Friday February 13th, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose that have something to do with: tracing.

Sorry for the late post, I didn't get a chance to use the laptop yesterday. Not sure how likely a timely Saturday post is going to be, but I'll do what I can.


Byron's finger moved in slow circles, around and around and around. He'd been doing that a lot since his run-in with Evander King. It was as though he didn't want to forget the precise location the barrel of Evander's gun had pressed against his forehead.

At least, not until he had exacted his revenge.


Greg said...

You must be busy with the bathroom then! Still, the important thing is that you got a post up :)
Hmm, I imagine it must be unpleasant to feel the barrel of a gun there like that; I'd be tracing the spot too!

The trace of a curve is the actual line drawn out on paper, rather than the algebraic equation written down. They're both representations of the curve, but one is easy to understand when seen, and the other lends itself to deeper understanding by applying analytic tools to them. What's perhaps curious though is that man has been able to conceive of and draw these curves since the days of the ancient Greek geometers (and probably earlier still), but the tools to analyse and understand them deeply only really appeared after Newton and Leibniz invented calculus. That's maybe 1800 years to go from tracing curves to saying profound things about them!

[A triple of example curves that you may not have seen before, but might interest you: Cycloid, Cissoid of Diocles, and the tractrix: if a man walks his dog on a leash and the man walks in a straight line but the dog pulls away to sniff other things, what shape does the dog's path describe?]

Marc said...

Greg - huh, that is a rather long time to being drawing circles and thinking, 'ooh, pretty!'

Okay, I thought you were making tractrix up, but I see now that you were not. That's... quite something :P