10 MAR 2019 by ideonexus

 Estimating Technical Progress

Overestimating the potential upside of every new sign of tech progress is as common as downplaying the downsides. It's easy to let our imaginations run wild with how any new development is going to change everything practically overnight. The unforeseen technical roadblocks that inevitably spring up are only one reason for this consistent miscalculation. Human nature is simply out of sync with the nature of technological development. We see progress as linear, a straight line of improvement. ...
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25 OCT 2017 by ideonexus

 Children's Art Has Its Own Logic

Even simple scribbles are meaningful. While it was once thought that kids only scribbled to experience the physical sensation of moving their arm along the page, “now it’s been shown that when children are scribbling … they’re representing through action, not through pictures,” said Boston College’s Winner. “For example, a child might draw a truck by making a line fast across the page and going ‘zoom, zoom,’ and so it doesn’t look like a truck when the child is done, but i...
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This reminds me of Sagan's pumpkin-carving, where he made random cuts and took out chunks to make it scarier with more "bloody guts."

12 JUN 2012 by ideonexus

 Geometry Seems Disconnected from Reality

Why is geometry often described as 'cold' and 'dry?' One reason lies in its inability to describe the shape of a cloud, a mountain, a coastline, or a tree. Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does lightning travel in a straight line... Nature exhibits not simply a higher degree but an altogether different level of complexity.
Folksonomies: complexity geometry
Folksonomies: complexity geometry
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It deals with orbs and squares, but clouds and trees are much more complex.

03 SEP 2011 by ideonexus

 Focusing Light Increases Heat Where Focused

The sun's rays proceed from the sun along straight lines and are reflected from every polished object at equal angles, i.e. the reflected ray subtends, together with the line tangential to the polished object which is in the plane of the reflected ray, two equal angles. Hence it follows that the ray reflected from the spherical surface, together with the circumference of the circle which is in the plane of the ray, subtends two equal angles. From this it also follows that the reflected ray, t...
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Alhazan's famous observations on reflecting the sun's rays and bending light.