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way cool science thing 
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Centennial Attendee
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Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 6:11 pm
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Post way cool science thing
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/ ... d-mystery/

This looks like something that should have been able to be explained centuries ago - yet apparently it is still a mystery?


Sat Oct 31, 2009 3:48 pm
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Heinlein Nexus
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Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 8:10 am
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Post Re: way cool science thing
That is just... weird. I wonder whether anyone tried this experiment centuries ago, though. I mean, how do people come up with ideas like taking timelapse movies of rotating panels filled with beads of two different sizes and colors? Doesn't sound like the sort of thing you'd come up with over a few beers. Maybe it's only just been observed?


Sat Oct 31, 2009 4:09 pm
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Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 12:33 pm
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Post Re: way cool science thing
I think it depends on which beer you are drinking!

I loved that when they put in steps it affected the patterns! Its a bit like my sock drawer after a week or so!


Sun Nov 01, 2009 7:58 am
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Heinlein Biographer

Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 1:33 pm
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Post Re: way cool science thing
PeterScott wrote:
That is just... weird. I wonder whether anyone tried this experiment centuries ago, though. I mean, how do people come up with ideas like taking timelapse movies of rotating panels filled with beads of two different sizes and colors? Doesn't sound like the sort of thing you'd come up with over a few beers. Maybe it's only just been observed?

This is a pleasing but absolutely typical experimental result for complexity theory -- discovery of phase boundaries dependent on interaction rate. The reason it wasn't dealt with centuries ago is actually relatively mundane: the required math for nonlinear dynamics is fiercely complicated. Nonlinear dynamics really didn't take off until the advent of the the desktop micro in the 1970's put a lot of computing power into the hands of mathematicians and they could work on these conventionally and historically intractable problems. (When computing time on your university's mainframe is expensive and in high demand, you tend to restrict your work to stuff you know will produce publishable results).


Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:37 am
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