# Maths and physics visualizationsJanuary 9, 2016 5:42 PM   Subscribe

Illustrations, diagrams, and animations, many of maths and physics concepts, created for Wikipedia by Lucas Vieira Barbosa.
posted by carter (13 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite

Bless you.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:57 PM on January 9, 2016 [4 favorites]

Fantastic stuff.

Years ago I was tech editing a CSS3 book and one of the units was radians. I'd never heard of these so rang my older brother, a mathematician, who proceeded to explain the concept at length. I ended up being more confused than before the call. The radian diagram on this page explains radians brilliantly.

Zen koan of the day: If a picture paints a thousand words, how many does words does an animated diagram paint?
posted by greenhornet at 7:03 PM on January 9, 2016

Zen koan of the day: If a picture paints a thousand words, how many does words does an animated diagram paint?

If space and time are similar properties, then extending a picture into the time dimension by making it animated essentially makes a three-dimensional picture cube that can be called "bigger" than a two-dimensional flat image. But all pictures paint a thousand words, whether tiny or huge, so bigness doesn't change that number. The answer would be "a thousand".

If space and time aren't similar properties, then there's something intrinsic about animating a diagram that's different from changing its physical size. Since the nature of that intrinsic time-iness isn't given, it could change the number of words, or not, or have some effect that can't be understood as a number of words. Thus the question is based on an illusionary assumption of meaning, and the answer would be "mu".

That'd be properly zen-like if I didn't have to use so many words, I think.
posted by traveler_ at 7:52 PM on January 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

Eleven words, it paints eleven words. Confusingly, one of which is "Transom".

But yes, a great find.
posted by fallingbadgers at 8:00 PM on January 9, 2016 [5 favorites]

And yet there are so many images that seed misunderstanding and distrust in the world. Perhaps it's is sometimes better to have only 999 words of essential information, or just thirty three.
posted by sammyo at 5:26 AM on January 10, 2016

Saw this GIF comparing heliocentrism with geocentrism this morning.
posted by blueberry at 5:41 AM on January 10, 2016 [3 favorites]

See also Matthew Henderson's blog.
posted by James Scott-Brown at 6:22 AM on January 10, 2016 [6 favorites]

Holy mackerel that Henderson's blog! I'm having Spirographic Orgasms.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:08 AM on January 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

This is the coolest thing ever. Yay math!
posted by LizBoBiz at 7:19 AM on January 11, 2016

But all pictures paint a thousand words, whether tiny or huge, so bigness doesn't change that number. The answer would be "a thousand".

Yes, size doesn't matter, but number of dimensions does, I maintain. If you think of "pictures" as two-dimensional, animating them actually can add two new dimensions by representing three dimensions fully through rotation and representing time by evolving the display through it. So that means the information is squared from that in a picture, so the right answer should be that an animated graphic is worth a million words. If my assumptions are correct. Which they are. I think.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:48 PM on January 11, 2016

DAMMIT SAMMYO YOU'RE OFF BY ONE
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 10:40 AM on January 12, 2016

the right answer should be that an animated graphic is worth a million words

Isn't animated graphic a series of pictures? So that would mean the number of words would be 1000xnumber of frames, if discreet, and 1000xinfinity if continuous.
posted by LizBoBiz at 4:19 PM on January 13, 2016

Re: the dimension and size argument: look into measure theory (and for LizBoBiz' comment, atomic versus continuous measures). I regret that I do not have time to find a good link before the weekend.
posted by eviemath at 4:56 AM on January 14, 2016

« Older what's in this sausage, anyway?   |   The operation's greatest success was the... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments