The rotation of planets

The planets in the solar system rotate at different rates and have different degrees of tilt. Via David Pescovitz, I came across this nice short animation that compares all of them at once.


  1. John Morales says

    Wow, what low bandwidth, what high data.

    A single still image would have conveyed the very same info.

  2. consciousness razor says

    John Morales, a single still image taken from it would have only informed you using those numbers representing the periods corresponding to their rotation rates (along with their orientations). That’s not conveying the same thing, and it is different from just directly seeing it happen with video. This is one case where “show not tell” is pretty decent advice, and I think bandwidth isn’t a serious concern. Just showing it is typically a better way to convey many such things to people, even if that does mean more bits/sec.
    I mean, there’s something for people to see? Then let them see it. I don’t know … maybe on your home planet, they tend to do things a little differently, but this is at least a simple and fairly obvious approach to take, which isn’t loaded with assumptions like yours seems to be.
    Look: twenty seconds of video isn’t long, and then it’s over. How long do you think it would take for an ordinary person to examine your still imagine and then reach the same level of comprehension as they could easily and intuitively get from the short video? I bet it’s probably more than twenty seconds for many people….
    That is, if they ever do grok what they were being told (and not shown) by your still image, since they could have plenty of trouble visualizing what they’re meant to visualize and come away with the wrong impression, given only the abstract numerical representations that for whatever reason you considered adequate. Maybe you should think of those kinds of communication failures as infinitely low bandwidth, which doesn’t compete so well with the practically foolproof approach of using the video.
    After all, it’s really not a computer receiving some packets, but a person using the computer, who is meant to understand the information that they get from it. What you want is for the info to get all the way from person A to person B, not just to and from their devices/computers, because the latter isn’t actually sufficient. That means a different set of considerations come into play, about how people typically think and how they go about processing whatever information they have. If a computer has to do a little more work to account for that, it’s really no problem. The computers certainly don’t give a shit, and these days, they are certainly fast enough for a simple video like this to be a very effective and efficient communication method.

  3. John Morales says

    Holms, heh. CR disagreed, but at least understood.

    (But sure: low data, high bandwidth it is, for you 😉 )

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