Infographic: instances of the term “infographic” over time. Source: Google Trends

With thanks to beatnic.

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Beware of the Sign

4 March 2010

Lushlush writes:

Owwww, my head….”

self-referential warning sign over escalator

Describing a warning sign hanging over an escalator: “..the sign is comical in itself: stick figure rides up the escalator and bumps his head on a hanging sign, the impact causing VIOLENT RED RAYS OF PAIN. Beware! All is well and good until, armed with a newfound caution, you look around for the offending object and realize that IT’S A SIGN ABOUT THE SIGN ITSELF”

Full story and other pictures – including a photoshopped infinitely-recursive version here

The Droste Effect

21 January 2010

DrosteI remember as a child that we kept a packet of greaseproof paper on the inside of the door of a tall cupboard in the kitchen. The illustration on the packet showed a woman holding up a packet of the same greaseproof paper. On that packet you could see a much smaller image of the same woman, of course, holding up a packet of the same greaseproof paper. By about the fourth or fifth packet, the image was so small that I  couldn’t tell if the artist had drawn the woman in at all. But it seemed that even if you couldn’t see it, even if it wasn’t there, there must be an infinite series of women holding up an equally infinite number of packets.

The Droste Effect, the name given to this kind of recursive picture where an image depicts itself, comes from the name of a Dutch brand of cocoa powder. The packaging (see illustration) depicts a nurse carrying a tray on which there is a packet of the same brand of cocoa powder.

I learnt about this from the online encylopaedia Wikipedia.  When users create articles they are required to reference sources which generally seem to be online sources. I often come across pages that have been flagged as lacking citations of reliable sources. What I have yet to see is a reference in a Wikipedia article that cites an article in Wikipedia. Or better still, an article that cites itself as a source.

Meanwhile, I wonder if there is anyone reading this who can tell me the brand of greaseproof paper my family used. Or,whether there is anyone reading this who can tell me who might know which brand of greaseproof paper my family used. Or, whether there is anyone reading this who can tell me who might know who might know…

& on

Re-description by xkcd

19 January 2010

Re-description from xkcd.com

Newton Excel Bach has done a nice job of enabling this for those with finite resolution monitors.