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4-Mation: 3D Zoetropes

An evening pause: I honestly don’t understand how this works, and the video doesn’t really explain it. It is quite amazing nonetheless. More information here if you want to dig about to figure it out.

Hat tip Cotour.


Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


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  • The term tickled my memory, and I recalled that zoetropes were a pre-film animation method. Although not really visible (to me), I suspect he is using strobe-lights and a fast-rotating disc to create the illusion of stop-motion. A timing light does the same thing. Another example would be the strobe-light calibration on some stereo turntables. There are marks on the side of the turntable that will appear stationary when the platter is at the correct speed. You can sort of see how this is working in his application from the oscilloscope traces.

    Fun stuff, and amazing to watch.

  • An idea: Adjust the stobe light and have the illusion run backward!

  • Cotour

    “I honestly don’t understand how this works, and the video doesn’t really explain it.”

    The strobe light is concentrated and its timing is controlled over the revolving fish and your eye only registers what the timed strobe light transmits to your eye. The strobe light is timed precisely to give the fish the appearance that they are in fact moving forward. You could adjust the strobe to make the fish appear to go backwards if you so desired. If there were no strobe light concentrated and precisely controlled over the revolving fish all you would see would be a blur of revolving fish and color.

    You can see the valve operating in an engine that you know is turning at 8500 RPM, but all the concentrated strobe directed at the valve allows your eye to see is it working in slow motion.

    You know the helicopter’s blades are turning and lifting it into the air, so why do the blades appear not to be turning at all? This is similar to the strobe lights effect, but this effect is due to the frame rate of the digital camera recording it. The frame rate of the camera is precisely timed with the rotating blades and records them in essentially the same place in their rotation. Same thing but from a different technical perspective.

  • Cotour

    PS: “Real time” consists of our human perception without a cycle. Your eye sees the light from the sun reflected off of matter and there is no cycle to the light from the sun, its just ON. Light in the universe / from the sun travels at 186,000 miles per second, and there is no cycle to it, it is ON. That is reality.

    Humanity produces electricity which we transform into light at 60 cycles per second by revolving a shaft wound with copper wire past a magnet. And the electricity from that cyclical production of electricity which is transformed into light appears to be “Real time” and without interruption, but that is just an expression of the limitation of our brains and it is not “Reality”.

    The human brain has its limitations and sometimes what it interprets as real time reality in fact is something else. And there are aspects of existence that may be beyond human ability to detect and even understand.

  • Jerry Greenwood

    Simple. Persistence of vision.

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