One small step for a man, one giant leap for amanimator
September 22, 2014 9:33 PM   Subscribe

 
Manimator.
posted by BiggerJ at 9:49 PM on September 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


This will just make people say that the fact that it can be modeled shows it could have been faked. Who fucking cares what these idiots think anyways...
posted by wuwei at 9:56 PM on September 22, 2014 [11 favorites]


The video is really more about the neediness of figuring out the complete lighting model than it is about the conspiracy nuts.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:07 PM on September 22, 2014 [9 favorites]


Or perhaps the people faking the moon landing were using advanced computer technology that they stole from aliens!
posted by el io at 10:15 PM on September 22, 2014 [6 favorites]


Next up, fully rendered 3D bear gives definitive answer to age-old question about exactly where it defecates.
posted by blueberry at 10:16 PM on September 22, 2014 [22 favorites]


Conspiracy nuts will be finding another hobby now...
posted by jellobeans at 10:24 PM on September 22, 2014


That's not fair, they're using science.
posted by mygoditsbob at 10:27 PM on September 22, 2014 [6 favorites]


What part of lunar regolith is more reflective than grass,dirt, and water don't these lunatics (see what I did there?) understand?
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 10:30 PM on September 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


I like how they discovered that they had to account for the other astronauts serving as reflective light sources. It's not proof, but it feels like how real research/modeling/programming works: There's always some important factor that you didn't even consider when you first thought about the problem. You only find it after you realize your initial results are utterly wrong.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:34 PM on September 22, 2014 [12 favorites]


This is great and I appreciate the dedication to debunkery, but ultimately it's like trying to argue with creationists.

Unreasonable people are unreasonable.
posted by SpecialSpaghettiBowl at 10:37 PM on September 22, 2014 [9 favorites]


Next up, fully rendered 3D bear finds them here, finds them there. He can find them anywhere. even the moon
posted by phooky at 10:59 PM on September 22, 2014 [6 favorites]


Hmm.. it wasn't obvious that Armstrong's white suit was a reflector? Maybe it's just obvious to me since I used to do studio photography and used white reflectors, and I was careful to wear clothes with an appropriate brightness so my body didn't reflect too much light. Some photographers go nuts about this. I knew one photographer who had a very large studio with massive diffused lighting and a turntable to photograph cars. The entire studio was painted 18% gray. The floors and ceilings were gray. His kitchen was right off the main studio, his countertops and his refrigerator were gray. Even his cat was 18% gray.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:03 PM on September 22, 2014 [43 favorites]


Regarding the people calling fake here, and the 9/11 Truthers and the anti-vaxxers ....you can't reason someone out of a position that they didn't reason themselves into.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 11:21 PM on September 22, 2014 [12 favorites]


I really like this explanation of how it was not possible to fake the moon landing with 1969 video/film technology (which was also posted to MetaFilter), and it sort of blows my mind that nowadays with just stuff I can buy from NewEgg I could probably make a reasonable fake moon landing while screwing around on a Saturday.
posted by Copronymus at 11:23 PM on September 22, 2014 [7 favorites]


I love the argument that NASA omitted stars from the moon photos because astronomers "could totally tell, man." It presumes both that any astronomer could easily determine the stars' correct positions, and that NASA(!!!) could not determine them.

Also I think they underestimate how far away stars are.
posted by a dangerous ruin at 11:27 PM on September 22, 2014 [4 favorites]


But Tron was real, right? RIGHT??
posted by analogue at 11:30 PM on September 22, 2014 [4 favorites]


end of line
posted by GallonOfAlan at 11:31 PM on September 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Moon Blue!
posted by jontyjago at 11:33 PM on September 22, 2014


The real conspiracy theory; claiming that global illumination with reflection can be done in realtime with a raster renderer.
posted by Yowser at 11:37 PM on September 22, 2014 [10 favorites]


This was so boring to me that if I believed in the conspiracy theory I would just concede so that I wouldn't have to listen anymore.
posted by azarbayejani at 11:56 PM on September 22, 2014 [6 favorites]


Explore the truth behind the iconic Buzz Aldrin moon landing photo. See how modern graphics innovations can shed new light on a 35-year-old conspiracy theory.

It's nice that conspiracy theorists gave NASA a 10 year grace period before they started claiming the landings were faked.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 12:10 AM on September 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


Also I think they underestimate how far away stars are.

I remember learning constellations when I was a thousand miles from home then coming home for Christmas and finding that the stars were the same. Exactly the same. It's one thing to know that anything on a human scale is utterly insignificant in size on a cosmic scale, but it's another thing to see it and feel it viscerally.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:17 AM on September 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


Was Mark Daly's hairpiece rendered in real time using Maxwell?
posted by hippybear at 12:44 AM on September 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


When the earth is 2 AU away from where it is now, in six months, something in the sky one parsec away will have its position shifted by one second of angle, due to parallax. Parallax second = parsec. The nearest star is about a parsec and a half away. A "standard" lens has a 40 degree field of view, which is 144000 seconds of view. From summer to winter, the closest in stars will move less than 1/144000 of the way across the picture.

Oh yeah, and the moon is not 2AU from earth, it's about 1/1000 that distance.

So that's just stupid.
posted by aubilenon at 12:47 AM on September 23, 2014 [8 favorites]


Can't tell if Yowser is being sarcastic or not :)

(You can see i nthe video that the global illumination is being done via a lower-res voxel approach in some of the work-in-progress shots, so it's not raster anyway...)
posted by pharm at 12:53 AM on September 23, 2014


Well, obviously the NASA got to the folks at NVIDIA.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 2:16 AM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


An extraordinary point about Kennedy's speech in 1962, the thing most people don't notice, is the subtlety of what he promised.

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard,

Again... We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things

the other things

the other things

the other things

Which is why robots are taking over our lives right now.

At least the Roomba.

Damn, that thing is good at vacuuming.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:20 AM on September 23, 2014 [9 favorites]


Who fucking cares what these idiots think anyways...
posted by wuwei at 5:56 AM on September 23


This. People waste far too much time trying to reason with loonies. They can't be reasoned with. They need their whacked-out beliefs the way any "true believer" needs to believe. They operate with the same mindset as creationists. It doesn't matter how carefully you debunk their nonsense, they are going to go right on believing it. Because they're nuts.
posted by Decani at 3:19 AM on September 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't agree. I've gotten into the details with moon landing hoax believers and have convinced a couple. I question whether those of you who say it's impossible have actually gone through many of the points with someone. Unlike the Illuminati, or whatever, the moon landing is fairly self-contained so it can be discussed without tangling into a lot of other arguments.
posted by michaelh at 3:27 AM on September 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard

A friend of mine pointed out that this opening line of this speech is a perfect illustration of what a great orator Kennedy was. It's a preposterous line - meaningless, bizarre, and frankly quite laughable. But in Kennedy's voice it comes across as profound, statesmanlike and pioneering. It's quite an achievement.
posted by iotic at 3:44 AM on September 23, 2014


I think it is definitely worth it to spend the time debunking stuff like this, even if it won't convince the crackpots themselves. I remember being about 12 or so and learning about the moon-landing conspiracy. I had never hear of it before and thought, "hey, maybe I dunno." But then thanks to the availability of stuff like this I was able to see that the conspiracy debunkers had a much more compelling argument and it was obvious that the crackpots were crackpots.

Same thing when I started following politics in high school or first learned about climate change or any number of issues. No one immediately around me was telling me what to think, but I could see what both sides had to say on my own and it was really obvious who was based in reality. Maybe this video is convincing some angsty teen who likes the idea of a conspiracy and doesn't know better yet.
posted by pugg at 4:06 AM on September 23, 2014 [7 favorites]


Regarding the people calling fake here, and the 9/11 Truthers and the anti-vaxxers ....you can't reason someone out of a position that they didn't reason themselves into.

Well, some of them did reason themselves into it, and demonstrating what's defective with that reasoning is probably a useful effort.
posted by thelonius at 4:26 AM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I can't wait until this technology gets into Kerbal Space Program. The explosions will be spectacular!

As to the main issue, if the goddamn Soviet Union, the losers in this particular Space Race who would have loved to have exposed Western lies, can be bothered put the Apollo 11 landing on the first page of their State run media, then no two bit Moon truther deserves much respect.

However, the fascinating thing about the Moon truthers is how they Earth concepts to the Moon. They can't quite grasp that the Moon is completely different world, so "reality" isn't quite same on its surface. For instance, check out these last few seconds of the Apollo 14 landing*. Note how the dust that's kicked up, just streaks horizontally across the surface and once the Lunar Module has landed, it just drops to the surface. It doesn't billow around or linger in the air, because there is none! Details like that are different that what'd they'd be here and I think some people just can't accept that, on some level. It goes again everything they've known, living here on Earth.

But the lack of atmosphere was a constant problem for the astronauts. They couldn't gauge distance due to the lack of air, so nothing appeared further away in comparison to other objects. Their frame of reference was all messed up. As Apollo 16 commander John Young said, (paraphrasing) "There's no telephone poles on the Moon, so you don't know how big anything really is."

It'll be really interesting to see how truther type personalities react to people landing on Mars.

* The Apollo 11 landing was bit dark in those final seconds, as was Apollo 12, though it's clearer than 11. Apollo 13 had other issues, hence linking to the Apollo 14 landing. Which is probably proof to conspiracy to some people.

In fact, there is strain of the Moon Truthers which believe that Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 were faked, in order to make the end of the decade timeline and that Apollo 14 was the actual first landing. Bullshit comes in many colors.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:41 AM on September 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


A friend of mine pointed out that this opening line of this speech is a perfect illustration of what a great orator Kennedy was. It's a preposterous line - meaningless, bizarre, and frankly quite laughable.

Your friend doesn't know what they're talking about. "Opening line"? Read or listen to the speech- the line is basically in the middle. Side note- the "other things" are:
Rice playing Texas, climbing the highest mountain, and Lindbergh's Transatlantic flight.
posted by zamboni at 4:51 AM on September 23, 2014 [15 favorites]


The real conspiracy is that they weren't actually targeting lunar-landing-conspiracy theorists. They got you to watch their commercial. Mission accomplished.
posted by rikschell at 4:58 AM on September 23, 2014 [10 favorites]


An interesting thing: the Soviets quite often did things in lockstep with the US. Their fighter planes matched and frequently leapfrogged ours. Their lift vehicles matched and sometimes exceeded ours. They sent probes to Venus; we sent them to Mars. We built thousands of missiles of death; so did they. They even copied the Space Shuttle, and some would argue improved it. They could make rock solid technology. The Soyuz remains in use even today, for pete's sake. But, despite the US sending men to the moon again and again and again, the Soviets only ever sent robot probes. This is eye-brow raising, at the very least.
posted by jabah at 4:58 AM on September 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


Jabah, it's not like they didn't try. It just goes to show how phenomenally expensive it was to send people to the moon. Once the Soviets lost the race, there was not enough benefit to coming in second place, so they cancelled the whole program.

I was born in 1972 and was nuts about the shuttle as a kid. I always wondered why we stopped going to the moon. Surely the hard part, the expensive part, was figuring out HOW to do it. Then we could just go with off-the-shelf parts, right? No, every piece of Apollo was handmade. There were a few leftover parts as backup, but it's not like they started factory producing stuff. An amazing story.
posted by rikschell at 5:07 AM on September 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


They should just have bought a few acres of land and a few thousand tons of lunar regolith simulant, and done this properly.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 5:12 AM on September 23, 2014


Dave the Moon Man
posted by Flashman at 5:38 AM on September 23, 2014


But, despite the US sending men to the moon again and again and again, the Soviets only ever sent robot probes. This is eye-brow raising, at the very least.

I'm not sure "only" is entirely apropos there—yeah, the overall cost of a robotic lunar program is less than the cost of a manned lunar program, but that doesn't mean it isn't an impressive feat of engineering. The U.S. didn't do it until the 1990s, for Mars.

The Soviet lunar program also involved automated sample return all the way from the Moon; if I'm understanding the history correctly the U.S., as far as unmanned sample return goes, had only done things like recover film from spy satellites in Earth orbit before the 1990s.

On the general topic of Soviet advances there's an interesting story in a British documentary film The Engines That Came In From The Cold.
posted by XMLicious at 5:43 AM on September 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


next up: AMD refutes the hollow earth hypothesis by attaching a video card to a string to make a pendulum.
posted by ennui.bz at 5:45 AM on September 23, 2014 [9 favorites]


a dangerous ruin: "Also I think they underestimate how far away stars are."

Wait, he was trying to use parallax as an argument? That tells you all you need to know about conspiracy theorists.
posted by notsnot at 5:46 AM on September 23, 2014


Since the assertion of fakery is about belief and not evidence, I don't think nvidia has really done much here other than get lots of free advertising.
posted by clvrmnky at 5:50 AM on September 23, 2014


I'll just break out this link to my favorite analysis on the subject:

The Fake Moon Landings meme was a deliberate test to see how effective the Fox propaganda apparatus was. It had been a conspiracy meme for years, but no one took it seriously until the prime time Fox special of February, 2001 aired. The reason the moon program makes for a good test subject is because it was literally one of if not the best documented event in human history. 400,000 people participated. It was written about by every newspaper on the planet. Every stage of all of the flights were filmed with the best cameras available. it was in Life magazine, fer chrissake. If the Powers That Be at Fox could convince a significant percentage of people that the best documented events in human history never happened, then they could lie freely about anything and expect it to be believed.
posted by Mayor West at 5:56 AM on September 23, 2014 [23 favorites]


Maybe next they can take a look at Obama's "birth certificate". Or perhaps they have already been ordered not to…
posted by TedW at 6:07 AM on September 23, 2014


I want us to go back. I know it's expensive and pointless but it would maybe draw people back to believing in science and space in a way that the space station and robots just aren't managing to do.

It's amazing and awesome that we have robots on Mars and probes at the end of our universe but it's as if nobody remembers or it isn't as impactful.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 6:11 AM on September 23, 2014


What part of lunar regolith is more reflective than grass,dirt, and water don't these lunatics (see what I did there?) understand?

Actually, lunar regolith has a reflectivity similar to charcoal briquettes (takes a lot of sunlight, which there is certainly, to make it shine so pretty at night) which is why it only takes one dude in a moon suit to make such a difference in the lighting.
posted by sexyrobot at 6:29 AM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Really, the doubters should just ask The Lonely Astronaut. After all, he is the foremost expert on lunar exploration.
posted by tocts at 6:39 AM on September 23, 2014


I think it's funny that in the process of disproving the moon landing as a hoax you show that you're less and less able to trust any image that isn't created directly by your visual cortex. The side-by-side is pretty damn close.
posted by codacorolla at 6:54 AM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


This not only proves the moon landings actually happened, it also proves Crysis 3 actually happened.
posted by jfuller at 6:56 AM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Even his cat was 18% gray.

LOST CAT
18% GRAY
ANSWERS TO NIKON
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:59 AM on September 23, 2014 [12 favorites]


I like how they discovered that they had to account for the other astronauts serving as reflective light sources. It's not proof, but it feels like how real research/modeling/programming works: There's always some important factor that you didn't even consider when you first thought about the problem. You only find it after you realize your initial results are utterly wrong.

Changing the experiment until the results fit the expected outcome is bad science. Here, they got a dark result, looked for other possible light sources, found one, and then got a match. Did they look for more light sources after that? Ones that may have over-brightened the image and again made the result inconsistent? I'm guessing no.

Anyway the notion that their hardware made this possible is bollocks. We've been rendering scenes with far more accurate lighting models for decades now. Doing it in realtime doesn't add anything to the outcome.
posted by CaseyB at 7:17 AM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


But, despite the US sending men to the moon again and again and again, the Soviets only ever sent robot probes. This is eye-brow raising, at the very least.

As others have noted, that wasn't any sort of real decision not to send men. They just couldn't get the N1 launcher to not explode.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:21 AM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


They couldn't gauge distance due to the lack of air, so nothing appeared further away in comparison to other objects.

This is pretty weirdly phrased. I guess you mean there was nothing in the non-atmosphere that occludes objects, like fog or dust? Making it difficult to tell whether you are looking at a nearby bump on the ground or a distant mountain? Because otherwise, this is not how perspective works.
posted by rustcrumb at 7:28 AM on September 23, 2014


Global Blue-mination!
posted by sneebler at 7:56 AM on September 23, 2014


This conspiracy theory is in the news a lot - but I have NEVER actually met anyone who believes the conspiracy.

I have met people who believe JFK conspiracies, and people who believe 911 conspiracies - but where exactly are the Moon Landing conspiracy people.

I have not met any.
This conspiracy seems to be more hype than anything else.
posted by Flood at 8:06 AM on September 23, 2014


That tells you all you need to know about conspiracy theorists.

Also, the closest thing the moon conspiracists have to a celebrity endorsement is Adam Curry. That's pretty downmarket. Shit, even the birthers had Victoria Jackson and Donald Trump.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:12 AM on September 23, 2014


I have not met any.

Buzz Aldrin has. Although a lot of that hoax stuff probably stemmed from the marketing of a cheesy 1970's movie; the tag line was "Would you be shocked to find out that the greatest moment of our recent history may not have happened at all?"
posted by TedW at 8:14 AM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's a preposterous line - meaningless, bizarre, and frankly quite laughable.

I can't imagine what you think is bizarre and laughable about the idea that difficult things are often worth doing because they are difficult.
posted by straight at 8:15 AM on September 23, 2014


I can't imagine what you think is bizarre and laughable about the idea that difficult things are often worth doing because they are difficult.

Is everything difficult worth doing? Memorizing pi to a million digits is difficult, but, it seems to me, a pointless waste of time. If there are difficult things that are not worth doing, then, it seems, the ones that are worth doing need some further justification.
posted by thelonius at 8:26 AM on September 23, 2014


But Kennedy wasn't saying it was worth doing because it was difficult, just that it was chosen because it was difficult. There's no indication of value there, just level of challenge. If you want to test the limits of what you can achieve, you'll probably learn more attempting a moon landing rather than attempting a ham sandwich.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 8:41 AM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


No, every piece of Apollo was handmade.

I don't think this is the lesson to take away from Apollo. A small team could build a Mercury capsule with a Redstone or Atlas booster. But not Apollo. This was the largest engineering effort in history, I don't think there has ever been such a large scale project since that time.

I recall reading one book that declared the greatest innovation of the Apollo program was the development of Systems Analysis. This is essentially the endgame for the concept of interchangeable parts. There were millions of components and procedures to integrate them into the system, and they all had to work the first time, and every time. Components are easy to build, but making them to precise specs so they would work with other systems that were still being built, that is a bit trickier. Spec changes had a cascade effect through the system, one minor change could affect every connected system. Specialists had to invent a new science of Systems Analysis, just to determine proper methods to determine specs. And new engineering principles were developed to support it, for example, the concept of triple redundancy. The analysts saw the probabilities for failure and had to plan how to handle failures. Their plan was that every mission-critical system would have two backups, if the primary and secondary system failed, the tertiary could complete the mission (or more likely, a safe mission abort). Of course there were notorious disasters where engineers did not identify single points of failure that could be catastrophic.

But the ultimate benefit of Systems Analysis was mass production of the Integrated Circuit. This was the core component of the single most important Apollo system. It would have been impossible to build custom computer guidance circuitry, so NASA spent big bucks on developing ICs. And that was the origin of the microprocessor industry as we know it today (including Nvidia GPUs). Systems Analysis also applied to programming, since code modules had to integrate with other code written by other people, so systematic methodologies for large scale program development were created.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:47 AM on September 23, 2014 [9 favorites]


I can't imagine what you think is bizarre and laughable about the idea that difficult things are often worth doing because they are difficult.

Is everything difficult worth doing?


That doesn't follow. I'm open to the idea that Kennedy's statement isn't fully developed as a rationale for what America should do, but dismissing the idea that some set of difficult things is worth doing because not all difficult things are worth doing is not a persuasive argument.

In any case, the 'because they are difficult' statement doesn't exist in isolation, and its meaning is clearer in context. I would encourage everyone to read (or listen to) the whole speech. But, very broadly, it articulates a view of history in which great successes follow great challenges; in which hardship is the crucible in which nations are forged. And so, looking forward, Kennedy argues against the idea of complacency: he articulates a view of an America always striving, of a world on a constant ascent.
[T]he opening vistas of space promise high costs and hardships, as well as high reward. So it is not surprising that some would have us stay where we are a little longer to rest, to wait. But...this country of the United States was not built by those who waited and rested and wished to look behind them. This country was conquered by those who moved forward--and so will space. William Bradford, speaking in 1630 of the founding of the Plymouth Bay Colony, said that all great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage.

Yet the vows of this Nation can only be fulfilled if we in this Nation are first, and, therefore, we intend to be first. In short, our leadership in science and in industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves as well as others, all require us to make this effort, to solve these mysteries, to solve them for the good of all men, and to become the world's leading space-faring nation.

We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people. For space science, like nuclear science and all technology, has no conscience of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man, and only if the United States occupies a position of pre-eminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theater of war. I do not say the we should or will go unprotected against the hostile misuse of space any more than we go unprotected against the hostile use of land or sea, but I do say that space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war, without repeating the mistakes that man has made in extending his writ around this globe of ours.

There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic?...

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too...[S]pace is there, and we're going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there.
posted by cjelli at 8:50 AM on September 23, 2014 [6 favorites]


Anyway the notion that their hardware made this possible is bollocks. We've been rendering scenes with far more accurate lighting models for decades now. Doing it in realtime doesn't add anything to the outcome.

Unless you play video games, in which case making things look realistic like this in real time is a really big deal. I remember years ago back when I had the free time to play a lot more games and get excited for new demos and trailers. We'd see some video of a game looking really cool and get excited for a game only to be disappointed when I find out that the whole thing was pre-rendered.

Sometimes you got that feeling while playing the game and you saw the (for the time) gorgeous pre-rendered cut-scenes in Final Fantasy VII, compared to the real-time graphics of the fights, and the rather clunky graphics when the characters were running around the world.

Subsequent games on improved hardware were at least able to get the game world graphics to get close to the battle-mode graphics and at least have the characters look a LOT closer to what they look like in the pre-rendered scenes.
posted by VTX at 9:01 AM on September 23, 2014


> Apparently, painting a 18% of a cat is difficult, but worth doing.

At night all cats are 18% grey.
posted by jfuller at 9:26 AM on September 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


Changing the experiment until the results fit the expected outcome is bad science

With all kinds of real science, refining the experiment is a necessary part of the process. This is kind of like: you try an experiment, then you try it in a vacuum, then you try it in a vacuum with more sensitive equipment, then oops this time you make sure you clean all the solvent off the window of the vacuum chamber first and try again, and now you have a setup where you can reliably reproduce something that your theory predicts. You certainly get bonus points for explaining why the changes you had to make were necessary, but even if you can't, you've shown a result that needs an explanation, and until someone comes along with a better explanation, yours will have to do.

That said, I don't really consider what nVidia were doing to be science. But I do think they convincingly demonstrate "that picture of people on the moon could have been taken on the moon"
posted by aubilenon at 11:03 AM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've never tried to memorize pi past a few dozen digits, but I have done some research on how people go about memorizing much longer strings of digits. Memory systems are surprisingly interesting and not at all a waste of time to study.

Well then, a better example might be "Murdering all other humans using no tools except a single Stretch Armstrong toy would be difficult, but that doesn't necessarily make it worthwhile."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:12 AM on September 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


An interesting marketing/viral angle to sell video cards.
posted by juiceCake at 12:53 PM on September 23, 2014


"This is essentially the endgame for the concept of interchangeable parts."

I was so hoping that would be a link to one of the games in the Civilization series. Boo that you link to wikipedia instead.
posted by etherist at 1:51 PM on September 23, 2014


Getting to the moon was the real GEFORCE EXPERIENCE! [New updates available]
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:06 PM on September 23, 2014


While it's cool that they can recreate the moon landing photos with this technology, it's not a "proof" of anything, especially since the technology is based on doing shortcuts to get it fast enough for realtime. Not to mention that they put the cart before the horse - they used the moon landing photos as a reference for how they wanted the final result to look, which would introduce a ton of subjectivity in the process.

A slightly better proof would be to use a more "real" rendering technique like ray tracing and ideally use 3D models provided by a different party so you get a more objective result.

(But if you want proof, you can just grab a very very strong laser and point it at the retroreflectors on the moon and confirm you get laser light back)
posted by ymgve at 4:38 PM on September 23, 2014


Changing the experiment until the results fit the expected outcome is bad science.

This isn't science. This is Using a Visual Aid To Explain Basic Concepts in Optics To Ignorant People. There's no doubt the photo was taken on the moon and you don't need an NVIDIA card to figure out why the astronaut would have been illuminated even though the capsule shadowed him from the direct sunlight.

In other contexts you wouldn't need to have it explained. The whole reason NVIDIA made this card is that older cards trying to render a scene like this give you something that looks fake because our eyes notice that the ambient light is wrong, even if we can't explain in words why.
posted by straight at 7:06 PM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


The thing that really catches my attention is the almost unbelievable notion that Maxwell is running in real time.
posted by bz at 12:55 AM on September 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


The stated goal at the beginning of the video is that they can recreate the photo with the single light source of the sun. So I agree that it is a mess to then manually create light sources to simulate the proper reflections. From a skeptics point of view: If you are adding point light sources, couldn't the fakers have done the same?
posted by smackfu at 2:11 PM on September 26, 2014


So I agree that it is a mess to then manually create light sources to simulate the proper reflections

Pretty much their whole point is to model the scene with the one light source - they didn't manually add a light source - they just added a reflective but non-emitting Neil Armstrong to the scene (outside the frame) and let their lighting model sort it out.

They do say "Neil Armstrong is a light source" but that's describing the real world, not their model. With a global illumination model, everything is a light source. (Exception: Spin̈al Tap's twelfth album, Smell The Glove)
posted by aubilenon at 2:46 PM on September 26, 2014


Ah, I guess I was confused because he says, "the next step is basically adding additional point lights to simulate light bounced off of surfaces, and that just has to be placed by a human." But I guess those are just being shown to demonstrate they don't work.
posted by smackfu at 11:24 AM on September 28, 2014


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