Thursday, June 15, 2006

the law of infinitesimals, as seen on TV

We have a sat image of the house Captain. Don't know how much good it will do though--it's from twelve miles up.

Can you get in any closer? We know there's a patio table next to that garage, with a red table cloth. We need to know what Newt had for lunch. He claimed scallops, but we think he's lyin.
I may be able to adjust the image subluxation parameters. How's this?

Much better. Can you clean it up?

Let me just tweak the pixel refractorizing algorithm. Give me a minute. This is tricky, the garage casts a's this?

Well whaddaya know--clams, not scallops! Get over to Lily Mere and arrest that Newt bastard and his rat cousin too.


TV and movies have both come to rely on this conceit, most commonly to zoom in on a license plate on a van, at night, from tape taken from a security camera. Blade Runner pioneered this bullshit twenty years ago. Now every TV crime show uses it routinely. Without a Trace, CSI, even Law and Order which used to know better, has succumbed. It saves the screenwriters so much time, it's apparently irresistable.

Not that I watch TV mind you.

At the rate they zoom, each pixel would be the size of a bus. This is the digital graphic equivalent of homeopathy, in which by diluting a substance with 99 parts of water, diluting one part of that solution etc to achieve dilutions of 1/1,000,000 at least, you get a result with--absolutely no value? Au contraire--a super-potent medicine! It's the "law of infinitesimals".

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