Archive for July, 2011
One more for today (best seen in HD on Vimeo)…
Another image of triangles in 3d space following Brownian motion, this time zoomed way in.
Triangles drawn in 3d space using Brownian motion, created for a poster project using Processing.
Early computer animation (1979/80) titled “Vol Libre” by Loren Carpenter. Note the Utah Teapot in the beginning.
Rhett Allain at Wired has a great (and detailed) article about the real cost of data transfer per GB. He has created two ficticious users, Joe and Zelda; the former a “typical” user and the latter a “power” user. The above image is one of many graphs showing the costs per GB of various data plans.
By far my favorite, however, is looking at FedEx as a possible means of data transfer. Allain spells it out better than my summary could:
What if I wanted to transfer 2 TB of data (2048 GB) by shipping a 2 TB hard drive. What kind of data rate would this cost (per month)? Just to be crazy. First, I would have to buy a drive. Amazon has a 2 TB for $80 (shipping weight of 2 pounds). So, I would get this drive and I would transfer my data. How long would this take? If I can get a data transfer rate of 500 MBps, that would be around 1 hour. I think that is crazy (but what do I know?). Let me say it takes 5 hours to get my data on the drive.
Next, I need to ship it. Suppose I want to send it from New York to L.A. FedEX lists a 2 pound package delivered overnight as $103.69. It says delivery by 8:00 AM (I guess that is Pacific Time). Also, not sure about when I can drop it off. Let me just say that the total transit (from door to door) is about 12 hours.
What is the price per GB? Simple, 2048 GB divided by the cost of $183.69 gives $11 per GB $0.09 per GB (thanks @perry!). What kind of data speed would this be? Looks like about 48 MBps.
Stephen Von Worley of the Data Pointed blog has found the spot in the US that is furthest from any McDonalds. Located in Nevada, it is about 115 miles from the nearest golden arches.
Above: the informational capacity of the human eye at different light intesensities
In the often mentioned here book The Information by James Gleick, there is a passing reference to cyberneticists studying the “information capacity” of different human sense organs such as the ear or eye. Lead by Homer Jacobson of Brooklyn College/Hunter College in the 1950s, scientists considered how the senses might be like other information channels such as telephone lines. If electronic communication methods could be quantitatively measured for capacity, couldn’t the same be done for the inputs to our brains (also essentially electric devices)?
In a series of articles, Jacobson and others outline tests done in their labs to attempt to measure the human ear, eye, and later the human fingertip. The articles are surprisingly readable and, while there is math involved, it seems to be more logical thinking than “hard” mathematics. Their methodology is essentially to measure “calculation of total numbers of yes-no decision, i.e., the standard informational units of ‘bits’ (binary digits)”1 with the material measured depending on the sense (black and white patterns for the eye).
The maximum informational capacity, in a nutshell:
4.3 x 10^6 bits/second
Kenneth J Kokjer
1. The Informational Capacity of the Human Eye. Homer Jacobson. Science, Vol 113, pg 292. 1951
From James Gleick’s The Information (page 258):
“Food pellets, bells, electric shocks; salivation, lever pressing, maze running” – an amazing list, would be a great exhibition title.
Attempting to sort by height… ended up with this instead.