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NOT Double-donut Table Clitoris Mushroom Cylinder Ball
June 24, 2012 6:19 PM   Subscribe

If you revolve the letters of the alphabet around an axis, you get the 3D alphabet.
posted by twoleftfeet (69 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ah, sweet memories of Adobe Dimensions.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:25 PM on June 24, 2012


Why does O have a dimple?
posted by 256 at 6:25 PM on June 24, 2012


O's axis is off-center.
posted by The Deej at 6:28 PM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


They're all rotated off-center, which preserves all the features. Rotating about the center would result in a surface that only represents the maximal width by height.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:38 PM on June 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


The axis is at the left hand side of each 2d letter.
posted by R. Mutt at 6:39 PM on June 24, 2012


You think N and M look similar, but that's only because you haven't checked out the bottom view. Oh, that M. The bottom view is so choice.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:43 PM on June 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


All I did was get fatter.
posted by Camofrog at 6:47 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would really dig having a little collection of these on my desk. THE QUICK BROWN FOX JUMPS OVER THE LAZY DOG
posted by Buckt at 6:48 PM on June 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


The "o" looks edible... mmmm ... donuts... (drools)
posted by greenhornet at 6:50 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hate Conic Sans.
posted by hal9k at 6:52 PM on June 24, 2012 [61 favorites]


For once, a website just crying out for WebGL.
posted by Nelson at 6:54 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Suddenly, I want a bagel.
posted by SPrintF at 6:55 PM on June 24, 2012


NOT Stupid.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:57 PM on June 24, 2012


I would really dig having a little collection of these on my desk. THE QUICK BROWN FOX JUMPS OVER THE LAZY DOG

Here ya go.
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:00 PM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't think they all start at the same axis; "T" for example.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:05 PM on June 24, 2012


The axis is at the left hand side of each 2d letter.

Yeah, except for M, which was obviously rotated around its center. If it had been rotated around the left-hand side, it would have more of a central diagonal-line-created valley with straight edges.

As it stands, it looks exactly like N, which isn't a good way for this alphabet to work.
posted by hippybear at 7:06 PM on June 24, 2012


This will be useful when we are viewing a world made flat by our incredible multidimensional gaze, I mean of course, after we have ascended and become beings of pure light.
posted by TwelveTwo at 7:07 PM on June 24, 2012


And no, none of these look like a clitoris.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:07 PM on June 24, 2012


The how was it made? section says they took the left-most point of the letter (in Univers font) as the base of the vertical axis.

And no, none of these look like a clitoris.

You can't take these letters clitorally.
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:12 PM on June 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


But they certainly do look turned on.
posted by hal9k at 7:14 PM on June 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


But they certainly do look turned on.

how can you tell (i'm just kidding i know how ;) but really let me know how you know
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:16 PM on June 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Suddenly, I want a bagel.

Suddenly, I want to eat a bagel off a CD spindle at Martin's Discount Top Warehouse.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 7:18 PM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


No bolds? No italics? Just plane? Are Euclidean me?
posted by hal9k at 7:24 PM on June 24, 2012 [15 favorites]


I still can't understand why the X has a raised portion in the center.
posted by Miko at 7:26 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seriously, having had many students who have been seriously dyslexic but brilliant visual artists (and musicians) could somehow benefit from this chart. I'm no neurologist, but I think this might help kids.
posted by kozad at 7:27 PM on June 24, 2012


This should come without a caption and have you guess what it is.
posted by Ruodlieb at 7:30 PM on June 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, except for M, which was obviously rotated around its center.

If M was rotated about the center, it would sink in the middle, not rise. N and M look similar because the upward diagonal of the M is hidden by the high outer wall.
posted by grog at 7:38 PM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I still can't understand why the X has a raised portion in the center.

The same reason M does :)
posted by grog at 7:38 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]



The same reason M does :)

I want to believe, but I still can't understand it visually, at least not presented in 3D. It seems there should be a void in the center of both these letters.
posted by Miko at 7:41 PM on June 24, 2012


Miko, the axis of rotation isn't the middle of the letter, it's the edge of the letter. In the case of the X, the top-left arm makes the bump (and stays still), the top-right arm makes the rim on the outside (and moves in a wide circle).
posted by Jimbob at 7:47 PM on June 24, 2012


Ah HA.
posted by Miko at 7:48 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks, I was having a lot of difficulty grasping that.
posted by Miko at 7:48 PM on June 24, 2012


They might make for a nifty Scrabble set - less of a need for a turntable under the board....
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 7:52 PM on June 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thanks, I was having a lot of difficulty grasping that.

Perhaps I have been on the internet to much because I automatically read this as sarcastic instead of a genuine appreciation of clarification.
posted by Hicksu at 7:55 PM on June 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


too much
posted by Hicksu at 7:55 PM on June 24, 2012


These remind me of atomic orbitals.

The K orbital has edges? Sure, I'll buy that.

(And check out these animated .gifs of orbitals — they make me think of jugband music.)
posted by benito.strauss at 8:05 PM on June 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


Why does the 3D alphabet snake alternately from L->R then R->L and back when it reaches a line break?

And is it just me or do words written with the bottom view look sarcastic?
posted by mazola at 8:15 PM on June 24, 2012


J is backwards.
posted by SillyShepherd at 8:31 PM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why does the 3D alphabet snake alternately from L->R then R->L and back when it reaches a line break

BOUSTROPHEDON
posted by kenko at 8:35 PM on June 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


I mean, who knows why they decided to do it that way, but boustrophedonic writing has a long history.
posted by kenko at 8:36 PM on June 24, 2012


No, J is rotated by its hook.
posted by soelo at 8:36 PM on June 24, 2012


My mother rotated J by its hook, once.
posted by TheRedArmy at 8:46 PM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


...they make me think of jugband music.

Those animations do kind of play well with 'Slip Inside This House'.

/derail

posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 8:53 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you're having trouble seeking how the letter creates that shape, click on individual letters in the tabs at the bottom. In those images, there is a a cross section of the form shown in the lower right corner that may help.
posted by pbrim at 9:01 PM on June 24, 2012


This orbital looks like it is getting super offended and then giving the viewer the finger.
posted by Hello Darling at 9:04 PM on June 24, 2012


Also, I think these would make really awesome teething toys for babies. Think of how many lovely colors they could come in!!
posted by Hello Darling at 9:04 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


And if you revolve the letters of the 3D alphabet around an axis that's orthogonal to the other three, you get the 4D alphabet. Then it will collapse in on itself, making it so that once you reach the end of any sentence, you just find yourself back at its beginning again.
posted by Nomyte at 9:10 PM on June 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Looks like I've got a new wood lathe project; A from apple wood, B from beech, C cedar....
posted by X4ster at 9:14 PM on June 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Man, I so wish I had a RepRap printer right now.
posted by mrzarquon at 9:25 PM on June 24, 2012


I would love to see a translucent set.
posted by quazichimp at 9:38 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay, so, this is the standard Roman alphabet, totally unremarkable and well-known to lots of people -- not just gibbering scholars locked away in long-forgotten asylums -- rotated precisely into Euclidean solids that the human mind can totally grasp without going even a little insane? That's good, because I had a pretty bad experience once on a similar project involving certain, uh, blasphemous scribblings on a dank cavern wall miles beneath the surface of the earth.
posted by No-sword at 9:47 PM on June 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


this is the standard Roman alphabet, totally unremarkable

Yes, I often find it good to remind myself that written language, no matter what alphabet, is absolutely unremarkable. Given that it isn't shared by any other species upon the planet and likely, along with speech, is what has allowed this particular group of genes to succeed beyond the matter of pure genetic advantage over all barriers presented by climate, weather, or other circumstance...

yes, totally unremarkable, indeed.
posted by hippybear at 9:51 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


A translucent version of this alphabet appeared in the delightful 1990s game Obsidian. Here's the walkthrough from which that image was taken.
posted by drdanger at 10:02 PM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


"...succeed beyond the matter of pure genetic advantage..."

You think that's meaningful, but I don't think it is.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:10 PM on June 24, 2012


Which is to say, I think it's a category error. Obviously, in some context, language has been wildly successful. But within the context of "genetic advantage", I don't know what success means that isn't, well, genetic advantage.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:12 PM on June 24, 2012


There needs to be an Encyclopedia Brown type story involving an ancient mansion on a hill filled with doors that have very strange doorknobs, and the main character solves the mystery because she's a regular MeFi lurker who read this FPP.
posted by XMLicious at 10:26 PM on June 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm not surprised that so many people are having trouble with these. I taught CAD for a while and found that the revolve feature is the one that beginners have the hardest time wrapping their heads around.
posted by hydrophonic at 10:28 PM on June 24, 2012


There needs to be an Encyclopedia Brown type story involving an ancient mansion on a hill filled with doors that have very strange doorknobs,

Oooh, ooh, I know this one. Encyclopedia Brown solves the case.

Bugs claims to have been kidnapped at Encyclopedia's behest (how a 5th-grader was able to hire and control adult Mooks is never discussed). He describes being imprisoned in a small room, and attempts to escape by removing the pins from the door hinges, but they are on the other side of the door. Then he tries to wait to the side of the door and jump his kidnappers when they come in, but the door opens into his face, foiling the attack. Standard house doors cannot open away from their hinges, only toward them.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:40 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rotating the letters around a vertical axis touching the leftmost extremity of each letter rather than an axis right down the middle obscures what I think is the interesting coincidence that, of the five vowels, A E I O U, four have left-right symmetry, whereas of twenty-one consonants, T H X V M and the hybrids Y and W have left-right symmetry, and that this difference is reflected to some extent in the time symmetries of vowels and consonants, in the sense that when recordings of speech and singing are played backwards, the phonemes represented by vowels seem to me recognizably themselves, mainly, but not so for consonants.

Reading involves a progression in time across written words, of course, and the Roman alphabet was all caps until the middle ages, so...... what?
posted by jamjam at 11:54 PM on June 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


That's a really amazing insight, jamjam, and I wonder if it is true. Letter forms which represent vowels do tend to have left-right symmetry (and yeah, if you play recordings backwards they tend to sound the same.) Strict percussives or fricatives tend to be represented by asymmetric letter forms. That's a very good insight.
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:05 AM on June 25, 2012


Yeah, except for M, which was obviously rotated around its center. If it had been rotated around the left-hand side, it would have more of a central diagonal-line-created valley with straight edges.
posted by hippybear at 3:06 AM on June 25



If you click on an individual letter on the list below, you get a diagram which makes the formation of the image clear. Here is "M"
posted by Decani at 12:28 AM on June 25, 2012


The most important thing to note is that 'R' is obviously the best letter to live in. You get two stories and an elevator.
posted by Space Coyote at 1:29 AM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


You'll want to check out the sonority hierarchy. The 'backwards-ability' is more about the manner of articulation of the phoneme...whether or not it continues or is obstructed in some manner.

The whole thing starts to fall apart for a variety of reasons, especially with lowercase letters.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:31 AM on June 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


btw, R, TH, S, Z, N, F all generally have phonetic symmetry in the sense you describe, but not orthographic symmetry.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:34 AM on June 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


(And on the other hand, the English "long I" and "long U" sounds don't have phonetic symmetry: they're diphthongs, not single vowels.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:18 AM on June 25, 2012


And no, none of these look like a clitoris.

Then why bother?
posted by arkham_inmate_0801 at 7:28 AM on June 25, 2012


(and the vowel sounds in words like 'face' and 'break' and 'Lego' in most dialects of English...also diphthongs)
posted by iamkimiam at 8:27 AM on June 25, 2012


Metafilter: has a raised portion in the center.
posted by herbplarfegan at 1:14 PM on June 25, 2012


If someone is looking for a business idea...I would buy fridge magnets of these!
posted by Tarumba at 7:11 PM on June 25, 2012


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