Scientists Colour by Number

Crayon rendition of the Mars Landscape

Crayon rendition of the Mars Landscape

While sifting thru the 200 or so blog posts in my rss reader, I came across this interesting little article on Gismodo about the first pictures from the surface of Mars in 1965

“people at the JPL were so excited to receive the images that they couldn’t wait for them to be processed by the lab’s imager. As the first picture was beamed down as a stream of 8-bit numbers—each point indicating a brightness point—they thought of a quick way to get an image straight away: Print the numbers indicating brightness in paper strips, put them together, and colour them with pastel crayons.”

Its a amazing that crayons needed to be used to get a “fast” graphical representation, contrasted by today’s real time processing. We are however, talking about a time when computers where huge room filling machines, with processing speeds a fraction of what can be found in most peoples pockets these days.

Now, I keep coming back to data visualisation, but that is mostly due to visualisation being the topic of choice for the assignment. I have the assignment partially underway at the time being, with my idea fairly solid in my head, and starting to form in real life

All this talk of crayons got my want to do my assignment in old school kindergarten style, and so this is my assignment:

My bank balance over 2 weeks

My bank balance over 2 weeks

LOL, just kidding. it is a rough approximation of my bank account over the last 2 weeks. really, it should be shown with my other bank accounts for an accurate picture, as the spikes in the middle are due to me transferring money from them to this one, not some extra covert payments or anything.

Am I crazy for going to the shops and spending $3.60 for a pack of pencils to do this? quite possibly, yes. for some reason I envisioned something more impressive, but alas, here we are.

Right now, I’m looking for a convenient way of converting images to a numbered grid to make my own mars style crayon pictures. I’m also interested in checking out a few different things, like rendering items in Lego bricks and the likes.

Anyway, that’s enough crazy for the time being, to I’ll leave you to it.



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