Thinking about dimensions other than the three we're used to can rattle one's mind. That's why it's usually left to stoned conversationalists and theoretical physicists. To help the rest of us navigate flatland, fractal landscapes, and hyperspace, New Scientist put together a concise and fun tour titled "Beyond Space and Time." From New Scientist (spacetime curvature illustration from Wikimedia Commons)
What is a dimension?"Beyond space and time: Fractals, hyperspace and more"
The most intuitive description is the oldest one: the number of dimensions a system possesses is the number of independent directions you or anything else can move in. Up and down count as only one dimension because up-ness and down-ness are two sides of the same coin: the further up you go, the less down you are. The same connection exists between left and right, and forwards and backwards, but not between up and right, down and backwards, and so on. Thus, the geometers of Ancient Greece recognised, we live in a three-dimensional world.
So far, so simple, but then things start to unravel. Our place in the cosmos is defined as much by time as it is by space. As long ago as the late 18th century, the Frenchmen Jean le Rond d'Alembert and Joseph-Louis Lagrange recognised that the mathematical language needed to address time was very similar to that which described space. Time, the mathematicians of the day rapidly came to agree, was a fourth dimension.
That opened the floodgates. Once untethered from its origins in physical space, the concept of a dimension began to lose its focus. It came to be used as a general term to describe the number of independent coordinates or variables needed to determine the state of any object.
This gadget does exactly as promised: it looks like a thumbdrive (sort of) and fries the circuitry of any computer it’s plugged into. It’s made from camera flash parts, is charged with a standard AA battery, and delivers a 300V zap of DC destruction to the port for all your USB-murdering needs. Note that this […]
The Cobham catalog, exposed by The Intercept, features countless pages of surveillance gadgets sold to U.S. police to spy on American citizens: tiny black boxes with a big interest in you. In the creepily bland feature lists and nerdy product names is a whisper of a dark future; perhaps darker than anyone can imagine.
This image depicts the most commonly-found stylesheet colors on the web’s top sites—Paul Hebert did an amazing amount of analysis and this is just one of the intriguing visualizations he came up with. Most of these are obvious staples, especially HTML red and blue, though it’s interesting how far the blue “cluster” is from the […]
The Pocket Tripod PRO had massive Kickstarter success in 2013, raising almost $85,000 in a single month. But this isn’t just another case of pre-release product hype. This ingenious little device folds out from a credit-card-shaped plastic slab into a sturdy stand with a surprisingly wide range of motion. In portrait orientation, your phone slides […]
Loot Crate is a totally different kind of subscription service that mails subscribers monthly boxes filled with curated geek, pop culture, and gamer paraphernalia. Its cult following awaits a box every month filled with everything from bobble heads to T-shirts to special edition collectibles. But nothing gets Loot Crate fans as excited as the limited […]
The ARMOR-X Mini Flexible Phone Tripod is a smartphone tripod that is designed with flexible legs to rest on virtually any type of surface. Other tripods have proved useless unless I conveniently have a flat surface in front of me, which is why this particular tripod was appealing enough to try out. The ARMOR-X is compact and easy […]