Thinking in Different Perspectives
I am featuring here the “Powers of 10” video by IBM; by today’s hyperkinetic attention span, it might be considered “long” but the impression it makes is very powerful, particularly on those not well acquainted with physics. One visualization guru justly called it, “9 Minutes of video you will never forget”. Here it is:
One of the themes that I stress with my students, when we are trying to analyze a primary source, is the danger of relying upon one’s own habitual perspective and frame of reference. An important element of a mental perspective is scale and the general tendency of people to visualize new concepts only in terms of the scale in which they go about their daily lives without any comprehension of alternate orders of magnitude leads to serious logical errors. The distortion becomes still worse, when matters of science or economic policy or planning are involved and the person trying to analyze is equally unable to conceive of using different time frames.