faq


Read here a list of frequently asked questions about scale and this website.

FAQ on this website


What is in this website?


Material that relates to scale, from astronomy to zoology, from mathematics to jokes, from history to mythology--the highlights and the sidelights, whatever may have a bearing on scale.

What is scale?


Scale means here "level of activity" or "order of magnitude;" to be more precise, an operational range within a set of co-related characteristics, be they physical, cultural or otherwise.

What is "super" in "superscale"?


The range, span or collection of scales: superscale is a span of many scales.

What is the "meter" in "scalometer"?


It's a graphical gauge, or calibrated meter, that expresses differences between scales.

What are some examples of superscale behavior?


Here are a few examples of people, as a group, operating across superscales:

  • You constitute about one billionth of the world community of seven billion people while at the same time you are an operator of trillions of human cells and gardener of trillions of bacteria, conducting for each moment of your human life an interaction of a trillion-trillion chemical atoms.
  • A financial investor makes a micro-trade that earns a few cents, and then instructs a software robotic process to repeat this transaction millions of times in order to earn thousands of dollars. The same investor may make a phone call and be charged 8 cents for the elapsed time, while on the call decide budget issues on the level of billions of dollars.
  • One person navigates the Voyager 1 craft 1.8 trillion meters from home while another uses scanning tunneling microscopes to position atoms one billionth of a meter in size and place them in perfect order so that they form readable words, such as the abbreviation “IBM.”
  • Cosmologists model the relationship between a Big Bang fourteen billion years ago and a top quark that takes one septillionth of a second to decay.
  • Some engineers explode bombs that unleash a quadrillion units of pressure while others produce a vacuum of one billionth of a unit to study the nature of space.
  • People design power plants in quad units, being a quadrillion BTUs, while others maintain antennas sensitive to a quadrillionth of a BTU in order to harvest data from the Galileo spacecraft.

Who cares about scale?


Everyday modern life requires operation across superscale spans. For example, a modern citizen votes on national issues--one person controlling millions; she uses devices with nano-scale technology such as a microwave and cell phone, she purchases huge objects such as a car, apartment, house or tract of land; she is scanned by medical technology that reads the nano-scale. All of these involve many different scales of behavior, so a good understanding of scale will help people understand life and take good decisions.

Who created this?


Lionel Wolberger, Ph.D. and engineer, an innovative researcher with broad interests.

Has a scalometer been published?


Yes, see sample on the home page and the bibliography.

Who can contribute or use this material?


Anyone. The material is created under a creative commons license, attribution required.

Who pays for this research?


Dr. Wolberger supports the research from his own funding. There are some opportunities to purchase artwork, donate, or to get involved in other ways.

With so much stuff here, how can you tell what is important?


Each article begins with a statement of relevance to help the reader understand why the information is included and how it may be helpful.

Where do I begin?


Start on the home page, or see the movies and artwork.