I’ve been in a state of anticipation over the state of Georgia. I wondered if I might possibly wake up to a Democratic Senate this morning. As of last night, the Blues were trailing slightly behind. This morning I find they’ve called for Raphael Warnock (“Ding Dong, the witch is dead”), and it’s looking good for Jon Ossoff.
Today is also the day Congress meets, presided over by the VP, to officially count the electoral votes. It’s the last hurdle in an election badly polluted by bald lies and Constitutional sedition. The corruption and filth of the GOP is far beyond the pale.
Hell of a Wednesday. We could probably use a distraction…
As with many people, optical illusions fascinate me. There is there sheer visual appeal — surprise and delight, almost like a joke, are a part of it. That our eyes can be tricked in so many ways is also part of the draw, I think.
Optical illusions also provide insight into how our brains process inputs from our nervous systems and create and present a coherent visual world to us. That we do have a generally accurate and (more importantly) useful map of our environment is an amazing feat of information processing.
Which is a whole other topic; today it’s more about the wow:
This Ames window (or trapezoid) illusion really impresses me. Even knowing exactly what’s really going on, the brain (at least my brain) still insists the window is only oscillating back and forth. Which makes the attached objects do really weird things!
I love that he built a life-sized version of the window!
(There is also some interesting stuff about Ames rooms. I hadn’t realized there are an infinite number of slices that look the same. The video is well worth watching.)
That I used a Veritasium video in the previous Wednesday Wow post is a testament to (at the least) how much I like the channel and (I would argue) how good the channel is. A number of his older videos are in my Favorites playlist.
As a bonus, here’s a (fairly esoteric) video of his:
The video’s description starts off, “The logistic map connects fluid convection, neuron firing, the Mandelbrot set and so much more.” As a big fan of the Mandelbrot, I think this is so cool.
I’ve had a note about doing a post on rx–rx2 (the logistic map) on my board for a while. As the video indicates, it’s one of those bits of math that [A] shows up in myriad places and [B] fuels the “eerie effectiveness of math” fire.
As I write this Congress started the electoral vote counting process, and almost immediately stalled when the unamerican from Arizona objected. Fucking republican bullshit stinks so bad. Unbelievable to me that human minds can sink so low.
I can only hope, with a Democratic House, Senate, and Presidency, that there is some serious accountability for what amounts to sedition against our most sacred political process.
And think of it. A president so bad he loses the House (in two years) and the Senate and Presidency, all in a mere four years. Truly he is a loser, and it’s amazing people follow him at all. Talk about betting on a sick horse.
Groupthink blindness sure is powerful in some.
So here’s another distraction from the Astrum YouTube channel, which does some very attractive videos about space. Here’s one he did about the planet Uranus:
Which, as the video makes clear, is a bit of an oddball as planets go.
He also recently released a nice one about Saturn:
I miss Cassini, but it was a great space mission!
The Veritasium video makes an important point about simple rules resulting in complex behaviors (the Mandelbrot being a beautiful example).
Stephen Wolfram recently did a talk for the Royal Institute that doubly wowed me:
The first part (about 30 minutes or so) was, I thought, an excellent look at the nature of computation and how simple rules lead to complex outcomes.
Then he gets into his ideas about the nature of reality, and that wowed me in a different way. Suffice to say I’m not at all on board, although certain aspects of the idea might have turn out to have some value.
That aside, Wolfram has made great contributions to mathematics with his software, and you’ll see the power of some of that in the first part of the video. His software alone made me go Wow!
So now these assholes are storming the Capital egged on by Twitler. The parallels to pre-WWII Germany continue; one more example of how far this country has fallen. I’m too distracted by this fucked up bullshit to focus on writing.
I’ll say it again. Let’s just give, like, Alabama and Mississippi to these wastes of skin, let’s wall them in, and let them die in their own waste. The news anchors can’t believe they’re seeing this in the USA.
Yeah, no kidding.
But as my dear departed mom (God rest her soul) used to say, “This is where we are.” A country of uneducated self-centered morons.
More than ever:
Stay sane, my friends! Go forth and spread beauty and light.