June 30, 2008
The kids asked today, "Why do things get smaller when they are farther away?"
When they asked The Google, they got this unsatisfying answer from NASA that seemed to miss the spirit of the elementary school question....
Posted by David at June 30, 2008 09:04 PM
www.live.com gave an interesting (and weird) story involving a penguin as its first result... fun, but i'm not sure what your kid's sense of humor is like. :)
www.powerset.com, however, did quite nice, and it's second result is a very detailed explanation of perspective. not exactly 1st grade reading material, but certainly something that you could read along with your son.
As objects become more distant, they appear smaller, because their angular diameter (visual angle) decreases.
When Annie asked this we explained "perspective" to her but I fear that propogates the idea that naming something is understanding it. We'll see when she wants more.
I recall wondering why the respective domes of the Library of Congress and the Capitol look so far apart from a few miles away, if they're actually across the street from each other. (Now I know the reason.)
--David Johnstone, Esq., your 4th-grade classmate, who'd appreciate being reacquainted with you.
We're another David/Heidi household, by the way....