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bogdanb comments on Open Thread: June 2010 - Less Wrong

5 Post author: Morendil 01 June 2010 06:04PM

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Comment author: bogdanb 03 June 2010 11:10:10AM *  2 points [-]

This reminds me of an exercise we did in school. (I don’t remember either when or for what subject.)

Everyone was to make a relatively simple image, composed of lines, circles, triangles and the such. Then, without showing one’s image to the others, each of us was to describe the image, and the others to draw according to the description. The “target” was to obtain reproductions as close as possible to the original image. It’s surprisingly hard.

It’s was a very interesting exercise for all involved: It’s surprisingly hard to describe precisely, even given the quite simple drawings, in such a way that everyone interprets the description the way you intended it. I vaguely remember I did quite well compared with my classmates in the describing part, and still had several “transcriptions” that didn’t look anywhere close to what I was saying.

I think the lesson was about the importance of clear specifications, but then again it might have been just something like English (foreign language for me) vocabulary training.

An example:

Draw a square, with horizontal & vertical sides. Copy the square twice, once above and once to the right, so that the two new squares share their bottom and, respectively, left sides with the original square. Inside the rightmost square, touching its bottom-right corner, draw another square of half the original’s size. (Thus, the small square shares its bottom-right corner with its host, and its top-left corner is on the center of its host.) Inside the topmost square, draw another half-size square, so that it shares both diagonals with its host square. Above the same topmost square, draw an isosceles right-angled triangle; its sides around the right angle are the same length as the large squares’; its hypotenuse is horizontal, just touching the top side of the topmost square; its right angle points upwards, and is horizontally aligned with the center of the original square. (Thus, the original square, its copy above, and the triangle above that, should form an upwards-pointing arrow.) Then make a copy of everything you have, to the right of the image, mirrored horizontally. The copy should be vertically aligned with the original, and share its left-most line with the right-most line of the original.

Try to follow the instructions above, and then compare your drawing with the non-numbered part of this image.

The exercise we did in school was a bit harder: the images had fewer parts (a rectangle, an ellipse, a triangle, and a couple lines, IIRC), but with more complex relationships for alignment, sizes and angles.

Comment author: Larks 06 June 2010 12:18:14PM 0 points [-]

My mum had to do this take for her work, save with building blocks, and for the learning-impaired. Instructions like 'place the block flat on the ground, like a bar of soap' were useful.

One nit-pick: when you say squares half the size, you mean with half the side length, or one quarter of the size.

Comment author: RobinZ 03 June 2010 04:16:18PM 0 points [-]

Color and line weight have not been specified, I note. Nor position relative to the canvas.