# Measurements Change Dramatically Depending on the Methodology

Benoit Mandelbrot asked his famous question “How long is the coast of Britain?” long before this symposium was written, but it perfectly captures the sort of puzzle people in this crowd love. The question seems simple. Just look it up in the encyclopedia. But as Mandelbrot observed, the length of the coast of Britain depends on what you use to measure it. If you draw lines on a map to approximate the coastline, you get one length, but if you try to measure the real bumps in every inlet and bay, the curves of each pebble and grain of sand, you get a much different length.

## Notes:

David Brook's relating Benoit Mandelbrot's experience measuring the British coast.

Folksonomies: complexity measurement quantification

Taxonomies:
/art and entertainment/books and literature/reference books (0.669533)
/science/mathematics/geometry (0.304337)
/law, govt and politics/law enforcement/coast guard (0.268239)

Keywords:
Benoit Mandelbrot (0.957995 (positive:0.323812)), Methodology David Brook (0.760309 (positive:0.323812)), different length (0.604756 (neutral:0.000000)), experience measuring (0.600785 (positive:0.323812)), famous question (0.593686 (neutral:0.000000)), crowd love (0.586984 (positive:0.667548)), real bumps (0.577117 (neutral:0.000000)), puzzle people (0.572904 (positive:0.667548)), British coast (0.567811 (positive:0.323812)), Britain (0.388989 (neutral:0.000000)), pebble (0.372916 (neutral:0.000000)), coastline (0.368839 (neutral:0.000000)), Measurements (0.368582 (positive:0.323812)), inlet (0.368344 (neutral:0.000000)), sort (0.367194 (positive:0.667548)), curves (0.359577 (neutral:0.000000)), symposium (0.357929 (neutral:0.000000)), grain (0.354249 (neutral:0.000000)), sand (0.351552 (neutral:0.000000)), simple (0.347714 (neutral:0.000000)), encyclopedia (0.347542 (positive:0.454992)), lines (0.343968 (neutral:0.000000))

Entities:
Benoit Mandelbrot:Person (0.933194 (positive:0.323812)), Britain:Country (0.328219 (neutral:0.000000)), David Brook:Person (0.240682 (positive:0.323812))

Concepts:
Units of measurement (0.942199): website | dbpedia | freebase | yago
Fractal (0.908820): dbpedia | freebase
Measurement (0.840768): dbpedia | freebase
Beach (0.708204): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Systems of measurement (0.704539): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Metrology (0.692345): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc

This Will Make You Smarter
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Brockman , John (2012-02-14), This Will Make You Smarter, HarperCollins, Retrieved on 2013-12-19
• Source Material [books.google.com]
• Folksonomies: science

19 DEC 2013

## The Cognitive Toolbox

Memes that would make good index cards for a box of important cognitive ideas.
17