News Stories

Why You Love Your Phone

It's not just because you can have sex with it. Biologists and mathematicians have discovered that nature follows a formula known as the "golden mean," which refers to the proportions found in nature. It is a ratio based on "pi," the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. Because these proportions are everywhere around us, we are biologically programmed to find them beautiful. Steve Jobs, who just died, knew this: Apple products appeal to us because they design their products using the SAME mathematical formula.

On the NPR website, Callie Neylan writes, "I've been researching design aesthetics recently, and in a nutshell here's what I've found: Beauty is more objective than you might think. It's based on numbers and proportions. As humans, we're biologically programmed to seek out and respond to these numbers and proportions because they indicate superiority, in everything from the human form, to great works of art, to musical patterns, to plants, to architecture and to product design. The screen of a Macbook, for example, is a Golden Rectangle, which is based on this magical number: 1.6178, also known as the Golden Ratio, the Golden Mean or the Divine Proportion." Neylan suggests that this is what's behind the EMOTIONAL ties that many people feel to their Macs and iphones.

But being beautiful doesn't mean your iphone can't be hacked. Right now, experts in cell phone security say that mobile hackers are not much of a threat--yet. But that could quickly change, as people use their phones to shop or move money between accounts. In the September 28th edition of the New York Times, Claire Cain Miller quotes a security expert as saying, "That's mostly because the bad guys haven't gotten around to it yet. But the bad guys are going to slowly follow the money over to your phones."

Had Steve Jobs lived longer into the future, we suspect he would have tried to create hybrids. Whitley Strieber created these extraordinary military machine-men in fiction. This novel is out of print, so you won't find it in your bookstore, but you can still get it (along with an autographed bookplate designed by Whitley) from the Whitley Strieber Collection!



The introduction to this news item is incorrect. The golden ratio is phi (1.61803), not pi (3.1416). For a beautiful demonstration of the universality of phi, and its amazing correlation with the Fibonacci sequence, I suggest to anyone interested to check this link out, it's more than worth it: http://www.wimp.com/fibonaccisequence/.
(For those who will wonder, the music used is Wim Mertens's "Often a Bird" — duly credited at the end of the video —, from his 1996 album Jardin Clos.)

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