Saturday, November 14, 2009

Further Persistent Idiocy

The concept of "persistence of vision" was discredited decades ago. People who write about it are dumb. So, in the interest of public service I call people out on it.

To understand how long this has been discredited as an idea read THE MYTH OF PERSISTENCE OF VISION REVISITED from 1993 (a followup to a 1978 paper) which points out the idea has been proven wrong SINCE 1912.

So, who's "teaching" about the importance of "persistence of vision" today?

Filmsite by Tim Dirks

This ridiculous page cites the discredited idea five times to start its history of film. Is that surprising? No. Because if you randomly check ANY of the facts Tim Dirks publishes under his name, you'll find the level of research scholarship here isn't acceptable for a sixth-grade book report. Let's try a couple....

Hmmm. Right here on that same page he says "1860 The zoetrope, another animation toy, was invented by French inventor Pierre Desvignes."

Huh. Interesting. Let's check that. Oh, it was actually invented in 1834 by William George Horner, according to reputable sources.

Wait ... doesn't it also say that just above the 1860 entry? Strange. Confusing. Unclear.

Pick any other page. You'll find errors, misunderstandings, and generally an emphasis on the wrong things (for example, Dirks pushes an attempt to understand film history through a decade-by-decade approach, which is extremely ineffective). How do I know this? Because my students, despite my best warnings, often resort to searching Google for "film history" and Dirks' site shows up. So for years I've been correcting papers based on his "facts" -- and you'd be surprised how much I've learned from doing the fact-checking he can't be bothered with.

So, take care, people, and do some factchecking -- Tim Dirks isn't going to do that for you.

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