft that have a very obvious and unique characteristic. Even if you don’t know many planes, one detail can help you identify each of these. In the case of the Spitfire, it’s the wide, rounded wing shape. For the 727, it’s the three engines – specifically the middle cell in front of the rudder.
 
Sometimes, as is the case with the planes, you really only need to remember one thing in order to identify the object. If you’re someone who has trouble remembering names, try this the next time you meet new people. You can associate their name with something you notice about them.