Thursday, June 19, 2008

Pi in a Cornfield


[Aerial image © 2008 by Lucy Pringle]

This photo shows a crop formation near Wroughton, Wiltshire, U. K., reported June 1, 2008. It is about 300 feet in diameter. The angles of the circle between the steps encode the first digits of Pi, as noted by Michael Reed. For more photos see here. For more info see here. For commentaries see here. Pretty, isn't it?

20 comments:

stefan said...

Yes, really pretty :-)

And it's the kind of post I am currently able to digest ;-)


Cheers, Stefan

Unce Al said...

Why is space alien art always Euclidean? The Shroud of Turin would be a much better relic if it weren't an obvious geometric fraud for projecting a curved face onto a flat substrate withut distortion.

Andrew Thomas said...

Yeah, Uncle Al, I'm sick of space alien art like you. I wish all space aliens would shove off back to Venus and stop screwing with our crops.

Andrew Thomas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew Thomas said...

Why is your name written "Unce Al"? Are those bloody space aliens screwing with your name as well?

Andrew Thomas said...

Unce Al said: "Why is space alien art always Euclidean? I'm actually not convinced that it's valid to criticise artworks on the basis of them being "Euclidean". I can't imagine a critic looking at the Mona Lisa and saying: "Hmm, it's all very nice, but it's a shame it's all soooo Euclidean".

Neil' said...

Crop circles are just fascinating as the dickens, and I'm glad to see mention of them *somewhere* since a long time! Sure, we figure "someone makes them" unless we want to go off the deep end I guess. But in any case, whichever people (or, ....? heh) make them are pretty darn weird. Look at pictures of some of the formations. They have maybe 150 circles of various sizes, some rather big. It would take a large crew several hours to do it (maybe by mashing down with sticks, with ropes attached to poles etc.), and they would have to work during the entire and rather short English summer night. Some of the formations are very complex, like the main shape of the Mandelbrot set - don't tell me that is anywhere close to an amateur project for a bunch of weird teens. Can you imagine the difficulty of surveying out the field, continuously varying rope lengths or whatever they'd use for patting down the field, for a weird outline like that?

The presumptive perpetrators are hardly ever seen (well, can you produce pictures of them in action on a big and complex circle pattern, not just some small-scale and simple prank?) Can you imagine how many people would want to catch them and sell the video? (Can anyone link to Youtube of them doing it, I mean caught by an outsider?) It is rather weird, period, that much people should admit.

Here's a website of some folks who claim they are behind it: http://www.circlemakers.org/perpetrators.html. They even give some names, like "Rob Irving", but what do we know about them? Has a video crew actually taped them making a big complex formation, or is it unverified boasting? Have any of you heard how they did the hard stuff like the Mandelbrot outline, etc?

William said...

Have any of you heard how they did the hard stuff like the Mandelbrot outline, etc? ... said Neil

Haha, that's funny ... I can just picture the aliens who would be doing the Mandelbrot Crop Fractals ... they wouldn't be those anorexic ones with the big eyes, they would be pudgy ones dressed in black, with a single antennae sticking up from the top of their heads, with little arms and big huge babby-shaped asses! lol

not Pythagoras said...

It is a strange coincidence that
aliens use base 10. Base 2, base 3 (or its
even more beautifully signed version) or some base independent notation (using for instance the integers appearing in the continued fraction expansion of pi) would
be more appropriate for communicating extraterrestrial wisdom.

Personally, I think that these aliens lack imagination and I am not very eager to encounter such boring people: pi is more or less the first choice of a mathematical constant
and even if it is important, I would expect
something more original and less previsible from a very advanced civilisation.

Roland

Andrew Thomas said...

Pythagoras said: "It is a strange coincidence that
aliens use base 10. Base 2, base 3 (or its
even more beautifully signed version) or some base independent notation (using for instance the integers appearing in the continued fraction expansion of pi) would
be more appropriate for communicating extraterrestrial wisdom."


Ah, but they have done better than that in previous crop drawings - they have given us **exact** values of pi in previous symbols. For example, they have drawn many symbols whose outer circumference was precisely pi times their inner diameter.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

One thing for sure who ever does these things they have a lot of time on their hands and to a large degree are several thousand years behind the Incas with their Nazca lines. They also were not restricted to the circle and made them much larger and more durable. Perhaps this is evidence of there actually being a ‘bird’s eye view’ that Tegmark would suggest:-)

Best,

Phil

Andrew Thomas said...

Not Pythagoras said: "Personally, I think that these aliens lack imagination and I am not very eager to encounter such boring people ... I would expect
something more original and less previsible from a very advanced civilisation."


See:
Binary code
3D circle
Circle image 1

Uncle Al said...

Non-Euclidean art,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crucifixion_(Corpus_Hypercubus)

Fabrications contain memes invisible at the time (as stated, "base 10". How may fingers do cartoons have?). Alien artifacts contain terrestrial isotope ratios, fallout nuclides, commercial compositions of matter... and no exotic organisms. It's called "critical inquiry".

Cynthia said...

Pretty crop circle, but it's not so pretty if it was made by using corn-based fuel, or any non-renewable fuel for that matter!

Neil' said...

I'm disappointed that no one even tried to figure out how the Mandelbrot CCs were done. That would be more interesting than more snark.

jacquie b said...

"Personally, I think that these aliens lack imagination and I am not very eager to encounter such boring people"

That works both ways, bubba. I don't think they'd give you or your irreverance the time a day.

CarlBrannen said...

I guess the space aliens want us to starve because they're out there tromping down our crops in the middle of the night while corn prices set new highs due to bad weather in the US corn belt.

Seriously, one of the people who started this trend said that the reason the things kept getting more and more complicated was because newscasters kept finding "experts" who said that they were caused by gusts of wind, LOL. He also said that they learned to put them in places where the public could see them more easily.

One of the more hilarious reasons I heard for why these can't be done by people is because hobbiests can't afford expensive night vision equipment (less than $300).

William said...

Why do people call pi a constant? ... it isn't really even a number, in the sense of having a definite magnitude.

In reality, isn't "the number" PI an illusion? Isn't a circle a failed concept of a childish and primitive mind?

There is no ability for humans to ever create a circle, it is physically impossible ... they can only make a very crude approximation of one; particularly crude when the perimeter is examined very closely. And the concept of a circle on the idealized Euclidean plane also seems to be to be a totally failed concept, which, when inspected closely enough, shows merely, at best, a disconnected bunch of points, which are not a circle ... and which when combined together don't even have a length!

And is a symmetrical polygon centered on the x-y plane an approximation of a circle, whose perimeter can give the value of the "constant" PI when the sides of the polygon are increased to infinity? I'd say that is silly wishful thinking of people who have a childish attachment to the mythical notion of a circle. For what you have when the sides of the polygon are increased to infinity is not a circle, but, rather, all you have then is a polygon with infinite sides and infinite vertices ... and obviously that is not a circle.

So, PI doesn't exist, in the sense of it being a measurable quantity ... and that's why it is an irrational "number". Because in reality, it does not exist.

And the perimeter of a circle can never be definitively measured, since it has an irrational length. The reason PI and the circumference (or the diameter) of a circle are irrational is because a circle can not exist, not even in theory. Why isn't that obvious? Seems obvious to me.

So, there is no "constant" PI. And the perimeter of a circle is a failed notion. And circles do not even exist.

Bee and Stefan, wouldn't you and the scientists at the Perimeter Institute agree with that?

As I see it, that is the message that the aliens who have created the crop circles are trying to get across to the more primative humans here on earth. :>)

John G said...

Some new conformal crop circles here.

Anonymous said...

Check out the Sri Yanka mandala lines on a dry lake bed in Oregon. The lines are 10 inches wide and two or three inches deep and extend for 13 miles (if someone were to make a line while walking). The mandala design appeared suddenly during hot weather of 110 degrees. Totally humanly impossible. Should have made front page news around the world.