Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Visual Impression as a Quantititative Measure

Why shouldn't one argue from visual impression of a material to its intrinsic properties? 
For example the shape of a bubble- or better yet the dynamic shape as the bubble emerges- is compatible with an elastic material or a material with surface tension (like gum or water), but incompatible with a granular isotropic material (like sand). So if you see a bubble shape (or a growing bubble) it is very fair to conclude the material is more like gum/water than like sand. Can you make the argument quantitatively? [I believe yes, as per best models/chi-squared]
Another example is sweeping up dog hair versus sweeping up sand. You sweep up dog hair and it starts to roll and form tubes. You sweep up sand and it stays sand. 
Why not have this be a legitimate way to say clouds are more like dog hair?

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