How important did you say you were again?

September 20th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in not bad science | 19 Comments »

In celebration of the upcoming Powers Of Ten Day, October 10th, here is the Eameses’ educational movie classic…

“This emptiness is normal, the richness of our own neighbourhood is the exception…” Via Frank Swain in the forums. Also, here is a java version of the same idea, and of course, coming full circle, the Simpsons:

Actually, while I’ve got your attention, you might have missed this from a few months back. They reckon it’s video of a new robot walker donkey thing for the military, but it still looks like two contemporary dance students mucking about in a farmyard to me.


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19 Responses



  1. Andrew Clegg said,

    September 20, 2006 at 8:37 am

    There’s something very Douglas Adams about that first one — Total Perspective Vortex…

    Who needs Google Earth anyway?

    Andrew.

  2. BugBoy said,

    September 20, 2006 at 9:11 am

    strange that they got Daffy Duck to do the voiceover for the first one….

  3. raygirvan said,

    September 20, 2006 at 10:07 am

    They probably couldn’t afford Sean Connery or Jodie Foshter.

  4. ffutures said,

    September 20, 2006 at 10:45 am

    Powers of 10 is lovely – going to rec. it to the science staff at my school.

  5. ffutures said,

    September 20, 2006 at 10:48 am

    Forgot to say… Did you know that if you’re not logged in your blog says “You must bee logged in to post a comment.”

    I’m buzzing off now.

  6. raygirvan said,

    September 20, 2006 at 11:35 am

    It’s an in-joke: go the Forum, steel yourself, then search on “honeybee”.

  7. Frank said,

    September 20, 2006 at 2:07 pm

    Really, I should pull my finger out and sort out my website. Living vicariously through yours is not enough.

  8. Ben Goldacre said,

    September 20, 2006 at 2:29 pm

    yeah me and stever were chatting yesterday about how the standard of opening posts in the forums is higher than many science blogs, that needs to be celebrated or flagged somehow, maybe we should chat about it at the badscience boozeup.

  9. tg said,

    September 20, 2006 at 4:35 pm

    Ye gods. I am almost certain that Blue Peter showed two excepts from the “Powers of 10″ video in… oh dear, late seventies or early eighties, I suppose. It was certainly on the television once, because I have remembered it ever since.

    Thank you for finding it again!

  10. parkenf said,

    September 20, 2006 at 5:12 pm

    for some reason the one I remember was “cosmic zoom” made in 1968 and featuring a boy on a boat being stung by a mosquito. According to this excellent page (scroll to bottom) it was remade in 1977 as powers of 10.

  11. oyster said,

    September 21, 2006 at 3:04 pm

    Oh this is great! I also remember cosmic zoom from when I was a kid. It had a major impact on me then! Do a search on YouTube for cosmic zoom and find another version with Morgan Freeman narrating and one with the simpsons and a trick ending…

  12. Cargo Cult said,

    September 21, 2006 at 4:14 pm

    There’s a Powers of Ten book as well – at least, I think I remember seeing it in the school library.

    I can’t remember when I first saw the film; it was either at school or university. But I’d known all about its existence beforehand, and it’s a seriously impressive bit of work. Hasn’t dated too badly, either!

  13. eastpole said,

    September 21, 2006 at 10:20 pm

    Awesome to see the work of Charles and Ray Eames once again. It really is timeless. And the anniversary is coming up — you can celebrate Powers of 10 day on 10 Oct 2006. See www.powersof10.com/index.php?mod=ten_day.

  14. Inquisitive Raven said,

    September 22, 2006 at 1:43 pm

    Interesting timing here, I was just wondering if I could find “Powers of Ten” online in the last day or two and here it is.
    I wonder what the probability of something like that happening is.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen it on TV though. I first saw it at, what for lack of a better term, I call an “interactive museum.” This is one of those places where you don’t just look at the exhibits, but you step into and become part of them, e.g. getting your picture taken while your hand is on a Van der Graaf generator.

  15. Delster said,

    September 22, 2006 at 1:55 pm

    that would be the big dog robot they are developing at DARPA… somebody should point out that in some environments they have trouble keeping complex pieces of kit such as guns working let alone something like that thing…. not to mention with that amount of noise it’s hardly subtle!

  16. CB said,

    September 22, 2006 at 3:20 pm

    The wife bought a book called ‘Heaven & Earth – Unseen by the naked eye’ which shows some really cool pictures of things that are really really small, to just bloody big. I recommend it.

    tinyurl.com/pbd8u

  17. pv said,

    September 29, 2006 at 9:10 pm

    The Powers of Ten film should be compulsory viewing for all religious believers. As Feynman said, the universe is far too big to be the stage for god’s little human drama – something that occured to me more than 30 years ago.
    The scale of the Universe is completely and conveniently lost on religious believers

  18. Deebles said,

    January 12, 2009 at 12:31 am

    Also on the same topic, I’d highly recommend www.xkcd.com/482 and www.xkcd.com/485.

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