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Having eyes to see…

[ by Charles Cameron — looking through the eyes of tech, math, art, flies, and intelligence ]

Imaging the winds and the waters

I’ve been raising questions about the varieties of ways of seeing here — asking whether guardian angels can be more than guys on night watch and if so what that “more” means, invoking William Blake’s fourfold vision [see move 4], and so forth. And I tend to emphasize the visionary over against the material.

I thought I’d do something different this time, and show you two views of the world that science brings us, that we couldn’t have seen half a century ago unless you were Theodore von Kármán (below, upper image)…

let alone a century ago, unless you were Vincent van Gogh (lower image).


In descending order, these four images are:

  • the winds over a portion of the Americas, as depicted by Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg a few days ago, see also their current live feed
  • a NASA image drawn from the Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio‘s Perpetual Ocean animation, hi-res Gulf Stream image
  • a diagram of a Kármán vortex street, from Arthur E. Bryson, Jr., Demetri P. Telionis, “Kármán vortex street,” in AccessScience, ©McGraw-Hill Companies, 2008
  • and Vincent van Gogh, Starry Night, in the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

The gentleman in the meditation goggles — he calls them “eye-bags” — featured in the “mini-SPECS” section of the Winds and Waters SPECS is my friend David Woolley, who alerted me to these simulations on his Just think of it blog today. David, btw, is the fellow who designed and wrote PLATO Notes, the first permanent, general-purpose online conferencing system, back in 1973.

The eyes features in the “mini-SPECS” of the Kármán / van Gogh SPECS are a fly’s “compound” eyes — “compound meaning that each eye has hundreds of facets (ommatidia or simple eyes).


And that’s the point, isn’t it?

We as the human community have many eyes, many perspectives — the visionary, the technological, the abstract, the photographic, the artistic, the consensus, the minority opinion — such as that of Mr Justice Douglas in Sierra Club vs Morton, perhaps? …

Our intelligence — our intel too — should build on a rich and wide array of ways of seeing. After all…

… unless the above is just a recruitment slogan.

One Response to “Having eyes to see…”

  1. GMTA: Temple Grandin Says:

    […] March 31st, 2012 (or very likely the evening of the day before), I posted a graphic on Zenpundit, where I often […]

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