Thursday, December 07, 2006

Amusing fact collection

Because I'm learning a lot of fun random things for no particular reason. Here are three things that made me grin today. (I really want to write a good response to Miks' excellent response to my last poorly written post, but will have to wait until I am less pwned to do it justice.)

  1. Noise colors actually match up (roughly) with color-colors! If you played white light as music, it would sound like white noise (evenly distributed throughout all frequencies). Same with blue noise (high frequencies), pink noise (low frequencies), and... well, the analogy mostly falls apart with say, brown noise, but this just didn't cross my mind before; I'd assumed they were arbitrary names but apparently the actual visual colors are what they were named for.
  2. Wavelets are cute. They're little peeping things that pop up - PIP! and then decay out real fast - POP! - they're tiny little waves that you can string together to make bigger, more complicated waveforms (yes, it's another one of those orthogonal basis things like the Fourier and Laplace transforms), and in my head all these tiny wavelets start pipping and popping in and out like popcorn - pippippippoppoppippoppippippitypip! So cool.
  3. I ran across this in the book Noise and can't find another citation of this, but apparently "bell curve" doesn't always refer to the normal distribution. There's other kinds, like Rayleigh and Rice, and - hey, we didn't learn this stuff in ProbStat! This plus reading educational research papers where they're talking about crazy statistical manipulation of student data make me wish I could learn advanced statistics someday. (I'm aware there's an independent study going on next term, and I should probably talk to those people about getting their book list after graduation.)
And if you're laughing at how silly some of these things are, remember that I used to be the little kid who didn't believe babies were delivered by flying storks... it wasn't aerodynamically possible. The storks had to have airplanes. (It was another year before I realized that the invention of babies significantly predated the invention of airplanes; that made me really confused as to how babies actually occured.) Point being that I'm sometimes very locally geeky and sometimes don't back up to look at the big picture of whether things make sense (or whether everyone else already knows them). At any rate, These three things are three things that amused the Mel today.

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