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 Subject: RE: Demise of Green Globs Author: Mathman Date: Aug 5 2005
On Aug  5 2005, Alan Cooper wrote:

It may not be consciously
> algorithmic mathematics, but it's certainly not just "guessing".
> The act of drawing or imagining a curve of a particular type passing
> through a number of given points is not typically done as a
> conscious  exercise in mathematics, but like throwing a basketball
> through a hoop in the face of interference from a number of
> opponents, it is done subconsciously using algorithms that noone yet
> fully understands.

Alan, with due respect, and I do respect your opinions, I am not trying to stir
a tempest in a teapot.  However, as much as I can visualise where a curve should
be located, and even "see" it as if it were there, or in fact  draw it, I
personally might have difficulty [lack of practice?] determining the three
parameters necessary for this exercise without some paperwork, and certainly not
to the degree of accuracy indicated.  I could guess the axis of symmetry, as you
suggest, and a possible min/max point, and then do some figuring from there.
However, I'd have some difficulty determining the three parameters even if the
curve was all that I saw, either in my mind's eye, or as the only aspect of the
drawing.

It might be feasible to expect that one relation rather than another would
definitely be a closer guess, but to be specific requires more than that.  To
me, that reduces it to guesswork, and I wonder what is the end-goal.  The
proces might be a subconscious effort to those already well familiar with a
study of mathematics, but I doubt that capability in beginners, allowing some
exceptions.

By the way, I have the same luck with basketball.  I can "see" the shot, but
making it is another matter.  Either way, I don't have to state three values in
order to make the shot.

Question:  Would this exercise follow a study in which the curve has already
been studied, and some sense of placement of the curve has been determined by
variation of parameters?

All said and done, it's a game, so let us all simply have fun and get out of it
what we can.

David.