Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Poll Analyses
Share on Facebook 14 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Exclusive to OpEdNews:
Sci Tech   

Daily Inspiration — Why do such different processes produce the same statistical effects?

Follow Me on Twitter     Message Josh Mitteldorf
Become a Fan
  (51 fans)

If Jackson Pollock flings paint randomly at a canvas, there will be, occasionally, large areas that have no paint at all, and, also occasionally, a few areas where different paint drips are so close together that they overlap and cover each other.


Copyrighted Image? DMCA

But Pollock's aesthetic instincts guide his brush, and the result is that the drips look random, but they are more spread out than if they had really been random.


(Image by GitHub)   Details   DMCA
It turns out that the same thing is true of the distribution of cones on a hen's retina, and the energy states of a Uranium nucleus, and the distribution of prime numbers along the number line. They are all distributed with a curve that looks like a standard bell-shaped curve, but just a bit lopsided. The curve is lopsided because it goes out indefinitely at the right end, becoming asymptotically small, but it is cut off by zero on the left side, because the distance between any two semi-random points is never less than zero.

Mathematicians have plotted this function and scientists have observed the function in diverse places in nature, but no one has a good theory yet about why this distribution arises anywhere, let alone in so many different contexts.

 

Interesting 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Josh Mitteldorf Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Josh Mitteldorf, a senior editor at OpEdNews, blogs on aging at http://JoshMitteldorf.ScienceBlog.com. Read how to stay young at http://AgingAdvice.org.
Educated to be an astrophysicist, he has branched out from there to mathematical (more...)
 

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Twitter Bans The Donald

Artificial Earthquakes

Cold Fusion: Tangible Hope in an Age of Despair

New Scientific Study: Smoking Gun Evidence of 9/11 Explosives in WTC Dust

PayPal cuts off Bradley Manning Legal Defense; Backs Off under Grass Roots Pressure

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: