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A Mystery: Why Can't We Walk Straight?

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#1
Adam Wilbert

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This short video is only very tangentially map related, but interesting nonetheless. It's also beautifully animated.


A Mystery: Why Can't We Walk Straight?

Try as you might, you can't walk in a straight line without a visible guide point, like the Sun or a star. You might think you're walking straight, but as NPR's Robert Krulwich reports, a map of your route would reveal you are doomed to walk in circles.



And a bit more context on NPR's website.

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#2
Jean-Louis

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This short video is only very tangentially map related, but interesting nonetheless. It's also beautifully animated.


A Mystery: Why Can't We Walk Straight?

Try as you might, you can't walk in a straight line without a visible guide point, like the Sun or a star. You might think you're walking straight, but as NPR's Robert Krulwich reports, a map of your route would reveal you are doomed to walk in circles.



And a bit more context on NPR's website.


Very cool video - and very intriguing question.
Thanks for posting it Adam.
It reminds me of the old saying I,ve heard all my life from people who dont draw " I can't draw a straight line!'
To which I have always replied: 'neither can I !'
Maybe it,s because straight lines do not exist in nature, only in our heads!

On another note, ...
Anybody want to do the map of this place? ...Shanghai as it will be in 2020
Attached File  tumblr_ldl453jVoh1qckahko1_1280.jpeg   676.95KB   59 downloads
Jean-Louis Rheault
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#3
ravells

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Beautiful animation! Thanks for posting it, Adam. Jean-Louis, you will remember that bit in the 'Land of Black Gold' where Thompson and Thomson drive around in circles in the desert!

One possible explanation here: http://paul.kedrosky..._in_circle.html

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#4
Jean-Louis

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Beautiful animation! Thanks for posting it, Adam. Jean-Louis, you will remember that bit in the 'Land of Black Gold' where Thompson and Thomson drive around in circles in the desert!

One possible explanation here: http://paul.kedrosky..._in_circle.html


Yes I did think of Dupond & Dupont....
I am somewhat intrigued now by that mystery especially because the factor of biomechanical asymmetries have been ruled out. . The explanation in the link is not very convincing.

I still would venture to suggest that the straight line is a human concept, something we build into railroad tracks and street maps but not something that exists in a natural state. This would imply that we do not 'veer off' a straight path but that it takes constant visual calculation and mental effort to maintain one. Perhaps human motion, like all motion is on a curve 'default setting'
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#5
ravells

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Although one would not expect Captain Haddock to walk in a straight line for other reasons.....:)

It's bizarre isn't it? We have a tiled floor in our kitchen. I closed my eyes and tried to follow the line of the tiles. Within about 7 steps I had drifted significantly to the right. when I forced myself to correct the second time, it felt like I was walking too far to the left, although I was then walking in a straight line. It's interesting how most of the paths went in a clockwise direction. It might just be an aggregate of a lot of little factors rather than one factor.

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#6
Adam Wilbert

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I'm fairly certain that if this experiment were carried out long enough, and at a large enough scale, that the path taken by all humans would prove to be defined by a single repeating fractal geometry. So far though, nobody has thought to walk around blindfolded for years on end.

Adam Wilbert
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#7
ravells

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I'm fairly certain that if this experiment were carried out long enough, and at a large enough scale, that the path taken by all humans would prove to be defined by a single repeating fractal geometry. So far though, nobody has thought to walk around blindfolded for years on end.


I find most politicians do this... :)

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