Re: 1000 humans in a grain of salt

Charlie Stross (
Thu, 22 Jan 1998 09:47:25 +0000

On Wed, Jan 21, 1998 at 11:12:10PM -0800, John K Clark wrote:
> On Wed, 21 Jan 1998 "Lee Daniel Crocker" < Wrote:
> >Just to represent my field of vision, and no other data, to the
> >resolution of my retina (let's call it ~50 pixels, which would be
> something like an 8kx8k large screen),
> Much, much too big, the resolution of the retina stinks to high heaven.
> Fix your eyes on the "l" in the word "resolution" and you can't even make out
> the "r" or the "n", unless you cheat and move your eyes a little. We view
> the world by looking through a soda straw.

Not quite true. The human eye contains, in effect, two different imaging
systems: the fovea, and the rest of the retina. In the vicinity of the
fovea you get good colour vision and very high resolution -- it's what
you see the 'l' in 'resolution' with, and it covers a couple of degrees
(at most) of the field of view. The rest of the retina combined has
about the same number of photoreceptive cells, and covers a much wider
field; it's less sensitive to colour, much lower resolution, but is
functional in very low light levels.

I think there are some figures for visual data sensitivity in Foley, Van
Damm et al, but it's a while since I had to read that (read: since I last
had anything to do with real-time photorealistic rendering for
simulator graphics engines). About 4kx4k pixels springs to mind ...

-- Charlie