Exponential water tank

Posted to Infographics  |  Tags: ,  |  Nathan Yau

Hibai Unzueta, based on a paper by Albert Bartlett, demonstrates exponential growth with a simple animation. It depicts a man standing in a tank with finite capacity and water rising slowly, but at an exponential rate.

Our brains are wired to predict future behaviour based on past behaviour (see here). But what happens when something growths exponentially? For a long time, the numbers are so little in relation to the scale that we hardly see the changes. But even at moderate growth rates exponential functions reach a point where the numbers grow too fast. Once we confirm that our predictions about the future have failed, very little time to react may be left.

All looks safe at first, because the water rises so slowly, but it seems to rise all of a sudden. Oh, the suspense. What will happen to cartoon pixel man?

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