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November 04, 2015



Not seeing a lot of lock-step around here. Guess that proves we all aren't robots. Or sheep. ;-)

Does anybody know what the physics of this are?

Scientists may have solved a mystery that’s been ticking for 350 years

Physics of YouTube: The Dance of the Metronomes

Amazing. Who knew? Besides Huygens?

I did notice that the platform was shaking. Yay me.

four minutes of my life, gone forever.....

Is it a bad thing if, as I watched and listened to the metronomes sync up, the big vein in my forehead began to pulse noticeably and in time, and the capillaries in my eyes started to hemorrhage and there was a trace of blood leaking from my good ear?

Plus, when I looked in the mirror, my visage assumed that of the narrator of "The Telltale Heart", as played by Anthony Perkins.

Did that happen to any of you, too, or is it just me?

As a 13-year old at the military academy on our forced marches, our companies were ordered to "BREAK STEP" as we approached bridges:


You had a good home and you left, but only for three summers.

I loved in the Huygens article that fireflys tend to sync up their lightings as the evening wears on.

I thought that was just me. In my next life as a movie screenwriter, that will find its way into the script.

My dearest friend from college has collected and repaired clocks his entire life and the walls of his house are festooned with dozens of them, many with visible pendulums and their chimes calibrated to go off simultaneously and I have to tell you, that after a couple of martinis and sitting there with him in his impeccably antique-appointed old house, I half expect Vincent Price and Peter Lorre to emerge from behind secret panels in the walls.

It's just a little creepy.

I'm going to take the metronome creationist tack and claim it is evidence of intelligent design. Obviously no natural phenomenon could possibly take 32 objects randomly oscillating and get them to synchronize. I mean, what are the odds? (Actually, assuming I were a metronome creationist I'm not sure how I'd do the odds here--how would you split the phase variations up into something discrete and countable?)

That second from the front metronome on the far right was marching to the beat of a different drummer for the longest time, I think. It seemed 180 degrees out of phase and then abruptly seemed to join the rest. I might have imagined how quickly it changed. Or maybe it was no more abrupt than the others, but I couldn't single out the others to see when they joined the crowd.


I noticed that too.

I suspect its reluctance to join the others is an illusion, based on the fact that it happened to be the last one to fall in line. One of them had to be last, after all.

maybe the video is being played backwards.

What would be interesting to see would be a high-resolution time analysis of the video, determining the changes in phase/frequency in each metronome from the beginning until full phase synchronization was reached.

My guess would be that the last one was in the unstable anti-phase equilibrium mentioned at CharlesWT's 8:48 AM link. It ultimately got into step with the others so suddenly because they all were already in phase with each other, exerting maximal influence on the last metronome as soon as there was any minimal disturbance of the unstable anti-phase equilibrium. Whatever action put it into phase was mirrored in the other metronomes, but distributed over many so as to be imperceptible (to us, but not to a high-speed camera aided by a computer).

There are two possible illusions. One was that it was all by itself for a long time-- that might not be true. The other is that it flipped into synchronicity very quickly. I might watch it again later.

about halfway through it looks like it's almost perfectly 180deg out of phase with the others in its column.

it just got tired and gave up, at the end.

But I'm very curious, who was the leader


They have more bounce in their goosestep than those uptight Germans ever had...

waiting to follow the worms.


Don't know if I'm screwing up the vibe, and I'm probably overreaching, but that last metronome seems to illustrate that it is easier to be a hold out when you are 180 degrees out of phase than to be some smaller increment and I'm tempted to apply it to discussions about politics...

Don't forget, because we all need to be reminded, that police lives matter.

Federal and local authorities staged a huge manhunt, and Gliniewicz was honored with an 18-mile funeral procession.

What's "in-phase" and "anti-phase" when more than 2 pendulums are involved? Is it majority rules? If 17 of 32 are peaking to the Right at some instant, and the other 15 are peaking to the Left at the same instant, it's the 15 which are "anti-phase", in some sense.

What sense? Well, assume every pendulum has an identical period, T. That's fair enough, since they're all demonstrably in lockstep in the end. We have a snapshot at t=0 that shows 17peakRight/15peakLeft. Let's take snapshots at t=1T, t=2T ... t=1000T, t=1001T ... -- you get the idea. Let's say that 10,000 cycles are enough for everybody to be "in phase". So we look at the snapshot taken at t=10,000T. Does it show all 32 pendulums peaking to the Right like the original 17? Or does it show all 32 at the same position, just not the peakRight position?

IOW, did they all join the majority (peakRight) phase? Did they "compromise" to a common phase somewhere between peakRight and peakLeft? If so, how close to either one? Inquiring minds want to know.

And now for something completely different:
McKinney, I forget what led me to it, but I recently added Lowering the Bar to my blog favorites. You might like it. But not enough to distract you from ObWi, I hope.


Trust an engineer to take all the fun out of it.

It sure looks to me like the red dude in the 5th column took lead

Goes to show the effectiveness of leading from behind?
or maybe just the effectiveness of getting a head start.

Trust an engineer to take all the fun out of it.

For non-engineers, maybe. Tony P.'s comment is the fun AFAIAC. ;^)

lj: that last metronome was coerced into going along with the group. I thought this was supposed to be a non violent open thread?


But, it was merely moral suasion, not physically violent. ;-)

TP--thx. Like it.

When you can't find evidence of someone's supposedly violent past, that's a witch hunt?

When you can't find evidence of someone's supposedly violent past, that's a witch hunt?

Of course. Are you also saying that perhaps we haven't always been at war with Eastasia?

A propos of (almost) nothing:

What is the great secret hid
'neath the Cheops pyramid?
It's that the contractor did
Cheops out of millions.

No idea where I came across that, or why I still remember it decades later.


MythBusters - Synchronization of Metronomes

The witch in Armstrong William's past was Strom Thurmond.

Let me get this right.

The press is turning up evidence that Carson was a quiet, unassuming, well-behaved, perhaps even geekish (the Pyramids were filled with Wheaties and honey-nut Cherrios, he'll have you know, not that effete, politically correct granola liberals go on about) young man in school ... and it's a hit piece? An insult?

The Horror.

Seems like Carson could say "thank you" and move on. But no, dang it, he was a violent, out-of-control thug for a time until his bathroom conversion (I converted to Shakta Hinduism for a few minutes in a one-hole outhouse in Kathmandu in the 1970's while in the throes of dysentery and hallucinating that Kali appeared to me as I squatted and threatened to add my head to the collection of skulls hanging from the charm necklace around her neck) and that's his story, and anyone who says differently is a politically correct hunter of goblins.

I was NOT a nice kid, Carson avers. I stabbed people. Why if George Zimmerman had come across me back then, he's have plugged me with a bullet and gotten his own show.

I don't know how an exasperated Jeb Bush is going to counter this. Maybe he can claim to have stolen cars, nailed (with the nails he hadn't eaten yet) cats to barn doors, and depants the town fathers while growing up in Kennethat'sbunkport, and then flash some WASP gang signs at the next debate.

See, it all seems funny, but then you realize you've seen the trailers to this horror movie, let's call it "Cannibal Clowns", and it dawns on you that you're only 15 minutes into the movie and the part when the clowns start eating children is still to come.

The backass stupidity of this stuff is, what, I can't think of a discriptor? Has there ever been anything close to as shallowly ignorant and silly and at the same time so deeply foreboding, threatening and dangerous as these "campaigns"?

At this point, the country will be lucky merely to get off with the combined Carson/Trump campaigns (and a few others) turning out to be the biggest political grifts in American history and the tens of millions of campaign dollars stolen from their contributors.

Violence apparently isn't the answer to this, but I have a hunch many of the Founders would feel differently.

Is it violence if people die laughing?

It's like Pat Paulsen would be leading in the polls in 1971 and then when you listen to him talk, you'd realize he is channeling a combination of Dr. Irwin Corey*, Felix Dzerzhinsky, and Jimmy Hoffa.

*Dr. Corey lives. He's 101 years old and hasn't seen his teeth since he left them in the Green Room on the Smothers Brothers Show.

Romney should have doubled down on the dog in the roof carrier.

That would be Kipling's

    A General Summary

We are very slightly changed
From the semi-apes who ranged
    India's prehistoric clay;
He that drew the longest bow
Ran his brother down, you know,
    As we run men down today.

"Dowb", the first of all his race,
Met the Mammoth face to face
    On the lake or in the cave:
Stole the steadiest canoe,
Ate the quarry others slew,
    Died -- and took the finest grave.

When they scratched the reindeer-bone,
Some one made the sketch his own,
    Filched it from the artist -- then,
Even in those early days,
Won a simple Viceroy's praise
    Through the toil of other men.
Ere they hewed the Sphinx's visage
Favoritism governed kissage,
    Even as it does in this age.

Who shall doubt "the secret hid
Under Cheops' pyramid"
Was that the contractor did
    Cheops out of several millions.
Or that Joseph's sudden rise
To Comptroller of Supplies
Was a fraud of mosterous size
    On King Pharaoh's swart Civilians.

Thus, the artless songs I sing
Do not deal with anything
    New or never said before.
As it was in the beginning
Is today official sinning,
    And shall be for evermore.

Congrats to Gravity:


Rupert Murdoch immediately put a bid in for Science News and began laying plans to fire the scientists and the fact-checkers.

Like he just did at National Geographic.

It is amazing how time can bring unity and discord as well

Fox News headline I just saw:

Arizona official seeks $123G in damages after incident with Arizona State mascot

$123,000,000,000.00 seems like an awful lot of money.

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