Monday, 30 May 2016

An optical discussion in Bierbeek

Today was an awesome day. We went from 7 to 70, 71, 72, 73 and back to seven.

As we arrived to 70, I asked, "If one eye sees from one angle and the other another angle then how can you see only one angle?" And Tonio replied, "Because what you can see is actually the angle in between the two eyes." And then I asked, "So how come when I look at the ground I see double the amount of fingers? To show that it's not just me, try it yourself. Put your finger in front of you and focus on the ground with one of your fingers in the way. Then the finger will turn into two fingers! But don't lose focus on the floor or else it will be one finger again. Anyways back to the adventure. Tonio thought about it for a moment and then said,"I think it's because since both eyes are focusing on the ground, the finger isn't as important and since the brain doesn't do its thing there are two fingers!"

Then when we finally reached 71 Tonio said, "As usual if we had gone the other way the view would be much better. But I replied, "Selective memory." Selective memory is hard to explain but I'll give you an example. You reach a zebra crossing and just as you're about to cross it the lights turn red. You think about all the times that it has happened and you forget the times that it hasn't happened, so you say, "Whenever I'm about to go across the road the lights turn red." And that is selective memory.

As usual the lovely views took my breath away.

Then we saw a house and Tonio said that it could be the one he took in a picture before. Most of the adventures we have are circles but sometimes we go to a place and back. But that is not as practical because we cover less ground, so we leave that as our last resort.

We had a lot of fun and we thank you for reading this. Did you have fun too? If you have then join us in the next adventure of Dijleland!


[Tonio's version]
We skipped no. 69, which will take a whole day as it will include a detour into Leuven for a total approaching 7 km. Some day in the, hopefully, near future.

No. 70 was in a village which is even further away and probably the furthest in this network from our home - Bierbeek. We were already here when we started no. 7, and that's where we had to start again as it's the nearest to no. 70 that I could practically park the car.

Gianluca was very quiet in the beginning, and I remarked about this to him. A little while later he told me, "Can I ask you a scientific question?"

"I hope I can give you a scientific answer."

"You always give me a scientific answer. It's either the correct answer or else you say that you don't know." It was the best compliment he could have given me!

The question was about how our eyes register different images of the same view, depending on whether we look through the left or the right eye, and how come when we use both eyes we only see one image. He remarked on how you can look with both eyes at your finger and you see a double image of another object further away in the background, but when you focus instead on that object further away, you see two images of your finger in the foreground. He had noticed this phenomenon by himself, and I theorised that it was related to the previous observation of seeing different images with the left and the right eye.

It was a rather 'optical' discussion, inspired by a certain Physics Girl who he's following on YouTube. He mentioned an intriguing experiment about how she calculated the value of pi using a sheet of white paper stuck on a white board and randomly throwing a number of darts onto the board. He promised to send me the link.

The walk itself was as pleasant as usual. Quite hot and very quiet and peaceful, alternating open fields, a forest and some really beautiful farm houses.

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