Re: If you can't calculate the angles on a 50-cent coin...
Are you talking /consciously/ calculated, or /intuitively/ calculated? It makes the examples different.
- Nearly any stable trade will use at least some small amount of trig and/or geometry (your plumber? ever hear of a "drain slope"? Last I heard, it was right around a half-inch to the foot. That's trig, you're just not figuring the ratio, but you're figuring the ratio between the legs of a right triangle.) Electrical layouts can be done the same way, as can any field reinforcement/repair work (electrics/plumbing/carpenter/engineer/architect/&c.) Those examples are legion, I shall leave their discovery for the apt pupil.
- Your "supermarket drone"? If he's bagging goods, he's got to know where to stop so the bag doesn't rip out, yes?
- Your "insurance salesman"? A constant "risk/benefit" analysis is running in the back of his mind - both on behalf of his client (how much is he willing to risk for how much potential benefit?) and for himself (how much does he think he can make?) This is done largely by intuition on his part.
- Your bouncer? He's intuitively calculating quite a bit, mostly ballistic objects (powered and unpowered - thrown objects, fists, feet, &c, &c.) You don't honestly think blocks and kicks "just happen," do you? He may have never been taught the maths that go into planning that motion, or the laws that govern the motions, but he can analyze the motion and STOP it.
- Restaurant Staff: Ever carry one of those heavy serving trays? Interesting exercise in physics, that. Cooking? Those shelves get crowded on busy nights, but they don't drop a plate. Bussers/dishwasers? Same sort of thing, on the other side.
As far as dredging up your "contrived examples" like the falling brick - you think that's /not/ exactly what happens, just without the numbers & graphs? You see the object falling. You make rapid calculations of path, mass, density, surface, speed, risk of injury, &c. You decide whether you should:
- Catch it
- Move out of the way
- Interpose an object so it doesn't hit /you/
- Interpose an object so it doesn't hit /someone/ /else/.
And a driver makes dozens of "calculations" every second - he's just not aware of the fact that he's doing it. Nor, really, will he be - unless he's trained in a field, that has him making calculations normally (as an MET, I'm aware of the calculations that I make while driving, how they change with the vehicle I'm driving and/or how it's loaded, how my vehicle's handling envelope is affected by the people who are in it with me and their locations, &c, &c.)
Your "contrived examples" are nowhere near as "contrived" as you want to think they are, and your mind does far more on an intuitive level than you are aware it does. Ever hear of a principle called "negative feedback"? Look it up sometime.
Then, next time you pick up an egg, realize just how much of a balancing act it can really be...