Steven Strogatz: How things in nature tend to sync up



http://www.ted.com Mathematician Steven Strogatz shows how flocks of creatures (like birds, fireflies and fish) manage to synchronize and act as a unit — when no one’s giving orders. The powerful tendency extends into the realm of objects, too.
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36 thoughts on “Steven Strogatz: How things in nature tend to sync up

  • September 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm
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    i wish he had thought of swarms in relation to their geodesic structures.. if the motion trajectory of each bird/fish can be quantified based on its initial point and direction-speed.. one can form a differential equation that averages the flow..
    .what makes it effective to think in this way is that when we factor in the "points" where predators strike the swarm, we can predict the trajectory and shape of the swarm based on its impact.

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  • September 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm
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    I have studied starling murmurations (synchronized swarming) and a flaw I see alot is that they have been witnessed to murmurate when flocking, landing, as well as roosting. so, if they sync swarm also outside of predators, does't that flaw their model immensely? what's the evolutionary benefit to perform such incredible task if predation avoidance is only a partial reason for their actions?

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  • September 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm
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    where are the transgender fat muslim feminists, what kind of ted talk is this?

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  • September 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm
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    PHYSICAL PROOF OF SYNCHRONICITY AT PLAY! STRONG AND BEAUTIFUL AS THE SYNERGY THAT UNITES US!

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  • September 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm
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    how can he say "There seems to be nothing mystical about this process?" then goes on to state three simple rules plus the one about the predator… this is the kind of left-brained intellect that can not feel the truth of consciousness – pure consciousness is a sacred UNION of ENERGY. (he's arrogant to think he knows these things with his little mask-u-line physical brain)

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  • September 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm
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    That clapping experiment right at the beginning. Steven said he was expecting it to synchronise but not to speed up. But in my admittedly limited experience of synchronised clapping it usually does speed up involuntarily (unless it's the slow handclap, a deliberate  expression of collective displeasure). Why? Why doesn't it slow down? My opinion: one by one people fall out of phase as the tempo becomes more demanding, disorder supervenes, at which point it's OK to stop. Slowing down wouldn't provide this excuse, so clapping would be excruciatingly prolonged. Maybe that's why clapping is usually unsynchronised in the first place. I wonder if this difference in synchrony between gradually stepped up and stepped down tempo would also occur if incorporated into those famous spontaneously synchronised metronome experiments.

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  • September 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm
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    awesome dude … wish my eyeballs would sync up with 240p

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  • September 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm
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    I recall, reading or hearing somewhere, that Soldiers of the British Empire had to break step when marching over a suspended bridge! – In order to stop the bridge from swaying. For the very reason, illustrated to us by the eloquent Professor!. 🙂

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  • September 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm
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    so what happened with the bridge? was it something that needed structural fixing? or has it just become a case of 'don't let too many people on the bridge at once' ?

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  • September 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm
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    Why did the elderly Brit explain side-to-side movement by the imperial system?

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  • September 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm
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    Excellent speaker! I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of his book

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  • September 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm
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    Cyclists in a pelaton show similar characteristics. Especially facing a hazard.

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  • September 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm
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    FYI Steven, There are Synchronous Fireflies in North America.  We have them here in my backyard in the Allegheny National Forest of NW Pennsylvania.  They are also known to exist in the Great Smoky Mountains.  You should come to our PA Firefly Festival on June 28 and see the for yourself.

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  • September 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm
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    the body is a mere vehicle we all have to own in order to experience this reality. once the concept is settle trough out the world, there will be no more sadness.
    i own a ferrari, you a lamborguini? your lamborguini color sucks! (this makes me a racist?) think about it, think about all the stuff you are missing by THINKING WHAT YOU SEE TROUGH THE WINDSHIELD IS ALL THERE IS! i love you all.

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  • September 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm
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    I get seasick watching this guy pace left and right on the stage.

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  • September 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm
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    i kind of like to think flocks and such are subconscious "archetypal" behavior

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  • September 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm
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    The clip of he birds and fish in synchrony was beautiful.

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  • September 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm
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    that metronome argument was very week. they did not sync up they simply fell in an out of phase as their similar frequencies oscillated. they are in an endless cycle of being in phase and then out of phase in a periodically repeating pattern

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  • September 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm
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    I wonder how the phenomenon of spontaneous synchronization applies to a DJ rocking the crowd on a dance floor? Are there similar positive feedback loops to what happened when people started walking funny on the Millennium Bridge?

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  • September 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm
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    This is so fucking cool. My family catches bait fish, which hang out in large swarms. My dad was always sure that there must be some kind of hierarchy, with senior bait fish coordinating smaller bait fish. We would argue about this once a week or so and I never thought it had to be so complicated.
    Those three rules don't sound too hard to implement in a program. Find your nearest neighbors with a Voronoi diagram, and model distances and orientation as springs. Then it's just finding constants.

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  • September 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm
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    So that you understand what he's talking about, check out the book "Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos" by Steven Strogatz. It has become the standard introductory text on nonlinear dynamics. All you need to work through it is introductory linear algebra and basic ordinary differential equations.

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