Douglas Edric Stanley


We just finished another day of plot, probably a Plot-Wednesday, or a Plot-Thursday, but I’m not keeping score. As usual, there were some pretty crazy ideas thrown around, and Fabrice has continued developing (and explaining to us) his system for measuring slowness as something separate from (or perhaps extracted from) speed. His idea revolves around a measure called the chouya — it‘s a joyous little theory and I actually found that by the end of the morning Nicolas and I were able to actually use it to start measuring slowness — although Fabrice kept telling us that we still hadn’t gotten it 100% right. Ho hum. I also liked his idea of slowness as a temporal « mass », although that idea is somewhat imcompatible as far as I can tell with his far more pragmatic calculations of the chouya.

Anyway, since we talked about it in Plot, I wanted to post this link to the blind american teenager (Benjamin) who can spatially model via echolocation, i.e. the same clicking noises that dolphin use, or the radar system that bats use to move through caves, etc.

(Actually that second video is going to make my students laugh. Yep, that’s right, american television really is that lame).

I had mentioned this amazing fellow in relation to the idea of projecting spatial dimensions beyond those you can directly experience. We were laughing at how pictures of my webchat for the last Plot (Plot-Tuesday, I guess that would be) made me look like the General Zod in the 2D-prison from Superman 2. This briefly lead us to a discussion of flatland, and the amazing section of The Elegant Universe where Brian Greene explains multiple dimensions from the point of view of an ant crawling on a wire. Although for me, I was actually constructing an entire space that completed their space based on the few inputs I had (stereo sound mostly, as the image was horrible); this construction was merely speculative though, and I didn’t have the advantage, nor experience of echolocation for reconstructing that space.

Of course, the example of a webchat or a telephone call is not entirely analogue with the echolocation wizard, because he is interacting spatially from within that space. Although the means he uses (tongue+ears) are uncommon, they are not illogical or maladapted to that space. In fact, sound is probably a more continuous medium and perfect for fully modelling a volume, as opposed to vision which is fast, but flawed. These ideas of a continuous space in comparison to a discontinuous space, are also somewhat along the lines of Louis Bec’s work with electric fish (cf. Waiting for Turning.