January 11, 2013

"Humans need straight lines, nature doesn't. Indecisive river and orderly farmers, central Asia."

Tweeting photos from space.

16 comments:

edutcher said...

Man's eternal struggle has been to bend Nature to his will.

AprilApple said...

Curves are nicer - but not as practical for farming and driving.

AprilApple said...

On a flight to Phoenix, I was captivated by what looked like interesting spines pushed up together on the landscape. I later google-mapped the route and found it to be a landform called Ship Rock, outside of Ship Rock New Mexico.

Hagar said...

Shiprock is one word, AA, and it is a volcanic intrusion that the surrounding terrain of previous ages has eoded away from.

David Carlson said...

actually, rivers naturally seek to become straight lines.

Cedarford said...

The idea that "nature abhores straight lines, right angles" sounds definitive....made by high potentiate scholars in the know...but it turns out to be stupid.

It was made before the knowledge of how embedded fractals are to most nature events, life processes.
Before quantum mechanics showed underlying linearity. Before physics showed straight line energy and forces exerted on matter, space/time throughout the universe.

sinz52 said...

Rivers don't naturally become straight lines in all cases.

A river can constantly dig out sediment from one bank and deposit it on the opposite bank. Over time, that causes the river's course to curve.

Further downstream, the sediment can be switched in the other direction, resulting in the river taking a wiggly course--a so-called "meandering river."

Ann Althouse said...

"actually, rivers naturally seek to become straight lines."

This is an important insight, and it led me to a sub-insight: For the river, that is the straight line. If you don't see it as straight, adopt river mind and look again.

Synova said...

There's all sorts of "order" that doesn't involve straight lines.

Also, some fields are circles instead of rectangles and some fields are terraces.

The difference in the pattern in the photograph is very striking, of course. Much more interesting than a picture that was simply the river would be because of the contrast.

Brew Master said...

actually, rivers naturally seek to become straight lines.

It would be more characteristic to say that rivers flow in the area of least resistance, always downhill. That can be a straight line, a curve, etc.

They are also ever changing entities. If a river ever finds itself flowing in a straight line, that is only a temporary thing as erosion and sedimentation will alter that course from straight to curved.

To the perspective of a river, rather than think of 'lines' as being straight or curved. Think 3 dimensionally, mainly, Downhill.

mikee said...

As a fossil hunter I find ammonites and giant oysters (Exogyra Ponderosa) here in central Texas mostly by looking for their curved shells, which grow in something like a Fibonacci sequence.

Their curves are quite natural but absolutely unlike anything else, such as a worn river rock or a crystal of gypsum in limestone.

The river may wander not in a straight line, but in a chaotic function of such complexity that to the casual observer it is random.

Christy said...

Didn't civilization begin with man's carving irrigation ditches into man approved shapes?

Chip S. said...

Too bad hexagonal farms never caught on.

Kirby Olson said...

I did a 1000-piece puzzle of Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks over the break. It features bear, cheetahs, a bay, mountains, many other animals, and a tiny section of Penn and his men negotating with Native Americans. And there are some young women in very ornate blouses.

It was so easy to find the civilized parts because there were straight lines in all the pieces even within the costumes and hair of the American Indians. The hardest part were the wildest animals: the lion's mane, and the bear's back end were really difficult because you couldn't line up lines. Everything was aswirl.

Kirby Olson said...

I did a 1000-piece puzzle of Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks over the break. It features bear, cheetahs, a bay, mountains, many other animals, and a tiny section of Penn and his men negotating with Native Americans. And there are some young women in very ornate blouses.

It was so easy to find the civilized parts because there were straight lines in all the pieces even within the costumes and hair of the American Indians. The hardest part were the wildest animals: the lion's mane, and the bear's back end were really difficult because you couldn't line up lines. Everything was aswirl.

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