# Valentine Heart

This post came through on my reading earlier this week and I decided to comment on it just in time for Valentine’s Day.  The post was called "This Valentine, Send your Loved One a Google Search Query".  The whole point of the post was to remind us that a Google Search could be used to draw a graph.  In this example, the search query

sqrt(cos(x))*cos(300x)+sqrt(abs(x))-0.7)*(4-x*x)^0.01,
sqrt(6-x^2), -sqrt(6-x^2) from -4.5 to 4.5

would draw a heart for you.  All that you have to do is copy the above equation and past it into a Google search and the result would be a heart.  It looks like this.

The resulting graph is actually interactive if you move your cursor along the x-axis to generate the corresponding point on the y-axis.  The adventurous will go into the equation and adjust some of the calculations to see what effect it might have on the image.  It’s pretty interesting in a mathematical way.

It’s one of the purest joys of mathematics that you can create an equation that will draw a graph or image and visualize things for you.  In that respect, it is such an art.

Do we show "real world" applications though?  This is a silly little example that hit home recently with my university class.  A group of students was demonstrating a piece of graphic software and was showing off their new-found knowledge of the file types that it would save/export to.  JPG, GIF, PNG, EPS, AI, CDR, … we got them all.  The class was impressed with the variety of formats.  But did they know why or what the significance was?  Where would you use these different formats?

I pushed the conversation by asking if anyone could explain the different between vector based and raster based graphics.

chirp, chirp

You’ve got to love those teachable moments.  So, we did a little digging and everyone understood the dangers of just dragging the corner of a photo that they were going to upload to Facebook.  They understood the concept of bitmapped images but that’s where the understanding stopped.  The concept that an image could be generated by a series of equations rather than a bunch of dots was really foreign.  So, we dug a little deeper and found this excellent article describing the differences.

Now chances are these folks will not be creating the next roadside billboard or drafting diagram but clearly this concept had eluded them in their education.  We didn’t have time to do the topic justice.  I wonder, though.  Do you only learn this if you’re taking a drafting or graphic design course?  Is this a concept that everyone should at least know about or is it a niche piece of learning that’s only necessary if it directly applies to a task at hand?

But if you don’t understand that an image can be created by a mathematical equation, where will the inspiration for the next Valentine Heart of St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock come from?

Happy Valentine’s Day.

• Transmedia: Storytelling for the Digital Age
“a look at the creative and technical worlds of immersive storytelling”

• Whitney Houston’s isolated vocal track on “How Will I Know.”

tags: music whitney houston

• Website devoted to teach students the news.

tags: news kids articles

• New research provides the first mathematical understanding of the shape of a ponytail and could have implications for the textile industry, computer animation and personal care products.

• Lendmeyourliteracy.org is a unique online resource base for teachers and students of Literacy.
A one stop website for examples of good pieces of literacy work written by children and not just models written in a text book.

tags: literacy

• During a couple breakout sessions at a Rhode Island conference on Innovation Powered by Technology (#iptrideconf) I spent time with teachers and principals thinking about next steps as they prepare for the shift to personal digital learning.  We discussed 10 next steps:

• Twenty-seven minutes before mainstream media broke the news of Whitney Houston’s death on Saturday night, the story was on Twitter, reported by a man who tweeted the news out to his 14 followers.

• Bing is a capable, mature search engine. It serves me nearly every result that I desire on the first try. Just like with Google, you have to learn its quirks, but once you get the hang of finding, and revisiting what you need, it’s perfectly good. Bing is just that: perfectly good. I’ll argue that Google has a slight edge over it in terms of polish, but Bing as a project has truly come into its own.

tags: bing search

• Top 10 Apps for Digital Storytelling

A while back I did a post on top sites for Digital Storytelling.  This has been a skill that is being taught in school districts all around the world, and is a key for developing technology literacy.  With the recent wave of mobile devices and technologies, a giant step has been taken in how students develop these skills (via touch screen) in a brand new way .

• TuneIn Radio allows you to listen live to over 50,000 stations around the world, pause and rewind your favorite shows, share stations and songs on social networks, and a whole lot more. Here’s how to get started.

• ReactOS, the Windows XP Alternative

While we wait for the Windows 8 beta to be released at the end of the month questions are looming over what will happen with legacy software support and how we’ll run our older, but still useful and trustworthy, software in the future.

• Microsoft’s ambitious Windows Azure cloud is many things — it’s a full-fledged platform as a service (PaaS) for developers. But beneath all that, it is also a huge pool of foundational compute and storage infrastructure for rent.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.