Things 8: Rainbow Paradox, Angry God, Messiest Desk

(Originally sent January 2008)

This week’s film – one line review:
I saw an interview with Tim Burton in which he said he was much more concerned with creating a resonant memorable image in the viewer’s mind than telling a story, and watching Sweeney Todd this was very clear.

Next week’s film:
I’m going to see No Country For Old Men at some point next week. But I already went on about that last week.

A Puzzle:
The Rainbow Paradox

Soundwaves can vary in frequency across a vast range, part of which we can hear. The lowest part we perceive as a deep bass, the highest as a high squeak.

Similarly, the electromagnetic spectrum consists of a vast range of frequencies, a small range of which we are able to see. The lowest frequency we can see is what we call red, and the highest frequency is what we call violet.

However, while we perceive the ends of the audible sound spectrum to be very different, the ends of the visible light spectrum, red and violet, seem very close to one another, and we even have a colour we call purple that is a mix of the two yet does not actually appear anywhere in the spectrum between them. In fact, we can draw a circle of the colours we perceive and it is not at all clear where the ‘ends’ are.

Why is this?

A Quote:
From one of my lecturers at Imperial:
Ray Rivers: Path Intergral theory is like a bicycle – it’s not something you prove the existence of, it’s just something you ride.

A Link:
One of my favourite pieces of satirical writing: a report on a press conference shortly after September 11th, 2001, titled “Got angrily clarifies ‘don’t kill’ rule”:

A video:

These days, amazingly, The Onion has shifted from newspaper style satire to full video versions. The production quality is incredible:

Poll: Bullshit Is Most Important Issue For 2008 Voters

A picture:
The winner of the ‘messiest desk’ competition run by old-school geek hang-out