July 27, 2009

so how do you correctly boil an IGM?

spent the weekend on the jersey shore playing ultimate. had a great time at the tournament, very laid back, great weather, close to the ocean. not much more you could ask for, except a shorter drive maybe. although the drive was great, highlighted with us throwing a donut into another car at ~65mph. on our drive home (which takes ~7hours or so + stops) i remembered a whole section from the 'scientific visualization' class i took at chicago.

an ancient proverb or something asks the question "what is the correct way to boil a frog," knowing that if you put the frog into already boiling water, it would just jump out. barring clever usage of a lid or something, you want to put the frog into luke warm water, and then proceed to boil the water. the thinking is that the rate of change of the water's temperature is low enough that the frog doesn't notice that it's in a pot of boiling water. presto!

that assertion is the basis of this IGM. it had to do with rate of change thresholds of our senses at which they register as a noticeable change. this thought process was triggered by driving from the mid-afternoon, through dusk and into night. anyone else that has done that also probably experiences this phenomena when it 'feels' like it's still pretty light outside and then it's quickly night time and you wonder how the hell that happened.

a quick googling has failed to give me the actual numbers, but i remember some hand-waved number that our mind doesn't really register a change in light brightness that are < 10% over some period of time. your eyes detect the change, that's not the problem, but your mind doesn't go 'oh man where the hell did all the brightness go!' what that happens. instead that happens when you finally ~reset your mental light brightness gauge and then look back at the sky.

anyone know of any other similar sensory/non-sensory rate of change threshold type of scenarios? the other one that i recalled was in the IGM laden movie Sneakers. the motion detector ignored anything that moved slower than like 2in/s or something ridiculous like that. temperature is also an obvious one, if anyone has taken a bath and the water suddenly becomes really cold, not noticing that it has been cooling off the whole time.

a possible opposite is "what things have slow enough sampling rates that you can sneak in a whole bunch of change and not fire quickly enough to save you?" i'm thinking about someone that stuffs themselves really quickly with food before their belly hits the stretch/fullness threshold and tells them that they should stop eating.

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